"Solicitors from Hell" .com

16 November 2004

Mrs M E Manwaring Compliance Manager
The Information Commissioner Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Your ref: RFA0029621

Dear Sir

Re: Data Protection Act

Thank you for your letter dated 4 November, if you look at the enclosure you can see the evidence that "parliament.uk" accessed my web site when I said they did, right in the middle of when I wrote to you and your reply, and that was the only time "parliament.uk" have logged on to my site, coincidence? I don't think so, more like somebody is lying.

With regards to my letter dated 24 September and the answers you gave in your reply dated 4 November: -
1 Regarding solicitors' rights to 'request' information from clients complaints files to be used for 'unrelated purposes' to the complaint by 'non-secure' means (over the telephone) you state "There is no such provision in the Data Protection Acts". As I sent you evidence in my original file that proves this happened it clearly shows the Data Protection Acts have been violated and the IC should carry out an investigation. You further state that solicitors are allowed to 'request' information. Yes solicitors have a right to 'request' information just as I have, but in my case I was refused information that I should have been informed of previously. In my solicitors case the rules for 'requesting' information were not followed, the 'purpose' for the use of this information was not given, it was passed to third parties (Law Society's Ethics Committee and the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF)) and used for 'unrelated' purposes to my complaint and clearly the Data Controller should have refused access to my complaints file, especially as this request was made over the telephone.
2 You say "As Mr Gray was not a party to your conversation with Mr Hegarty he could not give you any information regarding the subject matter". As you say Jonathan Gray was "not a party" to my "conversation" then why did he say Richard Hegarty rang me during the evening to discuss with me an "issue" which I had "raised"? It appears to me Jonathan Gray lied in an effort to protect Richard Hegarty, maybe you would like to comment on why Jonathan Gray stated there was an "issue" which I had "raised" when, as you say, he clearly would not know why Richard Hegarty rang me during the evening?
3 If you had kept up to speed with my complaint you would have seen part of my complaint against Richard Hegarty was that he used information he collected on me for his own personal use and Jonathan Gray and Aman Virk were trying to tell me that Richard Hegarty was conducting Law Society Business. My question was if Richard Hegarty was acting on 'Law Society Business' why did he personally instruct another firm of solicitors, are you now saying these two people are making wild claims in an effort to avoid an investigation into Richard Hegerty's motives?
4 You state "Only Mr Hegarty can answer that question". If you look in the file I sent on the 18 February 2004, document A14, you will see there is a letter I sent to Richard Hegarty dated 5 December 2003 that he never replied to, document A15 is a copy of a letter I sent to the DCA, 2nd page item 3 concerns the same subject. Document A16 is a letter I received from the DCA Office giving the IC details, who I was led to believe is supposed to 'enforce' the rules? As you know Richard Hegarty should have replied within 40 working days, now one year ago, if Richard Hegarty refuses to respond to a request for information it must be the IC's duty to pursue this on my behalf. As all this information is in the file I sent you nine months ago, can you tell me why no action has been taken?
5 Again you state "Only Mr Hegarty can answer that question". As above 'no response from Richard Hegarty and the DCA believes it's the IC duty to pursue?
6 You state "I am not sure what you mean". It has taken you almost nine months (18 Feb - 4 Nov) to state "I am not sure what you mean" now you really are taking the 'P**s'. First of all read the letter that I sent you dated 18 February 2004 containing the file with all relevant numbered documents that show information, for purposes unrelated to my complaint, was 'illegally' lifted from my complaints file by my Solicitor passed to SIF and the Ethics committee that you have stated "There is no such provision in the Data Protection Acts" to allow for this. The bottom line could be, for as you stated "…, just as there is nothing in the Act to prevent a solicitor from requesting information", the Data Controller for giving out information that "There is no such provision in the Data Protection Acts" for, is probably more guilty than anybody. The Data Controller refused to give me information that your own rule states: - 'If someone wants to use your information for another purpose…you should be told about it and given a choice' but in the case of solicitors' the Data Controller freely gives out information over the telephone in total disregard to the rules and you are trying to tell me that "the processing of your personal data by the Law Society was correct". Yeah Right! Although if you paid attention you would see, concerning the conversation between the OSS and Thos Boyd Whyte, I have not used the words "personal data" or stated "personal data" had been revealed/collected/discussed in any shape or form, I did ask you this in my previous letter (page 2 no answer).

Let me once again quote the rule for 'requesting' information and its 'collection' that is if it is within the rules for the information to be given which in this case you have stated "There is no such provision in the Data Protection Act: - All requests for information in accordance with this Code shall be in writing, addressed to the Chief Executive, and shall be signed by the person making the request. Let me refer you back to your letter dated 24 September2004 2nd page first paragraph you state "…, you were informed that information about your complaint would be disclosed to the subject of the complaint" please produce evidence where I was "informed" that "information" would be "disclosed" to my solicitors before my "complaint" came under an investigation. Remember, as the Senior Partner never turned up for an arranged meeting to hear my complaints then twice more refused to see me the OSS advised me to send them an official complaint, I didn't expect the OSS to sit on this complaint for over two years and refuse to reply to my letters nor did I expect the OSS to "inform" my solicitors of the contents of my complaint before the investigation and I was not informed that my solicitors would be allowed to 'collect' and use the 'information' for their own gain during these two years of delay.

