Thursday, November 02, 2006

Law Society of Scotland threatens Court challenge against Scottish Executive over LPLA legal reform Bill

A legal challenge seems to be on the cards against the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, from Scotland's client hating legal establishment, the Law Society of Scotland.

Desperate to keep regulation of complaints against crooked lawyers to themselves, the Law Society of Scotland has conducted an intense media campaign against the planned pro-consumer reforms of Scotland's legal profession, using lawyers posing as journalists to write anti-LPLA articles, bringing out retired wealthy Judges to defend their crooked cause, and shamelessly lying in front of Parliamentary Committees as to how complaints & claims against lawyers have been managed over the years by the legal profession.

However, the tactics of the legal profession in their campaign against the LPLA Bill are about to change, according to an interview in the Herald newspaper, with Douglas Mill, Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, who now threatens a Court challenge against the Executive & the Parliament over LPLA Bill.

Mill, the Law Society's client hating Chief, believes the LPLA Bill is incompatible with ECHR ... because of course, it takes away the right of the Law Society to control complaints against their members, but the many victims of crooked lawyers in Scotland must be asking themselves (as am I), how on earth it can be against ECHR to have an independent complaints system for lawyers.

Dougas Mill tells the Herald "The inability of civil servants to engage with the society, and their lack of trust in the society, has been stunning," said Mill. He accuses them of "not understanding" how professional indemnity insurance and specifically the society's "master policy" works. "Talking to them on these subjects is like having a dialogue with the deaf," says Mill.

The Herald article quotes Mill further "The civil servants seem incapable of distinguishing between the master policy (which is negotiated annually on behalf of all solicitors with insurers by the insurance brokers Marsh) and the wholly separate guarantee fund," he adds. "They want to look at claims (against the master policy) and how these are handled. But they cannot do that. If they do try to do this, I believe the insurers and the Financial Services Authority will tell the Scottish Parliament to take a hike."

Funny thing is, that is just how it is when a claimant tries to speak to the Law Society of Scotland or the Master Policy Insurers over claims against the Professsional Indemnity Insurance of solicitors .. it really is just like having a dialogue with the deaf ... because of course Douglas Mill, is deaf to any charges that his vast membership of lawyers could be anything other than honest.

Dealing with the Master Insurance Policy has been a nightmare for claimaints - with cases stretching over decades .. and many claims have never reached any measure of success .... I know this myself, when I faced a vast array of dirty despicable tricks from Douglas Mill himself, and the Director of Client Relations, Phillip Yelland, when I tried to make a claim for damages against well known crooked Borders solicitor Ansrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso.

The dirty tricls from Douglas Mill extend to other cases though - he was famously caught out at the Justice 2 Committee hearings with memos he had sent to Alistair Sim, the Director of the Master Insurance Policy, where Mill was intent on collating information against Mr Stewart MacKenzie and was obviously orchestrating an attempt to delay their claims, on cases which have now run 20 years or so .. a far cry from the testimony of Mil himself before the Justice 2 Committee that he had never become involved in negligence claims against lawyers .. even stooping to swear on his dead granny's life ! .. which I covered here :The Corrupt Link Revealed - How the Law Society of Scotland manages client complaints & settlements.
& here : Law Society of Scotland claims success in gagging the press over Herald newspaper revelations of secret case memos
& here : Scotsman responds to Peter Cherbi and the Herald with a living eulogy of Douglas Mill

The best comparison the Law Society could come up with, against an independent complaints sytem for lawyers, was to warn us that Scotland would be heading for dicatorship, Mugabe style, if lawyers were not able to regulte complaints against their colleagues. Mill continues his rant about Zimbabwe in his Herald interview ... "There is no modern democracy where the executive controls the legal profession," he warns. "That sort of thing is more likely to happen in a place such as Zimbabwe than in a modern democracy."

Mill's fixation with this rather ill advised line, was also supported by of the 'guests' to a recent conference at the Law Society was the ex-head of Zimbabwe's Law Society .. testified as to his own experiences under Robert Mugabe, and that Scotland was heading into the same dictatorship if they forced solicitors to face an independent complaints system !

