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Internet libel

An English Judge has taken eleven months to produce his judgment relating to a case in which a solicitor was libelled on a soccer fan-site. Andrew Grice, who claimed that his false allegations relating to an in-house solicitor at Blackpool Football Club were on a website that hardly anyone reads in the off-season and that it might have been seen by as few as 50 people. But, materially, it was republished, verbatim, on another site. But Grice is not the owner or operator of the website: he was someone hiding behind the alias "the Stockport one" and posted his false representation as a message on that website. The owner and operator of the website was a witness not a defendant. The judge said "this was a serious libel and was not one to be construed as some mere tongue in cheek saloon bar banter" and regarded the offence as worthy of aggravated damages, increasing his award from GBP10k to GBP18k for this reason.The aggravation included that the libel was republished. Readers might like to consider this and compare its effects to the USA's protections granted under its DCMA.



Solicitor subject to indefinite suspension for preferring bank over HM Revenue and Customs

Solicitor John Barrie Wilson gave a personal guarantee to National Westminster Bank in respect of the indebtedness of Law Yours LLP, When the LLP, which is a distinct legal entity, ran into financial difficulty, Wilson paid moneys to NatWest in preference to settling tax liabilities. In addition, when the Legal Complaints Service ordered he compensate a client to the extent of GBP800, he paid that amount from office account (which was proper) and then transferred an equivalent amount from the LLP's Clients' Account to cover, which is a breach of the accounting rules. He also "allowed non-client moneys" to be held in the clients' account of Law Offices (UK) Limited, in effect - it appears - using that account as an office account and, therefore, protected from creditors. Although he had not renewed his practising certificate, the Tribunal ordered suspension to prevent an application being proceeded with.


Lawyer's failure to keep up to date

In 2001, Herbert E Zimmerman, a lawyer in Massachusetts, was disciplined for, inter alia, issuing proceedings without first obtaining the leave of the court. Aside from the fact that it seems harsh that a negligence matter should be before the Bar and that for this and another matter he was suspended for two years, the facts in relation to the negligence are interesting: a relevant statute was amended in 1986 but the Respondent was unaware of that when he issued proceedings in 1983. The Committee found that failure to keep up to date amounted to "handling a legal matter without preparation adequate in the circumstances."


Louisiana Bar accepts resignation in lieu of discipline

In May 2017, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) heard the case of Kenneth Robin Bowen who had earlier been convicted of "deprivation of rights under colour of law" (huh?) and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Bowden applied to LADB for consent that he "permanently resign from the practice of law in lieu of discipline" The Tribunal granted that. Then made an order that might be regarded as disciplinary anyway: "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Kenneth Robin Bowen shall be permanently prohibited from practising law in Louisiana or in any other jurisdiction in which he is admitted to the practice of law; shall be permanently prohibited from seeking readmission to the practice of law in this state or in any other jurisdiction in which he is admitted; and shall be permanently prohibited from seeking admission to the practice of law in any jurisdiction. "


India: lawyers and accountants help in money laundering, Gov says.

Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has found that chartered accountants and advocates helped 559 people launder Rs 3,790 crore in cash, Parliament was informed today.