back to article Pirate-bothering ACS:Law lawyer goes bankrupt

Andrew Crossley, the man/lawyer behind file-sharer-botherers ACS:Law, has been declared bankrupt. Crossley's last known address according to the High Court is worth in the region of £700,000, says Zoopla - so let's hope he's kept his hands on that. London's High Court of Justice declared Crossley bankrupt on 20 May 2011. This …


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  1. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Up



    1. Zippy the Pinhead

      @ None Such

      Karma... The name of my next dog! :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        My karma ran over my dogma.

        Yes, I'm getting it.

  2. Gordon 10
    Thumb Down

    I for one

    hope he loses the house too.

    No mercy for this kind of blackmailing wotsit.

    Thumbs down in the Roman Empire sense.

    1. J. R. Hartley

      i believe

      "cunt" is the word you were looking for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I would call him a cunt

        But he has neither warmth nor depth.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        You, sir, have maligned cunts

        To equate a cunt to a lawyer is libelous and an affront to upstanding cunts everywhere. I, sir, demand a full and unconditional apology.

        Yours sincerely

        A. Cunt

  3. Anonymous Coward

    And the point of this "news" is?

    don't cross freetard pikey filesharers, as you face the wrath of 4Chan...

    Shouldn't El-Reg be condemming the amount of freetard piracy, rather than not even endorsing it, but seeminly goading and encouraging a fight against "the man"...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @ And the point of this "news" is?

      Right on! Stick it to the man!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      distraction technique

      I don't like pikey freeloaders.

      I also don't like bullying con artists. A thug in a suit is still a thug.

      The two are not exclusive.

    3. stratofish
      Thumb Down


      If "freetard piracy" was the main aim of the story then maybe condemning filesharers would be relevant. But it wasn't.

    4. Lee Dowling Silver badge


      More like: Don't file lawsuits on shaky legal bases where you can't even prove that the person you sued is the one who committed the offence you're referring too, and where you basically demand money with menaces (Give us £500 or we'll drag you through the courts) before people even have a change to defend themselves.

      I know someone who received one of those letters and I advised them to ignore it, because there is no way the case could ever be proven and it was *incredibly* unlikely that the person accused had downloaded what they were accused of (or anyone in their household, for that matter). And yet the letters were offering an "easy-way-out" if you admitted the offence and didn't defend try it but ONLY if you paid them lots of money (some hundreds of times more than the cost of the thing they were claiming was infringed) first. If you didn't pay, they were going to take you to court and you'd have to defend or hit a default judgement, and there was no guarantee that they'd be around long enough to pay your legal fees in that case (think of the thousands of accused who now won't see a penny of their legal expenses paid because this guy went bankrupt?)

      And all on the IP address scraped from a bittorrent tracker, IIRC, which is about as technically and legally reliable as a plumber's estimate.

    5. Mahou Saru

      @ac 15:43

      So it is okay to break to law to catch people who _might_ be breaking the law?

      1. henrydddd
        Black Helicopters


        Unjust laws were meant to be broken!

      2. Vic

        @Mahou Saru

        > So it is okay to break to law to catch people who _might_ be breaking the law?

        That's your decision, nobody else's.

        If you break the law, and you get caught, you are likely to face prosecution over your actions.

        If you think you are justified in breaking a law to achieve some greater good, you can bring that up in court as a defence.

        If the jury agrees with you, you get a "not guilty" verdict. If they don't, you might[1] be sentenced for your unlawful activity.

        It really comes down to how convinced you are that your idea of "the greater good" is shared by a jury of your peers...


        [1] With the CPS, of course, anything could happen...

    6. Rodrigo Valenzuela


      So you are saying that London's High Court of Justice, the Information Commissioner's Office, the Solicitors Regulator and several judges are all members of 4chan?

      And that all the threats and false/unproven accusations have nothing to do with this?


    7. Daniel B.

      RICO worthy lawsuit

      AC, you're missing the point. A good bunch of these lawsuits, maybe all of them, were based on shaky "evidence", followed by a threat of "pay 500 quid or we'll bust your ass!" which reeks of mafia-like activity. Had this happened in the US, ACS:Law would have been slammed with a RICO lawsuit. Because it mostly fills the "racketeering" part of that one...

    8. mmiied


      I bleave it is called "know your readership"

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the point of this "news" is?

      "don't cross freetard pikey filesharers, as you face the wrath of 4Chan..."

