UK High Court grants injunction to Law Society to remove Solicitors from Hell website from internet. SOLICITORS FROM HELL, the well known website which allowed clients to post online reviews in their own words of experiences with their legal representatives has been REMOVED from the internet after the Hon. Mr Justice Michael Tugendhat, sitting in the High Court in London granted an injunction to law firm Brett Wilson LLP on behalf of the Law Society of England & Wales, a so far unidentified law firm and a solicitor. The injunction, secured by Hugh Tomlinson QC and Sara Mansoori of Matrix Chambers as announced on Brett Wilson LLP’s blog, followed a successful application for judgment in default against Mr Rick Kordowski, the owner of the SfH website.
Speaking to Diary of Injustice earlier today, Rick Kordowski said : “The Law Society issued an application for 'default' judgment. Justice Tugendhat, after perusing many avenues with Hugh Tomlinson QC as to the most appropriate course of action to stop me publishing, including at one stage the Public Disorder Act, decided to issue the default judgment along with two injunction with immediate effect.”
Mr Kordowski continued : “"Of all the 'Acknowledgement of Service' forms I have sent to the court in the past, I find it 'strange' that the one relating to The Law Society's class action, had not been lodged”.
The Law Society of England & Wales have now issued a press release on the decision, however a source already commented : “.. some of its members were happy the website had disappeared from existence”
Lawyers & their grudges ? Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson Des Hudson the £400K-A-YEAR Chief Executive of the Law Society of England & Wales who pursued the SfH website through the courts at huge cost to members, commented in a Press Release : “This website has served simply as a vehicle for pursuing personal grudges and vendettas against conscientious and reputable firms and legal professionals. Far from being of any help to consumers, it has been a danger. Some excellent firms have been listed on the website, and exclusion from the site has more often than not been a matter of whether a firm has been prepared to pay a fee to have the listing removed. I feared the website was directing people in real need of help away from professionals best placed to assist them.”
While noting Mr Hudson’s comments, consumers have themselves, witnessed first hand the power of lawyers pursuing personal grudges & vendettas against clients who raise complaints with the Law Society of England & Wales & Legal Ombudsman (LeO), or in Scotland via the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC).
Cases brought to the attention of Diary of Injustice over the years where lawyers have pursued personal vendettas & grudges against clients reveal instances of people being denied legal representation, being denied access to courts, being hounded by Police and other public agencies, coincidentally all occurring after a client had lodged a complaint against their solicitor. The grudges & vendettas all apparently helped along by equally prejudiced & vindictive officials at the Law Society of Scotland.
In on example, one elderly client who raised a complaint against their solicitor with the Law Society of Scotland, was threatened with having his pension taken away from him and being made homeless after his solicitor provided a false statement to Police & Benefits officials and the pensioner’s Housing Association, where a relative of the solicitor worked. No action was taken against the pensioner when all three agencies investigated the allegations and found them to be false. However, for some reason, the authorities took no action against the solicitor who provided the false information in order to intimidate his former client, and this same solicitor is known to have been the subject of many complaints to the Law Society including frauds against deceased client’s estates.
On a personal note, if Mr Hudson is looking for examples of lawyers pursuing personal grudges & vendettas against clients, there are many, usually involving the fabrication of evidence against former clients, or a more extreme example, where in one case a still-working solicitor asked one of his criminal clients to pour petrol through the letterbox of a client who raised a complaint about a £300K will fraud.
The Solicitors from Hell website has operated for a number of years, enabling clients of solicitors to write their own reviews of their lawyers work in their own words, something the Law Society of England & Wales have found difficult to accept, culminating in the Law Society’s use of the courts to silence the right of consumers to write about their own experiences and thus alert others as to the potential dangers of dealing with a solicitor or law firm which had already failed their clients.
A long campaign by the Law Society of England & Wales against the Solicitors from Hell website ensued, which at times drew highly personalised & bitter attacks on its owner, Mr Kordowski. In one now widely reported instance Des Hudson the £400K-A-YEAR Chief Executive of the Law Society of England & Wales was alleged to have branded Mr Kordowski “a criminal” after a BBC Radio debate with Law Professor John Flood, Additional coverage on the Law Society v Solicitors from Hell battle over naming & shaming 'crooked lawyers' has been reported by Diary of Injustice in earlier articles,, HERE.
