Mace & Jones Solicitors

30 December 2005

Mace & Jones Solicitors
Pall Mall Court
61-67 King Street
Manchester
M2 4PD

Your Ref: NMI/TR/62565/43

Dear Sirs

My Questionnaire dated 29th June 2005

Thank you for your letter of the 13 December 2005 which took 69 working days to reply to my last letter and it has taken almost 6 months (119 working days) for your final reply to my Questionnaire which quite frankly is unacceptable. If you read the Questionnaire it states I should expect to receive reasonable response within a reasonable time limit and I have been led to believe a limit of 40 working days would be classed as 'reasonable'. If you look further at the Questionnaire you will see as you took an unreasonable amount of time with your final response (119 working days) if I decide to pursue any allegations I would, despite the outcome, now expect all costs to be awarded against your client. Also in No. 7 you are pre-empting a court ruling by stating I am out of time because the court could rule there are extenuating circumstances.

In No. 1 of your letter your client accepts that Gordon Luckhurst by not turning up for a pre-arranged meeting, allowing an ex-employee who I was complaining about to take the meeting on her own then twice more refusing to see me was "unacceptable". As I have previously said that as the Client Care Agreement was signed by my solicitor on behalf of Thos Boyd Whyte and I was asked to sign and return a second copy this 'Agreement' then became a binding contract. Let us look at a rule that covers the "honouring" of "undertakings" by solicitors: -
Rule: - 18.02 Breach and misconduct
A solicitor who fails to honour an undertaking is prima facie guilty of professional misconduct. Consequently, the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors will expect its implementation as a matter of conduct.
Having taken the advice of the Law Society to make a complaint that Gordon Luckhurst had not 'honoured' the Client Care Agreement then two years later when the CCS got round to an investigation, despite my complaining, they refused the "implementation" of the above rule which on appeal your client should have instructed the CCS to look at Gordon Luckhurst's violation of the Client Care Agreement.

In No. 6 you make the point of some two year period where I lay 'dormant' so to speak, that is totally incorrect for if you look at "www.solicitorsfromhell.com/news.htm" there is a chronology starting from 3 June 2003 at the point where the Legal Services Ombudsman tried telling me she had dealt with all my complaints. Let me add here that your reluctance to use the internet for information is I would suggest unreasonable, for instance you have a website as does the Law Society for supplying information ie. the Questionnaire I sent your client was downloaded from the Law Society's website and a referral I made to the LSO was made via the internet also law firms extensively use the 'e-mail' service which is part of the internet. The Law Society has visited my website 151 times and accessed many pages in the last three months, the government have visited my site 42 times in the last two weeks and many law related firms frequently visit my site as did Richard Hegarty, Chair of the Compliance Board, who used the internet to gain my home 'phone number for Law Society business' so unless your intentions are of a 'victimization' nature I see no other reason that you can have for refusing to access information that I supply or have supplied in that way.

Also in No. 6 you state it took me five months, after making an allegation of Sexual Discrimination, to send your client a Questionnaire. As you said I wrote to your client on the 28th January 2005 which you stated "You made an allegation of sexual discrimination in your letter to our client…" that is not true, what I said was "…you most certainly treated me unfavourably compared to the way you treated a female which would relate to sexual discrimination" I don't believe there is an actual 'allegation' in that statement and as you will know she never replied. I wrote again on the 28th February and I wrote again on the 5th April. I received a reply on the 18th April from your client's Legal adviser, Rob Bartram, after three months. I wrote to Rob Bartram on the 30th April where I did state "…at the very least the LSO is guilty of 'Sexual Discrimination' and if once again Zahida Manzoor does not want to give reasons for why I was not given equal treatment to that in a woman's case that she personally quoted then I must seek further advice", I don't believe there is an 'allegation' in that statement just a request for answers. I received a reply on the 27th May telling me your client will not 'revisit' my complaint I then sent a 'Questionnaire' to your client on the 29 June. You further state "These delays reflect the weakness of your case", as you know the game of 'Poker' is all about 'bluff' I'm sure you would make a good 'Poker' player.

