A quiet week after the passing of the LPLA Bill ? Not likely .. but certainly time to spark new debates & campaigns on other aspects of the Scottish legal profession which need amending .. and reports in this week's press show the need for further reforms, from legal aid, to how the legal profession disciplines itself & interferes in legislation, and perhaps more importantly, throwing out the FOI exemption of our legal crooks at Drumsheugh Gardens, which allows the Law Society of Scotland to happily blank out the corruption of its members from public view.
What with reports of lawyers forming a new Union (in addition to all the other unions & nefarious organisations they have to protect their own interests) : Hundreds to join new lawyers' union ..and 'sing'a'long' Donald Findlay being named as top of .. (it was actually £361,800) ... its business as usual for Scotland's legal profession.
There's also Bill Alexander's FOI request to disclose information on why certain parts of Law were held back to protect business markets of the Scottish legal profession too : Scottish Executive thought to be blameworthy for allowing restrictive practices in legal services
Lawyers forming a new union to protect their interests .... what's wrong with the likes of the Legal Defence Union ? Law Care ? and all those other organs of the Law Society of Scotland which protect crooked lawyers from getting off the hook ? Why bother with yet another organisation, which will always play second fiddle to the Law Society of Scotland ?
Some quotes from the Scotsman article on the new lawyers union : :
Solicitors from across the country are drawing up a constitution for the new representative body, which they hope to launch next month.
They say there is growing frustration that their voices are not being heard amid the biggest reform of the legal professional and justice system that Scotland has seen. They insist a grass-roots organisation, provisionally to be named the Scottish Bar Association, is needed to aid communication among solicitors and to mobilise increasingly militant legal aid lawyers.
Ministerial reforms of the legal aid system have raised the threat of strikes and boycotts among both civil and criminal lawyers - action the Law Society of Scotland, which represents the country's solicitors, is unable to support due to its statutory obligation to represent the interests of the public as well as the profession.
The thought of gangs of crooked lawyers drawing up'constutitions' conjures up images of sacrificial ceremonies involving the odd goat or sheep (whichever is closer for grabbing, no doubt) ... for we can be sure their 'constitution' will include clauses to rip off the client & get away with it.
Frustration their voices are not being heard ? My goodness .. how loud do they want to be ?
The Law Society of Scotland just last week, threatened the Scottish Parliament with Court action if they didn't pass the amendments they wrote for Bill Aitken to pass (yes the Law Society wrote many of those amendments themselves .. because some are just too .. well .. you know ... D'oh ! to come up with such wording ...) I covered that one here : Scotland lobbies Scottish Parliament to pass anti consumer amendments on LPLA Bill threatening Court action if demands not met
Well, it's all a bit of a diversion .. and far from it being frustration with the Law Society of Scotland, it seems those at Drumsheugh Gardens are secretly supporting these new ideas .. if only to use such threats of the break up of the legal monopoly in Scotland as a political weapon & bargaining tool for professional interests.
The Law Society of Scotland are still the puppet master, you will all be pleased to hear.
Apart from 'sing-a-long' Donald taking the prize of legal aid top earner this week then, the only other thing I would like to raise would be the Law Society of Scotland's exemption from FOI.
I noticed, this week, there are posts from people claiming to have attended Complaints Committee hearings at the Law Society of Scotland, where one says one thing, and one says another. I don't know of many Complaints Committee members who have the guts or honesty to deviate from the Law Soceity line that all lawyers are honest .. so I will reserve judgement on the first anonymous post ... unless they choose to contact me & confirm their staus.
Well, in my own experience, and from what I have read on other cases, the Complaints Committee members selected by the Law Society of Scotland are simply 'Yes" people who won't rock the boat, and do exactly what they are told like puppy dogs when their legal thugs at the end of the table make their decision.
No doubt some of these people think they are doing a good thing and performing a valuable service to the community - dropping prosecutions against crooked lawyers, fiddling evidence, joking about clients complaints, laughing about clients personal misfortune & family members deaths, listening to the pleas of crooked lawyers before them of "oh .. I studied for so long to become a lawyer, it's not fair I should be kicked out just because I stole half a million from a client" ... and then of course, letting them off the hook because they are a nice well studied lawyer who shouldn't be thrown to the dogs just because they are crooked.
