Read All About It!
Its days numbered from Day 1. Doesn’t this smell? I am telling this story backwards and slowly. You don’t need to know detail at this moment. I made a complaint to the Newcastle City Council about its policy for cycle lanes for non-existent cycles and get nowhere. This is how the complaint died a death.
STAGE 1 An Assistant Local Government Ombudsman sends me a draft report white washing the local authority. I criticise it. The final report is unchanged. She has full and unchallengeable authority. Three other Assistant LGOs back her up as well as an Executive Director. There is no answer to my criticisms. Dr. Jane Martin, the Local Government Ombudsman knows they are there, but feels no obligation to sign off the report even though I allege bias and can point to a very large hole in her bucket. The devil is in the detail. Click https://goo.gl/hOZmAo
STAGE 2 To initiate judicial review the assistant LGO recommends that I instruct a solicitor to draft a pre-action protocol letter. One local solicitor doesn’t reply. Another solicitor with branches nationwide parades inadequacy and declines. I go to Bindmans LLP, well known human rights lawyers in London, and I give them dossier over 100 pages in length. Without fully reading it, Bindmans strongly recommend I don’t proceed. I press on regardless.
STAGE 3 Bindmans send me draft Advice saying that they cannot write the pre-action letter. Their protocol prevents it. (Mine, they say, does too as a non-practising barrister). The case is “unarguable” and is “bound to fail”. Solicitors don’t normally turn away business when there’s 100 pages of evidence. I criticise the Advice but it comes back unchanged and they refund a quarter of my prepayment. I criticise it again under their complaints policy.
STAGE 4 Bindmans say that their Complaints Procedure does not allow them to answer my criticisms. I now go to the Legal Ombudsman. Their Investigator gets Bindmans to accept that they should. But they still don’t. They get a fourth lawyer to say the other three are right.
STAGE 5 I go back to the Legal Ombudsman complaining that Bindmans LLP has still not answered my criticisms alleging negligence and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The 16 page Advice has as many holes in it as a kitchen sieve. Again the devil is in the detail. If words can kill, they did their best to.
I now detailed 33 criticisms. https://goo.gl/g7Fjlm. There are 17 Legal Ombudsman and 1 Chief Legal Ombudsman as well as a CEO. It should take 2 to 4 weeks to decide whether to investigate my complaint. It takes 15 weeks and many reminders. Then all within 10 days – including Christmas & Boxing Day – an investigator says they are all laymen, looks at the paperwork and rejects the complaint, and 3 days later 1 of the 17 legal ombudsman dismisses it. This time it is the Chief Legal Ombudsman, Kathryn Stone and her CEO, Nick Hawkins, who don’t want to sign off the decision even though they know I dispute it.
In short, I say it doesn’t need a trained lawyer, to see whether Bindmans have served me well or not. It needs only the reasonable man or woman on the Clapham Omnibus. The Investigator and the legal ombudsmen do not even see the Number 33 bus!
I repeat. Doesn’t this whole thing smell? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE LEGAL PROFESSION – ESPECIALLY HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS HERE? THEY OF ALL PEOPLE SHOULD BE ON MY SIDE NEVER MIND THE OMBUDSMEN. Read my next post. IT IS NOT THE FIRST TIME. I level the twin charge – Complacency and Hypocrisy.
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