Your Ref. KJM.jal
Solicitors Practice Rule 15 (Client Care Agreement)
Thank you for your prompt reply to my letter of the 3 August last however you did say that you would request your successor to give an "appropriate response" to my 'simple' question, however no "response" has been received.
As your 'successor', just as the OSS and the Ombudsman have, ignored my 'simple question' maybe if I explain my problem with the 'Client Care Agreement' you could put it to him and with your past experience 'in the job', also at the time this happened you were 'Chair of the Society's Compliance Board', you could give him some advice, then I could put it on my website so other solicitors' clients know where they stand and if this 'agreement' has any validity at all.
First from the opinions of a Barrister, The General Council of the Bar and the Ombudsman's predecessor (Ann Abraham) my solicitors were negligent and incompetent, also from the consensus of opinions of a District Judge, a Barrister and one of my Solicitors my case should have reached a conclusion in twelve months, but it took seven years.
To save me time I enclose a copy of a letter (doc. 1) I wrote to the Legal Ombudsman dated 21 May last and have highlighted relevant paragraphs although I would suggest you read it all.
One other point on 'Rules', if you look at the orange encircled paragraphs in the above mentioned letter you will see the Ombudsman strictly applied the '3 mouth rule', that I accepted, in connection with my complaint about the time the OSS took to open my file and me accepting £250. If you now look at the letter (doc. 2) I received from the OSS at the time it states that in awarding me £250 it would not in any way affect my complaint to the LO. If I was a North American Red Indian I would say "white man speak with forked tongue", a bit 'corny' but then again it is no longer "all white men". It seems to me you only enforce the 'Rules' that benefit the Law Society's members.
Solicitors send each of their clients 'Client Care' information and refer to it as an 'agreement', but in my case the solicitors blatantly refused to abide by it the OSS, who I 'phoned for assistance, did nothing, when I made an official complaint they did not address it also the Legal Ombudsman stated "it has been dealt with" but fails to show me where and how. I wrote to the 'Chair of the Compliance Board' but he has recently been elected to Deputy Vice President of the Law Society and his successor as 'Chair of the Compliance Board' has disappeared. I believe you are in fear of violating the Trade Description Acts in as much as you describe a service that you fail miserably to provide and this must give me the right to go down that avenue, remember I have tried just about everything with the Law Society. There is of course the Law Society's President, Peter Williamson and I can ask him about his comments " dealing properly and swiftly with solicitors who fail to provide a professional service". The Presidency is the direction I believe you are heading: - "The Council elects the Deputy Vice President each year, with that member normally succeeding automatically to the office of Vice President in the following year and President in the year after that". (Taken from the Law Zone)
As 'Ex-Rules Enforcer' I am sure there is not much, especially from myself, you can be told about the 'rules' or the procedures of the OSS. So you must be aware that if a solicitors client makes a complaint of 'negligence' against their solicitors to the OSS there is a service supplied by the OSS to give advice to the client on the merits of such a claim. Remember in my case prominent members of the Law Society agree my solicitors were 'negligent and incompetent'. The point here is that at no time in any of the information or correspondence from the OSS was I informed of such a service and secondly a year after I made the accusation the OSS used this fact (negligence's claim) from my un-opened file to advise the solicitors on sacking me. 'Collusion', 'Conspiracy' and carry out an "Unbiased Investigation"???
Further to the above paragraph Zihida Manzoor stated that no 'collusion' between the OSS and the solicitors took place. She is in possession of an 'attendance' note written by ?xxx ?xxxxxxx (solicitor) after a meeting I had with her on the 6 June 2000 that shows she discussed my case with the Senior Partner, who had refused to see me, and the Senior Litigation Solicitor then she spent 15 minutes on the 'phone to the OSS discussing the contents of my 'un-opened' file and the next day (8 June) I was sacked. As I have said before is this a 'Complaints Procedure' or a 'Protection Racket' the Law Society are running?
The Legal Ombudsman said she has no power to act against solicitors, but an e-mail I recently received said she was given power with the 'Access to Justice Act 1999', may be you or your successor would like to make a comment on that point. A second e-mail speaks of a worthwhile route through Dame Sheila McKechnie of the Consumer Association and a Charlie Faulkner?
I have put two further documents in (3 & 4) that show that the Ombudsman's 'Little Blue' book said you could write to the 'Service Manager' if you are not happy with the service you received. Even that turns out to be incorrect and a load of rubbish, I believe doc. 3 highlights points that need addressing (confidentiality) otherwise how can the legal profession be trusted?
I think it might be in everyone's interest if Zihida Manzoor went back to the NHS and continued to work with ethnic minority groups.
B R Gray
PS This letter will be published on my website news page under the date 1 September
See: - Law Society Rules