The Law Society Consumers Complaints Services that acts for the Protection of Lawyers

"Solicitors from Hell" .com
12 July 2006

Zahida Manzoor CBE
Legal Services Ombudsman
3rd Floor
Sunlight House
Quay Street
Manchester M3 3JZ

Your ref: 35295

Dear Ms Manzoor

Re: Richard Hegarty, Chair of the Compliance Board

Thank you for your letter dated 30 June '06 and I note what you say in your last paragraph which gives you an excuse not to reply so let me start off by quoting you, which I have done many times all to no avail; "'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 have followed your 'advice' and will continue to follow your 'advice' until it is "mediated and conciliated to" my "satisfaction".

In your letter dated 9 June '06 you clearly and personally made an attempt to remove my rights to the services of an Ombudsman. After I wrote to you on 16 June, in your current letter of reply you 'pull your horns in' by now stating and hiding behind the 'law' which you find convenient to protect Richard Hegarty but you refuse to comply with the 'law' and the Law Society rules when I quote them. The question is 'is that how you see your role when a member of the Law Society v complainant'?

You state in your letter dated 17 May '06 "They decided…" in reference to the CCS and in your current letter, (30/6/06) 3rd paragraph, you talk of "The repetition of this unwarranted allegation… …amounts to an attack upon the independence and objectivity of this Office, and indeed upon the Ombudsman's integrity… …the allegation totally is refuted…" Let us look at 'They decided' if the LSO and the CCS colluded between 31 March '05 and the 18 January '06 then that is hardly 'They decided' (CCS). Let us now look at this 'unwarranted allegation' that I mentioned in four letters the first dated 5 April '05 (Doc.5 highlighted green) which you never responded to this 'unwarranted allegation' the same to my letters dated 30 April '05 and the 20 February '06 where I stated "The investigation into my complaint has been carried out with the sole collusion of your office the CCS and Richard Hegarty which in all has taken over two years (nine months by the LSO office),…" Then in my fourth letter dated 30 May '06 I state "There was clear collusion between you and the CCS, you allowed the CCS to ignore the Law Society's own rules and to break the law by not supplying evidence during the course of their investigation then refusing to supply that evidence when it was requested…" This time in your first letter of response (9 June '06) to this 'unwarranted allegation', as you say, it has now at the fourth time become a "serious allegation" and so you don't have to give answers to my questions, you clearly personally attempt to remove my right to the services of an Ombudsman and 'suggest' I take my complaint elsewhere.

I will now, as I always do when challenged, provide documentary evidence to support my allegation of 'collusion', which you refer to as an 'unwarranted allegation', between your office (LSO) and the CCS from the time of your report (18/1/05) and the CCS complying, if that's what you can call it, with your report (18/1/06). In brief on 6 November '03 Richard Hegarty rang me during the evening with the intention of trying to intimidate me (evidence of which I recently provided) I wrote to Richard Hegarty on 5 December '03 (Doc.2) he impolitely did not reply. On 23 December '03 I referred a complaint to the CCS, not being satisfied with their findings, especially as the 'phone call was I'm told made by Richard Hegarty on behalf of the Law Society, I referred it to your office;

You sent your report to the CCS on 18 January '05 and forwarded a copy to me which was critical of the CCS on several points one being that they should ask Richard Hegarty for his version of that evening 'phone call.

Doc.3 21 January '05 a letter from the CCS stating "You will now have received a copy of the Legal Services Ombudsman's report…" which I had, your report being dated 18th January '05.

Doc.4 Ten weeks later on the 31 March '05 I received a letter from the CCS stating "We are currently in communication with the Ombudsman's office regarding the report and await a response from them". Clearly the CCS have contacted you with evidence received from Richard Hegarty for your 'advice', but withheld this evidence from me. Let me quote the 'law'; "When a public body is investigating a complaint all evidence must be available for all concerned".

Doc.5 On the 5 April '05 I wrote to you to complain of the 'collusion' between you and the CCS on the outcome of the CCS's investigation. You gave no response to this allegation which Doc.4 bears out you were in discussions with the CCS concerning my complaint, so it would be reasonable for anybody to believe you accept what I said was correct. I also pointed out how you had previously allowed Thos Boyd Whyte, the CCS and the Ethics Committee to "put their 'Heads' together" as well as allowing the rules to be violated.

Doc.6 On 28 April '05 a letter I received from the CCS states they are still waiting to hear from your office.

