Injustice in Europe

Slipping through the legal net…

English Lawyers in Spain – Lost In Translation

The Importance of Excellence in Legal Translations

The title of this piece is taken from an article in the Sentinella magazine. In the article (or advertising piece),  DeCotta Law Barrister, Sandra Wrightson* makes it clear to all readers the importance of precise translation when it comes to legal documents.

The article reads…

“One word can make a difference…it is very important to ensure that it is correctly translated if it is to give legal rights. Spanish Judges often call for proof of English law so a proper translation is essential when the court has to consider how they should interpret documents and evidence or certificates of English law.”

Bravo! Absolutely correct Sandra! Well said!

However, if that is correct, there are two questions we would like to ask you.

How is it that your firm, De Cotta McKenna & Santafé, presented and defended a mis-translated English Court Order in the Spanish Court on several occasions knowing it to be incorrect and what the consequences would be for the respondent?

As the Spanish judges call for proof of English law, is it not your job to clarify the situation rather than muddy the waters with a  document you know to be illegal?

We are interested to know…

For new readers to this blog you should know that Jon Sutton, a partner in DeCotta Law, wrote to the respondent in question and informed him of the content of an official sworn translation by one Barry True, fully five days before it was translated and stamped. That is visionary!

The Sworn Translation of the English Court Order was Incorrect

Let me enlighten you further. Two words that are commonly used in English legal documents are “Respondent” and “Petitioner”. “Demandado” y la “Demandante” in Spanish. In the English Court Order referred to above these words were transposed.  Giving the right to the “Petitioner” rather than the “Respondent” to take a certain action will of course impact deeply upon any eventual outcome just as Sandra Wrightson said in her article. But this is exactly what DeCotta Law did…and got away with it.

DeCotta Law defended rights that were NOT given by the original Court Order in England and which they knew to be incorrect.

What did DeCotta Law get? A legal slap on the wrist for “incorrect procedure“. What happened to the hapless “Respondent”. He lost the case, all his property and part of his income along with it!

So Sandra Wrightson is right then!

Legal translations must be absolutely correct.

“One word can make a difference…it is very important to ensure that it is correctly translated if it is to give legal rights.”

But DeCotta Law, it seems are a law unto themselves! They can happily defend a “mis-translated”  English Court Order that has had far reaching and devastating effects on someone’s home and livelihood. And why not? They  got away with their “illegal” mis-translation in Court under what was termed  “incorrect procedure”.

The average man or woman in the street would call it fraud. In this case we are talking about two simple words so imagine what would happen if it was a complicated case. Do you think DeCotta Law would be up to the job?

Ethics, DeCotta Law and The Lesson Learned

So it would appear that what you have heard so many times before is true. You cannot trust a lawyer and ethics have no place in law. The lesson is contained in the Sandra Wrightson’s little article “The Importance of Excellence in Legal Translations”.

If you have a legal document that is “mis-translated” in your favour,  contact Jon Sutton or Sandra Wrightson of De Cotta McKenna & Santafé. They may be able to help you. If on the other hand you come up against DeCotta Law, triple ensure that you have a correct translation (preferably not translated by Barry True) so that you will not be deprived of your property, your wealth or your health.

DeCotta Law have got away with “improper procedure” in a small provincial Spanish Court. It would be interesting to know how many more such skeletons they have in their cupboard and it will be interesting to see how their procedures hold up in future.

* The article or advertising piece in Sentinella magazine has Sandra Wrightson’s biography appended to it so one can assume it has her approval. The article was  published in issue No.78 of Sentinella on page 24, February 2011.


November 7, 2011 Posted by | DeCotta, DeCotta McKenna & Santafé | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge Pollard Ruling Foils Another Sale

District Judge Pollard Court Order Questioned By Spanish Court

23 August 2009

The Torrox Court in Andalucia has questioned the court order of an English judge because it is impossible to implement in Spain.  Spanish lawyer, Snr. Enrique Delgado Scharzmann explained that the Spanish judge simply cannot uphold the English court order because it is written in such vaque terms as to not have any relevance or legal standing in the Spanish court.

