BASIS FOR PROPOSED DOCUMENTARY - BBC PANORAMA
There have been many debates recently in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and also a proposed BILL aiming to give protection to the public from dishonest and corrupt Solicitors. The Law Society was formed some 200 years ago which should have given plenty of time and opportunity to put regulations in place to protect Solicitors’ clients. There is even a rule book entitled - Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors. These rules are observed by some members of the legal profession more in the breach than the observance. Those Solicitors regard a Practising Certificate as a means to commit legalised theft, and because of the failure of the Law Society to punish dishonest Solicitors, they consider themselves Jesus Christ and can walk on water.
The Law Society set up the:- Solicitors Complaints Bureau (SCB); Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) ; Consumer Complaints Service (CCS); and latterly the Legal Complaints Service( LCS).. These organisations have one common thread: They have all failed to protect the public from corrupt and dishonest Solicitors. Now there is a new Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA). It appears that whenever government announces that the Law Society is in the “Last Chance Saloon” because of its failure to deal with the increasing number of complaints against Solicitors, the Law Society merely changes the name of its regulatory body.
The Law Society’s Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s Annual Report up to April 2007 reveals that only 67 Solicitors were struck off the Solicitors Roll from the thousands of complaints received by the LCS. There are various organisations now established in an attempt to expose dishonest Solicitors. Some of these organisations have had their websites interfered with.
The latest scandal to hit the legal profession is the increasing number of Solicitors’ clients who are having their homes possessed and declared bankrupt, because of their refusal to pay exorbitant and disputed legal fees.
Court processes are being manipulated for the benefit of these dishonest Solicitors by means of the Insolvency and Enterprise Act which does not protect clients who are solvent but have been made bankrupt; preventing the client who is bankrupted by the Solicitor because they are not allowed to take anyone, including their Solicitor to court. This means they are unable to challenge the Solicitor’s bill in a court, which is a fundamental denial of human rights: apart from the fact that a bankrupt cannot apply or receive legal aid. Many are described by judges as vexatious litigants.
A demonstration held outside the Royal Courts of Justice and the Law Society on 22nd October 2007, in protest at Solicitors generating bankruptcy petitions against clients was well supported by the general public and attended by Dr.Vincent Cable the Deputy Lib.Dem Leader. Yet the media showed no interest in reporting the demonstration, even though a petition was handed in to 10 Downing Street voicing concern at the failure of the Law Society’s regulatory systems.
Among the many protesters that took part in the demonstration was 74 year old former Stevenage businessman Lewis Nicholson. Mr.Nicholson has waited more than 30 years to get his unprecedented lost claim against his former bankers the National Westminster Bank into court, following the disgraceful conduct of two of his former Solicitors who allegedly materially assisted the bank to strike out Nicholson’s claim even though the bank, eight months after receiving Nicholson’s Statement of claim, were unable to file their defence.
Nicholson’s lost claim for substantial damages included the alleged deliberate wrongful dishonour of 287 cheques of Lewis Nicholson Ltd (LNL) over a period of 18 months, together with a proved forged Bank Giro Credit enabling the bank to wrongfully dishonour cheques; allegedly falsifying bank microfilm records; the alleged intentional infliction of financial harm, and alleged malicious attempts to cause Court Warrants of Execution to be issued against LNL. Nicholson’s claim was without precedent in the entire history of British Banking Law.
The attempts at enforcing Warrants of Execution were to ensure the confiscation of Nicholson’s business premises without compensation, built on Stevenage Development Corporation (SDC) land whose officers were accused by Mr.Nicholson of corruption. Hertfordshire Police advised Nicholson in March 1981 that his allegations of corruption had proved to be substantially correct. There were no prosecutions. Hertfordshire Police also failed to prosecute any officer of the NWB. Having taken samples of Nicholson’s handwriting the police failed to confirm that the handwriting on Nicholson’s Bank Giro Credit for £754.23 dated 4th May 1973 was forged. In 1996 Nicholson obtained his own handwriting expert’s report confirming the forgery.
