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The Specialist Fraud Panel

May 2004

 

Last edited July 2006

 

 

 

A selection of reporting on fraud and corruption in the solicitors' profession: News Roundup

 

The Law Society has finally abandoned all pretences of maintaining standards. It has restored to the Roll a solicitor who had been struck off for lying to clients and stealing their money, and whose clients include convicted fraudsters with whom he colluded. Steven Daultrey is now once again a solicitor after years of pretending to be one despite being struck off. This is a sick, sick joke.

 

UnjustIS receives complaints from parties listed here. Here is an example: Shady

Delays, negligence and mistakes…solicitors aren’t improving, says Which?

 

Review of the Regulatory Framework for Legal Services in England and Wales - Sir David Clementi issues Final Report 15 Dec 2004

 

You might have found this page when searching for solicitors to help you in a claim for fraud or gross negligence against other solicitors. You might have searched for: solicitors OR solicitor AND fraud OR negligence, or specialist AND fraud, or fraud AND defence, or variants thereof.

 

The Legal Services Commission set up the Specialist Fraud Panel (SFP) : "A specialist panel of solicitors was formally established by the Legal Services Commission on 23rd May 2000, in order to control defence costs in VHCC Fraud cases and to ensure the defendants receive quality representation from firms with expertise in managing such cases. Formerly known as the Serious Fraud Panel, from 1st December 2002 it has been know (sic) as the Specialist Fraud Panel." The foregoing link is now broken. (The new Web site of the Legal Services Commission is well worth browsing and searching, but the list seems to have been removed. UJ 24 Aug 2004)

 

Victims of solicitors' fraud or fraudulent representations might be attracted to firms who are members of the SFP, in the presumption that they might have found a firm to assist them in their claims and allegations. This might now be especially so given that The Law Society has promised a new, more objective and more efficient complaints handling service called the Consumer Complaints Service (CCS), to replace the much-criticised Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS). One could be forgiven for assuming that the two initiatives are linked, but this does not seem to be the case. In my opinion the Specialist Fraud Panel is a misnomer, and some members' Internet advertising does not make sufficiently clear that they specialise in the defence of serious fraud cases and allegations. Neither does it state whether or not they can offer Legal Aid (or its equivalent). Here are some examples of SFP members' web site advertising, which, in my opinion, can mislead a party with a claim of fraud against solicitors into believing they have found a firm to help them:


"...believe that upholding the legal rights of individuals is at the heart of a civilised society. This belief has been central to our business. As we have grown into a large national firm with 10 offices across England and Wales, and one other associated office in Scotland, we have built an impressive reputation for vigorously and successfully protecting our clients' interests. Our aim for the future is to continue this tradition of success - to be the best national firm servicing the legal needs of individual people and those who represent them. Please select an option from the menu to the left for further information."  Russell Jones Walker

 

"The scale and complexity of fraud investigations can be almost overwhelming. To be at the centre of an accusation of fraud, either as accuser or accused, is, to put it bluntly, a frightening experience. To make fraud investigations manageable you need to identify the key issues and pursue them relentlessly, and avoid getting lost in the incidental details." McCormicks

 

"Specialists in fraud and business crime. The partners regularly advise clients in connection with investigations and prosecutions relating to both national and international frauds. The firm has vast experience in all areas of fraud including money laundering, VAT, duty fraud, false accounting, fraudulent trading, corruption and insolvency cases. This is a complex field that requires specialist representation of the highest quality. As members of the Serious Fraud Panel (sic) we are able to deal promptly and effectively with these cases." Thanki Novy Taube


My opinion is that the SFP should change its name to the Specialist Fraud Defence Panel, or something equally unambiguous. In addition, I feel that all members' advertising should include a clear statement to the effect that they specialise in defence of fraud cases. Membership of the SFP could, in my view, bring an inherent conflict of interest in that, should a member accept an instruction from a client wishing to make a claim against another solicitors' firm on the grounds of fraud, the SFP remit will preclude objective action in such cases. How could it be otherwise? News

 

