that ‘the publication of the allegations complained of self-evidently ‘threaten veryserious harm to our clients’ reputations’ they did not act immediately to injunctthe website and booklet and apply for them to be, respectively, taken down and pulped at the outset. If they had done, they could have avoided the damage theysay has since been done by hundreds of thousands of people visiting our websiteand reading our booklet5)The gross imbalance between your clients who are wealthy enough to be able(several times) to hire the country’s top libel lawyers - and myself, whose annualincome is below the tax threshold6)The holidays, that I can demonstrate have both been pre-booked, which willseriously interfere with my or my Solicitor’s ability to respond within the 14-day period mentioned in the Pre-Action Protocol7)The undoubted complexity of the legal issues involved
in this particular and unique case
which in all fairness you must concede justifies a further delay whilsta barrister’s opinion is sought - you yourselves know the complexity of the issues.I turn now in addition to the following relevant extracts from the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation, which you sent.First, regarding the 14-day period you have given me for reply, you made no mention of this in your initial letter received on 1 September 2009.
You should have done.
Second, in your further letter dated 16 September, you say: “The 14-day period is the period
by the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation”. That is
and I believe a deliberate misrepresentation of the Pre-Action Protocol. Given that your website claims that you are ‘the most feared libel lawyers in the U.K.’, you have aresponsibility not to mislead those to whom you are writing, and here the ProfessionalCode of Conduct for Solicitors is relevant. Principle 17.01: ‘Fairness’ states: “Solicitorsmust not act, whether in a professional capacity or otherwise, towards anyone in a waywhich is deceitful…”. I regard your statement that the 14 days is ‘prescribed’ as deceitfulas you know it is not ‘prescribed’.Indeed, the Protocol states the following, inter alia:a)“If the Defendant believes that s/he will be unable to respond within 14 days, thens/he should specify the date by which s/he intends to respond”. That is what I amdoing by this letter b)“The [Defendant’s] Response should include whether more information isrequired…If more information is required [by the Defendant], then the Defendantshould specify precisely what information is needed to enable the claim to bedealt with and why”. I do require further information and this is set out below.c)Paragraph 1.5 notes that the overriding objective’ is to ‘deal with a case justly’and the Protocol goes on to define several relevant considerations, including thefollowing which seem to me to apply very much in this particular case:(i)ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing [clearly they are not atthe moment since Adam Tudor is reported to on a sizeable monthlyretainer for advising the McCanns on libel issues and the McCanns canafford to instruct the most feared libel lawyers in the land