Kordowski v Des Hudson

In Kordowski v Hudson [2011] EWHC 2667 (QB) Mr. Rick Kordowski was the owner of the Solicitors from Hell website and issued a defamation claim against Law Society Chief Executive Des Hudson. The defamation claim was dismissed by Mr. Justice Tugendhat in a High Court ruling of the  21st October 2011.

Mr Kordowski’s website Solicitors from Hell claimed that “today’s legal system unfairly protects dubious practitioners” and it offers a forum for people to “name and shame your oppressor.” Mr. Hudson was the Chief Executive of the Law Society the organisation which represents solicitors in England and Wales, negotiating with and lobbying professional’s regulators, government and others to offering training and advice. The Law Society role is to help, protect and promote solicitors.

On 02nd September 2011, Mr. Kordowski commenced proceedings against Mr. Hudson alleging that Mr. Hudson had slandered him in comments made to Mr. John Flood of the University of Westminster, after the pair had attended a debate concerning Mr. Kordowski in BBC London Studios.

On the 22nd July 2011 in his blog Mr. Flood alleged

“As I came out of the BBC yesterday with Des Hudson. the Chief Executive of the Law Society, he said Rick Kordowski was a criminal. I reminded Des that the police didn’t seem to think so. He wasn’t happy”. 

In the light of Mr. Husdon’s alleged comment being published on Mr. Flood’s blog, Mr. Kordowski launched a claim for damages against Mr. Hudson.

Mr. Hudson defence to the claim included a plea of Justification. Despite having made an original claim for £1 ,00000 Mr. Kordowski then instructed his barrister Mr. Jonathan Crystal to apply for summary judgment on the grounds that the defence had no real prospect of success, and a declaration that Mr. Hudsons statement was false and £10,000 in damages.

In his Ruling Mr. Justice Tugendhat dismissed Mr. Kordowski’s proceedings as an abuse of the process of the Court. The words complained of were spoken to a single publishee, and there was no evidence of any real or substantial harm to Mr Kordowski,the judge concluded that the proceedings were an abuse of the process of the court. He considered it would not be just to allow the case to proceed further, and the resources of the court that would be required would not be appropriate.

Mr. Justice Tugendhat stated that

“It is impossible for me to say on the documents before me that the defence has no real prospects of success on the issue of whether the words spoken by Mr. Hudson were as alleged by Professor Flood or not”.

The Judge went on to comment that

“It is an unusual feature of this case that Mr. Kordowski is not concerned to prevent republication, but has himself participated in republication of the words he complains of. That suggests that he does not share the objective that defamation claimants usually have, namely to prevent republication of the words complained of.”

In August the Law Society sent Mr. Kordowsk a Letter of Claim requesting that the Solicitors from Hell website be taken down. After the trial the Law Society served Mr. Kordowski with a claim on behalf of the entire legal profession in England and Wales for the website to be taken down. No financial relief was sort however as Mr. Kordowski was bankrupt at that time.

The website Solicitors from Hell was then shut down after a Court Order.

The High Court order was

“Cease, forthwith, to publish the website solicitorsfromhell.co.uk.”

The Law Society had asked Tugendhat J, to grant injunctive relief forcing Solicitors from Hell to take down the site or face contempt proceedings.


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