De Cotta Law or De Cotta McKenna & Santafé, representing Valerie C. Russell, the petitioner, applied to the Hastings County Court for the wording of the court order to be corrected without a hearing. The respondent in the case, Mr. Kirwan, also applied to have the court order corrected by Hastings County Court in order to sell his property and honour the court order. So far the application has been unsuccessful. So why has the correction not been done?

District Judge Pollard as he is now, is no longer dealing with the case; that task has fallen to Judge Guinan. After reading the respondent’s application she requested a letter be sent to Jon Sutton, partner of De Cotta Law.  This may seem rather strange when both parties want the same thing but that is the fact of the matter.

However, the solicitor has shown reluctance or at the very least sluggishness in replying. He has failed to answer the letter sent out by Hastings Couty Court enquiring into their agreement of something they have petitioned the court to do. This may be surprising to the casual reader of this blog but regulars know better.

The lack of response has caused another sale (the fifth) to be lost by the respondent and seems typical of the cat and mouse games De Cotta Law appear to be enjoying. By using a highly suspicious mistranslated version of the court order, making their third appeal against a Spanish court ruling (this time in England) and therefore moving the playing field back to England these carefully engineered moves by the Goliath of expatriot law firms in Spain seem intent on squashing poor David.

A hearing in Hastings County Court has been set for the 16th September 2009. Once again Mr. Kirwan, as things stand at present will have no legal represtation in England. Is there a Law Firm in England prepared to take this on?

District Judge Pollard made an impossible court order and must surely bear the responsibility of his actions. Time will tell whether restitution will be made to the respondent for the damage, stress and finacial loss suffered by this man’s action.

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August 23, 2009 Posted by | Injustice in Europe | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

De Cotta McKenna & Santafé 4th Anniversary

De Cotta McKenna & Santafé Appeal One Case in Two Courts in Two Countries at One Time

5 August 2009

Case No. HS03D00476 in the County Court of Hastings, England rumbles on. So does the same case in Malaga, Spain. De Cotta McKenna & Santafé are the well known  law firm in Spain who are bringing the case to Court or should that be bringing these cases to Courts?

The company are well aware that they have acted illegally to enforce a mis-translated English Court Order since August 5th 2005 on behalf of their client Valerie Celia Russell. They are also aware they were denied that miscarriage of justice on 21st January and again at appeal in March of this year in Torrox Court in Spain.

Appeal number 2 is lodged with the High Court in Malaga, Spain while appeal number 3 is due for a hearing on 16th September in Hastings, England. Which Court will have the authority over the other? Which decision will Jon Sutton, the partner of De Cotta McKenna & Santafé conducting the case in England decide to act upon?

Indeed, is this  legal?

Were this not such a serious matter one could almost laugh at the antics which are reminiscent of spoilt children running between their parents until they get what they want.

Meanwhile, the English Court Order could have been honoured on a number of occasions and still can be as I write but for the careless and incorrect wording of the original Court Order laid down by District Judge Pollard (then Deputy). Edward Kirwan, the respondent, has buyers for the property which will allow him to honour the Court Order yet both De Cotta McKenna & Santafé and the wording of the Hastings Court Order are denying him that privilege.

On this 4th anniversary of Jon Sutton’s mystic reading of the translated Court Order, (see this post) let me leave you with this thought…

De Cotta McKenna & Santafé – Appealing or Appalling?

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August 5, 2009 Posted by | DeCotta McKenna & Santafé | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

English Lawyer in Spain Seeks Legal Advice

Paula Basham Seeks Legal Advice

5 August 2009

Aplogies to all Injustice in Europe readers as it has been somewhat hectic lately and the e-mail box was inaccessable for a while. There have been several comments but perhaps this was the most interesting of all. It came in on the 23rd January 2009.

