This is not the official website of Curry Popeck Solicitors, 87 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 9RL
or of Mr Jamie Lester or Mr Lionel Curry

jamie lester curry popeck
Jamie Lester
Now Partner at Hunters Solicitors, London

liuonel curry popeck
Lionel Curry
Senior Partner Curry Popeck

This website details my experience of being represented by solicitor Mr Jamie Lester (now partner at Hunters Solicitors, London) and the complaint I then made (dealt with by Partner Mr Lionel Curry) regarding the extremely poor level of service I received from Curry Popeck.

All partners at Curry Popeck were given the opportunity to respond to (or deny) anything stated on this website prior to publication if they felt it to be untrue.

I have openly called Mr Lester a liar and Mr Curry either stupid and/or also a liar if he believes Mr Lester's excuse for his professional negligence.

Calling any solicitor a liar is an extremely serious allegation and I would like to invite Curry Popeck to take action against me for defamation for making such an allegation if they believe it to be untrue. The absence of any such action will obviously speak for itself.

It should be noted that Mr Lester is now a Partner at Hunters Solicitors, 9 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3QN. He is no longer a Partner at Curry Popeck

Thinking of instructing Curry Popeck to act for you?

 

If so, a Judgement relating to a High Court case which saw Halifax and Bank of Scotland
take action against Curry Popeck over a Mortgage Fraud will probably be of interest to you.

Mr Justice Norris: "...how the loss should fall on innocent victims of mortgage frauds
practised by JS with the assistance of an apparently incompetent or fraudulent
conveyancing clerk employed by Messrs Curry Popeck.
..".


Had I known about this matter I would never have instructed Mr Lester or any other employee
or partner at Curry Popeck to act for me. Click here for the full judgement - it's very interesting!

Background
Curry Popeck's Complaints Procedure
My Instruction
Mr Lester’s Advice
Mr Lester’s Holiday
Everything goes according to plan
Curry Popeck Blunder
Mr Lester’s Mistake Makes Matter Harder To Settle
Mr Lester Tells Lies To Dig Himself Out Of A Hole
Curry Popeck ‘Busy On Other Matters’
Contradictions
Ineffective and Drawn Out Costs Negotiations (If you want something doing then do it yourself)
Formal Complaint Using Curry Popeck’s Complaints Procedure
Mr Curry Believes that Paying Out £50,000 Is A Good Result!
Mr Curry Contrives Even More Unbelievable Excuses
Formal Complaint To The Legal Complaints Service (LCS)
Curry Popeck Finally Admit They Messed Up
LCS Award Compensation Against Mr Lester And Curry Popeck
Mr Curry's Meeting To Prevent Action Against Them For Professional Negligence.
In Conclusion

 

Background

During a recent claim against me for defamation I made what I now consider to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life… I employed the services of Jamie Lester, associate (now partner!) at Curry Popeck solicitors, London. Whilst Mr Lester initially came across as an enthusiastic solicitor, his enthusiasm soon morphed into what I can only describe as a ‘going through the motions’ attitude.  I did hope he’d have some ‘fire in the belly’ - sadly, all I heard were the distant rumblings from an overindulgent lunch.

Curry Popeck's Complaints Procedure

The standard of service I received was so poor that I felt it necessary to complain in writing to Mr Lester whilst the case was actually still live.  Even Mr Lester’s written reply was inaccurate and elusive. When I emailed to tell him I’d be responding in order to clarify matters he then telephoned (presumably to avoid having any written record of the conversation) and told me that if I responded to his letter in writing then I would have to take my business elsewhere as I was accusing him of professional negligence. Mr Lester’s telephone call was quite upsetting as I was only following the complaints procedure laid down in Curry Popeck’s client care letter.

I decided to keep quiet and wait until the case was completed before taking the matter further. Sadly, several further mistakes were made by Curry Popeck which I have estimated cost me at least £7,000 in additional fees.

My Instructions

During the early stages of my case it was agreed in writing between myself, counsel and Mr Lester that we would settle the matter as quickly as possible in order to avoid the risk of paying the phenomenal costs associated with taking the matter all the way to court.

Mr Lester’s Advice

It was agreed that in order to ‘encourage’ the other side to settle a Part 18 (P18) request (a list of questions that the other side would have to answer) would be sent to the other side. They would have 14 days to give their responses. An offer to settle would then be made 7 days before the other side had to respond to the P18, thereby saving them from having to answer some ‘uncomfortable’ questions and settling the matter at an early stage before the accrual of substantial costs. Mr Lester emphasised that timing was critical and it was imperative that we give the other side a chance to settle rather than forcing them to respond to the P18 request. He stated that if we made them respond then it would almost certainly make the matter a lot more difficult to settle and would increase costs on both sides.

Mr Lester’s Holiday

The P18 request was sent and Mr Lester decided to go on a short holiday stating that he would leave the matter in the capable hands of his colleague. The offer to settle was then sent 7 days later.

