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After years and years of trying to have my complaints about solicitors taken seriously, I wrote a Microsoft Word letter to the Lord Chancellor's Department, attaching it to email. I received in return the expected unhelpful response, also on a Word document as a facsimile of the Lord Chancellor's letterhead.


In a moment of mischief, and as a desperate publicity stunt, I decided to use the letterhead to create a palimpsest containing my own demands of the solicitors profession. I broadcast the letter by fax to a number of prominent solicitors' firms, mainly in London, which evoked the Press Notice below.


My reasoning was that, if it was acceptable for a solicitor who has been struck off for lying and stealing to continue holding out as being a legitimate solicitor, with the sanction of the Law Society and its members, then it would be as acceptable for me to pretend to be an officer of the LCD.


All I succeeded in doing was getting invited to New Scotland Yard for a cosy chat. I have yet to learn my fate in the matter.


It is ironic that the legal system is utterly uninterested in serious complaints made against it, but if you so much as dare to take a member's name in vain, it powders its wigs, plumps out its gowns, and invokes the full majesty of THE LAW.


Anyway; enjoy this while it lasts:


Update: Maybe some meaningful changes will occur in the near future. The Lord Chancellor seems determined to strip the legal professions of their privilege to regulate themselves. March 2005


The following Press Notice has been lifted from: Here Busted, now. 05 Aug 2004

The Law Society Gazette continues to report the incident here Feb 2007


Lord Chancellor's Department



31 July 2001


A solicitor has received an e-mail request that, under Extraordinary
Practice Direction 218, 47 sterling or ECU equivalent should be paid
to a Mr Bantock's building society account. It appeared that the
message had been sent by Rukhsana Wahab, a member of Legal Services
Development Division (LSDD) staff at the Lord Chancellor's Department

Another solicitor received a fax, also in Rukhsana Wahab's name,
which contained a repetition of the request made in the e-mail.

Neither the e-mail nor the fax was sent with the authorisation of the
Lord Chancellor's Department or the knowledge of Ms Wahab.

The matter has been reported to the Metropolitan Police at
New Scotland Yard.

Any information regarding this matter should be advised to
Louise Joyce at LCD HQ (tel: 020-7210 8741; fax: 020-7210 0613;
e-mail: louise.joyce@lcdhq.gsi.gov.uk)

Lord Chancellor's Department
Selborne House, 54 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QW


This was my misuse of the LCD's letterhead.


The Extraordinary Practice Direction 218 title was taken from Austin Mitchell's and Vincent Cable's Early Day Motion (EDM) of the same number, of the same year.

The Law Society Gazette reported thus:

Money for nothing
Friday 10 August 2001

Money for nothing It came as something of a surprise to the Lord Chancellor's Department when we called to ask about its demand for cash from solicitors, contained in 'Extraordinary Practice Direction 218', which had been passed to us by Rugby firm Brethertons.

The e-mail, signed in the name of both the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, and Rukhsana Wahab of the Legal Services Development Division, said: 'Practicing [sic] solicitors in England and Wales are invited to participate in dispute resolution of considerable import to the profession.

Practicing solicitors must each, by way of contributing to fair and equitable remedy in matters of breach of trust and fiduciary duty, make credit to account of Mr Paul Bantock the sum of forty-seven pounds Sterling, or the equivalent in ECUs.' Account details followed.

A mere 11 days after we first brought the blindingly obvious scam to the LCD's attention (if nothing else, the LCD does not issue practice directions), it has circulated a notice stating that the request is fraudulent and has been reported to the police.

But what if you have received a similar request and already paid up? Something about how certain members of society are soon parted from their money springs to mind.


Crooked solicitors don't specialise in parting people and their money, I suppose.