Monday, June 05, 2006

The Corrupt Link Revealed - How the Law Society of Scotland manages client complaints & settlements.







The memos & articles above, are self explanatory ... Officials of the Law Society of Scotland and the Master Insurance Policy collude to fiddle client complaints, making sure that no one gets any compensation when they are ripped off by a crooked lawyer. Plain, and simple.

You can read more relating to Stewart MacKenzie`s experiences with the Law Society of Scotland & more in his submission to the Justice 1 Committee of the Scottish Parliament at : http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/historic/justice1/inquiries-02/j1-lps-pdfs/lps-024.pdf

My own submission to the Justice 1 Committee is at : http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/historic/justice1/inquiries-02/j1-lps-pdfs/lps-066.pdf

But of course, this is commonplace ... not just limited to the MacKenzie case or even my own, .. and look at what Douglas Mill did to my own case ... he even interfered with my application for Civil Legal Aid, then his colleague, Philip Yelland intervened with my own lawyer, and instructed them not to proceed my case ... again ... something which is common to most cases of complaint against crooked solicitors where the client - either Stewart MacKenzie, myself - Peter Cherbi, or anyone else, tries to get a lawyer to sue a lawyer ...

So, the question is, being aware of all of this - why did the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament let Douglas Mill off the hook when he claimed "never once have I, any member of my staff, or any office-bearer dabbled in a claim" ... ?

Clearly, the evidence is to the contrary, and since this evidence has been in the publoc domain for quite some time, why did it take John Swinney MSP - Stewart MacKenzie`s own MSP to stand up and question Douglas Mill`s claim to the contrary .. while Justice 2 Committee members sat and looked on ?

Would it now be reasonable for the Justice 2 Committee to recall Mr Mill and his band of merrie men before the Committee to explain their obviously false testimony ? surely, the answer to that must be "Yes".

Would it also now be reasonable to take this issue further and follow the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman`s request to the Scottish Executive that research be done into the problems of clients trying to use or obtain the services of a lawyer to sue another lawyer ? surely, again, the answer must be "Yes" ... and furthermore, the Justice 2 Committee should make an order calling for the release of details on similar cases such as the MacKenzie case and my own, which the Law Society of Scotland have famously fiddled with, dabbled in, etc ... over the years ...

Douglas Mill - your grandmother must be spinning over your claim to the Justice 2 Committee that "never once have I, any member of my staff, or any office-bearer dabbled in a claim" ....

What a lie you told that day, Mr Mill, ... and what a lie you and your colleagues have maintained over the years, to protect your crooked colleagues ... many of whom have poor service records and long histories of client complaints against their services as solicitors ... while you and your colleagues manage client complaints and make sure we never get the chance to get a lawyer to sue a lawyer ... and even when we do .. you interfere in our cases to make sure they get nowhere.

Verdict from Peter Cherbi - The Law Society of Scotland is guilty of corruption on a grand scale. Scrap it as a regulatory body - and review the cases of the past to clear up the injustices against the public which have taken place in the name of protecting crooked lawyers.

Read on for today`s excellent "Herald" article, by Paul Rogerson, link at :
http://www.theherald.co.uk/business/63315.html

Would granny swear by the Law Society?
PAUL ROGERSON June 05 2006

THE Law Society of Scotland continues to fret about the prospect of independent oversight of its controversial master insurance policy, which covers compensation claims against Scottish solicitors arising from negligence, fraud or dishonesty.

For years, critics such as the Scottish Consumer Council have complained that the policy gives rise to suspicions that solicitors, broker Marsh UK, and the insurance companies are in league to the detriment of complainers.

One oft-heard allegation is that lawyers will not take up negligence cases against other lawyers because, if they are successful, this will push up their own premiums.

The society vehemently denies any collusion. Last month, chief executive Douglas Mill felt moved to swear on his "granny's grave" to Holyrood's Justice 2 Committee that "never once have I, any member of my staff, or any office-bearer dabbled in a claim".

Back in 2001 Alistair Sim - a Marsh executive and member of the Law Society of Scotland - told predecessor committee Justice 1: "The society is not involved in the handling or resolution of individual claims."

Really? Mill's extraordinary oath followed the production of evidence by MSP John Swinney apparently showing Mill, office-bearers and society officials becoming deeply involved in the resolution of a claim, never mind dabbling. The former SNP leader came brandishing what some have dubbed the "smoking memo", written in 2001 by Mill to Martin McAllister, the then president.

The document concerned complaints against solicitors brought by Stewart and Susan Mackenzie, from Pitlochry. It discussed not only the merit of the complaints, but also the character of the Mackenzies.

Mill told McAllister: "I have discussed the matter with Alistair Sim and I think a holding letter is ideal ... there is a saga here."

He added: "The Mackenzies, I would say, are different from some of our other complainers in as much as they have several valid claims, they have been let down by a series of solicitors but they are unreasonable in their expectations of quantum et cetera. Rather than trivialise matters I would recommend that the four of us, i.e.: you, me, David Preston (vice-president) and Alistair Sim ... have a summit meeting on the up-to-date position looking at both the complaints and claims aspects.

"There is no doubt Mr Mackenzie is (an) intelligent and well-organised individual (sic) who could, unlike some of the other thorns in our flesh, come over very well at (an) investigation."
The full text of the memo was only made public last year after the commendably persistent Swinney demanded to know why parts of the document were excised "for legal reasons" in submissions to Justice 1made public in 2001.