In the same paragraph you state "There is no evidence that any details of your complaint were discussed" please tell me where I said "details" of my complaint "were discussed"? What I did say and the evidence shows is that information contained in my 'unopened' complaints file was given by the Data Controller, over the telephone to my Solicitor who firstly passed it, again over the 'phone, to SIF and then to the Ethics Committee (see doc.A5 in my file) for unrelated purposes to my complaint. Let me again quote the rule concerning complaint files: - 'We will use the information you give us to investigate your complaint. We will not use that information for any unconnected purpose without your consent'. If you look at document A4 which is an Attendance Note written by my Solicitor that is in the file I sent on 18 February last it states "The telephone call to the OSS lasted 15 minutes while Mr Fise recalled the file in relation to the complaint made by Mr Gray" and you say "there is no evidence that any details of your complaint were discussed"? I believe the law of 'probability' is my complaint was discussed in detail and as you or Jonathan Gray were not a party to that conversation and without an investigation you cannot say otherwise. As you have stated "There is no such provision in the Data Protection Acts" to allow for what went on here so clearly you have admitted the Data Protection Acts have been violated.

Still on item 6 you state "Your solicitors were aware that you had made a complaint so no disclosure of your data was made during that conversation", you were not a party to that conversation and being has my complaints file had been retrieved by Mr Fise for use in that conversation how can you say that? On the 26 April 1999 the OSS advised me to send then an 'official' complaint which I did on the 13 May 1999. I had a meeting with my Solicitor, ?xxx ?xxxxxxx, on 7 June 2000 (13 months later) when you say I informed her of the content of the complaint I had made to the OSS (this being the only time I spoke to ?xxx ?xxxxxxx). If you look at document A2 in the file I sent you on 18 February 2004 which is an Attendance Note written by ?xxx ?xxxxxxx it will be seen the suggestion of 'negligence' is made by her, so tell me if information was not passed to my solicitors, how did she know I had made a claim of negligence in my complaint (see doc. A5)? Again if you look at document A6 ?xxx ?xxxxxxx states "Mr Gray has recently (reference to the meeting on 7 June '00) informed the writer that he intends to take proceedings for negligence against this firm" if you again read her Attendance Note (doc. A2) it is clear the suggestion of proceedings are made by her. I believe the evidence, if you would take the trouble to make an in-depth unbiased assessment, shows there was "disclosure" of information from my complaints file that was used for 'unrelated purposes'.

Furthermore as I previously said document A4 shows Mr Fise at the OSS retrieved my complaint file when my Solicitor 'phoned him on 7 June 2000 and assuming I had disclosed the basis of my complaint or made the accusation of 'negligence' to my Solicitor, as you say I did, albeit there is no evidence to support what you say. If you look at document A6, which is a letter my Solicitor wrote to the OSS on 8 June she states "It would appear that the basis of Mr Gray's allegations of negligence are the same as the basis of his complaint…" this is clear evidence that my complaints file was "discussed" in detail. The only time I spoke to ?xxx ?xxxxxxx was on the 6 June and her detailed Attendance Note (doc. A2) shows the suggestion of 'negligence' and 'proceedings' was made by her, please produce evidence that shows otherwise.

Finally, as the Senior Partner was in violation of the Client Care Agreement by refusing to see me to hear my grievances on how my litigation had and was being handled, the OSS who advised me to send an official complaint to them and not telling me this would constitute a 'Conflict of Interests', also not telling me they would 'disclose' the contents of that complaint prematurely, which in your letter (item 1) you state; "… the rule that states solicitors are allowed to request information from complaint files. There is no such provision in the Data Protection Acts", and in your letter dated 24 September '04 you say "…, you were informed that information about your complaint would be disclosed to the subject of the complaint" giving the impression that I should have been told, so as I was not "informed" I believe on behalf of the IC you are saying I have cause to sue the Law Society?

Once again I can't but quote two important rules that the IC is ignoring: - 'All requests for information in accordance with this Code shall be in writing, addressed to the Chief Executive, and shall be signed by the person making the request', as you will recall information was given out over the telephone. Also 'We will not use that information for any unconnected purpose without your consent' as you are aware the information 'disclosed' to my Solicitor was used for an 'unrelated purpose' to my complaint and my 'consent' was not asked for or given.

I am putting together a file to give to my local MP to present to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and I will be writing to the DCA Office as I believe my Human Rights are being violated by the Information Commissioner in refusing to 'enforce' the rules in a correct and 'unbiased' manner.

Yours sincerely

B R Gray

enc.