      I think that statement against 4chan has given away your dentity there Crossley.

    10. hplasm


      You miss the point; the point of this story was to wind YOU up. Nobody else, just you.

      Now sod off and make me a sandwich.

    11. Intractable Potsherd

      Errrrmmmm, AC 15:43 ...

      ... are there many people in the travelling community that have good enough internet access to be downloading anything. Is there any evidence that any of those people were part of the ACS:Law fishing expedition? If not, your use of the perjorative "pikey" is entirely unjustified.

      But then, you are just a troll, and don't know any better.

    12. Anonymous Coward

      Jeez some people...

      Good riddance, hope this Crook doesn't rear his head in another form a year or so from now with another scam. Can't believe someone on here was trying to stick up for him and 'the man' - ffs these people are bigger crooks than somebody downloading a film or mp3, they make serious money (e.g. His house Is worth £700,000) from trying to shaft the working man, all the 'pikey freetards' as you call them are doing is 'sharing' files which harms no one but greedy bastards who want to overcharge and monopolise a service or product. Stick it to the man.

    13. Sam Therapy

      Hi Andrew

      Wondered if you'd show your mug round here.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    hello my name is Andrew Crosley

    I buried the money in the PARK, will be digging it up in a 1 year, bye!

    PS. the money is buried in the park, where I buried it

  5. Crofty616


    I'm glad he's been bankrupted, but angered by the fact his £200,000 fine was reduced to a pathetic £1,000. I find that almost insulting to be honest...

  6. Naughtyhorse

    whut news??

    wanker gets cumuppance.

    theres no story here.

    read and enjoy tho :-D

  7. DJV Silver badge

    My heart bleeds.... meh!

    Couldn't happened to a nicer guy - hmm, could do with an icon depicting a hangman's scaffold here... ah well, the Satan one will have to do instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I thought it was a handbag...

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I thought it was a sports car from a jaunty angle....

  8. Natalie Gritpants


    ACS:Law was fined £200,000 but it was reduced to £1,000 because it had ceased trading. Yet here we find Andrew Crossley has a house worth £700,000 and he had gone bankrupt. I would have thought he could sell the house to pay the fine and still have £500,000.

    1. Zippy the Pinhead

      @ Natalie

      Some locales in order to provide some level of protection for the person declaring bankruptcy allow you to keep your primary home. It seems this is the case here. Now what the people should do now is file suit against him since he has already declared bankruptcy and its discharged, his home is no longer protected since he will have to cover his legal fees. Even if the person suing him loses.. if enough people attempt to sue him he will have to cover his own expenses for each and every person who does attempt.. Forcing him to sell that 700k house!

      The first commenter was right... Karma....

      1. Marcus Aurelius

        You can't keep your home if bankrupt in the UK

        speaking from (unfortunately) personal experience, where I managed to avoid this fate only by finding a UK Supreme Court decision that specifically covered my situation. I was able to point that getting round the case I referred to would cost far more in legal fees than they might recover, and that they therefore should accept the settlement offer I put forward.

        You may be able to keep your home by sorting out some form of repayment agreement or other maneuver, but only if the creditors believe they'll recover more money this way.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Natalie

        "Some locales in order to provide some level of protection for the person declaring bankruptcy allow you to keep your primary home."

        Although this obviously works in favour of habitual scoundrels who obviously couldn't possibly part with their residence with the gold taps dispensing mineral water and its five-car garage. Meanwhile, people with more limited means are dragged over hot coals for bankruptcy which didn't involve something closely resembling extortion.

        (700K? Jesus Christ! I know property was inflated in Britain but surely 700K would buy quite a decent place after the banks turned off the easy money and the prices started to move in the direction of sanity.)

      3. Velv


        I can understand an element of protection for "primary residence". But does he need a £700,000 house?

        The £700,000 house should have been seized and sold to pay the £200,000 fine. After costs he could still afford a very very very nice home.

        Never forget that Crossley was a bigger pirate than anyone he accused.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Limited company

      If he was a limited company then they can't take his house. If he was an unlimited company then anything bar clothes and bedding is fair game.

      1. corestore


        IIRC solicitors aren't allowed to be limited companies; they can only be sole traders or partnerships.


        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re Yep

          Solicitors can now be limited companies. The law changed about 5 years ago. However, ACS:Law was not. It was a sole trader, so he is liable for every penny.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Maths

      There is a good chance that he has a substantial mortgage on his £700k house. According to the land registry, he paid £710k for it on 11th May 2007.