Subsequent to Mr.Nicholson’s allegations of corruption against SDC Estates Department officers; in 1974 the SDC refused to grant Mr.Nicholson his commercial lease, and would only do so if Mr.Nicholson immediately assigned it to others. Instead of advising Nicholson that having completed Specific Performance on the SDC’s Building Agreement, Nicholson could not be refused his Lease. Nicholson’s Solicitor advised that he had no option than to accept the SDC’s onerous terms.
The loss to Nicholson at 1988 values was a building valuation of £250,000 and loss of annual rental income of £25,000 also at 1988 values, on a 42 year ground lease from 1974 at a ground rental of £444.00 per annum reviewed at 21 years. Subsequent government legislation would have given Nicholson the opportunity of obtaining the land freehold.
A leading court case: - Hanks-v- Minister of Housing (1963) 1 All ER 54, ruled that a Public Authority’s “Dominant Purpose” explained its conduct and not the stated purpose of its decision. In Nicholson’s case it would be clear that SDC Officers were taking their “revenge” against Nicholson, by refusing his ground lease because of his public spiritedness in attempting to expose corruption. Such conduct was referred to in Mrs.Ward-Jackson’s addendum to the 1977 Salmon Report into the “Poulson Affair”. One of the leads discovered by Nicholson was that SDC officers were on the periphery of the Poulson Affair.
In: - Asoka Kumar David –v- M.A.M.M Abdul Cader (1963) 3 All ER 579 it was ruled that if the respondent had acted maliciously in refusing a licence, an action might lie. One other leading case of Banque Bruxelles Lambert-v- Eagle Star (1996) 3 WLR 87, forms a basis for the principle that damages should put the victim in the position he would have been in if the wrong had not occurred.
Nicholson later discovered that his Solicitor was a retained Solicitor of the Lombard & Ulster Bank Ltd, part of the NWB bank group. The Solicitors Complaints Bureau (SCB) received a 37 item complaint list from Nicholson in 1981 which the SCB refused to investigate. Eventually Nicholson’s Solicitor received a 4 ½ year prison sentence in April 1993 in connection with various frauds that had no connection with Nicholson, and cost the Law Society’s Compensation Fund in excess of £1.5 million. Bedfordshire Police officers informed Nicholson that they had to raid SCB offices and confiscate files which SCB officers knew contained evidence of fraud.
Folllowing Nicholson’s appearance on ITV’s Anglia News on 14th April 1993, the Independent featured on the front page of its 26th April edition the Law Society’s setting up of “Operation Crackdown” to eradicate once and for all, dishonest Solicitors from the Legal Profession. Judging from later events, “Operation Crackdown” was purely lip service to placate concerned members of the public and never got off the ground.
Nicholson subsequently suffered a plethora of dishonest and negligent Solicitors and Barristers, but the Law Society’s Legal Complaints Service (LCS) and the Bar Standards Board (BSB) refused to take any action, even though evidence submitted by Nicholson was irrefutable and is now under review by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Six of Nicholson’s last eight Solicitors; were allegedly dishonest and were allegedly attempting to secure the loss of his substantial claims.
The Law Society’s Legal Complaints Service refused to accept evidence of a former Solicitor’s admitted dishonesty of a serious breach of Regulation 64 of the Legal Aid Act. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s annual survey up to April 2007 shows that a breach of Legal Aid Regulations is a disciplinary offence. Two other Solicitors were recently subject to complaint to the LCS, following their attempts to leave Nicholson to his own devices during important stages of litigation; and the refusal to accept instructions and report the conduct of other Solicitors to the Law Society as required by Solicitors rules.
Two Barristers were reported to the Bar Standards Board for attempting to pressurize Nicholson to drop his claim. One Barrister went so far as to instruct Nicholson’s Solicitor to approach the Defendant’s Solicitors to notify them that Nicholson wished to discontinue his claim. The Solicitor acted on the Barristers instructions without Nicholson’s authority or even knowledge, and came back with an offer that if Nicholson dropped his claim, the Defendant’s costs at that time of £17,000 would be waived.
Both Barristers refused to accept Nicholson’s instructions to amend his Particulars of Claim to include alleged fraudulent deception, when at least nine counts of alleged fraud were revealed in disclosures received from the Defendants. One Barrister claimed that he would be “professionally embarrassed” to act on Nicholson’s instructions, even though Lord Denning said in: - Lazarus Estates-v- Beasley (1956) 1QB 702; that where fraud is provable, fraud has to be pleaded.