Doc.7 is 'part copy' of the letter I wrote to your office dated 30 April '05 which was a reply to your letter of the 18 April telling me that my case against Thos Boyd Whtye was closed which you again repeated on the 27 May. This 'part copy' of my letter clearly points out that my complaint is being investigated with the sole collusion of your office the CCS and Richard Hegarty, again you failed to respond to my anxieties and concerns.

Doc.8 On the 31 May'05 a letter I receive from the CCS states again they are still waiting to hear from your office.

Doc.9 On the 1 July '05 a letter (incorrectly dated 31 May) refers to their letter of 31 May stating they are still waiting to hear from your office.

Doc.10 27 July '05 the CCS hear from you (LSO) in response to their communication with you on the 31 March '05 (four months) concerning my complaint and after they have 'considered' it they will contact me.

Doc.11 Dated 21st September it appears you (LSO) sent another report that I was unaware of (21/9/05 the first dated 18/1/05) to the CCS, probably related to Doc.10, above but I did not receive a copy of this report, as this letter from the CCS stated I should have.

Doc.12 A second letter dated 21st September '05 (see Doc.11) they are considering your (2nd report that you never sent me??) report. I was at this time paid a second £100 for, I presume, the delay you were causing.

Doc.13 27th October a further letter confirms the CCS are waiting on your 'feed back'. It appears once more the CCS have again been back in touch with you for your input into the outcome of my complaint. I think by now it is clear your office and the CCS have been 'colluding' behind closed doors with possibly Richard Hegarty's input and I have been excluded from all available evidence and information.

Doc.14 25 November the CCS are still waiting for your input into the outcome of my complaint.

Doc.15 22 December '05 it sounds like the CCS are not pleased with your delays. A copy of this letter I sent to your solicitors Mace & Jones which prompted you into action.

Doc.16 on the 18 January 2006, a year to the day of your report, I receive the CCS's report which clearly was guided by your directions and now does not even remotely resemble any relation to answering your criticisms of the CCS twelve months previously.

Doc.18 is the letter I wrote to the CCS on the 25 January 2006 that points out the CCS's failure to comply with your criticisms that with the 'collusion' of your office they arrived at.

Doc.19 my letter to you dated 20 February 2006 which included Doc.18 clearly asks the question about the 'transparency' in the complaints procedure and the sole collusion of yourself the CCS and Richard Hegarty in the investigation, at the third time of this allegation you chose not to reply again clearly accepting the fact that 'collusion' between the LSO and thee CCS was prevalent as the enclosed documents bear out.

Doc.20 is the letter I wrote to you on 30 May '06. Clearly once again you did not want to give answers to my anxieties and frustrations so you looked for an excuse and decided that this letter contained a "serious allegation". I had stated "There was clear collusion between you and the CCS". I wonder why the three previous 'allegations' were not "serious".

Doc.21 is your letter of reply to my above letter dated 30 May (Doc.20) in which it is very clear that you attempt to remove my rights to the services of an Ombudsman and suggest I take 'legal advice'. You will recall when Gordon Luckhurst the Senior Partner at Thos Boyd Whyte did not turn up for a pre-arranged meeting then twice more refused to see me I asked the Law Society for help, they advised that I should send a complaint to the CCS they then refused to investigate Gordon Luckhurst's 'Professional Misconduct' and you even lied about it being dealt with and you now suggest I seek advice from these load of crooks. See my letter to your office dated 10 June 2003 1st page 4th paragraph concerning your lying also read my letters dated 17 June and 3 August 2003 which shows even then you ignored the rules and avoided giving answers.

It is stated in your current letter (30/6/06) "the Ombudsman completed her role in the system… …having already been properly concluded". You use the word "properly" giving the impression your investigation was carried out 'properly' in a 'transparent' and 'unbiased' fashion. I believe it is questionable that as an Ombudsman you can close my file when you are aware rules have been ignored and misused and you have allowed me to be excluded from the investigation, the main point being you allowed the CCS to violate the law to the extent of condoning their actions of withholding evidence. Remember I have clearly asked the CCS and yourself to send me key evidence that should have, by law, been sent to me during the investigation.