    4. NogginTheNog


      Erm, actually he's reported to live in a house that's estimated to be worth in the region of £700k. But whether that's HIS, or the mortgage lender's, well that might make a big difference!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Do solicitors have similar rules to chartered accountants?

    As in if they are declared bankrupt they get booted out and cannot practice again - ever.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      No they don't

      "discharged in one year". Next year he will be cleared of all his debts and allowed to mount exactly the same con operation if he so chooses. Or a different swindle.

      As I said in another comment, that is a common technique among crooks. Mount a con operation, hide the cash where it can't be taken ("primary" house, gold and jewels for someone not legally responsible for your losses, create another company (legally independant of your person and the previous company) and give it all your money, etc... depending on the local laws there are MANY ways to hide the loot -or at least to make it legally protected).

      Then file for bankruptcy, wait for one year to be discharged, retrieve cash. Repeat as often as you want until one of your victims sticks something pointy through some of your bodyparts (which rarely happens).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not quite..

        The sentence "This will be automatically discharged in one year" in the original article is incorrect (or incomplete) - this discharge only exists if he collaborates with the people handling the bankruptcy. If he doesn't, an application can be made to court to stop the automatic clearing.

        I know this from a crook who tried to sue me maliciously, he hadn't counted on me finding out (he was aiming for a default judgement which he would then have used to harm my company). He didn't pay the fine imposed by the court, and after a good year of "I don't live in the UK" he was declared bankrupt. As he still wasn't collaborating the solicitors turned him into a pet project. Last thing I heard was that his family house was being sold to cover costs..

  10. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Yeah, bankruptcy

    He's sitting on a huge mountain of cash, I would guess. Bankruptcy is a well-known business model for crooks of all sorts. Mount your con operation, hide the loot, file for bankruptcy to avoid being sued for damage by the victims. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101


      I'll bet this is not karma as some have asserted, rather liability cleansing in the manner of a football team going into administration.

      He's won, I'm afraid.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope not!

    "so let's hope he's kept his hands on that"

    No, I hope not. Freetards, whatever your opinion of them, are doing nothing worse than taping something off the radio. This cunt, however, is using the law/establishment to deliberately inflict suffering for his own ends. I'd be happy if the fucker were strung up in public as a warning to other scum of his type. Maybe he could be kept alive I suppose, just forced to wallow in shit with "Shithouse Lawyer" branded on his forehead.

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Thumb Down

      @ AC 16:04

      "I'd be happy if the fucker were strung up in public as a warning to other scum of his type. "

      No thanks. Bringing back the stocks should do nicely.

      (If he's dead, he won't learn from his mistakes & will probably repeat them next time round.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      --"Freetards, whatever your opinion of them, are doing nothing worse than taping something off the radio. "

      That's not *really* accurate.

      What many of them are doing is

      a) seriously different in quantity

      b) significantly different in the quality of the content they copy

      c) massively different in that they can get pretty much anything they want - taping off the radio didn't really give people the chance to record entire /albums/ - if you *really* liked someone's work, you didn't have much choice - you pretty much had to buy (or borrow) the album.

      There really is a meaningful difference, and that difference isn't affected in the slightest by any amount of righteous indignation over precisely what kind of pondlife Crossley might be.

      *Whatever* he'd been up to wouldn't make bulk copying and sharing of content any more legal or moral an activity, even if quite a few people would clearly like to pretend it did.

      Heck, *I'd* like to pretend it did, but I know it doesn't.

      1. Mystic Megabyte

        @AC 20:55

        "That's not *really* accurate.

        What many of them are doing is

        a) seriously different in quantity

        b) significantly different in the quality of the content they copy"

        I worked in the music biz for years as a recording engineer. The most important thing was the master tape. You never gave it to *anyone*, only copies of reduced quality. Then with the advent of CDs they basically were selling the master copy and made a fortune as the production costs were lower than vinyl but the retail price was much higher. Suddenly it dawns on them, Oh no, we've flogged the master and anyone can copy it! Too fucking late, morons.

        1. Arnie

          At last +1

          Being a former Tape op then Mastering engineer back when there was a music industry I couldnt agree more.

          They are getting all pissy cause the master tapes are out there while for years you lapped up their x6 speed pre-recorded cassettes @ premium prices by the bucketload while they sat in their A&R offices snorting the GDP of bolivia.