One other Barrister was confirmed as receiving £2.000 from the Legal Aid Fund in 1998 after Nicholson alleged that the Barrister did very little work for the fee claimed and a conference aborted due to his incompetence. The Chief Clerk of Chambers confirmed to Nicholson in Chambers that if Nicholson did not complain to the Bar Council there would be no fee. This is now denied. The Bar Standards Board took no disciplinary action even though Nicholson’s complaint was documented. This matter was reported to the SFO as alleged theft of public monies.
Although notified by Nicholson, The Legal Services Commission (LSC) responsible for Legal Aid, failed to call for Nicholson’s evidence in order to reclaim the £2,000 of public funds. The LSC refused to confirm to Nicholson that the Barrister had received £2,000 form the Legal Aid Fund, which was confirmed by an entry on the initial bill of costs received by Nicholson in 2006
Following the refusal of Nicholson’s Solicitors on 30th March 2007 to take any steps to protect Nicholson’s interest when further evidence of alleged fraud was disclosed to them on 8th February 2007 by the Defendant’s Solicitors and withheld from Nicholson. He had no option than to act in person and seek an adjournment for the 17th April trial date in order to instruct new Solicitors. On 12th April 2007 a High Court Judge refused Nicholson’s application in person for an adjournment to amend (a) his Particulars of Claim to include evidence of fraudulent deception. (b) Nicholson should be given time to instruct fresh Solicitors. A High Court Master had previously advised Nicholson that his claim was far too complex for him to act in person.
The judge claimed that it was “imperative” that the trial should go ahead on 17th April rather than Nicholson should be allowed his adjournment to seek and instruct fresh Solicitors in the “interests of justice”. The judge improperly decided that because Nicholson could draft legally worded witness statements, he was competent enough to act in person. This left Nicholson only three days to read through over 7000 documents for a four day trial due to commence on 17th April 2007, including the preparation of cross-examination of four defence witnesses. Nicholson’s complaint to the Department of Constitutional Affairs regarding the alleged conduct of the judge of misfeasance in public office met with no response.
Fortunately for Mr.Nicholson he experienced divine intervention on the evening of 16th April when he was admitted to the Acute Care Unit of London’s Homerton Hospital suffering from acute stress and other complications including pneumonia and detained for ten days. Nicholson later discovered that no competent Barrister could have prepared Nicholson’s claim in the time allocated to Nicholson by the judge.
It is not too difficult to reach a conclusion that if Nicholson had acted in person on 17th April 2007 he would have been totally unprepared, with insufficient skills, and would have lost his claim, together with substantial costs. He very probably would have been declared bankrupt and prevented from proceeding further by being described as a vexatious litigant.
Nicholson’s claim, struck out for non-attendance at trial on 17th April, even though the court were aware before the trial commenced at 10.30am that Nicholson was in hospital, is now back on track following Nicholson’s successful application with new Solicitors, to restore his claim on 27th July 2007. The £50,000 interim costs order lodged against his house is now removed.
Mr.Justice Reddihough confirmed on 27th July 2007, following Nicholson’s application to restore his claim, that Nicholson had a “real” and not a “fanciful” prospect of success at trial and should have received substantially more in damages than reflected in the alleged fraudulent Tomlin Order. A new trial is now due to commence in April 2008. The Judge remarked that any future Judge would undoubtedly consider the conduct of the bank by awarding substantial damages for serous breaches by Nicholson’s bank manager, of his undertaking given to Nicholson’s Solicitors in 1974 not to wrongfully dishonour cheques.
The judge also referred to the considerable number (85) of low value cheques wrongfully dishonoured which severely impugned LNL’s creditworthiness at the material time and caused LNL to cease trading. Following legal precedent Nicholson has calculated damages in relation to the 85 low value wrongfully dishonoured cheques in excess of £100,000 with a further 202 cheques remaining for a judicial decision on damages.
