back to article Scareware solicitors sent to regulator

Consumer group Which? has welcomed a decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to send Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Which? received over 150 complaints from members who had received the threatening letters from ACS:Law promising legal action unless an immediate payment, usually of …


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  1. Neil Greatorex

    Andrew Crossley was not in the office or able to make a statement at this time

    Wonder where he is?

    Suspect he's not busily engaged giving the "evidence" a quick once over..


  2. Anonymous Coward

    Filthy ambulance chasing degenerates

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Why don't sharks eat solicitors?

      Proffesional courtesy.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You Choose

    ACS:Law said principal Andrew Crossley was not:

    A) in the office


    B) able to make a statement at this time.

    You choose! Normally our PA is bright enough to use the word "and"

    (PS bout time the scummers got it.)

  4. The Metal Cod


    Eventually - in a year or so given how slowly the SRA and the SDT seem to move - we'll find out just how serious a watchdog the SDT really is. Does it really have the balls to appropriately punish Mr Crossley? I wouldn't hold your breath though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      £10 fine and slap on the ...

  5. Brian Miller 1

    What an unfortunate namesake I have

    Previously to this I had only ever come across a redneck tractor racer and a "high end" second hand German automobile salesman by the same name as me.

    Sure makes it easy to be the best of a bad bunch.... The Brian Miller refered to in this article comes in a solid last place.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of time

    The solicitors disciplinary tribunal will be an utter waste of time I bet. They will huff and puff for couple of years make everyone think that they are actually going to do something constructive, then they will quietly drop it and by then no one will notice. Thats there usualy tactic. I myself rang the Law Society Complaints department once and explained a complaint against a solicitor. They said it was not a matter sufficient to warrant a complaint. I then rang the Law Society itself about the exact same complaint and they mistakenly put me through to the department that gives advice to Solicitors themselves (member services) . They told me that it was a very serious complaint etc etc. So I see how they are 2 faced, one story for solicitors one for the public. Would not trust them one jot.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Doubt anything will really be done

    I expect solicitors investigating solicitors to be about as effective as police investigating police.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yes exactly right, total waste of time the Police and Law Society.

    2. Stratman


      I should imagine a handshake or two down the lodge should sort it out.

  9. frank ly

    Re. Euro Domination

    I've just had a look on Isohunt. They're up to Euro Domination 30!

    1. James Hughes 1


      That's a lot of rubber and rope. And fat germans.

      Now, get *that* image out of your head before you go home, or the wife will worry.

  10. Jacqui

    faked IP's

    Many BT servers include randomly generated lists of IP's with realistic looking stats for this very reason. Only if your "scanner" tries to connect to these non existent systems to obtain a chunk will you find out if they are real or faked. However this costs money and will result in the IP ranges used by the trawlers being detected and blacklisted - so they dont do this.

    ACS and the other ambulace chasers use the list of IP's as evidence without attempting to confirm the information is valid. It is *really* simple to provide proof that there are faked IP's.

    The problem is that it *costs* to fight them in court - so people settle for the 500UKP as the wrong but cheapest option.

  11. Tigra 07
    Thumb Down


    Euro Domination 5 isn't as good as number 2

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Wrongly accused...

    I can tell you likely why these people were wrongly accused. Well, first, the age thing is no excuse -- if *I* claimed I hadn't downloaded these files I'd be laughed out. But because they are 70 or 80, of course they didn't... *rolls eyes*

    Anyway, back on topic.. I wasn't legally threatened, but got my cable internet cut once for some file I *did* torrent. (I'm willing to name and shame, it was Mediacom.. since they aren't obligated to cut customers service but choose to). Second time, I hadn't done a thing (no torrents, no streaming whatsoever), but I figured something had "crossed in the mail" from before. Third time, I went in to find out what they thought I was doing, and the file was something I was not interested in (wrestling) and based on my logs, I'd NEVER had the IP address they claimed either. I canceled on the spot then, I didn't want the legal liability of being fingered for random torrents. I figure these user<->IP mappings weren't intended to be used for anything like hassling customers, and they probably never verified if the database was accurate -- and apparently it's not. I doubt they are the only one with this problem.

  13. JaitcH

    I feel ignored ...

    as I have regularly downloaded things for years and have never received one of these letters.

    Could it be these legal leaches only pick on the weakest members of society, or the ones who won't give them a run for their money?

    Of course, it could be the legislation in Canada - it's not too record company friendly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You mean 'not record company friendly' in the way you pay the record companies for the right to buy CDRs you put your own data on?

  14. Seareach

    Mr Crossley's brave new world

    According to Mr Crossley’s website: "I am accused of demanding payment in my initial letters of claim. This is not true. The recipient of the letter of claim is afforded the opportunity if they wish to close the matter off and avoid the issue continuing by entering into a compromise agreement to bring the matter to an end. They are under no compulsion or obligation to do this and the compromise agreement is an entirely voluntary process".

