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Solicitor behind file-sharing letters to be investigated

Andrew Crossley referred to tribunal

A lawyer who sent "bullying" letters to Brits suspected of illegally file-sharing is being referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), following a complaint by Which?.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Andrew Crossley of ACS Law was one of a number of solicitors responsible for sending out around 50,000 letters to web users claiming the recipient had illegally shared files and was subsequently required to pay a £500 fine and sign a legal undertaking agreeing not to illegally file-share in the future.

Which? lodged a complaint with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regarding Crossley's tactics, calling them "bullying" and "excessive". As a result, the SRA has revealed it is referring Crossley to the SDT.

"We welcome this decision because we've received so many complaints from consumers who believe they been treated appallingly by this law firm," said Deborah Prince, head of legal, at Which?.

"We also believe that it's time for the profession to take action against law firms, and those responsible for them, which behave in a way we believe most right-thinking people would view as both aggressive and bullying."

The decision by the SRA follows a similar move by the Association in March this year, when legal firm Davenport Lyons also referred to the SDT after Which? complained about letters it had sent accusing a number of Brits of illegally file-sharing.

However, the case against Brian Miller and David Gore of Davenport Lyons has yet to be presented to the SDT. Initially it was thought the case would take place towards the end of this year, but it now looks likely it won't happen until mid-2011.

"The SRA must look at ways to speed up its complaints process. It's taking far too long finalising its case against Davenport Lyons' two former partners," Price added.

The SRA said it would "like to see prosecutions accelerated to the SDT but unfortunately on some occasions, cases have taken far too long to reach that stage".

"It's important to stress that the interests of consumers would not be well served if the SRA failed to ensure that this complex case is properly formulated and that all the supporting evidence is gathered," a SRA spokesperson said.

See also: Legal firm to stop issuing net piracy letters

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