QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
(Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division)
MR JUSTICE JACKSON
|RICHARD ROY CHRISTOPHER STOKES||(CLAIMANT)|
|THE LAW SOCIETY||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR G MARRIOTT (instructed by Gorvins) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"We hereby authorise you to take such proceedings whether in London or elsewhere as may be necessary to recover from Internav Ltd and/or others our proportion of the sum of US$57,754.78 recovered on behalf of cargo underwriters by Holman Fenwick & Willan together with interest/compensation for loss of use of the funds."
"2.1 Contrary to Rule 1 of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 his professional conduct was such that it compromised or impaired or was likely to compromise or impair any of the following namely his independence or integrity; a person's freedom to instruct a solicitor of his or her choice; his duty to act in the best interests of his client; his good repute or that of his profession; his proper standard of work; and his duty to the Court.
"2.2 He accepted instructions which involved his breaching rules or principles of professional conduct.
"2.3 He acted or continued to act as a solicitor where his client could not be represented with confidence or diligence."
"(a) The client should be told the name and the status of the person responsible for the conduct of the matter on a day-to-day basis ... "
"A client should be told in simple language at the outset of a matter or as soon as possible thereafter the issues raised and how they will be dealt with ... The client should also be informed about costs ...
"(b) The solicitor should keep his client informed both of the progress of his matter and of the reason for any serious delay which occurs ...
"(c) The solicitor should explain to the client the effect of any important and relevant document."
"Where instructions are received not from a client but from a third party purporting to represent that client, a solicitor should obtain written instructions from the client that he wishes him to act, or in any case of doubt he should see the client or take other appropriate steps to confirm instructions."
"A solicitor who has accepted instructions on behalf of a client is bound to carry out those instructions with diligence and must exercise reasonable care and skill."
"A solicitor is under a duty to carry out the terms of his retainer with due care and skill, proper diligence and promptness; he must also keep his client properly informed."
"In casualty cases, salvage/GA work and recovery work will often be carried out concurrently and by the same individuals or departments."
"Salvage/GA work will include some, or all, of the following ...
"(ix) Where appropriate, instructing lawyers to represent the cargo interests in advising, dealing with salvage security, defending salvors' claims, resisting claims for contribution in GA proceedings (although some agents have legally qualified staff and may conduct arbitrations themselves).
"29. Recovery work will include some or all of the following ...
"(iv) Where appropriate, instructing lawyers to represent the cargo interests in advising, obtaining security, bringing recovery proceedings (although some recovery agents have legally qualified staff and may conduct arbitrations themselves).
"(v) Co-ordinating all of the above, reporting regularly to the interests represented and obtaining their further instructions."
"it is in my experience the usual practice of German cargo interests/charters and insurers ... to refer the matter either to a German lawyer such as myself or to a para-legal collection agency in case of recovery claims ... I understand that Nordstern did so in the present case by agreeing to the collection of the COMARA receivable by Messrs Gustav Ziegler who often act as a collection agency."
"I select and retain an English solicitor known to me as having particular experience not only in shipping or insurance law ... "
"Whether it is a German lawyer or collection agency the cargo insurer or charterer is and remains his/its client who expects him/it to take an active role directly or indirectly in bringing the matter to a successful conclusion."
"I can say with certainty that the usual practice is for the German lawyer to be in charge of the case throughout. I am convinced that the same applies to a collection agency the more so if it works on a "no cure no pay"-basis. There is no question normally of any English solicitor being expected or permitted to report directly to or take instructions directly from the cargo insurers/charterers ... the cargo insurers/charterers are nevertheless and remain the client of the German lawyer or collection agency ... I would expect the English solicitor to look to me for his fees (and certainly not to the cargo insurers directly) and to regard me as what I believe is known in London as the "professional client" ... I would most certainly not expect him to contact my cargo insurer/charterer client direct without my permission and would certainly not retain him again if he did so."
"I understand that Holmes Hardingham's position is that the instructions given to William A Crump in 1990 were terminated in January 1993. The position in fact was that the file was transferred to Mr Stokes from William A Crump when he moved to his new firm of Hughes Hooker and it was clear from those instructions that the file was intended for him personally to handle through Hughes Hooker or whichever firm he subsequently joined. In the event, he of course set up on his own account as Richard Stokes & Co. I would refer you also to our fax of 31st March 1994 and to our telephone conversation when we advised you of this fact. Since that time, however, we have expended both considerable time, effort and money in bringing this matter to a position where as you yourself appreciated, the defendants were extremely agitated and were pressing for a settlement."
"The evidence before the Tribunal included the admissions of Mr Bentley on the basis that his conduct was such that it compromised or impaired his independence, his good repute or that of the solicitors' profession and his duty to the Court on the basis that Mr Bentley had been misguided in his involvement with the "Comara" case and went far beyond what a normal witness would do."
"Mr Bentley gave oral evidence."
"With regard to the allegations made against Mr Stokes, the nub of the matter before the Tribunal was to ascertain the client for whom Mr Stokes was acting."
"The Tribunal finds that Nordstern was not merely the "ultimate client" but Nordstern was the client of Mr Stokes. Indeed he was on the Court record as acting (through one or other of his firms) for Nordstern, the claimant in the litigation."
"We have been asked to contact you direct by Richard Hussey of Insurance Recovery Services Ltd, who has now been posted abroad for an indefinite time."