Some Nightmares Just Won't Go Away.....

Hot off the press, this one. Rick Kordowski, creator of Solicitors from Hell website, is appealing the judgment against him.

So far the Law Society's actions have failed to close the website, which has resurfaced as (see below), and now Kordowski is back to challenge Mr Justice Tugendhat's decision.

Kordowski said, "[he] was tempted to leave it alone and let it go down in  history as one of the most ‘archaic’ judgments of all time."

However, Kordowski further said, "the individuals who accompanied the Law Society on the claim against him failed to follow the Pre-Action protocol code. [He] is also perplexed to why these individuals had not (and still haven’t)  contacted [him] to ask who the authors of the words complained about were."

One other interesting aspect of this is that the Law Society complained to the Information Commissioner (IC) about Solicitors from Hell, but received a less than helpful reply. The IC said although he found some of the comments offensive, other accounts of clients' experiences were credible.

Moreover, the IC can't be expected, nor is it his role, to police websites. And, he says quite definitely, that it isn't his role to "rule on what is acceptable for one individual to say about another, be that a solicitor or other individual. That is not what my Office is established to do." That's where libel comes in if you want to take action.

But accepting that we now live in a socially networked world, the Information Commissioner suggests that the best route is for solicitors to approach Solicitors from Hell directly to negotiate changes where there are factual inaccuracies.

In a final recognition of the new world order that professionals and others have to live within, the IC effectively tells the Law Society "live with it". There are plenty of websites that rate people and products and if you kill one, then it will pop up elsewhere....just as Solicitors from Hell has done.

It is an unwinnable battle.

Given that Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix Chambers who is acting for the Law Society can't be cheap, I hope the Law Society has the support of its members for the costs of this litigation. They clearly aren't going to get any money from Kordowski.

I still have my doubts about shooting the messenger. It can make the Law Society look like a bully if it's not careful, no matter how justified it may think it is.


Anonymous said…
I wonder if he could have sought a journalistic exemption on the DPA issue.

Moreover, on the harassment issue, I wonder if the definition provided by R v Redmond Bates would have been of any use ie balancing both party's rights.

I have not read the original judgment but it would be good to see what the Article 10 HRA arguments were.

In a land where there is little regulation for solicitors, sometimes a renegade like Solicitors From Hell has its role in the market place. I believe it is a sad day in law where a website is closed because its tone does not agree with a number of lawyers.

I wish him the best on his appeal. I think this should be tested on Article 10 ECHR at the European Court of Human Rights.

Dr Rita Pal

PS Nice blog John. Will visit again!
John Flood said…
Interesting insights, Rita. Thank you. I think the problem with SfH was that Kordowski wasn't writing the posts himself, which does give him protection as data controller. But he still could be liable as a publisher under defamation. This is how the site was closed. With a legal bill around £300k and as a litigant in person, Kordowski faced a tough climb. Still, absent his participation, SfH now exists again and as the Information Commissioner makes clear, there's little the Law Society can do about it except lump it.

I think it will run for sometime yet.
The_Tealady said…
I think the Information Commissioner has had a few complaints about the Law Society so it doesnt surprise me that they received a less than helpful reply.

I filed a huge complaint about their data protection and FoI handling practices and got a significant ruling against them.