          If you buy into this entertainment industry woe is I then your more than a mug than they are.

          Mines on PCM-1630 U-Matic tape

      2. The Commenter formally known as Matt



        a) Different in quantity? Do you have any evidence that the average freetard post torrents/internet has more content (that they would otherwise buy) pirated compared to pre torrents/internet. I would suspect not.

        b) Better quality? Well yes, pirated stuff is better quality than it used to be, but so is paid stuff. Better technology is better I suppose, doesn't really make pirating any worse than it used to be. (and I would suggest the vast majority of pirated songs / movies etc are piss poor quality anyway)

        c) Pish, Albums are dead anyway. Yes it is easier to get (pirated and to a lesser extent legal) movies and TV shows now (I don't have to wait for them to be shown on BBC/ITV anymore) but again this is better technology being better, not really making the modern 'home taping' any worse than it used to be.

        But you are right Crossley's actions don't really have much effect on the morality of pirating content.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Do the crime avoid the fine

    Let's hope he didn't keep the £700,000 house, but no doubt that's been secured.

    Was the point of fining him £200,000 then reducing it to £1000 and he is discharged in a year.just to prove justice was not done?

    Further proof that the scum always rises to the top.

  13. Ally J
    Thumb Up

    It's a bit more inconvenient

    ... than your train being late, isn't it?

    Lest we forget, Mr Crossley's downfall was as much due to his own ineptitude as to his work. His site was hacked once, and the subsequent restore of his site was how his e-mails leaked out.

    He's not a martyr to pikey freetards dragging him down - he's a lawyer who couldn't keep confidential information safe. If he hadn't had the initial attack, he would be on 'Watchdog' by now, having to defend his work. The hacking was just a catalyst.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      That's not the main problem

      His main problem is that his client did not own the copyright to the works he alleged were infringed, which means he has no more right to seek damages for their infringement than I do.

  14. Martin 15
    Thumb Up


    How does it go....

    Pay me £500 for the trouble you caused me or I'll take you to court.

  15. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I think

    that ACS:Law £200,000 fine was against a limited company. If that was the case, then UK law says that he *personally* is not liable for the company losses unless he was a director, and then only if he was negligently running the company (and although he was a con artist, this does not amount to negligence in UK corporate law).

    This article says that he has been declared *personally* bankrupt, so the two things are not necessarily linked.

    When it comes to personal property, as long as the money used to buy it was extracted from the company in a legal manner, then there ain't much that can be done to link the company losses against him personally. That is what a limited company is all about.

    Of course, he could have been stupid, and set it up as a partnership (trading, not legal - although who with is a moot point) or as a sole trader, at which point he would be liable. But he wouldn't be that stu..... Oh, wait. Maybe he would.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If you had bothered to read any of the previous stuff, it was established that he was running ACS:Law as a sole trader. He didn't have any other choice as solicitors can't have limited liability. If the ICO believed he was bankrupt then they wouldn't have got their £200K but would have a chance of recovering £1K as a nominal act.

      1. Kevin Gurney

        ...more wrongly

        And if you'd read the previous stuff or done a little research you'd know that solicitors can be limited liability - thats why so many solicitors firms end with LLP which stands for Limited Liability Partnership.

        More details at the link below :

        1. peter 45


          "Section 2(1)(a) of the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000 requires that there must be at least two members to incorporate an LLP. The members could be, for example, an individual solicitor and a recognised body. The Solicitors Regulation Authority will not recognise an LLP with only one member."

          Piece of advice. Wiki is not always correct and does not always give you the complete picture. When lambasing someone for not doing research, doing a bit of research beyond Wiki is usually a good idea.

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          ... but as two wrongs do make a right here

          He could have been limited liability if he wanted to, but he wasn't. So he is personally liable.

          Correct answer, wrong reasons.

  16. nsld
    Thumb Up

    Hows that coffee queue now Andrew?

    I wouldnt normally point and laugh but fuck me this character deserves it in spades.

  17. MJI Silver badge

    What good news

    I hope he ends up on the street.

    Pint time

  18. Sureo

    "This will be automatically discharged in one year."

    Then he'll be off on his next clever enterprise the leeching asshole. Where's the asshole icon anyway?

  19. Zippy the Pinhead

    Where is Anon when you need them?

    Can't they hack his laptop then upload a snotload of MP3s and pirated movies and then turn him in!