The circumstances surrounding a mediation held on 25th August 1999 will also be under scrutiny by the court following the Judge’s expression of surprise on 27th July 2007 that Nicholson was not a party to an alleged settlement in the form of a Tomlin Order. Nicholson was barred from the mediation negotiations and was suffering from serious depression. The Tomlin Order was signed and sealed by his Solicitor without Nicholson’s knowledge or authority, providing Nicholson with an interest inclusive settlement of £105,000 having previously advised SIF that all offers should “exclude interest”.
Nicholson’s Solicitor’s handwritten mediation contemporaneous note initially referred to an offer of £75,000 “including interest”. On the judge’s interest calculations of 5.932, the capital element of this offer was only £12,643. The £105,000 offer was referred to in the Solicitor’s mediation contemporaneous note as £105,000 “inclusive costs indemnity”. The first witness statement of his former Solicitor referred to the £105,000 offer as: - “£105,000 inclusive,” plus” costs indemnity”. The recent report on the John Charles de Menezes shooting, confirms that one altered word can change a report out of all context.
The unauthorised and allegedly fraudulent settlement provided a capital sum of less than £18,000 including over £5,000 of residuary claims, was less than SIF’s initial offer of £25,000. From the mediation contemporaneous notes drafted by SIF’s Solicitors and his own Solicitor obtained by Nicholson; his mediation skeleton argument of £2, million fully supported by his Solicitor, was not discussed at mediation by either SIF’s Solicitors; his Solicitor or the two mediators.
Nicholson’s Solicitor had previously rejected SIF’s offer of £25,000 in 1998 for Nicholson’s entire claim and had calculated in excess of £54,000 including interest for Nicholson’s residuary claims alone.
The Tomlin Order was couched in terms that upon Nicholson accepting SIF’s terms, (£ 105,000) SIF would not enforce four costs orders against Nicholson, for admitted delays caused by the negligence of his former Solicitor. Nicholson regarded these terms as tantamount to alleged blackmail. These four costs orders were unenforceable due to the admitted negligence of SIF’s indemnified Solicitor. Nicholson’s Solicitor advised him just prior to mediation that he did not have to accept offers made by SIF, but if he did not accept SIF’s offer she was no longer prepared to accept instructions.
Nicholson is clear that his refusal to accept SIF’s offer would result in yet another attempt to secure the discharge of his Legal Aid Certificate, leaving the door open for SIF to pursue payment of the four costs orders which would undoubtedly have led to Nicholson being declared bankrupt and unable to pursue his substantial claims. If Nicholson was not suffering from a reduced mental capacity, SIF could have alleged that he had rejected a capital offer of £105,000 which would have increased to £622,860 with interest at 5.932 of the capital sum.
Due to the previous admission of negligence by SIF’s indemnified client Solicitor, these four costs orders against Nicholson were unenforceable by SIF. Nicholson’s former Solicitor repeatedly failed to act on instructions that SIF should provide an indemnity against these costs orders which should never have been awarded by the court against Nicholson. Nicholson’s Solicitor refused to act on his repeated instructions prior to mediation to obtain an indemnity for the four costs orders.
The Defendants claim that Nicholson witnessed the signing of the Tomlin Order and agreed to its terms: Nicholson’s evidence is that he was not aware that a settlement had been reached at mediation and certainly not by a Tomlin Order. An unsealed copy of the Tomlin Order was not received by Nicholson until 1st September 1999. He immediately applied to the High Court to stop the Tomlin Order from being sealed, not knowing that the Tomlin Order had been sealed on 31st August 1999.
On 27th July 2007 the Judge commented that he was surprised that Nicholson was not requested to sign the Tomlin Order at mediation and if he had agreed to its terms, why would Nicholson attempt to stop the sealing of the Tomlin Order?
Previously; Nicholson’s former Solicitor had rejected a capital offer to settle at £25,000. It is known that up to the date of the mediation, Nicholson’s Solicitors were in serious financial difficulties and subsequently a serious conflict of interest arose. Nicholson’s Solicitor had dishonestly obtained £2303.23 mediation costs from Nicholson who was of “nil contribution” legal aid status. Although SIF paid costs in December 1999 and February 2001, Nicholson did not receive repayment of the mediation fees until 2005, and then only after instructing Solicitors to obtain recovery. Nicholson discovered in 2005 that the Legal Services Commission had offered a grant of £1250 to his Solicitor towards the mediation costs which was not taken up, adding further suspicions on his Solicitor’s conduct.