Opposing the SFP there is little or no similar support for victims of fraud conducted from within the solicitors' profession. Members of the Specialist Fraud Panel might not be able to help you with a claim against solicitors for fraud as their remit might not include tackling the shortcomings within their own profession. It seems to me that England has decided to spend more on the defence of fraudsters than on assisting their victims. Victims of lawyers' fraudulent or grossly negligent actions will probably find that, even if they do try to bring an action in law, they could be faced with a battery of specialist government/privately funded lawyers to thwart their quest for justice. The only recourse for victims is the CCS, or the police. Despite victims' losses being subjectively high, however, the police are seldom interested in pursuing allegations against solicitors of fraud, and the Serious Fraud Office will only stir if claims or allegations exceed at least one million pounds. There is, I understand, a memorandum of understanding between the police and the Law Society wherein complaints against solicitors received by the police are referred to the CCS. If you have lost your savings or nest-egg the currently established authorities or professional agencies will be of little help. If you do find a solicitors' firm that expresses an interest in your allegations, they will invariably charge you professional fees, which, in effect, means that the solicitors' profession continues to profit from you, first by fraud, then by fees and disbursements.

 

When disillusioned or disgruntled consumers of legal services ask the Law Society to recommend legal advisors to help them, it might direct them to members of the SFP. Many of these firms do not have a Legal Aid Franchise, so if you have been defrauded and left financially compromised by a solicitor or solicitors and their equally crooked clients, the ones listed below might not be able to help you effectively. Sir David Clementi, please take note.

 

Until victims of solicitors fraud have a strong, determined body to effectively review and action where appropriate their claims against solicitors, the solicitors profession in England will remain as an attractive vector for criminals and fraudsters to implement their schemes. The Law Society has failed to protect the public at large and the business community from its wayward members. Membership of the Law Society is now tantamount to being accorded a Thieves' Charter.
 

See also:

Rogue Traders

Information for Victims - Caution

Lawyers for your Business

The Law Society in the press

In strictest Confidence

Why crooks are laughing

Struck off Solicitors

News

 

 

Interesting reading:

Defamation Law and Free Speech

Matters of libel

 

Paul Bantock May 2004.

 

 

Specialist Fraud Panel members' list at 11 May 2004.

Taken from the Legal Services Commission  (The new Web site of the Legal Services Commission is well worth browsing and searching, but the list seems to have been removed. UJ 24 Aug 2004) Now updated here: New list

 

Members Web site Comments

Achillea & Co

Not yet found  

Alexander Johnson

Alexander Johnson If only I had known:

Alistair Meldrum & Co

Alistair Meldrum Not misleading

Allen & Partners

Not yet found  

AMS Law

AMS Law  

Arora Lodhi Heath

Not yet found  

Ashok Patel & Co

Not yet found  

Attridge Solicitors

Not yet found  

Azzopardi & Co

Not yet found  

Bankside Law Ltd

Bankside Law Not misleading

Bark & Co

Bark & Co  

Barker Gillette

Not yet found  

Bechelet Bivona Ltd, now Bivonas

Bivonas Not Misleading

Bell Lamb & Joynson

Not yet found  

Benyon Kang

Not yet found  

Bernard & Matthew de Maid

Not yet found  

Betesh Fox & Co

Betesh Fox & Co  

Bindman & Partners

Bindman & Partners  

Birds

   

Bishop & Light

Bishop & Light Not misleading

Bobbetts Mackan

Bobbetts Mackan  

Breeze Benton

Breeze Benton  

Brent Law Practice

   

Brothers & Maye

   

Bullivant & Partners

   

Burton Copeland - Manchester

   

Burton Copeland - London

   

Byrne & Partners

   

Campbell Chambers

   

Canter Levin & Berg

   

Carter Moore

   

Cartwright King

   

Carvers

   

CCL

   

Chabra Cass & Co

   

Chadwyck-Healey & Co

Chadwyck-Healey & Co Not misleading

Charles Kirit & Co

   

Christmas and Sheehan

   

Clarke Kiernan

   

Cobleys Solicitors

   

Cooper Kenyon Burrows

   

Corker Binning

   

Cousins Tyrer

   

Cunninghams Solicitors

   

Daniel Berman & Co

   

Darryl Ingram & Co

   

David Charnley & Co

   

David Hanman Associates

   

David Matthews & Co

   

David Philips & Partners

DPP Law Not misleading

Davis Hanson

   

Davis Phillips & Partners

   

Dawbarns Pearson

   

Dechert (formerly Titmus Sainer Dechert)

   

Desmond Wright Solicitors

   

DLA

   

Draycott Browne

   