No. 5 you give the impression I made 'Sexual Discrimination' allegations before or during your client's investigation into my referral to her. The letter of the 28 January 2005 where you say I made an 'allegation' was written after the investigation was closed and see in the paragraph above I don't believe I actually made an 'allegation. If you look at the 'Questionnaire', again after my complaint had been closed by your client, it states I "consider that you may have discriminated against me contrary to the sex discrimination acts 1975" also "I consider this treatment may have been unlawful because…". You have accused me of an accusation that I don't believe I have yet made all I have asked is for your client to give reasons why she found how a complaint by a woman had been handled, to use your words, "…would plainly have been unacceptable…" but in an identical scenario that happened to a man, not once but three times, she thought it didn't need investigating. I don't believe your letter gives any adequate answers to my Questionnaire.

As you know a 'Questionnaire' is so questions can be asked and answers given before any accusations are made or court action is undertaken. You have already accused me of making accusations, you have tried to intimidate me by telling me how 'weak' my case is that I am 'out-of-time' and scare me how you will claim costs against me. Remember I only, at this stage, asked questions' which is my right and your client should have given adequate answers in a reasonable time, 40 working days being deemed a reasonable time. Your client has taken 119 working days (almost six months) that has not answered the question why a man was not treated equally to a woman.

At this point let me quote your client: -
Her advice for clients who believe they've had a rough deal? 'Be persistent,' she says. 'Remember it's your right to have your complaint investigated and you should pursue it because, hopefully, it can be mediated and conciliated to everyone's satisfaction.'

I don't think I could have been more "persistent" and clearly your client forced me into steps I would rather have not had to take. Let me quote what your client said in Parliament: - "A robust approach needs to be taken to enforce, for instance for solicitors from the Law Society, Rule 15, which says very clearly that solicitors have to have a written complaints-handling procedure and they have to log all the complaints that they receive..." also in the same sentence she said "I think a robust approach by the Law Society needs to be undertaken to ensure that there is a written complaints-handling procedure, that complaints are logged, and that solicitors who need training in client care are given that training". (Please read a letter I wrote to Mr Soley MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush: - "www.solicitorsfromhell.com/Mr_Soley_MP.htm"). Let me also quote the LSO's rule book: - "…, your case could only be re-opened in exceptional circumstances. These circumstances could include where there was a fundamental mistake…" Your client has/had the means and the opportunity to re-look at my complaint but chose not to but in the same scenario that involved a woman that came before her, her comments were "ludicrous" and "This kind of thing has just got to change" and in part (1) of your letter you state your client's opinion is in this case "…an example of unacceptable practice in handling a complaint" which your client would have dealt with this herself or more likely referred it back to the CCS. In my case she has refused to investigate Gordon Luckhurst's Professional Misconduct and every attempt by me to get 'enforced' Rule 15 which she is clearly "treating a complainant unfairly in relation to others".

Let us look at the Legal Services Ombudsman's rule book that is sent to all complainants, it states: - "What the Ombudsman will do is check that all your complaints were addressed and that this was done within a reasonable time. …, and she will also look at any other complaints you might have about this professional body. For example, you may have found that: …they refused to investigate your complaint". Two years after I asked the CCS for help they finally opened an investigation, is that "within a reasonable time"?? Despite my continued complaining about Gordon Luckhurst's 'Professional Misconduct' no investigation was carried out by the CCS and/or Zahida Manzoor despite what it states in her rule book she would not see that Rule: - 18.02 Breach and misconduct was 'implemented'.

Let me now quote from a parliamentary web site regarding 'Maladministration': -
Examples of maladministration include:
" not following its own policies or procedures
" rudeness
" delay in taking action
" failing to take action
" treating a complainant unfairly in relation to others
" giving wrong or misleading information
" administrative mishandling

What is Maladministration
The definition of maladministration is very wide and can include:
" delay
" incorrect action or failure to take any action
" failure to follow procedures or the law
" failure to provide information
" inadequate record-keeping
" failure to investigate
" failure to reply
" misleading or inaccurate statements
" inadequate liaison
" inadequate consultation
" broken promises

Let me point out where your client failed to comply or instruct the CCS to comply with;
" not following its own policies or procedures
" delay
" delay in taking action
" failing to take action
" treating a complainant unfairly in relation to others
" failure to follow procedures or the law
" failure to investigate
" broken promises
This one would relate directly to the Client Care Agreement (Contract).