Nicholson’s Solicitor, who regarded him as a friend, also obtained a loan of £12,500 from a relative of Nicholson on the mediation day. No agreement was drawn up and payment was only received in 2005 after Solicitors were instructed. The loan was provided to demonstrate a substantial conflict of interest. A High Court Master in 2006 directed the Defendant Solicitor to repay Nicholson his substantial legal costs in recovering the monies owed.
Nicholson’s Solicitor having committed a serious breach of Rule 64 of the Legal Aid Act, was regarded as of no consequence by the Legal Complaints Service (LCS). The LCS failure to take any disciplinary proceedings; including LCS knowledge that Nicholson had provided evidence of the alleged uttering of false documents with intent to deceive within the Defendant’s High Court Bundle, is now being investigated by the Legal Services Ombudsman. Nicholson’s immediate former Solicitors refused to act on Nicholson’s instructions and report these facts to the LCS.
SIF’s £25,000 offer was the subject of an earlier failed attempt in 1996 by another of Nicholson’s former Solicitors and Barrister, to secure the discharge of Nicholson’s Legal Aid Certificate for unreasonably refusing to accept SIF’s offer, put to Nicholson as including interest but put to the Legal Services Commission as “excluding interest”.
Nicholson’s Barrister originally confirmed that Nicholson’s claim was without precedent and that each cheque wrongfully dishonoured created its own damages. By October 1996 the Barrister had a change of opinion and quantified Nicholson’s claim as less than £4000. If he did not accept SIF’s £25,000 offer, recommendation would be made to the Law Society to discharge Nicholson’s Legal Aid Certificate. That attempt proved unsuccessful. Nicholson is clear that SIF’s Solicitors were the alleged”prime mover” in attempts to compromise Nicholson’s substantial claim.
Nicholson’s Solicitors and Solicitors acting for the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) confirmed to the mediation firm, Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) that negotiations would be held within the parameters of £200,000 and £500,000 excluding interest, reflected in CEDR’s scale fee of £1250. Interest was calculated by a High Court Judge on 27th July 2007 to be a factor of 5.932 of any capital sum. Therefore any capital sum within these financial parameters plus interest would exceed £1 million. The Solicitors’ agreement to these financial parameters was not divulged to Nicholson. The circumstances surrounding the mediation offers are as follows:
30/03/99 SIF’s offer to negotiate between £25,000-£100,000
28/04/99 SIF’s offer to negotiate as above but offers of £100,000 plus, exclusive of interest.
21/05/99 Nicholson’s Solicitor advises LSC that claim worth at least £200,000
12/08/99 Nicholson’s Solicitor provides £2, million skeleton argument properly quantified.
17/08/99 SIF and Nicholson’s Solicitor agree to negotiate between £200,000 and £500,000 excluding interest
Through his then Member of Parliament Mr.Paul Stinchcombe in May 2000, Nicholson was contacted by the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad (SO6) who issued a crime number(SO6/00/4212) and operational code name (Operation Torquay) for their investigation. Nicholson’s input into the SO6 investigation was a 300 page dossier and 750 pages of exhibits, now requiring considerable updating and will be the basis of Nicholson’s proposed book entitled “The Torquay Memorandum”
In the meantime Nicholson himself obtained sufficient evidence to provide proof of his allegations of a conspiracy to defraud, allegedly involving his former Solicitors; Solicitors who were acting for SIF; SIF and two mediators. Nicholson’s Solicitors made an alleged fraudulent application for costs to SIF amounting to £166, 429, 23, for the fees of the three Solicitors involved with the case since 1992, compared to Nicholson’s Legal Aid Certificate limitation of only £10,000. These costs were not disclosed to Nicholson until June 2006. Even a senior Partner of the law firm representing SIF confirmed to Nicholson in October 2005 that SIF had been the victim of an alleged costs fraud.
