31 May 2018
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has said that it is "likely to investigate" a bricklayer's complaint that Clifford Chance ignored his allegations that RBS deliberately bankrupted his business. But the firm told RollOnFriday that it was "confident" in its work.

In 2014 Clifford Chance was instructed by RBS to investigate the Tomlinson Report's accusation that the bank's unit dealing with struggling businesses, the Global Restructuring Group, was systematically "putting its customers on a journey towards administration, receivership and liquidation" in order to asset-strip them for profit.

The Magic Circle firm sought out over 130 complainants, including bricklayer Clive May, to hear their stories. Its report identified several failings within RBS' practices, including a lack of transparency over fees and instances where healthy businesses were referred to the GRG without good reason. But it concluded that there was no evidence of systematic fraud, prompting critics to dismiss the report as a whitewash.

    Clive May or may not have a case.  

Including May, who complained to the SRA that Clifford Chance ignored his complaint. He told RollOnFriday, "I gave them evidence of fraud", but the firm was "ignoring" it and "in my opinion treated me and my claims with contempt". 

He said he complained twice to the SRA, but got nowhere. However on his third attempt it told him, in an uncharacteristically definite statement which RollOnFriday suspects was a cock-up, that it was "likely to investigate".

A source told RollOnFriday that May's complaint was not considered in Clifford Chance's report because his bricklaying business was never actually referred to the GRG, and therefore fell outside the scope of the firm's instructions. And that, far from covering it up, Clifford Chance passed on his allegations to the Financial Conduct Authority, which was conducting an investigation into the wider RBS business. A spokesman for Clifford Chance said, "We are fully confident in the quality of our work throughout on this matter, and the conclusions of our report".

May, who insisted his business was in the GRG, is not the first alleged victim of RBS to turn his ire on the lawyers. Steve Wilkinson reported DLA Piper to the SRA when he found out a partner had called him a "nutter". And then there's Lloyds, Herbies and Noel Edmonds.
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