Everything goes according to plan

Whilst Mr Lester was away the other side wrote back agreeing to settle. This was received 5 days before the deadline we had set for the responses to the P18 request and was exactly what we wanted to happen. All Curry Popeck had to do was reply and the matter would have been settled there and then.

Curry Popeck Blunder

Unfortunately, nothing was done until Mr Lester returned from holiday the day before the P18 responses were due. Over the course of a few frantic hours Mr Lester exchanged several emails/faxes trying to sort out Curry Popeck’s negligence. First he stated that their initial fax had not been received – the other side then sent over the fax header proving that it had been received by Curry Popeck. They also reminded him that they had followed up their fax with a hard copy which had been received the following day. Mr Lester then apologised stating that he had been away on holiday. The other side then reminded Mr Lester that he had left his colleague in charge and that she should have acted. The other side then stated that as Curry Popeck had not replied to their fax they had already completed the responses and would be serving them.

Mr Lester’s Mistake Makes Matter Harder To Settle

Those responses alone cost me £600 and Mr Lester was right, making the other side respond did make the matter extremely drawn out and difficult to settle. The only people to gain from Curry Popeck’s incompetence were Mr Lester and the other partners at Curry Popeck as they received many thousands of pounds in additional fees from me trying to settle the matter over the coming months.

Mr Lester Tells Lies To Dig Himself Out Of A Hole

This mistake by Curry Popeck formed the main part of my complaint. In response, Mr Lester claimed that the responses to the P18 had actually helped settle the matter quicker. Mr Lester knows that this is completely untrue and actually impossible without the benefit of time travel. We actually accepted an offer to settle that was made several days before the responses were received! Mr Lester actually dramatically altered his excuse when I continued the complaint on completion of the matter.

Curry Popeck ‘Busy On Other Matters’

Throughout my case Curry Popeck never seemed particularly bothered with anything other than their fees. They even sent me a letter referring to Mr Lester as the ‘main fee earner’. Not really what a client wants to hear. On another occasion at a critical point in negotiations where each day was potentially costing large sums in interest I contacted Curry Popeck as I was becoming worried that letters were not going out on time. I received an apology stating that they had ‘been busy on other matters’. Again, not really what a client wants to hear.

Contradictions

There were many aspects of Mr Lester’s handling of my case that raised concerns. I would receive emails from him and his assistant that totally contradicted each other and then when I sought clarification I seemed to be charged through the nose. At one stage, Curry popeck had agreed to send a letter but at the last minute decided they would not. After a 2 hour telephone conference between myself, Mr Lester, counsel and Mr Lester’s colleague (a qualified solicitor who was charged out at full rates for merely taking dictation) the letter did eventually go out at great cost to me.

Ineffective and Drawn Out Costs Negotiations
(If you want something doing then do it yourself)

Curry Popeck were equally useless at negotiating costs. After several weeks of exchanging correspondence neither side seemed anywhere near coming to an agreement. Curry Popeck’s letters were, in my opinion, weak and insipid, and clearly doing very little to draw the matter to a speedy final close.

The other side only settled after I refused to allow one of Curry Popeck’s letters to go out. I instead completely rewrote it adding some venom into the mix and basically rejecting the other side’s offer without counter-offering, this despite Curry Popeck telling me that we should at least leave the door open by increasing our offer yet again. Had I followed this spineless advice I should imagine I’d still be sitting here writing cheques out to Curry Popeck in order to have a ‘favourable settlement’ negotiated on my behalf.

Formal Complaint Using Curry Popeck’s Complaints Procedure

Upon completion of the matter I then recommenced my complaint and asked Mr Lester to respond to the questions he had previously avoided. Due to further mistakes by Curry Popeck I also added several other matters to my initial complaint. One of them being that Mr Lester had kept a cheque from me for £15,000 in Curry Popeck’s account and had not informed me that I would have had a liability to interest on the final settlement amount. This one mistake alone severely weakened our position on costs negotiations and helped draw the matter out even further.

Mr Curry Believes that Paying Out £50,000 Is A Good Result!

Instead of hearing from Mr Lester, I received a response from Mr Lionel Curry, Senior partner at Curry Popeck. Mr Curry accused me of making a ‘frivolous and vexatious’ complaint and denied any wrongdoing on Curry Popeck’s behalf. He even stated that I had been delighted with the outcome of the matter. If Mr Curry considers his clients spending £50,000 is a good result then I’d dread to think what Curry Popeck consider a bad outcome for their clients!

Mr Curry then stated that if I took legal action for professional negligence against Curry Popeck he would apply to have the case thrown out as I would not have the funds to pay Curry Popeck’s fees should I lose. Mr Curry is well aware that having had Curry Popeck represent me I would obviously no longer have any such funds available. It was this comment more than anything else that encouraged me to make this website – if I can’t take them to court I’ll publish the facts instead and if they disagree with those facts then they can take me to court for defamation. However, having seen Curry Popeck ‘in action’ I won’t be losing any sleep and I’ll probably defend myself.