Well, drug users on a high also think they are performing the same valuable community service
I remember, once, this Priest, who was on one of the Law Society Complaints Committees when the Scotsman were running almost daily stories of crooked lawyers .. big headlines too, as you can see from some of the coverage I received against a lawyer I nominated for the position of Scotland's most famous crooked lawyer - Drew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso
Well, this Priest 'was motivated by external means' (no, not God), to write into the Scotsman's letters page and protest the valuable work he did as a Complaints Committee member .. and also condemn from on high, those of us (including myself) who doubted the words of the Law Society when it came to prosecuting crooked lawyers.
I think the Priest though, had become lost in the steak & wine dinners & socialising with all those crooked lawyers & other Committee members at Drumsheugh Gardens .. as he forgot to mention anywhere in his letter he was even a Priest - either that or he was too busy obeying his orders from the Law Society chiefs to get right in there and furiously write letters condemning Peter Cherbi, he had simply forgot his 'primary mission' in life ...
My goodness .. it seems the Law Society of Scotland can even make a Priest put his duty to let crooked lawyers off the hook before his 'vocation to God' .. which is one of the things required for the Priesthood, isn't it ? .. and such condemnation of clients by this Committee member led me to check out who else was on the Law Society Complaints Committees. It was then quite easy to understand why swathes of crooked lawyers were getting off the hook - the Committees were populated by 'Lay persons' the Law Society carefully selected to ensure their crooked colleagues were safe.
I've heard a lot more about other members of the Complaints Committees ... how they joke & ridicule many complaints that pass their eyes ... ridicule & laugh about the misfortune of clients who have lost everything due to a crooked lawyer ... and even joke about the deaths of clients members of family, in the hope it will get rid of them from sight .... a nasty bunch surely, if ever there was one... but certainly in line with their lawyer colleagues at the end of the table, who seemingly are never short of a sharp, vicious word or two against members of the public.
Of course, we would know all about this if the Law Society of Scotland didn't have an exemption from Freedom of Information legislation, wouldn't we.
We would know a lot more about the inner workings of the Law Society of Scotland if it had to adhere to FOI ... things like the Mackenzie memos' would have been released to the Mackenzie .. rather than having to be leaked ... but we now can clearly see why the Law Society demanded and got an exemption from FOI ... to cover up their own corruption & control of the legal system.
Time to end that exemption then... after all .. we now have the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill passed at the Scottish Parliament ... surely any exemption from Freedom of Information legislation which the legal profession enjoys is now incompatible with the spirit & terms of the LPLA Bill, which is designed to regulate & oversee all those crooked lawyers we keep having to complain about.
Oh ... we will get arguments such as .. 'but if we have to obey FOI, then pursuers & defenders will be asking for FOi requests on each others affairs & worse ..." .. nothing of the sort of course ... we are talking about the Law Society of Scotland here - not the Law. The Law Society of Scotland is a regulatory body .. and classed as a public body at that ... therefore making it compliant with FOI will certainly be a benefit to the consumer.
After all - why on earth should the likes of Douglas Mill & his crooked band of lawyers enjoy an exemption status from Freedom of Information ? .. when we have all this corruption going on around them ? fiddling evidence against negligent & crooked lawyers, meddling in client complaints, even, threatening the Parliament on the passing of legislation ? ... why on earth should such an organisation have an exemption from FOI ?
Who can end that exemption ? Cathy Jamieson, the Justice Minster can do something about it - so get writing to her everyone - and make sure the legal profession in Scotland don't hold onto the exemption from FOI, just as a pretence to maintain confidentiality of business & affairs ... it's nothing to do with that at all .. as we all know .. it's to maintain the secrecy on the disgraceful conduct of the legal profession over all these years, to keep its business monopoly and to keep from the public, the huge regulatory problems of armies of crooked lawyers ripping off clients throughout Scotland. Ripping off - YOU.
Lastly, for today - may I wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
I hope 2007 brings happiness, good health & good fortune for all of you, wherever you are in the world, and particularly for those of you who have suffered an unresolved injustice.