File-sharing ACS Law solicitor suspended
A lawyer has been suspended from his trade and charged costs of more than £70,000 over a file-sharing case.
Andrew Crossley, the sole solicitor of the now defunct ACS Law, was banned from practising law for two years and charged costs at a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London today.
Crossley’s firm infamously sent letters to alleged illegal file-sharers on behalf of a pornography rights firm, demanding recipients pay hundreds of pounds to avoid going to court, as part of what has since come to be called “speculative invoicing”.
However, none of the cases went to full trial, with Crossley himself successfully shutting down 17 cases that did end up in court.
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His firm was attacked online, with his website knocked down and email database leaked, leading to a charge from the Information Commissioner’s Office. The expected fine of £200,000 was later dropped to only £800 on the grounds Crossley couldn’t pay – despite the solicitor seemingly continuing to live a luxury lifestyle.
Following a complaint, the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority raised a case against Crossley on seven charges, which alleged that the profit-sharing structure between ACS Law and the client MediaCAT lead to his “independence” being compromised and caused “diminished trust” in the legal profession.
Crossley admitted the first six, and denied the seventh, a charge relating to the data breach, but was found guilty on all counts by the SDT panel. He was charged £76,326.55 – although we’ve yet to see full details of the ruling.
Crossley declined to comment when contacted by PC Pro.
The SDT has previously issued a £20,000 fine to a pair of lawyers from Davenport Lyons – the firm that passed the case to ACS Law – for using similar “distressing” tactics.