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Law Society of Scotland pays £10K to ‘cybersquatter’ for domain

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The Law Society of Scotland has climbed down on the eve of a court case to decide ownership of a domain it claimed was run by a cybersquatter.

Rather than go to court today - Friday 13th - the owner of Lawscot.co.uk, Tommy Butler, is instead in possession of a £10,000 cheque from the Society for the domain - just a year after it dismissed Mr Butler's offer of £500 as too expensive.

Because of Mr Butler's demand that the payment be free from any other obligations, we are free to report the sum and even have a scan of the cheque itself to show you.

Lawscot cheque

Such freedom of reporting has not always been the case however. When Mr Butler finally found a lawyer in Scotland who was willing to represent him against its own society (every lawyer in Scotland by law has to be a member of the society), we were unable to give a full picture. We can report however that he felt obliged to fire the firm after - he alleges - they did not chase up leads and received a letter from the Society insisting that they not speak publicly about the matter.

Following Mr Butler's unsuccessful attempts to find another Scottish lawyer, he hired an English lawyer to represent him, who then hired a Scottish lawyer to act in court since only a Scottish lawyer is allowed to work in a Scottish court.

Despite these efforts, he was nevertheless left abandoned in court on the first day of the trial in March. Again we are unable to fully explain what happened but full details may come out in a forthcoming second court case between Mr Butler and his English lawyer.

That Mr Butler had a strong case for ownership of the domain has never been disputed and he told us that if he had been able to find a lawyer to represent him in court he would have fought the case to the end.

However, the offer of £10,000 from the Law Society of Scotland (paid through their lawyers to a legal firm acting for Mr Butler as agents) and payment of his court costs made the point equally as adequately, he told us.

Insisting that there be no constraints and that the money be solely for possession of the domain, Mr Butler told us he felt he had won a clear victory against the Law Society and hoped that it would set a precedent for how other bodies approach domain issues in future.

As for what he will do with the £10,000, Mr Butler told us he was considering using it to fund a claim against the Law Society for damages. ®

Related stories

Court freezes lawscot.co.uk, owner claims unfair trial
Lawscot.co.uk domain dispute continues
Lawscot domain dispute gets to court

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