On 13 March 2013 I was served with a pre-action Letter from ES Legal. I found it a bit strange that the letter was delivered, not by a process server, but by ES Legal's own client (Ian Burrow) in the matter complained of.
The pre-action letter claimed that I had posted comments on the internet about Ian Burrow that were untrue and defamatory.
Over the next few days, I made some investigations into ES Legal and the two Solicitors who work there: Simon Paul Antony Fagan (ID: 294376) and Edward Michael Judge (ID: 34385) This is what I discovered...
ES Legal claims to be a trading style of Adjust Law Group Ltd. ES Legal certainly use an address where Adjust Law Group is based in Sale, Cheshire...
If a Solicitors practice uses a trading style it must be so registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) but ES legal is completely unknown to the SRA, either as a trading style or a legal practice in its own right. This is easily verified by calling the SRA on: 0870 606 2555.
The senior partner and a co-director at Adjust Law Group is Colin Ross Downie (ID: 162749) Downie was before a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in 2006 for several breaches; two of these were the wrongful use of trading styles for his solicitors practice. Downie was fined 5,000 so he must be aware of the requirement to register trading styles with the SRA.
There is an active company called ES Legal Ltd but that is also unknown to the SRA. The company was set up by Simon Fagan and Edward Judge as joint directors, both listing their capacity as Solicitor. Simon Fagan resigned his directorship, leaving Edward Judge as the sole director but Edward Judge denies being a director of ES Legal Ltd.
According to the SRA, Simon Fagan works for Adjust Law Group Ltd but SRA records show Edward Judge only working at Judge and Partners. However, the SRA press office tell me that Judge and Partners is being dissolved. Shahid Ali (ID: 2720) the only other partner at Judge and Partners, confirms that Judge and Partners ceased trading, in effect, over five months ago and that the premises are empty; Edward Judge claims the practice continues to operate, but by appointment only.
The question is why Judge and Partners is being dissolved? Well, according to four solicitors who know Edward Judge, it is because of an allegedly fraudulent application for Legal Aid by Edward Judge in a major Trading Standards case. One of those four Solicitors told me that it involved a York Trading Standards case about 3 years ago.
A Trading Standards officer from York City Council has confirmed that Edward Judge did represent a client in a multi-million pound counterfeiting case during 2010.
Edward Judges former partner, Shahid Ali, is not implicated in any alleged Legal Aid fraud but investigations into Edward Judges alleged involvement are being pursued by the SRA and the Legal Services Commission.
Before setting up ES Legal Ltd with Edward Judge, Simon Fagan was a director at Ozon Solicitors. Mr. Ozon, who sits on Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunals, submitted a complaint about Simon Fagan to the SRA in January 2013 for what he considers to be serious matters. The outcome of that complaint is not yet known.
Interestingly, Simon Fagan was also in joint directorship with his client, Ian Burrow, in another company, Envirodeck Ltd, but Fagan resigned and was replaced by Fagans wife as director; she has since resigned.
Fagans resignation as director from Ian Burrows company occurred just two days before a debt collection agency run by Ian Burrow (Goldman Vicenti Ltd) was wound-up by the High Court for charging VAT when it was not VAT registered, overcharging clients, failing to pay clients all the monies collected and failing to maintain adequate accounts and records...
Ian Burrow also worked with an ex-Detective Sergeant Christopher Taylor. Taylor is currently on trial for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud in another major Trading Standards case...
After uncovering the above information, I spoke to a director of Adjust Law Group to express my concerns. That director (Mike Wilson) did not wish to speak to me given the serious matters I was raising but said he would talk with Colin Downie and Simon Fagan.
Within 35 minutes, I received an email from ES Legal (presumably authored by Simon Fagan) saying that, as of that day, they were no longer representing Ian Burrow but would not give the reasons why.
Today, 18 April 2013, I have received written confirmation from the SRA that they can find no details of any law firm calling themselves ES Legal or ES Legal Ltd.