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After writing a scathing Trustpilot review slamming a law firm as being a 'total waste of money', a man has been ordered to pay £25,000 ($34,000) in libel damages.
Philip James Waymouth had hired law firm Summerfield Browne to help with a dispute over the enforcement of a court order, for a fixed fee of £200 ($270).
However, he later claimed the firm had given him a service 'full of errors', which lacked understanding of the law.
In his Trustpilot review, Waymouth wrote: "Once they have your money they are totally apathetic towards you.
"You will learn more from forums, YouTube and the Citizens Advice website about your case, for free."
Waymouth said the company was 'a total waste of money and another scam solicitor', adding: "I paid upfront for a legal assessment of my case, but what I got was just the information I sent them, reworded and sent back to me.
"No new information or how to proceed or what the law says or indeed the implications of what was done. I Just got their false assumptions, full of errors showing a lack of understanding for the situation and the law."
Lawyers from Summerfield Browne have since dismissed Waymouth's claims as untrue and defamatory, having brought a claim against him to the High Court - not only seeking an order forcing Trustpilot to take down the review, but also damages.
Waymouth - who did not attend the remote hearing as he said he was living in Sweden - argued the firm made no attempt to negotiate out of court, claiming they refused to respond to his offers on three occasions.
"They are suing for personal gain," he said.
But Judge David Cook ended up backing Summerfield Browne, saying Waymouth 'tends to shoot wildly from the hip.'
He said: "Ultimately the question will be whether the defendant is prepared to engage rationally in the court process.
"He is a litigant who tends to shoot wildly from the hip and he should be required to focus his fire."
In his ruling backing the solicitors, Judge Cook said Waymouth claimed 'the entire situation' was one of the law firm's 'own creation'.
He ruled: "It is beyond any dispute that the words complained of had a clear tendency to put people off dealing with the claimant firm.
"It is a serious matter to accuse a solicitors' firm of dishonesty and any such allegation is likely to deter those who are unfamiliar with the firm from using its services.
"There is supportive evidence that the number of inquiries fell dramatically after the review was posted."
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