I think most people seem to regard Douglas Mill's 'Zimbabwe defence" line now as being slightly over the top .. even some of Mill's stooges now balk at that arguement .. one of them who writes in the Scotsman privately calling him a "nutter" (how true) ... but as I have said before, cynically using the suffering of a people under a dictator to try to justify keeping a well known corrupt complaints sytem in place so that lawyers can cover up for lawyers .. is, to say the least, an astounding departure from common sense, but, quite indicative of the desperate tactics employed by Mill & his bunch to thwart any chance of reform to their cosy business model which has seen tens of thousands of clients ripped off over the years by Scotland's uncontrollable legal profession.

I emailed the Scottish Executive on whether they knew of a pending legal challenge to the LPLA Bill .. just for the record of course .. they said nothing had come in yet .. and the Justice 2 Committee are refusing any comment on the matter whatsoever, but, I have 'volunteered' my services as a witness to the Executive, should it be named as a defender in any action brought against the LPLA Bill by the legal profession .. and I encourage anyone else who has had problems with lawyers or submitted evidence to the J2 Committee LPLA Bill inquiry to also volunteer as witnesses to defend the planned legislation which we have fought for so long.

I wonder how Douglas Mill & his merry band of crooked lawyers & retired judges would fair against Peter Cherbi & the many other victims of the Scottish legal profession being paraded before the Court of Session to defend the LPLA Bill ?

How would the Law Society of Scotland be able to argue it is against their Human Rights not to be allowed to fiddle complaints against their fellow crooked lawyers .. when such a parade of victims of badly handled complaints could be brought to the Court by the Executive to testify as to just how crooked & corrupt the system of complaints handling at the Law Society of Scotland is, and not forgetting of course, how corrupt & prejudiced the claims handling process of the Master Insurance Policy is towards those who try to make claims against negligent and crooked lawyers.

I, for one, would like to see this all played out in a Court - and covered in the media - it would show just what we have been up against for so long - a dirty, corrupt, insideous system of self regulation operated by the Law Society of Scotland, which has been used to ruin the lives of clients & save the practising certificates of lawyers who would in many other walks of life, be condemned as criminals for their depraved, deceitful fraudulent & scandalous actions towards their clients.

Douglas Mill - It is time clients of Scottish lawyers have their rights improved - the right not to be ripped off by their lawyer, the right not to have their funds embezzled, the right not to have their lvies ruined, the right not to have their homes taken away because of the crooked dealings of your solicitor membership - and, having an independent organisation to regulate the legal profession will go some way to keeping a closer eye on your colleagues who have been getting away with murder for years under your own fiddling administration of complaints.

Read on for the article, from the Herald, at :

Holyrood in solicitors’ sights
IAN FRASER October 30 2006

Douglas Mill, secretary and chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, has the politicians of Holyrood and the civil servants of Victoria Quay firmly in his sights.

However, his tactics are about to change. It appears that the rather gentlemanly opening skirmishes are over and warfare is about to break out.

The issue that has precipitated hostilities is the "independent" complaints body MSPs are currently piecing together.

Mill and many solicitors believe it will undermine the Scottish legal profession and make it more difficult for Scottish clients to access a solicitor at relatively low cost. The Scottish Executive begs to differ, of course.

Mill concedes that entrusting the handling of "service" complaints against Scottish lawyers to an independent, government-funded body does makes sense, even though he thinks the society's record is more than acceptable in this regard.

At present, the society handles both service and conduct complaints about solicitors, a system of self-regulation which has attracted fierce criticism.

"That (conceding that service complaints should be independently handled) is a big concession for us, but we are utterly pragmatic about it," says Mill, speaking in the library of the society's Victorian headquarters in Drumsheugh Gardens.

"Unlike the advocates, most solicitors are entirely happy with the idea that their professional body should no longer be responsible for handling service complaints. If we no longer have responsibility for service complaints, our members might even start to love us again," he jokes.