This website will remain online until either I decide to remove it or until a court orders me to do so.

Mr Curry Stands By Mr Lester And Contrives Even More Unbelievable Excuses

In Mr Curry’s letter he stated that Mr Lester had not been at fault in failing to respond in time to prevent the other side from responding to the P18 request. He stated Mr Lester had decided to change tactics and actually wanted the other side to respond due to me wishing to ‘damage’ them. He also stated that this made the matter easier to settle. If Mr Curry believes this he is either a fool or a liar – or quite possibly both. At no stage have I ever stated, either verbally or in writing, a desire to ‘damage’ the other side. Read the following and decide for yourself whether Mr Lester and Mr Curry are telling the truth or merely contriving excuses to cover Mr Lester’s professional negligence:

  1. Mr Lester’s failure to respond in time could not have made the matter easier to settle because we accepted an offer to settle that had already been made several days before those responses were received. Unless of course, Curry Popeck have access to their very own time machine.

  2. At what stage did Mr Lester come to the rather convenient decision to change tactics? Presumably it was in the minutes after his emails to the other side begging them not to send their P18 responses but before they replied telling him where to go.

  3. If Mr Lester truly did decide to change tactics then why did he not mention it to me either in his email to me on the day, in his response to my complaint or at any other time?

  4. If Mr Lester did change tactics then that would have been completely against my instructions and completely contrary to the agreed tactics as stated in Mr Lester’s earlier letter.

  5. If Mr Lester did change tactics then it may well have cost me even more money than originally thought. I have been in contact with counsel and not only were they unaware of any change in tactics but they also provided formal legal advice after that time based on the original agreed tactics.

Formal Complaint To The Legal Complaints Service (LCS)

Due to the blatant lies told by Curry Popeck in order to cover up their incompetence and the absolute insistence that they had done no wrong I decided to make a formal complaint to the Legal Complaints Service (LCS). Unfortunately the LCS advised me that they could only look into matters of service issues. They stated that the majority of my complaints were for professional negligence and they advised me to hire the services of a solicitor to look into possible legal action against Mr Lester.

Curry Popeck Finally Admit They Messed Up

To cut a long story short, on receipt of my complaint from the LCS, Curry Popeck decided to make me an offer of compensation, Mr Curry stated that ‘with the benefit of hindsight’ (funnily enough something they also had when I made my complaint to Mr Curry several months earlier) that Mr Lester had failed to properly advise me with regard to interest (a service issue). Despite denying any other wrongdoing Mr Curry made his offer of compensation conditional on me dropping all of my complaints against Curry Popeck including my potential complaints for professional negligence and the service complaints with the LCS. I refused to do so and Mr Curry then decided that he would not make the offer conditional. I still refused his offer.

LCS Award Compensation Against Mr Lester And Curry Popeck

The LCS investigated the complaint and found that Mr Lester had indeed failed in his duty to inform me of my liability to interest. They awarded me 50% more compensation than Curry Popeck had offered.

Mr Curry Meets With Partners To Discuss Offering Me Further Compensation To Prevent Action Against Them For Professional Negligence.

The LCS advised me that Mr Curry would be arranging a meeting with the other partners at Curry Popeck to discuss compensating me for the other aspects of my complaints (regarding professional negligence). Why would anybody consider paying compensation if, as they say, they have done nothing wrong? I look forward to hearing from Mr Curry.

In Conclusion

The most disappointing thing about my experience is that having made mistakes, Curry Popeck were simply happy to carry on hoping that I would not notice. Then, having been found out, Curry Popeck decided to lie to cover up those mistakes. When I questioned Mr Curry about one of those lies he decided to deal with the situation by avoiding the question. Both Mr Curry and Mr Lester stood by their guns until I made an official complaint to the LCS.

In my experience with solicitors you will never get anywhere following their in house complaints procedures. Such procedures are in place purely because they have to be in order to conform with the Law Society’s rules. Solicitors will deny any wrong doing in the hope that you will simply go away. You have to persevere with people like solicitors and take your complaint to the LCS (currently called the Legal Ombudsman). Once your complaint is made official you will generally find that the solicitor makes concessions (usually with the ‘benefit of hindsight’) hoping that you will then drop your complaint. Don’t…solicitors will always do what’s best for them, not you.

Should you be considering employing the services of Mr Lester or any other partner or associate of Curry Popeck then you are free to do so You are also welcome to contact me before instructing them if you would like me to clarify anything on this website.

Both Mr Curry and Mr Lester were given advance copy of this website prior to publication. They decided not to deny any of the facts stated on this website. In the interests of fair play and justice I am happy to publish a response from Curry Popeck. I am also happy to remove anything on this website that they can show is untrue.

Links
www.solicitors-from-hell.co.uk/
www.sayno2umbro.com/
www.ngrs-warning.co.uk/