“Your web site has been brought to my attention, I will be taking the advice of my lawyers re the content of this page referring to a Miss Jensen who apparently was employed by the company Axar Properties.”

Paula Basham

We are not surprised that this site was brought to Paula Basham’s attention. Have you tried to Google Axar Property or Axar Properties lately?

Injustice in Europe would like to point out to Paula Basham that Ms. Jensen was NOT “apparently” employed by the company Axar Properties, she WAS employed by Axar Properties.  You were her boss, you hired her and you fired her. You, as her boss were twice found liable in Malaga Court, once for wrongful dismissal of a pregnant woman, namely Ms. Jensen and you have not yet paid either of the fines that you were given.

Injustice in Europe, however, will happily remove and apologize for any factual errors should Paula Basham care to point them out.

Moving on…Axar Properties is no longer called Axar Properties but has cunningly changed the name to Axar Property. We would not want  you,  the readers, to be fooled or indeed confused between the two. Perhaps the Tax Department or the Social Security Department will be for a while but not the readers of Injustice in Europe.

Axar Property is owned by Paula Basham, as was Axar Properties S.L. The website has the same format as Axar Properties it even has many of the same properties on their website for sale as when Ms. Jensen worked there.

I wonder if she is missed.

Please remember, there is a comments box below where you or Paula Basham and her  supporters can leave  remarks for others to see.

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August 5, 2009 Posted by | axar properties, Injustice in Europe | , , , , | 2 Comments

DeCotta, McKenna & Santafé Turn to an English Court

DeCotta, McKenna & Santafé Turn to an English Court

On 21st January 2009 the Court of Torrox in Spain annulled an application by DeCotta McKenna & Santafé to enforce an English Court Order. A “public auction” of half a property due to the false, incorrect and therefore, illegal translation of an English Court Order by an Official Sworn Translator was halted just 2 hours before a man was to loose his home. De Cotta Law’s subsequent appeal was also denied again on the 16th March 2009.

DeCotta McKenna & Santafé subsequently appealed to the High Court in Malaga and the result of that has yet to be heard.

Dissatisfied with the two rulings of the Court of Torrox,  Jon Sutton, a partner of the De Cotta Law firm based in Mijas, has made an application to the Court in Hastings on behalf of his client Valerie Celia Russell,  for the enforcement of the same Court Order dating back to 11th August 2004.

What is interesting is that through a “mis-translation” which is documented elsewhere on this blog, it was Jon Sutton who effectively stopped the defendant, Edward Kirwan, from meeting his obligations.

Mr. Jonathan Paul Sutton, on behalf of his client,  effectively took control of the sale of the property when he wrote to Mr. Kirwan on the 5th August 2005 stating that:

“We have had the Court Order legalised and translated into Spanish”

However,  Mr.B.R.True (the Official Sworn Translator  appointed by De Cotta, McKenna and Santafé and certified by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs) stamped the translation which Jon Sutton referred to,  on the 11th of August 2005 – fully 6 days after Mr. Sutton’s statement to Mr. Kirwan, the Respondent in the case.

The English Court Order of 11th August 2004 stated:

ii) the respondents solicitors shall have conduct of the sale.

The Spanish translation stated

ii) La representación letrada del demandante administrará la venta.

This is the complete opposite of the original Court Order.

(The word “Respondent” in English is “Demandado” in Spanish, whereas “Claimant” is “Demandante” )

Jonathan Paul Sutton, who is an English solicitor as well as a Spanish Abogado (lawyer) and a Partner in De Cotta, McKenna and Santafé, should definitely have known this translation to be incorrect. What was he thinkng of? He had options.

If he acted on the English version he knew that it was the respondent’s solicitors who should conduct the sale.

If he knew that the Spanish translation would be in his client’s favour he could act on that.

If he thought the respondent was not legally represented, it could be to his clients’ advantage and he could act accordingly.

In fact he acted on the Official Spanish translation which gave power to the claimant’s solicitor (namely his client, Valerie Celia Russell) 6 days before it was official. This begs very serious questions.

