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Davenport Lyons Lawyers Fined and Suspended for Illegal ISP Piracy Threat Letters

Posted: 03rd Aug, 2011 By: MarkJ
p2p copyright uk ISP file sharing lawdavenport lyons ukThe UK Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has fined and suspended two Davenport Lyons lawyers, Brian Laurence Miller and David Joel Gore, for their role in knowingly "targeting people innocent of any copyright breach" (here) when they sent "bullying" letters to broadband ISP customers whom they had suspected of being involved with "illegal" internet copyright infringement (piracy).

The SDT ruled in June 2011 that the lawyers had committed professional misconduct (here) and has now passed down the punishment. Each will be required to pay a penalty fine of £20,000 and have been suspended from practising for three months. Miller and Gore have also been ordered to pay interim costs to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) of £150,000.

An SRA Spokesperson said (The Lawyer):

"We welcome the decision of the SDT, which follows a lengthy and complex investigation by members of SRA staff.

Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others.

Solicitors have a duty to act with integrity, independence and in the best interests of their clients. Solicitors who breach those duties can expect to face action by the SRA."

According to a separate report on PC Pro today, Davenport Lyons has described the penalties as "totally unjustified" and warned that the two affected lawyers intended, with the firms full support, to appeal (this will take place before the end of August 2011). Meanwhile those whom were innocently accused by the firm will be pleased to know that justice is finally being done.

The complaint was originally brought in 2008 by Which? magazine after they accused DL of using "excessive" and "bullying" conduct. Andrew Crossley, the boss of another equally notorious law firm called ACS:Law UK, faces a similar hearing before the SDT in October 2011.
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