Duthrie Hart & Duthrie

   

E. Rex Makin & Co

   

Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson

   

Edward Hayes

   

Edwards Abrams Doherty (EAD)

   

Farleys

   

Fenegan & Fenegan

   

Fisher Meredith Solicitors

   

Forbes

   

Ford Simey

   

Foreman Young

   

Franklins

   

Freedman Sharman & Co

   

Freeman & Co

   

Frisby & Co

   

Galbraith Branley

   

Gani & Co

   

Garstangs

Garstangs  

Glaisyers Solicitors (Birmingham)

   

Goldkorns

   

Hallinan Blackburn Gittings & Nott

   

Hamnett Osborne Tisshaw

   

Harrow Solicitors & Advocates

   

Henry & Co

   

Henry Milner & Company

   

Hickman & Rose

   

Hill Dickinson

   

HKH Kenwright and Cox

   

Hodge Jones & Allen

   

Hodkinsons

   

Howard Cohen & Co

   

Howell Emery Halil

   

Howell Goldens Solicitors

   

Howes Percival

   

Hugh James

   

Hughmans

Hughmans  

Iliffes Booth Bennett

Ibblaw Link Broken

Irwin Mitchell

   

J D Spicer & Co

   

Janes Solicitors

   

Jonas Roy Bloom

   

Jones Maidment Wilson

   

Joseph Hill & Co

   

Joy Merriam & Co

   

Kaim Todner

Kaim Todner Not misleading

Kalber Struckley & Company

   

Keith Dyson Solicitors

   

Kelcey & Hall

   

Kelly

   

Khan

   

Kingsley Napley

   

Kirwans

   

Kristina Harrison Solicitors

   

Laurence Lee & Co

   

Law Mooney Lee & Cook

   

Lawrence Stephens Solicitors

   

Lawson Lewis

   

Levys Solicitors

   

Lewis Nedas & Co

   

LHP Law

   

Maidments

   

Martin Cunningham Solicitors

   

Martin Murray & Associates

   

Martin Prowel

   

McCormacks

   

McCormicks

McCormicks Misleading, initially, but qualifies its statements to include: "...one of the few firms in Yorkshire authorised to conduct publicly funded fraud defence work."

Michael Lipman & Co

   

Middleweeks

   

Miller Gardner

   

Millman & Patouchas

   

MJP Solicitors

   

Moore Sexton Bibby

   

Morgan Rose

Morgan Rose Solicitors Not misleading

Morgans

   

Moss & Co

   

Murria Solicitors

   

N R Russell & Co

   

Needleman Treon Solicitors

   

Nelsons

   

O’Garra Smith Gold

   

O’Keeffe Solicitors

   

Olliers

   

Opus Law

   

Orchard Solicitors

   

Ormerods

   

Oury Clark

   

Pannone & Partners

   

Pattichi Hill & Croques

   

Paul Ross & Co

   

Peters & Peters

   

Pictons

   

Porters

   

Punatar & Co

   

Quinn Melville

   

Ralph Haeems & Co

   

Reynolds Dawson

   

Richard Nelson Business Defence Solicitors

   

Robt. Blackford & Co

   

Roche & Co

   

Rose Williams & Partners

   

Rowberry Morris

   

Russell Jones & Walker

   

Russell-Cooke

   

Sanders Witherspoon

   

Sandersons

   

Sansbury Campbell

   

Saunders & Co

   

Sears Blok

   

Shakespears

   

Shaw Graham Kersh

   

Shepherd Harris & Co

   

Sheratte Caleb & Co

   

Simons Muirhead & Burton

   

Soni & Kaur

   

Sonn Macmillan & Co

   

Stephen Fidler & Co

   

Stokoe Partnership

   

Tates

   

Thanki Novy Taube

   

The Johnson Partnership

   

The Pearson Fielding Partnership

   

TMK

   

Tranters

   

Tuckers

   

TV Edwards

   

Venters

   

Vizards Staples & Bannisters

   

Wainwright & Cummins

   

Walker Morris

   

Whitelock & Storr

   

Whitfields

Whitfields Not misleading

Wilkin Chapman Epton Blades

   

Wilkinson & Co

   

Williamson & Soden

   

Wilson & Co

   

Woodfine Foinette Quinn

   

Wright & Mcmillan Bennett

   



 

 

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