Solicitors from Hell founder goes down fighting but closes site after High Court order

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By Legal Futures

17 November 2011


The founder of Solicitors from Hell has branded a High Court order to shut down his site as “a sad day for freedom of speech” but said he will no longer seek to keep the controversial service running.

On Tuesday the High Court, on the application of the Law Society, ordered Rick Kordowski to “cease, forthwith, to publish the website”.

Mr Kordowski said that although the decision “has deprived the public of a valuable warning system”, family issues means he now has more pressing concerns, “so I will have leave this matter to the next generation”.

He had wanted to give the site away to allow someone abroad to maintain it, but a Law Society injunction prevents that.

The society said it has taken action against Mr Kordowski over recent months “to protect its members and the best interest of the public, as the site was not a credible source of reliable information about solicitors”.

The society said it understands that Mr Kordowski has been sued for libel on at least 17 occasions, and over £170,000 in outstanding judgments and orders to have accrued against him. He recently had a slander claim against Law Society chief executive Des Hudson thrown out.

Mr Hudson said: “This website has served simply as a vehicle for pursuing personal grudges and vendettas against conscientious and reputable firms and legal professionals. Far from being of any help to consumers, it has been a danger.

“Some excellent firms have been listed on the website, and exclusion from the site has more often than not been a matter of whether a firm has been prepared to pay a fee to have the listing removed. I feared the website was directing people in real need of help away from professionals best placed to assist them.

“If a client has a complaint about their solicitor, they should complain to the Legal Ombudsman.”

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Is it time solicitors started taking ethics training more seriously?

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The requirement for solicitors to behave ethically in modern legal practice is more relevant than ever. Solicitors are still held in fairly high regard by the public, although that esteem is on the wane according to last year’s Trusted Professions poll by Ipsos Mori. Lawyers are less trusted than teachers and doctors but at least we prevail over accountants and bankers. We still hold a position of trust but we must work to hold that position. The current Solicitors Regulation Authority proposals to revise the Handbook are evidence that work still needs to be done.

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