Following Nicholson’s analysis of the Bill of Costs, including a claim for £106,000 by the Solicitor Nicholson is currently suing: Nicholson acting as his own caseworker had prepared 90-95% of the work claimed for in the bill of costs, and estimated that his Solicitor’s actual costs were no more than £3000-£5,000. Out of 90 costs claims, Nicholson identified 70 claims as allegedly fraudulent. In August 2006 SCD6 (SO6) invited SIF to make an allegation of a crime against Nicholson’s former Solicitors. SIF failed to respond. SCD6 took no further action.
Nicholson thereafter alleged to SCD6 that SIF’s officers were allegedly implicated in his allegations of a conspiracy to defraud, by allegedly making a corrupt payment to Nicholson’s former Solicitor for her alleged conduct in reducing SIF’s substantial financial responsibilities under the terms of an Order 14 judgement against SIF’s indemnified Solicitor obtained by Nicholson in August 1994. Nicholson has found no evidence that SO6 had covered the same investigative ground as Nicholson, otherwise SO6 would have required Nicholson’s advice and input into their evidence discovery.
During a brief period of some five weeks in 1998 with a previous law firm including her return to Nigeria; Nicholson’s Solicitor copied four letters received from an outdoor clerk who was acting as caseworker from her home in Stevenage and held Nicholson’s vast collection of documents. Nicholson’s Solicitor wrote one further letter to the Legal Services Commission and placed herself on the record at the High Court. The Bill of Costs to SIF for this very brief period of instruction was for £31,500 including a 100% mark up
One of a number of documents obtained by Nicholson in support of his allegations of a conspiracy to defraud which the LSC refused to accept, was a letter dated 28th September 1999 from SIF’s Solicitors to Nicholson’s Solicitor, no doubt in an attempt to ensure that they would both “sing from the same ”hymn sheet”.
This letter stated that Nicholson had witnessed his Solicitor sign the Tomlin Order at mediation in the presence of SIF’s Solicitors and the two mediators. The two separate Mediation Contemporaneous Attendance Notes do not confirm this statement, and the two mediators have also refused to confirm the content of SIF’s Solicitors’ letter. His Honour Judge Reddihough noted that the Defendant Solicitors were not calling the two mediators to give evidence on their behalf.
Further evidence was obtained on 8th February 2007 by Nicholson’s Solicitors following an exchange of correspondence between Nicholson’s immediate former Solicitor and Solicitors acting For the Solicitor being sued which failed to come into Nicholson’s possession until 27th March 2007
A Telephone Attendance Note (TAN) dated 22/04/99 between SIF’s Solicitors and Nicholson’s Solicitor,( fortunately obtained by Nicholson on 21/12/05 from SIF’s Solicitors,) confirmed that she was not sure if Nicholson would accept the financial parameters proposed by SIF on 30/04/99 to negotiate between £25,000 and £100,000 and that she would seek Nicholson’s instructions and report back.
The TAN confirmed that her letter dictated in response to SIF’s 30/04/99 offer
would be dispatched shortly and that she had only just had a conference with Nicholson.
The 42 minute TAN was the last event of the day on 22/04/99. When pressed for discovery of this dictated letter, the Defendants responded on 8th February 2007 with a copy of a letter dated 26/04/99 claimed to have been the “dictated letter” mentioned in the 22/04/99 TAN, re-dated because of the intrusion of a weekend.
This letter stated that Nicholson “had” accepted SIF’s financial parameters and was “ backed up” by a conference contemporaneous note between Nicholson and his Solicitor dated 22/04/99, also confirming that Nicholson had accepted SIF’s financial parameters.
The only “fly in the ointment” was that Nicholson did not attend a conference with his Solicitor on 22/04/99. If the 26/04/99 and the 22/04/99 alleged Conference Attendance Notes were genuine documents, their content had to follow the TAN conversation that Nicholson “had not” accepted SIF’s financial parameters.
This was the evidence of fraud which was refused by the judge on 12th April 2007 and the claim by Nicholson that the Defendant’s Solicitors were allegedly implicated in the uttering of false documents with intent to deceive.
