Read All About It!
IN THE UK SCORES OF OMBUDSMEN ARE INDIVIDUALLY LICENSED TO KILL YOUR COMPLAINTS.
The good name earned by Scandinavian Ombudsmen is now compromised and the brand tarnished. Lawyers, journalists, broadcasters, students of politics, fellow bloggers – If what follows doesn’t worry you, it is YOUR loss as well as mine. Here they were shooting on sight! Here is the killing zone!
On 23 December, just before Christmas, Kristianne James the investigator sends me an email saying that as I challenge her decision she is referring it to the Ombudsman. I tell her that I have more to say and that I intend to write to Kathryn Stone direct. I also said that I intended to write to the office of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.
On 28 December, immediately after Christmas, I sent those letters with copies to Kristianne James.
On 30 December a great shock to my system. I received an email from Kristianne James despatched on the 29 December with a letter attached stating the following:
“It would be more suitable for the issue to be dealt with by a court, by arbitration or by another complaints (or costs-assessment) scheme (Rule 5.7(g))
My final decision on this issue is that the complaint should be dismissed under Rule 5.7(g).
In light of my decision this case will now be closed. We will not normally consider reopening a case unless the circumstances are exceptional.”
My first great surprise was the name of Samantha Argyle “Ombudsman” at the foot of the letter. I expected Kathryn Stone’s, the Legal Ombudsman. The letter said that she had read my letter to Kathryn Stone. As you will see she had paid scant attention to it.
All became clearer when I realised that, along with Samantha Argyle, Mariette Hughes, Paul Lawton, Steven Pearson, Andrew Burford, Laura Barker, Jason Chapman, Amanda Charlton, Darren Cox, Clair Daniel, Siobhan Fennell, Jodie Handley, Louise Hopkins, Shamaila Hussain, Joshua Jackson, Louise Smith, and Simon Williams were all designated Ombudsmen. What a commentary on the legal profession by the way to need so many!
It was in this context that Kathryn Stone was designated Chief Ombudsman.
Are these seventeen properly named Ombudsmen? Or is this a bureaucratic misnomer? Aren’t they just apparatchiks? If you look at their profiles ask yourselves whether they should be empowered individually to have the last word without any appeal to the Chief Ombudsman. And you might well ask what the Chief Ombudsman is there for if not for that purpose.
Exactly same can be said about Dr. Jane Martin the Local Government Ombudsman. I am jumping ahead of myself.
The second thing that shook me was the sudden speed of everything , the positively indecent haste, and over the Christmas holiday period too! This was the second time. Before December 20 prevarication had been the norm.
On 3 September I had submitted the complaint. On 20 December, after 15 weeks’ delay, 20 email reminders, 3 telephone calls and an unanswered letter, Kristianne James emailed me to say that she was the Investigator and under Rule 5.7(g) she dismissed my complaint. She didn’t even stop to ask me to identify the bad service their remit requires them to address. And by 30 December, it was all over.
Not much turkey for Kristianne and Sam this Christmas, only a very hot, totally indigestible potato. For me a truly Kafkaesque situation.
This is what I had put in my letter to Kathrny Stone about Kristianne’s decision.
“Instead she immediately jumped to the entirely wrong conclusion. She summed this up in an email when she wrote: “Simply, as a lay organisation, we are not in a position to analyse and determine if the firm’s advice was right or not.” That was not what she had to do.”
“What she should have recognised was that at this stage her task was actually a very simple one, one that a fifteen year old child could undertake. She simply had to go back to Bindmans and ask them to do what Stuart Knight (on behalf of the Legal Ombudsman) had told them that they should do, namely to answer one by one my criticisms of their Advice. Only if and when they did so would the question arise as to whether she had sufficient expertise to evaluate the response. Only then, if it was not, could she invoke section 5.7g of your Scheme Rules and dismiss my complaint.”
Wasn’t speed here to ensure that the case that could not be re-opened? No worry then for the office of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice or for Kathryn Stone. And no worry for quite a few other people as well.
I shall explore this further as the story unfolds. In my next post I shall help you to understand why I take this so seriously and what it is all about.
- Authoritarianism? Do you need to hear the sound of the jackboot to see that today we are sleep-walking into it? — Speech Free. Complaining Futile? Too many forget its sound as soon as soon as it has passed. The Nazi jackboot. The Soviet jackboot...
- The Great Divide – and An Exposé of the British Disease – a Very Large Blind Eye — Brexit or no Brexit the UK needs to sort itself out. For those new to my Death of a Nightingale Blog I explore the...
- How to be Street-wise – Learning from life – I recommend it. A painful learning experience many years ago … — I will tell this story against myself, the plea in mitigation is at the outset. Cleverness is not enough! My youthful ambition was to...
- Oxford – the Nursery of the Political Elite -“A force confining” for the Intelligentsia, Lawyers and Mandarins? Clever? Yes. Street-wise? Never in the world, the real one — Come with me into Oxbridg’s Echo Chamber as I validate that. In my next I will suggest how to deal with it. I...
- Equality before the Law? Your Right to Justice in the UK, but only if you can afford the money. The Legal Profession badly needs to look in the Mirror — Guardian Headline “Top judge says justice system is now unaffordable to most” I am going to explain here how it comes about in the...
- “Side with your colleagues, right or wrong” – The Leitmotif of this Cycling Scandal? Solidarity pre-empts Integrity – Bias has a Price – £1.2bn Waste here! — When savage Austerity cuts elsewhere The staff of the Local Government Ombudsman and the Legal Ombudsman blocked my complaint in this Cycling saga....
- WANTED – A Young Aspiring Lawyer to assign to my claim against Bindmans LLP for breach of contract and negligence. — I sent the following letter to the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority yesterday. “Further to my letter of 4th August that I hope you will respond...
- GIFTS FROM GOD – Faith, Hope & Charity stronger that Nothingness! — Why for me the Good in Mankind outweighs the Bad, the Venal and the Corrupt “Retiring after 20 years as Chairman of Philip Cussins...
- Censored? Commissioned by “conservativewoman”, liked and admired, now black-balled YOU JUDGE — “All I can say is that you rose to my very poorly articulated, typo ridden challenge! This works – as you know! It is...
- Naughty dogs? Why I am rubbing their noses in it! Serious warnings are often ignored. Is Grenfell Tower another example? — Grenfell Tower Inferno – were warnings around UK about serious fire hazard ignored? – cladding that could take fire, and a lesson from the...