Let me further quote from your current letter; "You are clearly dissatisfied… …that dissatisfaction appears to stem from your belief that there has been some form of inappropriate collusion between this office and the Law Society", you continue with "unwarranted allegation… …amounts to an attack upon the independence and objectivity of this office, and indeed upon the Ombudsman's integrity", you finish off "For the avoidance of any doubt, the allegation totally is refuted". The evidence above shows unquestionably that there was continued communication between your office and the CCS from the time of your report (18/1/05) and the CCS's compliance with your report (18/1/06) which without "any doubt" would amount to "inappropriate collusion" or are you saying these professionals at the CCS are so incompetent that every complaint referred to your office you spend twelve months in communication with the CCS to guide these 'halfwits' on how to do their jobs? Which brings us to "independence and objectivity of this office" let me quote from you little blue 'rule book';
These professional bodies must deal with complaints properly. They should carry out a detailed, unbiased investigation, within a reasonable time. They must take into consideration the views of everyone involved, and make a reasonable decision based on all the available information.
Your "must take into consideration the views of everyone involved, and make a reasonable decision based on all the available information" was "based" on Richard Hegarty's "views" who it appears has not produced any "information" and you are ignoring the 'information' supplied by myself, and your "within a reasonable time" is a joke. Your 'independence and objectivity of this office' is I assume is to see that there is a "detailed, unbiased investigation" if the CCS ignored the rules and the law to benefit one side which you have condoned to favour Richard Hegarty this would clearly question your "integrity" and "independence".

In your report dated 18/1/05 you said; "Mr Hegarty needs to be asked why he telephoned you and should then be requested to provide a recollection of what he said". Clearly Richard Hegarty was contacted because the CCS used the word that he 'indicated' in relation to the 'content' and 'why' he telephoned me during the evening and as you know "When a public body is investigating a complaint all evidence must be available for all concerned". This "available information" supplied by Richard Hegarty to the CCS was also sent to you in my file and even though I asked for access to it Richard Hegarty, the CCS and you have conspired to unlawfully withhold "available information". Maybe you would like to give a reason why information was withheld and also why I was excluded from the investigation.

I have produced evidence supporting my version concerning that evening 'phone call Richard Hegarty made to me, I have also supplied evidence to support my 'allegation' that there was 'collusion' between your office and the CCS although you do state; "For the avoidance of any doubt, the allegation totally is refuted". On the other hand the CCS/LSO, although asked, have failed to produce Richard Hegarty's version of that 'phone call and the CCS stated, and you have repeated, that I 'invited' Richard Hegarty to contact me by telephone. I have asked several times to be shown when how and where I 'invited' Richard Hegarty to call me, the CCS and yourself failed to give details to the point of totally ignoring me which clearly gives the impression that stories are being made up to protect Richard Hegarty. If you are a party to these stories and the withholding of information just as you are allowing the avoidance of the rules and the law then I believe you are guilty, as Ombudsman, of maladministration.

Examples of maladministration by Sir William Reid
" unwillingness to treat the complainant as a person with rights;
" refusal to answer reasonable questions;
" neglecting to inform a complainant on request of his or her rights or entitlement;
" knowingly giving advice which is misleading or inadequate;
" ignoring valid advice or overruling considerations which would produce an uncomfortable result for the overruler;
" offering no redress or manifestly disproportionate redress;
" showing bias whether because of colour, sex , or any other grounds;
" faulty procedures;
" failure by management to monitor compliance with adequate procedures;
" cavalier disregard of guidance which is intended to be followed in the interest of equitable treatment of those who use a service;
" partiality; and
" failure to mitigate the effects of rigid adherence to the letter of the law where that produces manifestly inequitable treatment."

Finally in the last letter I received from your office it said; "…I could not, and still cannot, see any point in prolonging the correspondence between us when any response I make will not satisfy your concerns…" Just what 'response' have you made to my 'concerns'? Neither you or anyone from your office have given any 'response' to any of my 'concerns' in my letters dated 5/4/05 Doc.5, 30/4/05 Doc.7, 20/2/06 Doc.19 that included my letter to the CCS Doc.18, 30/5/06 Doc.20 and my last letter dated 16/6/06, you only say "that "service" having already properly been concluded". The only 'concern' you have responded to after the fourth time of my raising it, which you used as a 'guise' to remove your services as Ombudsman and which you saw as an excuse to refuse not to give any 'response', was my complaint of the 'collusion' between your office (LSO) and the CCS. I believe the information in this envelope shows there was 'collusion' and your remark that I had made an "unwarranted allegation" and accusation that it "amounts to an attack upon… …Ombudsman's integrity" was a form of intimidation to force me to withdraw it.

Yours sincerely

B R Gray