Judge concerned that claimants may not understand implications of ACS: Law's request
The judge presiding over the hearing of 27 people accused of illegal file sharing has thrown out a motion by solicitors ACS: Law to have the cases dropped.
Although one case was dropped after His Honour, Judge Birss QC, said he would allow this, provided consent was obtained from both parties, he said he had concerns over granting discontinuance for the others.
He told the court that he had felt "frank astonishment at receiving 27 notices of discontinuance" from ACS: Law on behalf of Media Cat last Thursday.
He pointed out that the cases had not been brought by the copyright holders, but by a licensee.
Judge Birss was also concerned that the future implications of this motion by Media Cat may not have been fully understood by claimants who had no legal representation.
"Your clerk told my clerk that all claims would be reissued. This is a matter of some importance. The question is why, what is going on?" said Judge Birss.
He also said in his conclusion that it was "very difficult not to raise all sorts of inferences, but will say no more at this stage."
He went on to say that such action "was totally unprecedented" in his career as barrister and a judge and said that Tim Ludbrook, who was instructed by ACS: Law on behalf of Media Cat, "didn't have the court's permission to do this."
Barristers Guy Tritton and Francis Davey, acting separately for a number of the accused, both asked the judge for uncapped wasted costs, which if granted would be levied against ACS: Law
Judge Birss agreed to an adjournment asked for by ACS: Law and has ordered the remaining 26 cases to be heard next Monday, 24 January when he would readdress the motion for discontinuance and consider an order for wasted costs.
Media Cat and ACS: Law declined to comment on the proceedings.
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