Mill's concern is that the legislation, the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, will give rise to a Frankenstein's monster of a complaints-handling body.

Not only does he believe that the proposed Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will be slow, rule-based, bureaucratic and expensive – his biggest fear is that it will not be properly independent, as appointments to it and pay levels for commissioners will be set by Scottish ministers.

It is partly for this reason that the eminent Queen's Counsel, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, recently said the body as proposed will be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mill says: "The proposed body will cost about four or five times more than the current system – and it is inevitable firms will pass those costs onto clients."

Mill does have one nuclear option up his sleeve. He told The Herald that the society will probably take Scottish ministers to court after the bill is enacted, if it is enacted in its present form.

Mill is particularly worked up by what he claims is the lack of understanding of the machinations of the law displayed by bureaucrats and politicians.

"The inability of civil servants to engage with the society, and their lack of trust in the society, has been stunning," said Mill. He accuses them of "not understanding" how professional indemnity insurance and specifically the society's "master policy" works. "Talking to them on these subjects is like having a dialogue with the deaf," says Mill.

"The civil servants seem incapable of distinguishing between the master policy (which is negotiated annually on behalf of all solicitors with insurers by the insurance brokers Marsh) and the wholly separate guarantee fund," he adds. "They want to look at claims (against the master policy) and how these are handled. But they cannot do that. If they do try to do this, I believe the insurers and the Financial Services Authority will tell the Scottish Parliament to take a hike."

He also believes the parliamentary time and the Justice 2 Committee time that has been allocated to piecing the bill together is inadequate, particularly in view of the number of amendments tabled. "It's an absurdly short timescale," said Mill. "They have four 90- minute sessions to deal with around 550 amendments."

Mill further opines that the lack of a revising chamber at Holyrood, with powers to rein in the Executive, has made it possible for what he sees as a shoddy and ill-thought out piece of legislation that will undermine the independence of the legal profession to near the statute books.

The society also believes the Executive is being unrealistic in its proposed time frame for getting the new complaints-handling body up and running. "I don't believe the new body will be ready to start handling service complaints before January 2009 at the earliest," he says.

Another controversial subject which has divided the profession is that of alternative business structures (ABSs), proposed in the landmark Clementi report south of the border. One reform involves giving non-lawyers the ability to hold equity stakes in law firms, though only at present in England and Wales.

Mill cannot understand how such things would work in practice.

"I can see the business argument for ABSs. The problem is no-one has come up with any workable proposals as to how such things might be regulated. There is also the issue of why non-solicitor owners of law firms – for example fund managers, estate agents and tax planners – should be exposed to unlimited liability for the conduct of their solicitor colleagues. ABSs are totally inconsistent with the current collegiate approach to fidelity.

"There is not much of an appetite for ABSs in Scotland, apart from around six firms," he claims. "However if Westminster does introduce ABSs we acknowledge that we will be unable to hermetically seal Hadrian's Wall." Mill also alleges that "the potential for fraud would be infinite" if non-lawyers are to be allowed to own firms of solicitors.

Mill returns, finally, to his fears that reforms to complaints handling will jeopardise the very independence of the legal profession. "There is no modern democracy where the executive controls the legal profession," he warns. "That sort of thing is more likely to happen in a place such as Zimbabwe than in a modern democracy.

"We do welcome change, but we want the new body to be workable, independent and accountable. That is a long way from what we appear to be getting."

Some lawyers back Mill's uncompromising stance. Douglas Connell, joint senior partner of leading private client firm Turcan Connell said: "While I am in favour of an independent complaints handling body, I think the notion that any law firm that has a service complaint made against them should be made to pay a levy of hundreds of pounds before a case is even heard, is iniquitous, indefensible and hugely open to abuse."

However Kirk Murdoch, senior partner of McGrigors said: "The mood of the country is no longer in favour of independent regulation. The decision has already been taken on this, so in my view Douglas Mill is pushing water uphill."


Anonymous said...

sent in guy fawkes to fix 'em

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mill sounds a real TWAT.