A legal observer commenting on the decision branded lawyers use of the courts against consumers of legal services as“vile” & “degrading to free speech”. He said : “There is clearly a problem with the legal system when lawyers and their lobby groups can use the courts to prevent clients talking freely about the level of service they receive from their legal representatives.”
He continued : “The removal of Solicitors from Hell from the internet simply because a profession feared it was losing business because its clientele were able to write the gory details of how badly their solicitors handled their legal affairs is an attack on free speech and will rightly leave people even more suspicious about dealing with solicitors.”
An official from a well known consumer group, speaking to Diary of Injustice on the matter commented : “Whatever the rights & wrongs of the website, censorship is never to be welcomed in a democracy. With cases such as this, the perception of our legal system is that the courts are giving more rights to convicted criminals & terrorists than consumers who want to write about their own experiences in the legal world or alert others about the poor treatment they have suffered at the hands of the legal profession.”
While the Law Society of England & Wales, its members, and apparently the Law Society of Scotland are happy today over the demise of the Solicitors from Hell website, the legal action to delete SFH from public view, legal action which both Law Societies were planning to use in a similar way to deter the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) from naming & shaming ‘crooked lawyers’, reported by Diary of Injustice here : English, Scots Law Societies ‘team up’ in legal moves against “Solicitors from Hell” in bid to stop Legal Ombudsman ‘Naming & Shaming’ crooked lawyers.
Legal Ombudsman was to be subject of desperate personal attacks from lawyers in attempt to thwart official naming & shaming by LeO. Some within the legal profession of England & Wales have branded the Legal Ombudsman’s decision to name & shame lawyers & law firms who fail their clients as a “witch hunt” however, details of just how solicitors hoped to ‘persuade’ the Legal Ombudsman not to go ahead with a naming & shaming policy are nothing short of a witch hunt on their own, where material disclosed to Diary of Injustice indicated key officials from both the Scottish & English legal professions discussed angles of attack against the LeO which clearly inferred members of the Legal Ombudsman’s staff were to be subject to the same types of personal & public criticism by the legal profession against others who reported on ‘solicitors wrongdoings’ if the LeO went ahead with naming & shaming.
Attempts by the legal profession throughout the UK to persuade the Legal Ombudsman against naming & shaming ultimately did not succeed, with the Legal Ombudsman announcing last week it will be naming & shaming solicitors in certain circumstances, beginning next year in 2012, reported in more detail here : Scots to be ‘kept in dark’ on details of crooked lawyers while Legal Ombudsman’s ‘naming & shaming’ policy ‘will protect’ consumers in England & Wales.
A final message from Rick Kordowski on the Solicitors from Hell website, before it was ordered removed by the High Court stated : Your right to ‘Freedom of Speech’ - Preserved!
I would like to thank the dozens of authors who have taken the trouble to write and send in a Witness Statement confirming that what is posted on this website is true. I would also like to thank the lawyers and barristers who have contacted me offering their pro-bono help and expressing their concerns about the Law Society’s High Court action to have this website shut down.
However, past experience has taught me that regardless of how much evidence I present in the High Court to support my defence or claim, the judicial system will always side with the law firm, solicitor, or in this case The Law Society.
In order to secure the future of this website and your right to freedom of speech, I have decided to give the website away. The new experienced owners, who operate overseas, will be taking this site to the next level in terms of world wide promotion and ease of access by the public.
All current reviews will need to be re-entered and they will be posted automatically on a new style website (similar to TripAdvisor). Authors will be able to edit and update their listings at any time. Others can make further reviews and solicitors can post a response. Full rating system and the ability to upload evidence, to name just a few advantages. All totally free of charge and out of the reach of The Law Society of England and Wales.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their previous support and kind words. Godspeed.
This article has been updated to include the Press Release from the Law Society of England Wales and additional material. It is very clear to this journalist from this situation, and all clients who have fell by the wayside before it, that a lawyer harbouring a grudge and pursuing a personal vendetta against clients who are forced to complain about the quality of their legal services, is most certainly a greater threat to society at large than any consumer advocate.