… but it was all a mistake, says law firm
Google has removed an online advertisement by compo law firm FS Legal for “breaching our policies and falsely implying affiliation with NLC (National Leasehold Campaign)”.
Google has informed LKP, its MP patrons and the co-founders of the NLC:
“Our team has reviewed this ad and disapproved it for breaching our policies and falsely implying affiliation with NLC. I can confirm that we have taken down the ad for misrepresentation.”
The incident follows a series of exchanges between FS Legal, headed by solicitor Gareth Fatchett and the NLC, which declines to co-operate despite repeated overtures with its efforts to litigate on behalf of leaseholders.
Earlier this month, the law firm issued a defamation threat against NLC co-founder and volunteer Joanne Darbyshire for a Tweet held to be defamatory by FS Legal.
Mr Fatchett informs LKP that the advertisement was an “administrative error” by a third party advert service. Full letter below.
“We also have no desire to be associated with a campaign which looks like it will end as a damp squib.”
FS Legal first contacted LKP in December last year eagerly offering its services on behalf of leaseholders. The offer was repeated, but LKP did not respond to the firm, and, separately, the NLC also declined to co-operate.
Earlier this year FS Legal was asked to remove LKP material from its website, including the logo of the All Party Parliamentary Group. The material was subsequently taken down. FS Legal also apologised to the NLC for removing data of doubling ground rent sites in the closed Facebook group.
The law firm is one of several offering to seek compensation from conveyancing solicitors who landed their clients in unsellable properties owing to onerous ground rent terms.
LKP is aware of 17 cases that have been settled.
In April this year Mr Fatchett was fined £2,000 with £9,250 costs by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority for professional misconduct in misleading a court.
This outcome was reached by SRA decision. Reasons/basis Mr Gareth Ward Fatchett of FS Legal Solicitors LLP, 1 Hagley Court South, The Waterfront, Brierley Hill, West Midlands DY5 1XE agrees to the following outcome of the investigation into his professional conduct. Background As a result of a complaint to the SRA in September 2015, the SRA commenced an investigation.
FS Legal statement to LKP
My firm uses third party SEO services for our websites and advertising. The advert is clearly wrong and should have been “Leasehold Redress Campaign” which is our chosen strapline for our Google Ads.
I have spoken to our contractors who have confirmed that they made an administrative error with regard to this singular advert. Thankfully, this was picked up and dealt with immediately, which I thank you for.
We have done a search on “National Leasehold Campaign” / “NLC” and can see no registered trademarks etc. We can see no structure (company limited by guarantee) or charity registration. Whilst, the advert you brought to my attention was clearly an error, we do doubt that anyone actually owns the rights to either of the above two slogans. Quite aside from that, we have no need or desire to imply we are part of NLC or National Leasehold Campaign. What we are doing is based on professional negligence claims, which is entirely different. We also have no desire to be associated with a campaign which looks like it will end as a damp squib. We just hope that leaseholders will not run out of time to bring a claim, whilst they wait for you to be successful in meeting your objectives.
I can see that you are teeing up one of your blogs to seek to exacerbate matters. However, as we are in negotiation with the solicitors acting for your trustee Ms Darbyshire, I would urge you to show restraint, so that we can conclude matters with her.
If you are to publish, please make sure you print this letter in full as it constitutes our response.
Gareth Fatchett – Solicitor & Notary Public