Failure to Take Advice Stops Legal Action Cold
Litigating without using a qualified solicitor to assist you is strictly for the foolhardy. The point could hardly have been more clearly made than by a case in which a man who wished to have his criminal record erased from the Internet sued the wrong defendant.
In a so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ case, the man pointed out that his conviction was more than five years old and was thus spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Acting in person, without legal assistance, he launched High Court proceedings against ‘Google Inc’. He sought an injunction requiring the company to block access to a news blog that referred to the conviction.
His claim barely got off the ground, however, after the Court noted that ‘Google Inc’ no longer exists as a company, having become Google LLC in 2017. The latter’s registered office is in Delaware, USA, and the man had not achieved valid service of the proceedings by delivering documents to an address in London.
The Court observed that the man would in any event have required judicial consent in order to serve the proceedings outside England and Wales. In the circumstances, the Court declined to consider the merits of the man’s arguments on the basis that it could not grant an injunction, even if it were otherwise appropriate to do so.