You commented on a story in the Scotsman last week - the girl who had too much radiation & died. Well, the Scotsman are running this story :>

Radiation overdose girl 'died of cancer'

LISA Norris, the teenager given a massive overdose of radiation by mistake, died of brain cancer, a post-mortem examination has concluded.

Lisa's family, of Girvan, Ayrshire, said they were surprised the report made no reference to the excessive radiation as a cause of death.

She received a dose of radiation 58 per cent higher than prescribed. The mistake was made by an inexperienced treatment planner at Glasgow's Beatson Oncology Centre, a Scottish Executive report concluded last week.

Cameron Fyfe, of Ross Harper Solicitors, who is acting for the family, said he intended to instruct a medical expert to look further into the case.

A funeral for Lisa, who died on 18 October, will be held today in Girvan.

Looks like you were right. Cover up all the way and I wonder if their lawyer is leading them on like what happened to your mums case in the Evening News.
Please form a group or something or help campaigns against these cover ups and keep your comments in the Scotsman site too. people take notice I just wish there was more we can do against these horrible people who cover things up to protect their pals

Anonymous said...

Scotsman need to get off their arse and cover this, or are we to be treated to more PR on behalf of the legal perverts. errm sorry I mean lawyers.

Peter Cherbi said...

Dear 'anonymous' (on the radiation death of the teenager story in the Scotsman)

I hear what you say.

Out of my own experience on reports after a medical negligence death ... they are carefully worded to let everyone off the hook anyway, but the family's lawyer will have to put that one right, if he dares to.

My sympathies to the family of Lisa Norris. I can't imagine how sad they are over the loss of their child because of this.

I can't become involved in cases like this though, as my name is poison in the legal profession and I can't allow lawyers to transfer their hate for me, onto others.

Thats why I help people in the background as best I can, and that's why I write about what happened to me here, so hopefully, others can avoid it.

If any of you start campaigns against medical negligence injustices, you certainly have my support.

David said...

may you be considered the anti-lawyer ?! don't blame you though - obviously these tossers made a mess of your life - why not have a bit of revenge and let everyone know what bastards they are. good on ya kid.

Dave / Chicago said...

I think you have those guys at the Scotsman a bit worried. Looks like you are writing stuff before its written.

Keep up the good work, and try gettin some sleep sometime kid. Live to fight another day !

Anonymous said...

Again I read your blog with emotions tipping between increduality and pity.

You fail to miss the point on a possible challenge to the LPLA Bill. The Bill as it stands will allow Ministers to exert way too much influence. Although you then harp on about the lack of accountability of the said Ministers.

No doubt you will infer that giving the courts final say will simply put the ball back in the hands of lawyers. Offering a workable solution may allow you to secure the credibility that you so crave.

Peter Cherbi said...

Dear Anonymous .. again probably sounds like a member of the legal profession.

Well, giving the courts the final say certainly does put it back in the hands of the lawyers - after all, everyone from the lawyers to the judge are still members of the Law Society of Scotland.

I wonder if Mill will be threatening those in house lawyers of the Executive & Parliament too ? Not the first time it's happened ... so who might the Executive be able to rely on for competent & honest defence of the LPLA Bill ?

Credibility isn't an issue with me thanks - nor is it with the many other victims of the legal profession - who have lost their own credibility through their own corrupt behaviour.

You could maybe tell me what level of credibility a senior lawyer linked to the Law Society still has, after recently getting off from fraud charges.

Anonymous said...

You again go on to prove my point admirably - where is your solution?

Peter Cherbi said...

solution to what ? solution to a corrupt Scottish legal profession - that even covers up cases of it's own members involved in child abuse ? well - taking away regulation from the legal profession is a start, don't you think ?

As for Ministers who may exert way too much influence - well, at the end of the day - they are elected politicians, and elected politicians ultimate regulator has to be the electorate, right ?

Complain against a lawyer or expose their fiddles - they usually stay in practice and go on to rob as many other clients as they can because nothing is done... Expose corrupt politicians or rent milkers .. and after the press get onto it .. politician has to go .. not with lawyers though - because they go & threaten the newspapers & careers of journalists who write anti-legal profession stories in the papers - plenty examples of those around.