How did Jonathan Paul Sutton, Solicitor and Partner in DeCotta McKenna & Santafé, know the contents of a Sworn Translation 6 days before it was stamped by the Official Translator Mr. B. R. True?

Why did he not recognise the “mistake” and why did he act on it?

Yet that is what this De Cotta Law partner did. He deliberately acted against the Respondent and the company (DeCotta McKenna & Santafé) as a whole refused to allow 4 sales, generated by Mr. Kirwan, over a 3 year period, hiding behind this translation “mistake” until it was brought to light by Mr. Kirwan himself, in November 2008.

Mr. Kirwan has only recently (16th March 2009) been able to freely offer his property for sale following the ruling of the Court in Torrox. However there is an added complication to this proceedure.

Deputy District Judge Pollard, when handing down the Court Order, failed to appreciate that the property in Spain, jointly owned by Mr. Kirwan and his ex-wife,  is in 4 parts and he only cited 2 on the order. In order for the respondent to sell any part of the property and honour his commitment, the Court order needs to be amended to reflect the 4 parts.

On this both parties agree.

However in the Respondent’s case the application is sought so that he can sell the property for which he has potential buyers, whereas in the De Cotta Law application, they suggest in a Draft Order that the judge re-word the order as follows:

“In default of the order this Court dated 11th August 2004, the properties known as 1017 and 1018 Barranco Plano and registered in the Land Registry of Torrox, Spain with finca numbers 29102, 29104, 29106 and 29108 be sold by auction by the Spanish Court.”

Is this a backdoor way to achieving something that has been decided and denied to the Claimant in the Courts of Spain?

Are DeCotta Law and their client in contempt of the Court in Spain?

Indeed does the English Court even have jurisdiction or superior power over property of a Spanish Resident and a matter being dealt with in the High Court of Malaga?

Mr. Kirwan could have sold his property in 2005 if De Cotta Law had not acted on the “mis-translation”. The fact that Mr. Kirwan finds buyers at all, indictes that this is not the act of a man who, in the opinion of  De Cotta Law is

“holding the English Court in contempt in ignoring the order of 11th August 2004 and taking advantage of the difficulty of enforcing the order in Spain”

Mr. Kirwan has only had the power to sell the property, through the Court of Torrox,  since the 16th March 2009 and has already produced potential buyers but he is unable to complete any sale due to the incorrect wording originally laid down.

Under the circumstances, why is there any need for a partner of De Cotta Law in Spain to apply to the Hastings County Court in England to request yet another “public auction”  in Torrox Court in Spain at this juncture? It is incredible!

What  is more incredible is that a “public auction” in this part of Spain, as far as this blog understands, is not like those in the northern countries of Europe.

First, it  is announced by simply putting a notice on the board outside the clerk’s office in the court building. How often do you visit the court buildings to see if there is a public notice filed against you?

Secondly, the only attendants would have been Valerie Celia Russell and her legal representatives where, in this case, half of the property would have been “sold” and signed over to Valerie Celia Russell in private session with the judge.

Could it be that the “Catch 22” the respondent found himself in was in fact a well thought out and calculated plan by De Cotta Law? Perhaps this “smoke and mirror” deception has been practiced before and has yet gone undetected.

Could it be that Valerie Celia Russell never wanted the property to be sold in order that her ex-husband would retain nothing from their former marriage? There is evidence to suggesst that this is what was happening.

Could it be that De Cotta Law are chasing fees that accumulated while preventing the respondent from honouring the court order? After losing their case in Torrox Court and the subsequent appeal this is quite possible.

Could it be that DeCotta McKenna & Santafé have lost their ethics, dignity, pride and honour?

A hearing is presently set for the 16th September 2009 in Hastings, England. Perhaps the answers to the questions posted here will be answered then.

Let Battle Commence!

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June 27, 2009 Posted by | Injustice in Europe | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment