Deborah Lipstadt's lawyers have broken undertakings before. . .
I AM WAITING for a response from the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. I have complained to them about the breach of the undertaking that Deborah Lipstadt's lawyers Mishcon de Reya, the wealthy firm of London solicitors, gave me to bring to the High Court the original television newsreel videocassettes of my November 1991 speech in Halle, East Germany.
Mishcon failed to bring the videos, then falsely argued to the judge that they were only copies of the originals, (or even "originals of copies") that they had made, and not the originals that I had claimed: as copies might be privileged, they might have had some pretext not to have disclosed them to me.
Out of the blue today I receive an e-mail from a Tony H., who was surfing the Internet for the lowdown on Mishcon de Reya, as they had also broken an undertaking to his firm with very serious consequences.
"In 1996 Mishcon de Reya represented our company in a commercial transaction. Due to a dispute with new investors into our company, Mishcon de Reya served an injunction on us as directors and also on our company. It was a wasteful litigation that lasted two years. We as directors won our case in Feb 1998."
It was, says Harding, patently obvious that Mishcon de Reya were acting for them despite a most serious conflict of interest -- "amongst other things." In fact within only days of his firm issuing the injunction in 1996 his own solicitor warned Mishcon de Reya of this conflict.
He says that Mishcon de Reya fired back a routine response, to the effect that "we have sought Counsel's Opinion" and that Counsel had assured them that no conflict existed.
As the litigation proceeded, Harding's firm took their complaints to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (the former Solicitors Complaints Bureau). This toothless body was unable to make any findings against Mishcon de Reya until the litigation ended in Feb 1998.
So the wheels do not turn very fast within the O.S.S. On January 19 this year, 1999, however the OSS found against Mishcon on three separate counts of the complaint with recommendations that reprimands be issued against [the partner concerned] on each count.
A legal expert states that for a firm of Mishcon's eminence to be found guilty of three separate breaches of Law Society rules is the most serious situation that such a firm could ever hope to face.
The Office asked the complaining firm not disclose details of the outcome for fourteen days to give Mishcon de Reya the opportunity to appeal. In mid February 1999, Mishcon informed the Office that they will not be appealing. The Law Society has now to rule on what sanctions to apply against Mishcon. The complaining firm has lodged a substantial claim with Mishcon's insurers in respect of losses incurred through their conduct.
"If you find the above to be of any interest," writes H., "please let me know."