One plausible explanation for the Legal Complaints Service failing to refer Nicholson’s substantial complaints to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, could be that such a referral would substantially undermine the Solicitor’s defence, providing further proof, if proof were needed; that the Law Society openly supports dishonest Solicitors,
After seven years Nicholson has not received any indication from SCD6 that it has carried out any investigation into Nicholson’s serious allegations. Following Nicholson’s request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, SCD6 have refused Nicholson access to their files, on grounds of public immunity unless in the public interest,
Nicholson has complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office that the public would be bound to be interested in public servants claiming to have carried out an investigation at public expense, when Nicholson discovered no signs of any investigations carried out in relation to the documentation and evidence now in Nicholson’s possession. Nicholson’s allegations have been with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) since January 2006 whose criteria for investigating alleged fraud, is fraud in excess of £1,million.
On 17th October 2007 Nicholson learned through the Radio 4 “PM” news programme that the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) had struck off Solicitor M’s Jane Elizabeth Loveday ( case No: 9439/2006 ) for submitting a fraudulent Bill of Costs. The Complainant was the Law Society. Mr.Nicholson through the Legal Services Ombudsman has accused the LCS of having “double standards”. Mr.Nicholson has also referred a senior LCS official to the Serious Fraud Office, together with members of the Bar Standards Board on grounds of obstructing justice.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s Annual Report to April 2007 ( Pages 7;13 and 14 ) reveals that 67 Solicitors were struck off the Solicitors Roll for:
(a) Grossly misleading clients
(b) Failing to discharge duties honestly and reliably.
Following one Solicitor being struck off the Solicitors Roll, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal described the conduct of one Solicitor as:-
“ The Solicitor had deliberately conducted her practice with dishonesty”.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s analysis of substantiated allegations against Solicitors were:-
(c) Failure to provide costs information
(d) Breach of Solicitors Practice Rules
(e) Breach of duty of good faith
(f) Breach of professional duty
(g) Breach of Legal Aid Regulations
(h) Making false documents
(i) Conflict of Interest
(j) Costs not justified ( overcharging)
Mr. Nicholson alleged to the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) of the Law Society that complaints against his former Solicitor encompass all 10 individual substantiated grounds of complaints against Solicitors upheld by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mr. Nicholson is suggesting that members of the public dissatisfied with the conduct of the Legal Complaints Service, should be allowed to address their complaints against Solicitors to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal directly, without fear of costs being awarded against them if a complaint does not succeed and that more lay members of the public should be part of a totally independent body regulating the conduct of Solicitors.
It is believed there are 185 Members of Parliament in an all parliamentary party group supporting the aims of CASIA and SAFE et al. which could lead to a House of Commons debate on the failure of the Regulatory Authorities to stamp out once and for all, dishonesty in the legal profession. Dr.Cable in a recent exchange of correspondence with Nicholson, described his experiences as “appalling”. Nicholson is also a member of the Consumers Association. One senior official also expressed
“astonishment” at Nicholson’s legal experiences, following Nicholson’s attempt to get WHICH to feature Nicholson’s legal problems as a cause celebre.
At the present time Nicholson is a Defendant in a County Court action brought by his immediate former Solicitors for costs in excess of £9,000.including Barrister’s costs of £4,000. Nicholson’s defence is that these costs are not owed due to negligence; incompetence and double charging. His Solicitors confirmed that Barrister’s fees of £4000 would not be paid without Nicholson’s authorisation which was not given.
Nicholson has submitted a counterclaim in the region of £17,000 for costs incurred by him in restoring his claim for trial.
16 Manor Way
Tel: 01933 413558
Mobile 07941 291355
e mail: lewnic @ waitrose.com
Director of CASIA (Campaign Against Solicitors for Independent Adjudication) member of SAFE (Struggle Against Financial Exploitation- headed by Lord Ahmed)
Other organisations with the same aims of CASIA and SAFE are:-
SACL (Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers )
SACL @ hotmail.co.uk
UnjustiS ( www.unjustis.co.uk )
STAND YOUR GROUND.CO.UK (primarily a Welsh Organisation against crooked lawyers).
( Web address may well be all lower case.)
SAFE- www.safe-online.org 
See also the Cornish Free Press issue 3 August 2007 re: complainant David Law