Paul Grice, chief executive of the Scottish Parliament, wrote to Swinney admitting "mistakes" were made in the editing and sanctioned publication of the full text. Who leaked the memo in the first place remains a mystery.

MSPs will have to decide whether Mill's granny is now spinning. Addressing Justice 2, the society's chief executive explained away the apparent contradiction thus: "

The layer of insulation between the society and claims handling is Marsh the broker. Our then president (McAllister) got a letter from (Mackenzie). Many of the letters that our president gets do not have the same degree of foundation as lies behind Mr Mackenzie's issues. I was asked to give a briefing on the matter. I quite properly inquired of Marsh, 'I seek an assurance that these claims are being progressed quickly.' That is what I do in such situations. I give my president an assurance that I am satisfied, having been satisfied by Marsh."

If Mill was solely concerned about the expeditious resolution of the Mackenzies' claim, it is unclear why he thought it appropriate to comment on both the amount of the claim ("unreasonable") and liken Stewart Mackenzie to a "thorn" in the society's flesh.

John Swinney is not reassured. "The memo is plainly at odds with what the Justice 2 committee is being asked to believe,' he told The Herald. "None of the answers given to Justice 2 give me any confidence that the society's position is as stated in Mr Mill's evidence."

The semantics experts on Justice 2 may ponder how looking at the "claims aspects" can be distinguished from "dabbling in a claim". The dictionary defines "dabble", incidentally, as: "To undertake something superficially or without serious intent."

One might also ask why the society is worried about independent oversight if the master policy is working so well for claimants.

Michael Clancy, the organisation's in-house lobbyist, gave an answer in a letter to Justice 2 on May 25. He wrote: "The society does not accept that the 'light touch' approach in the (Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland)) Bill will be maintained throughout the life of the (Scottish Legal Complaints) commission. There is no evidence that the master policy (does) not work in favour of the client. There is no evidence of undue delay of treatment (of) master policy issues."

A decade ago dozens of Westminster MPs, some of whom are now MSPs, begged to differ. In February 1996, 49 members of parliament signed an early day motion condemning the operation of the master policy as fundamentally hostile to the underlying principles of Scots law.

Their number included several big-hitters: David Steel, Charles Kennedy, Ken Livingstone, Martin O'Neill - former chairman of the Department of Trade and Industry Select Committee - and the current UK parliament speaker, Michael Martin. One signatory - Malcolm Chisholm - is now an executive minister.

The late Gordon McMaster tabled the motion after learning of the plight of Paisley housebuilder Iain McIntyre, a constituent who suffered estimated losses of £2.7m following a 10-year legal nightmare involving a string of incidents of negligence and bad faith at the hands of various law firms.

The motion stated: "Inherent conflicts exist between the Law Society of Scotland's duties to guard the public interest and protect its members' interests, which have forced Mr McIntyre to endure the loss of his business (and the) forced sale of his home ... it is unjustifiable that the Law Society holds the master professional indemnity insurance policy which has built into it penalties and bonuses which give solicitors a vested interest in minimising negligence claims at unfair levels".

The MPs were "convinced that the principle of Scots law that everyone is entitled to independent legal representation has been breached by the Secretary of the Law Society of Scotland actively encouraging one firm of solicitors to cease acting for Mr McIntyre". They were not alluding to Mill but a predecessor.

Justice 2 will doubtless ask itself whether such a large number of MPs would have made such a damning statement without compelling evidence. Commenting specifically on the operation of the master policy last week with reference to the 1996 early day motion, the Law Society said:

"In 2005, the Office of Fair Trading endorsed the master policy by closing their investigation with no recommendations for action on professional indemnity. The OFT recognised the protections for the clients of Scottish solicitors and this follows similar scrutiny by the European Parliament, the UK Parliament and the Scottish Executive, with similar results."

It is certainly true that the OFT could find no "strong and compelling" evidence that the master policy was anti-competitive by denying legal firms the right to seek cheaper insurance cover. Whether its investigation amounted to an "endorsement' is another matter.

The watchdog's written judgment asked searching questions about the Scottish public's access to justice when complaining about solicitors, a subject beyond its formal remit. It said there was evidence that some Scottish consumers have found difficulty in finding another solicitor to represent them when they lodge malpractice claims. The watchdog admitted it did not have enough evidence to prove collusion, but added: "In the absence of such evidence, we consider that the difficulties experienced by some legal services clients in gaining representation ought to be considered as an access to justice issue."

7 comments:

AR said...

Convincing reading. The Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland is obviously a liar. How many clients trying to sue their lawyer have suffered this fate ?

George said...

I thought you would write about this when I read it in the Herald this morning.

What you don`t understand, Mr Cherbi, is the culture of FEAR the leadership at Drumsheugh Gardens generate throughtout the profession.

Don`t think for one minute we are happy with Douglas Mill`s actions in your case or others, but trying to debate it sparks threats of a reprimand or unemployment.

Keep up the good work though, you are actually doing some of us a service.

I hope there is a place for you in the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission due to your experience in these matters.

I may email you soon.

Anonymous said...

moral of the story : DONT USE SCOTTISH LAWYERS EVER

Anonymous said...

lawyers are granny robbers anyway !

M said...

How did you get hold of those documents ? obviosly they weren`t "given" to you.

Alan said...

great story and great blog. just imagine how many other memos like this exist against lawyers clients.
I bet there are many in the scots legal system who would like to see you killed off so be careful. scottish lawyers are killers as well as crooks.

Anonymous said...

the same thing is happening now..... still.
in 2011