ACS Law solicitor is bankrupt

8 Jun 2011
Coin stacks

Andrew Crossley has been officially declared bankrupt by the High Court

A solicitor at the centre of a notorious file-sharing case has been declared bankrupt.

Andrew Crossley was the sole solicitor of ACS Law, which sent letters to accused file-sharers demanding settlements of £500. The "speculative invoicing" campaign has been criticised by consumer rights groups and courts, and drew the attention of online activists, who hacked the ACS Law website, leading to the leak of an email database.

Following that data breach, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said he had planned to fine Crossley £200,000, but dropped it to £800 after the now-unemployed solicitor signed an affidavit saying he was now of limited financial means.

The £199,200 discount raised eyebrows, as ACS Law was believed to have made hundreds of thousands of pounds in a single month last year, while Andrew Crossley continued to reside in a £700,000 home with a Bentley in the driveway.

Now, PC Pro can reveal Crossley was declared bankrupt by the High Court on 20 May.

The Information Commissioner's Office was apparently aware Crossley was filing for bankruptcy at the time it reduced the fine, according to a document supplied by the ICO to PC Pro following a Freedom of Information Act request.

"If the ICO had imposed a higher monetary penalty on Mr Crossley it is likely that less money would be available to pay other unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings," the document said. "This could include individuals who suffered as a result of Mr Crossley’s business activities and who are now owed money by him."

Solicitors who have been declared bankrupt cannot continue to practice without permission from the Solicitors Regulation Authority - which is currently investigating Crossley's conduct in regards to the file-sharing letters.

Andrew Crossley was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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