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Law firm boss suspended for repeatedly shouting "f**k off" at mediation
28 July 2017
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A solicitor has been suspended for three months and fined £20,000 for a string of professional disgraces.

Michael Horne attracted the complaints while running his Hereford-based firm Kidwells which he set up in 2008 after qualifying as a solicitor in 2006. Horne, whose previous career was as a 'businessman', has previously attracted positive press attention for flying around in a helicopter and talking up a gym and massage centre he planned to build alongside his firm's offices. He is less keen to address allegations that in the 1990s he was convicted of benefit fraud and served time for stealing motor boats, failing to respond to requests for comment from RollOnFriday.

In one incident considered by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, a solicitor named as 'Ms FS' resigned as a consultant for Kidwells to work for a rival firm and claimed £341 from Horne in unpaid fees. Horne sued her for £15,000 which he accused her of losing the firm by mishandling matters.

  Partridge-like Horne really posed mansplaining to five women and really published that waffling chaff.  

Horne admitted in his witness statement at the original court case, "I was prepared to just move on but warned her that if she pressed for payment then I would raise the counterclaim as I have done". Throwing out Horne's counterclaim, the judge ruled that it was "devoid of merit" and had been conducted "out of spite" at the rival firm and Ms FS. He said Horne had conducted himself in "an astounding way" (not in a good sense) and produced an "amazing" pleading (not in a good sense). He also said Horne's defence to Ms FS's claim was "hopeless" and "defied logic".

Horne was also prosecuted by the SRA in respect of his behaviour at an abortive mediation with Ms FS. Her solicitor at the time, Richard Morgan, said that during Horne's opening address he called Morgan, "either a smug bastard or a pompous bastard, I cannot now be sure which". Morgan said, "I then must have said something to provoke him, as he shouted 'fuck off' at me once or twice from where he stood on the opposite end of the long conference table". Morgan replied, "you make me ashamed to be a solicitor", to which Horne "shouted 'fuck off' one or two times more as he advanced". Morgan thought Horne was going to hit him until the mediator intervened and Horne stormed out, slamming the door. Morgan said, "I could hear Mr Horne shouting through the ceiling, however I could not make out the exact words".

In yet another matter, Horne "hounded" a married couple who were ex-clients for payment of a disputed £49,000 invoice, telling them "your current course of conduct will end in your bankruptcy and you will lose everything". The tribunal noted that Horne "sent yet another warning email" just seven minutes after being told that the wife had called the Samaritans in despair. After they paid up he was found to have improperly overcharged them.

The SDT ruled that Horne had committed multiple breaches of the SRA principles to uphold the rule of law and behave in a manner maintaining the public's trust, and that he had lacked integrity. It said that his behaviour at the mediation was "unpleasant and abusive", while his emails were "bullying" and "shabby and unprofessional". The tribunal said that a "severe sanction" was required to send "a clear message" to the profession, even though Horne's offences did not reach the "top level" of seriousness. It suspended him for three months, fined him £20,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £40,000.
 

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anonymous user
28/07/2017 08:21
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Should have struck him off.
3-ducks
28/07/2017 08:32
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Oaf!
anonymous user
28/07/2017 08:40
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Pfft. Legitimate mediation tactic. We've all been there. *Ahem*.
anonymous user
28/07/2017 09:39
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He "(...) served time for stealing motor boats, failing to respond to requests for comment from RollOnFriday." - so stealing motor boats while responding to requests for comment from RollOnFriday would not have been an offense?
anonymous user
28/07/2017 10:05
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The firm seems to be based in some kind of warehouse premises. You can tour their toilets here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT_xB2e0o6k

anonymous user
28/07/2017 10:19
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Suspended for three months? For three months? The improper overcharging alone should be enough to warrant being struck off. Christ alive.
anonymous user
28/07/2017 10:25
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he shouldn't have stolen boats while failing to respond to RoF's requests, obviously
3-ducks
28/07/2017 10:26
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Oaf!
anonymous user
28/07/2017 10:41
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Not severe enough, in my view.
anonymous user
28/07/2017 15:55
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Surely, surely, SURELY should be a strike off?! Scummy scum scum.
Lydia
28/07/2017 18:22
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Why was he admitted in the first place if he had those convictions?
anonymous user
29/07/2017 12:00
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Something tells me we haven't heard the last of this chap. Narcissistic fools like this never learn.
anonymous user
29/07/2017 14:50
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Given some of the examples I have seen of striking off or refusing to admit silly trainees to the roll, this seems remarkably lenient.

How did he qualify with a dishonesty offence on his record in the first place?
anonymous user
31/07/2017 21:17
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Like this guys style . Shouting through the ceiling on a mediation is always good

Likewise driving the other side into the Samaritans
anonymous user
01/08/2017 09:26
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Pretty sure I recall seeing this guy representing some dodgy IT firm on Rogue Traders a few years ago. Had a bit of a run in with that Matt Allright. Perhaps a follow up visit from the BBC might be in order...?
anonymous user
01/08/2017 09:56
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Seems a naughty boy however mediation is w/p so I am disappointed someone snitched on him!
anonymous user
02/08/2017 13:47
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"Kidwells have been involved in many mediations and know how to get the best out of them for their client.". Clearly...
anonymous user
03/08/2017 14:09
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wow.
anonymous user
03/08/2017 15:03
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#undulylenient
anonymous user
21/09/2017 23:33
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You missed out that Mr Horne was also found guilty at the SDT hearing for misleading both court and clients to being a Grade 'A' solicitors duping his clients (3 separate clients) to fund Grade 'A' fees when at best being only a Grade 'B'. On its own does not seem much but ability was critical in all 3 clients litigation, I know as I am the Mr BH who provided the evidence. Also missing is that the SRA dismissed my complaint in 2014 as just 'Firm Costs'. I had to fight for 2 years to get the SRA to take action. So much for the integrity of the SRA. In simple terms Mr Horne has been overcharging all his clients since 2010 at Grade 'A' fees, some 4 years, at 20% uplift no wonder he has spare money for helicopters. Also it turns out we have discovered recently he has been charging out all professionals and trainees at Grade 'A' fees at £220 per hour. Now that is a scam. He even is not qualified, has claimed he never went to university college or attended practice training, and the SRA have no records of his qualifications, obviously not as he has none. My suggestion to the public, pass this man by, save your money for a trainee who has more ability.
  

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