Thursday, March 09, 2006

Payouts to clients of crooked lawyers or just a Law Society media campaign & PR stunt ?

"Huge Payout" ? it certainly is a misleading article in "The Scotsman" which suggests that £910,000 is a "huge payout" to all the clients robbed by crooked solicitors...
At the rate lawyers have been going over the years, robbing clients funds, investments, properties, deceased estates (always a plundering favourite of Scottish lawyers), overcharging for service & fiddling accounts, then fiddling them some more when law accountants get a hold of them....I'd say that legal firms & the profession probably rip off clients of 10's of millions per year - after all, the legal profession rates itself as being one of Scotland's cornerstones of it's economy .. well into the hundreds of millions of pounds .. with an army of some 9000+ lawyers just rubbing their hands at the prospect of taking your money, ripping you off, .. and making sure they get every penny of it, along with anything else they can lay their hands on to fund their own lavish lifestyles....

With the likes of Royal & Sun Alliance, along with Marsh UK, the insurers to the Professional Indemnity scheme of the legal profession making sure that clients who are robbed of funds get absolutely nothing .. then talk of "Huge Payouts" is simply a load of cobblers ... after all .. look at me - £300,000 turned into nothing .. and many more like me - having what's left to them being stolen and salted away into cars, holidays, big houses, etc for the lawyers and their colleagues ...
Anyway, read on for the article from "The Scotsman" .. at least Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers get a quote in this to preserve what little balance appears in SOME newspapers these days ... little balance .. because many of the staff are actually lawyers writing articles in the guise of journalists, to put over the legal profession's point of view of course .. and as far as the attack on Cumming is concerned ... SACL may be right - Mr Cumming has thrown out many complaints against his fellow lawyers to protect them - including many complaints about bent crooked lawyers misselling mortgages to clients & getting them thrown out of their houses, along with losing all their financial assets .... what a nice guy ....
Link, from The Scotsman, at :
Huge payout highlights true scale of dishonesty by solicitors

THE legal establishment has paid out nearly £1 million to clients robbed by crooked solicitors in recent years, The Scotsman has learned.

The Law Society of Scotland repaid £910,000 between 1999-2000 and 2003-4 to members of the public who had had money stolen from them by solicitors
The amounts paid indicate the extent of criminal activity by a small minority of Scotland's lawyers - an issue that has been brought to the fore by the knife attack on Leslie Cumming near his home in Murrayfield, Edinburgh, on 23 January.

Mr Cumming, 62, is secretary of the Guarantee Fund, which investigates clients' allegations of theft by lawyers, and makes awards to customers where there is clear evidence of criminality. The fund receives £400 a year from more than 3,700 partners of law firms.

Police are working on the theory that someone who Mr Cumming had crossed in his work executed the attack or ordered "a hit".

In 2003-4, the most recent year for which figures are available, £187,000 was paid from the fund to 18 wronged clients. The previous year, £73,000 was paid to seven clients, and in 2001-2, £167,000 was paid to six individuals.

At least five lawyers are facing court proceedings in relation to alleged crimes carried out in the course of their work, though most do not involve theft.

Groups such as Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers (SACL) have long campaigned to expose criminality within legal circles, and claim that the Law Society, the regulatory body representing more than 9,000 solicitors for which Mr Cumming is chief accountant, does not do enough to remove the "bad eggs".

Detectives hunting Mr Cumming's attacker have drawn up a list of lawyers who were or who have been under investigation by his team, believing someone with a professional grudge against him may have been involved. But members of SACL believe an aggrieved client is more likely to have been behind the attack.

Stuart Usher, one of the group's main campaigners, said the Law Society refused to meet a claim for £3,500, which he insisted was illegally taken from him by a lawyer.

"There are a lot of people with axes to grind against lawyers and the Law Society, and I am one of them," he said. "I think it is more likely that the man responsible for the attack was an aggrieved client, rather than a crooked lawyer exposed by the society."

Last year the Scottish Court Service moved to shut SACL's, website - which named more than 100 allegedly "rogue" lawyers. Senior legal sources have expressed concern about such sites, claiming they are tantamount to violence. But Mr Usher insists their means of protest are wholly peaceful.

A Law Society source said that "around two or three" lawyers are referred by the Guarantee Fund to public prosecutors each year.

A spokeswoman said: "Every solicitors' firm in Scotland is inspected for compliance with the accounts rules approximately every two years, and any breaches discovered by the society are investigated thoroughly.

"If the Law Society of Scotland discovers any dishonesty or criminal activity during its investigation, the matter is referred to the Crown Office." One such case involved Stranraer-based partner Kennedy Forster, who admitted 35 charges of embezzling £667,000 and was jailed for six-and-a-half years in 2004.

Mr Cumming was stabbed more than 12 times at his Murrayfield home shortly after 5pm on 23 January.

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