Two lawyers who sent out a large number of letters to members of the public suspected of illegal file sharing demanding recompense have been fined and suspended.
According to the Law Society Gazette, David Gore and Brian Miller who were partners in a law firm called Davenport Lyons have been fined £20,000 each with interim costs of £150,000 and have been suspended from practicing law for three months.
They are accused of bringing the practice of ‘speculative invoicing’ to the UK, whereby the law firm sent out letters to around 6,000 people, threatening them with legal action for alleged file sharing unless they settled out of court with a £500 settlement.
An investigation by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that the pair had knowingly targeted innocent people, failed to act in the best interests of clients, diminished trust in the legal profession and entered in to banned contingency fee arrangements.
“Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others,” said a spokesman for the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
“Solicitors have a duty to act with integrity, independence and in the best interests of their clients. Solicitors who breach those duties can expect to face action by the SRA.”