    Serves this piece of dog dropping right!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do you mean "charges" and do you mean "conviction"?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke.


  22. Anonymous Coward

    bankrupt? I don't think so...

    currently I am working and living in Africa, and I saw few of those "bankrupt" officials and business people. They take the money and never pay it back, then when you take them to court, they are suddenly bankrupt! Or, in the case of officials, they never owned the money in the first place, the money were a donation to a not for profit charity that is ran by their wives, and this charity only looks after the house hold!

    you still see them living in there big houses and driving nice cars..... but they suddenly do not _own_ any of them! All those items are owned by their wives, brothers, sisters and/or uncles and aunties. The person him/herself no longer own anything except the cloth on their backs, legally they are free loading on the property of their relatives! They just make sure that their relatives have signed an "I owe you" document before giving them the property.

    one thing that came up in Kenya few years ago to address this "sudden bankrupt" problem that many local banks were facing. There is an option in the Kenyan law that allow you to send a person to jail if they can't pay you. I don't know how it is working out for them, but you really need something in the law to address those "sudden bankrupt, yet living a rich life" people!

  23. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Suffer in ya jocks!


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does law work?

    "Crossley's last known address [...] is worth in the region of £700,000 [...He was fined] £200,000 last month [...] This was cut to just £1,000 due to his reduced circumstances."

    I have to admit that I know little about laws, and when I read stuff like that, it only gets me more puzzled. How the heck does that work? Does that mean that if I ever get fined, I just have to capitalise all my money and I won't have to pay anything?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he's so slimey*

    we'll probably discover that the house etc is all in his wife's name or something (with the transfer 3 days before the declaration)

    How can we check that?

    Also, I can't think of anything worse than my hard earned taxes going to support him, can we vote on some kind of deportation or something?


  26. Wolfhound57

    Con artists don''t deserve to prosper anymore than pirates

    'so let's hope he's kept his hands on that.', NO! lets hope he is such a poor Solicitor he has lost his house as well, not because I support file sharers but because this man was just as much a freeloader as them. He saw a route to a quick buck and without irrefutable proof decided to blackmail people he thought were pirating software or media. His sole interest was in his enrichment he wasn't an upholder of the law merely a cheap Con-man and in my book he deserves whatever happens to him.

    Also I notice a considerable number of posts supporting his original position, I would love to see an analysis of the posters and their families and colleagues computers as regards their software legality.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He never considered anybody elses reduced circumstances when he was threatening them

  28. Alan Gregory 1


    Looking at the bankruptcy documents it appears that it was forced by HMRC.

    Now there is an organisation you don't want after you.

    I would suspect that the moving of assets to a third person in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings is looken on very dimly and may even be a criminal offense when the person you are attempting to defraud is the Government.

  29. lotus49

    Probably not broke but still bad

    Although I don't doubt for a moment that Andrew Crossley is not bankrupt in the sense that most people would mean (ie assets he controls < liabilities) all of this will have been a chastening and humiliating experience.

    Two years ago he was riding a wave, boasting about how much he was earning. Now he is a declared bankrupt who will almost certainly not be permitted to practise again by the SRA. In addition he how has a wide reputation for being a worthless piece of crap, has been lambasted by the courts and laughed at by the likes of us. So I don't think it has turned out too badly.

    PS Can we refrain from calling people cunts please? I am perfectly happy with swearing but as someone who is generally rather fond of women and their bits, I regard this as offensive in any event but even more so if the word is used to describe the lowest of the low (ie Andrew Crossley).

    1. demented

      Plenty of time to que for a coffee and catch a train now eh?

      Yeah cunt's are useful,crossley isn't except maybe as a punchbag,I read some of those e-mail's and that house has a massive rear garden to it but there was some shared access to part of it ,which that selfish twat didn't like and wanted sole access, the fucker was looking at big houses and flash cars in the infancy of ACSLAW he was a shark I hope some of those he robbed /harassed find him That would be interesting to watch when they demand a refund

  30. demented

    Send him down the backsteps

    He should be in prison, the file sharers may have broken a civil law, but crossley in my book is guilty of of several criminal offences inc Freud , i bet he wouldn't survive long in there

  31. Sam Therapy

    Crossley got a small measure of what he deserved

    He should now be publicly buggered with a giant saltpetre prick.

  32. Dennis Wilson


    He deserved to go bankrupt for being so stupid

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