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How the firm enjoyed disclosure (allegedly).


A junior solicitor is suing the owner of a law firm for allegedly hacking into her WhatsApp account and disclosing private messages "of the most intimate kind" to a tribunal.

The unnamed junior (referred to in a High Court judgment as FKJ) started work for a managing partner (referred to as RVT) of two connected law firms in February 2017. However, she was fired that year for falsifying a timesheet.

In 2019 FKJ lost an employment tribunal claim for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination. She claimed that RVT had sexually harassed her,  with his actions ranging from "inappropriate remarks to sexual touching."

FKJ's own WhatsApp messages were used as evidence against her at the tribunal hearing. In dismissing FKJ's claim, the panel at the time said that the messages "played a large part" in their findings to undermine the junior lawyer's credibility, and demonstrated that some of the conduct, of which she complained, was consensual or did not happen.

The junior lawyer then commenced a claim of misuse of private information. RVT applied for summary judgment, and brought a counterclaim for abuse of process. At a High Court hearing last month, Master Davison considered the application to strike out FKJ's claim.

The court heard that the employment tribunal's bundle in 2019, consisted of some 18,000 WhatsApp messages (around 900 pages). It captured several years' worth of day-to-day information about the junior lawyer's professional, social and private life, including her health and sex life.

Some of the messages and images disclosed by the defence were of the "most intimate kind" and had been sent to FKJ's partner.

Master Davison said the bulk of messages had "no relevance" to the proceedings, and that there was therefore no justification for their retention.

FKJ has alleged that the managing partner, RVT, hacked into her WhatsApp messages by setting up the computer-based “WhatsApp Web” and using her smartphone to scan the QR code it generated, as authorisation. He was thereby able to capture the entirety of FKJ's available WhatsApp messages.

However, RVT said that a substantial quantity of the messages were discovered on FKJ's work laptop after she left the firm. He also stated that two further tranches of messages were received via letters sent from an anonymous source.

Master Davison said he found it "hard to agree" with RVT's submission that FKJ's claim "will face significant problems", and that his overall impression was that RVT's counterclaim was "without merit" and an "attempt to stifle a claim that the defendants would prefer not to contest on its merits."

The High Court rejected RVT’s application for summary judgment, giving FKJ the green light to pursue her claim for misuse of private information.


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Comments

Anonymous 20 January 23 09:22

Much of FKJ's allegations turned out to be false, not unusual in this type of claim.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

Anonymous 20 January 23 11:02

@Hacking Cough - not sure if the SRA are involved in investigating FKJ for complaining about things that didn't happen. Doubt they'll be involved at all while there's a case going on in the HC.

MC Question Man 20 January 23 12:02

Yo! Question Man up in the New Yee!

Blaze your keyboards in the air, throw your quills up, let me see them chatboard posts flowing at all hours of the day and night!

I run this city slash small chat forum! One time! Break it down like 'dis:

 

This feminist is claiming misuse of her data,

Like all of her kind you know that I hate her,

Spamming up tribunals with mounds of crap,

All because she a freak on WhatsApp!

It's cool to disclose it to all of the nation,

To dismantle her latest false allegation,

Ya'll know she makes them at every employer,

Can't wait till the costs order comes to destroy her!

Ban her from law, ban her from practice,

I'm the Question Man and this where the facts is.

Now I'm off to hang with Stormzy and Maya Jama,

You the walnut and I'm the sledgehammer!

 

*Makes hand gestures simulating the firing of a rifle while making 'brap brap' sounds with own lips*

Anonymous 20 January 23 12:20

@12.02:

What keyboards?

What quills?

What chatboard posts?

What small chat forum?

What feminist?

What data?

What tribunals?

What crap?

What costs order?

What walnut?

What sledgehammer?

Less singing and hand gestures and more answers please.

 

Anonymous 20 January 23 13:00

One would hope that in a comment section full of supposed professionals we would be free from the wannabe Andrew_f**king_Tate incels.

Anonymous 20 January 23 14:59

@13.19 - in what way were my lyrical stylings embarrassing?

Why do you think that it is not ok to be an incel?

Anon 21 January 23 09:30

“Incel” is a hate word designed to make a certain group feel bad about themselves. Those using it are engaging in hate speech. 
ROF, you should remove it. I doubt that equally offensive words directed at other genders and groups would be tolerated.

anon 21 January 23 13:05

MC Question Man 20 January 23 12:02: perfectly sums up everyone's favourite sociopath. Let's hope that 2023 is the year when Question Man seeks much-needed help from a mental health professional.

@Anon 0930 22 January 23 12:29

You fool, "incel" is a word that the incel community adopted themselves. It's short for "involuntarily celibate".

Don't post with strong opinions if they're so poorly informed.

Anon 22 January 23 13:03

Anon 21 January 23 09:30: if you don’t like being described as an incel, Question Man, don’t behave like one. 

Anonymous 22 January 23 13:25

@21 @13.05 - MC Question Man 20 January 23 12:02 was toe curling. What mental health professional?

@21 @13.08 - not well in what way? what are your answers to 20 @ 12.20?

 

Anon 22 January 23 13:43

Most of FKJ's allegations turned out to be true, not unusual in this type of claim.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

A Mental Health Professional 22 January 23 15:45

@13.05 - I'm not really sure where to even start to be honest.

It might need a small team of us.

Anon 24 January 23 06:26

Anonymous 23 January 23 20:08: it is not OK to be an incel, so stop behaving like an incel, Question Man.

Anonymous 24 January 23 08:53

[email protected]

"Most of FKJ's allegations turned out to be true." - erm, not according to the tribunal.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

anon 25 January 23 12:57

According to the tribunal, most of FKJ's allegations turned out to be true, not unusual in this type of claim.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

Anonymous 26 January 23 09:29

25th @ 12.57 - as per the article, "the panel at the time said that the messages "played a large part" in their findings to undermine the junior lawyer's credibility, and demonstrated that some of the conduct, of which she complained, was consensual or did not happen." So most of FKJ's allegations turnex out not to be true, not unusual in this type of claim.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

25th @ 12.58 - madder than ever in what commentary?

Anon 26 January 23 17:48

The tribunal only said that “some of the conduct” alleged didn’t happen. Not most. Some. So it is untrue to say that most of the allegations were found to be untrue. It was in fact the position that most of the allegations were true.

Anonymous 27 January 23 08:25

Anon 26 @ 17.48 - again, read the article- "In 2019 FKJ lost an employment tribunal claim for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination."

So most, if not all, of FKJ's allegations turned out to be false, not unusual in this type of claim.

Keep us updated on how her claim in the High Court proceeds.

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