    Hmmm.... A subtle distinction - to subtle for me but then I ain’t a lawyer. It is obviously a successful ploy though (ie scaring the be***** out of OAPS etc): "We are pleased with the results on the initial batches of issued claims, as we have found that 80% of all defendants opt for settlements outside of court, for amounts more than originally claimed."

    He admits he can't wait for someone to fight back: "It is disappointing that these settlements mean that a fully contested case has yet to reached the courts..... Exciting times ahead!"

    Crossley subscribes to the ridiculous theory that an average file share-ee would have paid for a legit copy if he hadn’t been able to download one (“our client's have been successful in recovering monies lost to piracy”).

    He’s delighted that some poor innocent pub owner has taken the rap for downloading by a customer: “Reports have surfaced this week that a pub owner in the UK has been ordered to pay £8,000 to a copyright owner as a customer used the pub’s Wi-fi connection to illegally download a copyrighted work.... This is in direct line with the five point plan from ACS Law*, who have called on the government to go further to protect the rights of copyright holders, who are finding their industries ebbing away from their control. ACS Law called for strict liability to be enforced against internet account holders....”

    Maybe he should extend the concept to the coin op photocopier in your local Post Office?

    Welcome to Mr Crossley’s brave new world - I wonder whether public access internet could survive it at all....

    *The big plan

    Introduce fixed fines of £750.00 minimum

    Introduce statutory damages of £750.00 as a minimum for each act of copyright infringement (such provision exists presently in the United States);

    ISPs to provide names of internet account holders

    Make all Internet Service Providers produce, on request of a copyright owner or licensee, the identities of the account holders of the internet connection used for illegal file sharing of their copyrighted material. The cost of producing such information would be met by the copyright owner requesting it;

    Strict liability for internet account holders

    Make the account holder of the internet connection strictly liable for infringements where their connection was used for illegal file sharing

    Simplify the court process

    Streamline, simplify and speed up the court process of a copyright owner applying for the identities of the account holders from ISPs (this is presently a complex and time-consuming procedure); and

    Standardise letters of claim and court documents

    Secure approval and consensus for standard-form letters, documents and claims making the process of notification and prosecution of an identified infringement clear and easy to understand, with the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven.

    1. SteveK


      "We are pleased with the results on the initial batches of issued claims, as we have found that 80% of all defendants opt for settlements outside of court, for amounts more than originally claimed."

      He admits he can't wait for someone to fight back: "It is disappointing that these settlements mean that a fully contested case has yet to reached the courts..... Exciting times ahead!"

      Hang on. 80% settle but he's never had a case reach court. Does that mean that the remaining 20% are dropped for being entirely fictitious and the victim doesn't cave?


    2. Rasczak

      IANAL but he is so should know...

      From the same page about the pub owner it is stated, "The illegal distribution of a copyrighted work is outright theft.".

      I am no lawyer, but even I know that, in legal terms, that statement is patently incorrect, and this guy is qualified to give legal advice ?????

  15. Dazed and Confused

    threatening behaviour

    It's about time that using "legal action threats" are accepted as being exactly the same as other forms of demanding money with menaces. Repeatedly making legal threats when you haven't got adequate proof should result in criminal proceeding against the law firms and all their partners. There is no good just fining them a fraction of the potential gain from these forms of extortion.

    1. Dave Bell


      How do you test the proof?

      Go to court...

      And how much does that cost?

  16. acbot

    Interesting reply font

    He replied in Comic Sans!

  17. bytesoup

    Speculative invoicing

    These folks are just playing on peoples shame / guilt / lack of trust with spouse (delete as appropriate) , even if Mr Smith who has a little fling with his fave adult site once or twice a month but has never downloaded Euro Domination 5, he'll pay up as his wife will probably never believe him if she gets wind of it. You can imagine the conversation:

    wife: "I cant believe it! now i know why you always like it when we have a quick knee trembler in the kitchen its the rubber gloves your in love with, not me...!!!"

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Andrew Crossley

    It has come to our attention that you are allegedly accused of harassing people with threatening letters and as such are being referred to the Solicitors Regulator.

    In order to prevent this and to allow you to continue with your dubious practice, please make immediate payment of £500 to all the persons you have allegedly accused.

    Yours Sincerely


  19. Hieronymus Coward

    Which would be better?

    To send them a large sheet of paper with the words "PLEASE FUCK OFF. MANY THANKS" in 72pt Arial Bold or send them a tractor-feed style printout of their IP address 'proving' that they too have been downloading nasty pr0n? 'Look its been printed on a dot matrix printer on tractor feed paper, it must be real!'

  20. Ralli
    Thumb Up

    Fight back against ACS Law!

    The consumer group Which reports that Andrew Crossley of ACS Law Solicitors (ACS Law) is being referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after Which complained that the law firm sent ‘bullying’ letters to people it had accused of illegal file-sharing.

    If you were sent these letters, and had not acted as the letter claims, contact us on for a free assessment of your case. We are currently gathering clients with view to a group action for harassment as a result of these letters.

  21. Ted Treen
    Thumb Up

    On receipt of communications

    from ACS, refer them to Pressdram v Arkell

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