Why not leave your name & phone number, anonymous or is that a wee bit too much for you ? .. clearly you are an opponent of reforms to the legal profession .. and we all know the motives of opponents .. nothing to do with honesty & transparency now, is it.

Anonymous said...

Your reaction to debate on this topic is startling. Such vitriol is bordering on manic.

I would be happy to leave my contact details with you but not in a public forum.

My question to you is 'If you were elected first minister (perish the thought), what measures would you impliment to replace the current system of co-regulation of solicitors in Scotland?'. By co-regulation, I mean the European, UK and Scottish Parliaments, the FSA etc.

Peter Cherbi said...

Anonymous .. it seems you are afraid to even put your name to your words. let alone your contact details. Why is that exactly ? You are obviously a supporter of self regulation of the legal profession.

You make comments of my reaction to debate being vitriolic or even manic ?

The Law Society of Scotland's reaction to my complaint against Mr Penman & his colleagues was to turn their entire resources against me, completely interdict my life & intimidate my every move, even to the point of threatening my life, and intimidating other members of my family. Just how manic can you get ? or do you also condone such behaviour as the Leslie Cumming attack ?

I will never be appointed FIrst Minister, thankfully, I'm not into dead end jobs, or dishing out favours to people who would elect me to such a post, but as far as co-regulation goes, there would be none if I were in charge.

Solicitors would be bound by the terms of a completely independent complaints investigation body - which would have only solicitor advisory complement & no more influence than that. If they didn't like the way the legal industry would be regulated in that way, then they can go be a plumber or something else.

The same would apply to the accountancy profession, whom I note are equally as entrenched in self regulation as the legal profession - and assist one & other when it suits to go up against a common enemy.

Archie said...

Yeah Pete I see what you mean by this guy.

Hey anonymous (lawyer ?)have you ever asked a victim of a horrible crime how they felt about the person who did it to them ? Most people fucked over by someone would like to hang the bastard from the nearest rooftop but you lawyers get away with it because you cover up for each other.

Looks like you touched a raw nerve with this article Pete - keep it up mate !

Archie said...

Hey Pete forgot to ask

Why dont you want to be First Minister ? LOL !!!

Peter Cherbi said...

Archie .. thanks for your support. Seems I have touched a nerve with this article - a Scotsman journalist called me this afternoon to tell me that Mill is furious over the way the article was handled - even made some verbal hate comments against poor old me .. he does seem to drop his guard sometimes or let his BP get the better of him.

Anyway, that's a great point - What would a victim say to their abuser .. but the legal profession expect to be able to abuse people then the victims have to go back for more. After all, they've been doing it for ages, so why let a little thing like the LPLA Bill come along and stop it now ?

Mr anonymous is obviously a supporter of such Law Society policy - because his attitude against anyone who dissents from the present system of self regulation of the legal profession is probably one of attack .. just as the Law Society of Scotland constanty attack their victims & critics .. he's only reflecting that policy.

First Minister - no way, Archie ! .. Scotland needs a proper government, not a Westminster STOOGE assembly where they are all bought off with vast expenses accounts (bribes & backhanders). Anyway, there are others much more qualified than me to do it .. and as an old friend always said .. be careful of being the emperor .. because it usually turns out you have to get rid of them at some stage !

Anonymous said...

Well gentlemen, it does seem that you can miscontrue a genuine attempt for debate as a sign that I am a lawyer.

As for my support or otherwise of any of the issues we have 'discussed' I can't see that I have stated any other policy other than I don't think it is a good idea to take regulation from lawyers and give it to the Executive.

Thanks for offering to provide me with an answer to the question I posed. May I suggest that if you wish to gather support in future that you refrain from pointless point scoring and get to the point.

Thanks for your time

Penny said...

Peter, I hope you are going to respond to this person.

Looking forward to more from you.

Peter Cherbi said...

Penny, I think I will do an article on some of the themes of the posts to my article .. as the debate is now dead from mr anonymous.