British Law Just Isn't British Law
Kevin Harper, who formerly worked at Josephs Solicitors in Blackburn, Lancashire, was struck off in 2009 in case number 9816 2007 of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which ruled he had provided inadequate professional services.
He was suspended indefinitely and also ordered to pay costs of £6,974.
In his ruling the chairman of the tribunal said:“The respondent appeared simply to have abandoned his responsibilities and left the country.
“ In all of these circumstances the Tribunal considered it right to have imposed an indefinite suspension on the Respondent and would wish to make it that he would be very unlikely to have the suspension lifted if he could not fully demonstrate that he had fully regularised his position”.
That is unlikely to happen. But Mr.Harper still displays his lawyer’s certificate in his offices in Pattaya Third Road, where he prominently displays displays the Union Jack, as if to say, if its British his company must be strictly legit.
The action against Mr. Harper’s only came to light after the two daughters of David Farrell, who was found dead in Bang Saray, Chonburi Province, made a complaint of excessive billing.
They were charged in the region of £800 – 40,000 baht – in connection with their father’s will.
In fact their father had made a will with another law firm who were handling the matter.
British Law is currently on the British Embassy list of lawyers.
A spokesman said the list was reviewed annually and was currently under review. Information provided to the Embassy ‘had been noted’.
The Embassy issues a disclaimer saying it cannot be held responsible for the actions of any lawyers on its list.
Above the British Law listing on the Embassy website - UK in Thailand.
“The police agreed to investigate the five points of evidence we brought to their attention. There were no charges for all of my time or my staff’s time during this time”.
In terms of work related to Mr.Farrell’s estate he said: “My Thai lawyer suggested a fee of 70,000, but we eventually agreed with all three applicants to the court at 40,000 plus the court fee of 3000 thai baht.”
Nicky Farrell said: "Not only did we feel we were overcharged but items we gave Mr. Harper to auction also went missing. He informed us he had disciplined a member of staff."
UPDATE: 08-11-12: Mr. Harper has now responded to allegations that he had been struck off in the U.K.
"In 2008 I received a call from a friend of mine in UK to say that I was the subjest of a local newspaper article concering a solicitors panel hearing. It transpired that an ex client had claimed to the law society that I had given some incorrect advice when my solicitors practice was operating some 3 years earlier. The Law Society said they had written to me for my side of events but heard nothing so they called a hearing.
"I found out later that the Law Society had sent all the correspondence relating to this to the wrong address in Thailand so I knew nothing of the hearing. Because I did not turn up at the hearing the result was that I could no longer have a practicing certificate in England.
" I could have raised an appeal but as I was no longer living in UK and had no intentions of returning there it seemed pointless. I can catagorically tell you that the case did not involve missing client's money simply alleged wrong advice. I state this because the public perception of when a solicitor is "struck off" as you put is that they automatically assume money has gone missing. Our client account was audited by the Law society before the office was closed and all was found to be in order.
"To conclude I am not working as a solicitor in Thailand. I am managing a Law Office. I never advertise. All my customers come from personal recommendation. I have a constant flow of business from ex-pats and some Thais and can offer hundreds of references from satisfied customers, and although I do not pretend to be able to satisfy all the customers all of the time 99.9% of the people I help in Thailand are happy with the service. Should you wish to take up any references please let me know".
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