David Allen Green, head of media, Preiskel & Co

Can new Act clean up libel law?

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Readers' comments (12)

  • Alternative dispute resolution - mediation, conciliation etc.

    Sounds like you should ask for details of the firm's pi insurers (cite the eu provision of services regs), write to their senior partner and then if that fails make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. If it's a large firm, you've probably just come across one rotten apple and the senior partner route may be worth a try to start with. The ombudsman does have the power to make financial awards up to a certain level.

    I agree with the poster above though, threatening a defamation action against you is not on and should be reported to the sra.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Thank you, it’s kind of you and the other contributors above to offer advice.
    Sadly this situation has gone way beyond this. I took up my complaint with the firm in question at length when I discovered that the property I had bought had a legally defective title– initially they admitted that an error had been made at the time of purchase and agreed to remedy the matter. They told me that if I paid a further £1,000 (in addition to the £5,000 I had paid for the original instruction) it would be remedied. I paid the amount on this basis but the problem wasn’t resolved due to a serious oversight which had taken place at the time of purchase. The firm in question then stated that they were not responsible and that as far as they were concerned that was the end of the matter - I had exhausted their complaints procedure etc etc. They did not refund the £1,000.
    I complained to the Legal Ombudsman who stated that the issue did not fall within their remit as it was not a matter of ‘poor service’ but the more serious one of alleged negligence. ‘There may have been negligence but we are unable to comment on this.’

    I initiated proceedings naively believing that a £50,000 insurance policy would be sufficient to cover this – as a non-legally trained individual with no previous knowledge of litigation how was I to know otherwise? The insurance company’s panel lawyer should have known otherwise and arranged ATE at the onset but that is another story.

    I requested mediation during the run up to proceedings but it was refused. I discontinued proceedings 18 months into proceedings and a few weeks prior to the trial date because I had a breakdown due to the stress. I was exhausted emotionally and financially.

    I cannot claim that the firm in question was negligent because I have not proven such in court. I have been denied the opportunity to have my case heard and my grievance aired as I am too small to take on this giant of a city law firm and there is no regulatory body which oversees situations such as this.

    I am campaigning for changes in this and am asking the legal profession to support this. The vast majority of lawyers do provide an outcome which is satisfactory to their clients. Previous to this experience I have had no complaint of legal services provided by local solicitors in my home town - yes they are expensive, but they have provided the service I expected.

    To add to my sense of injustice I have received what, in my view, amounts to a threat of legal action should I publicise my experience.

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