The CCS advised me to make a complaint against my solicitors which I did and according to the Information Commissioner when I made a complaint this brought about a 'conflict of interests' which gave Thos Boyd Whyte the right, according to the Commissioner, to sack me; "giving wrong or misleading information".
I believe your client is not only guilty of 'Sexual Discrimination' but is also guilty of 'Maladministration'.

Examples of maladministration by Sir William Reid
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about_us/our_history/definition_of_maladministration.html
" unwillingness to treat the complainant as a person with rights;
" rights or entitlement;
" knowingly giving advice which is misleading or inadequate;
" showing bias whether because of colour, sex , or any other grounds;
" faulty procedures;
" failure by management to monitor compliance with adequate procedures;
" failure to mitigate the effects of rigid adherence to the letter of the law where that produces manifestly inequitable treatment."

In both your letters you strived hard to give the impression that your client addressed the non- compliance of Rule 15 by Thos Boyd Whyte but the fact is that any offers (relates to No. 3 of your letter), reasons or excuses made by Gordon Luckhurst after not honouring the Client Care Agreement do not alter the fact he was guilty of Professional Misconduct (Rule: - 18.02 Breach and misconduct "the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors will expect its implementation as a matter of conduct").

I would like to ask you a question and hopefully you will give an answer. Please tell me the validity of the Client Care Agreement, why does the Law Society make solicitors send this 'Agreement' letter to their clients if they (Law Society) do not enforce it and please tell me do or would you 'honour' your 'Client Care Agreements' if it came to it? Sorry, it looks like three questions. I am used to being ignored when I ask questions so, if you ignore me I will assume you came out of the same 'mould' as Thos Boyd Whyte.

Let me finally finish off with what you quoted in No. 1 of your letter "In that statement, our client gave an example of unacceptable practice in the handling of a complaint". Your client clearly admits what happened in my case was "unacceptable" and she should have or must rectify this "unacceptable… handling of a complaint" if she refuses she is undoubtedly guilty of 'maladministration' also as your client has been given every opportunity to rectify an "unacceptable practice" I believe any costs in forced court action would be awarded against your client, whatever the outcome. You mentioned you would have any court action struck out on an out-of-time rule. If you look at my 'News' page "www.solicitorsfromhell.com/news.htm" you will see since my complaints file was closed I have only been following your clients instructions; "'Be persistent,' she says. 'Remember it's your right to have your complaint investigated and you should pursue it" and as you can see from the enclosed letter to my MP I have asked him to approach the Master of the Rolls for clarification of the rules and how to get them enforced from a complainant's point of view which clearly show I have tried every possible avenue to get the rule enforced before having to resort to court action. You must remember Gordon Luckhurst admitted in a letter to the CCS, which your client would have seen, that he had not handled my complaint correctly which was clearly an admission of Professional Misconduct.

Bearing in mind your client's blather mouthing in Parliament on 4th May 2004 where she stated, "A robust approach needs to be taken to enforce, for instance for solicitors from the Law Society, Rule 15, which says very clearly that solicitors have to have a written complaints-handling procedure and they have to log all the complaints that they receive...", makes her nothing less than an 'hypocrite': -
"http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmconst/575/4050403.htm"
I also believe as well as being guilty of Sexual Discrimination she is clearly guilty of Maladministration. In my Questionnaire I used the word 'victimisation' if you look at the enclosed letter I received from the CCS, which is one of many, it shows your client has, for no particular reason(s), been sitting on my complaint against the Chair of the Compliance Board for months, what would you call that?

Yours sincerely

B R Gray

cc Dr Howard Stoate MP

enc.

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