A lawyer setting spies on another lawyer? Mon dieu… whatever next?

In the wake of allegations on Newsnight tonight about  Farrer & Co’s involvement in #Hackgate and the setting of the surveillance dogs on solicitor Mark Lewis – picked up by RollonFriday.com today…..

Sources have told us that the behaviour of Julian Pike, a prominent Farrers’ partner, is to be the subject of a report about News International and the on-going hacking cases. And the allegations against him are explosive. It’s alleged that Pike suggested that News International instruct private investigators to look into the backgrounds of lawyers representing phone hacking victims. Sources say that the private investigators were told to obtain birth certificates of the one of the partner’s children…..

It is just as well Julian Pike has a reputation for reputation management.  He will be able to phone himself up and take some advice to deal with this explosive issue?  I suspect, if these allegations are true (one assumes that Mr Lewis and the BBC know what they are doing in reporting the issue?), that Her Majesty will not be amused – given that H M the Queen is Farrer & Co’s most important client.

The Guardian considered the issue this morning…. News of the World hired investigators to spy on hacking victims’ lawyers

***

BUT.. it isn’t all doom and gloom down at Farrer & Co…

Farrer & Co named London Legal Team of the Year at the STEP Private Client Awards held last week

Date Posted: 20/09/2011

Farrer & Co were named London Legal Team of the Year at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Private Client Awards last week with the following words from the judges: ‘Our winners  have skilfully fused a famous history of effective advice giving, with a thoroughly up-to-date and open approach to their clients’ issues. This is not an easy balance to achieve, and their youthful, wise and energetic leadership sets a suitable tone.’ Jim Edmondson (Joint Senior Partner) and Mark Bridges (Partner) collected the award from Alistair McGowan.

(HT @PegasusCorpInfo)

The BBC reports:

The Metropolitan Police gave Mr Lewis documents, including emails from March 2010, which indicate a partner at News Group’s lawyers, Farrer, raised the idea of surveillance.

Newsnight’s Richard Watson says Derek Webb has spoken out because he says he is owed money by News International

But there is no evidence surveillance was commissioned by Farrer as a result and the firm told Newsnight it could not comment without permission from its employers, which it did not have.

Mr Lewis told Newsnight that he was “devastated” to hear the revelations.

“To follow my teenage daughter, my youngest daughter and video her is nothing short of sick,” Mr Lewis said, urging that the matter be investigated.

AND FINALLY… here is a transcript of evidence given by Julian Pike to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in relation to #Hackgate – worth a detailed read.

And… it is, of course, not a criminal offence to engage in surveillance – assuming that no burglary or other criminality involved!

One thought on “A lawyer setting spies on another lawyer? Mon dieu… whatever next?

  1. Very interesting given that the Law Society is now seeking to place greater emphasis on “ethics” in legal education. The regulatory bodieas for solicitors, barristers and legal executives are undertaking a fundamental review of the legal education provided in England and Wales.

    http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/opinion/president039s-podium/solicitors-have-qualities-hold-higher-judicial-office

    Just what, if anything, are the regulators doint about these allegations? Being legal does not make something ethical.

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