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Date set for ‘file sharing’ solicitors

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal set for May 2011

The scales of justice held up

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has set a date for the hearing of David Gore and Brian Miller, an existing and former partner at law firm Davenport Lyons (DL).

The hearing, which is scheduled for 31 May 2011, is expected to last for seven days.

Equity partner Mr Gore and former intellectual property partner Mr Miller will face the tribunal over a number of allegations, including that they acted in a way that was ‘likely to diminish the trust the public place in them or in the legal profession’.

And that they ‘used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for their own benefit or for the benefit of their clients’.

Read our advice guide on how to respond to file-sharing allegations

In December 2008, Which? complained to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that the letters sent out by the two accusing hundreds of people of allegedly unlawfully file-sharing were ‘bullying’.

They made incorrect assertions about the nature of copyright infringement; ignored the evidence presented in defence; and increased the level of compensation claimed over the period of correspondence.

Which? also said the letters stated, incorrectly, that failing to properly secure an internet connection was grounds for legal action.

In March this year, the SRA agreed that there was a case to answer and referred to the two to the tribunal.

Which? welcomes the news

Mark McLaren, Which?’s principal advocate, said: ‘It’s great news that we’ve got a date at long last, but it’s disappointing that it is so far away.

‘We’re also very disappointed that it will have taken well over two years since we raised our complaint with the Solicitors Regulation Authority about the actions of Davenport Lyons’ former partners in late 2008.

‘Presumably, it will be even longer before we reach a resolution. From the perspective of the consumer, this is unacceptably slow.

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