Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Drug Running Lawyer flees Scottish Justice to evade sentencing

Some things in the news never fail to amaze me .. and here is one - so here goes today's blog entry ....

Are you a Drug Runner ? Want to escape sentencing in the Courts after being caught red-handed ? ... Join the Law Society of Scotland then before you embark on your nefarious schemes, become a Scottish Lawyer, and you will get off the hook for sure ... and just look at the example of Angela Baillie to prove it !

If it had been anyone else ... anyone .... they would have been thrown in jail immediately .. but that won't do for Scotland's club of crooked lawyers, who have taken steps to ensure that Angela Baillie - the crooked lawyer who was caught & found guilty of running drugs into a prison, has been let off the hook for now by being shipped "south of the border" - to England, to receive psychiatric treatment at an English clinic - out of the reach of Scottish Law for now it seems ....

Of course, I am not surprised at what has happened ... I had heard from contacts as soon as she was found guilty that there were efforts being made to keep her out of jail .. and this is certainly a heck of an effort for sure ... 'bi-polar disorder' ... how many lawyers who are also crooked have that ? all of them ? ... and then how does that bi-polar disorder come into making profits from drug running ? ... or are the profits just accidental ?

Yes, folks, this is who the Scottish Legal Profession really are, - the people the Law Society of Scotland want us to respect and deal with - but in reality, as we all know, Scottish lawyers are indeed, a bunch of lying crooks, who will use any excuse whatsoever to get off the hook - and for them, it works .. but if a client goes against a lawyer, and has any medical disabilities, the crooked lawyer and the gang at the Law Society of Scotland will exploit it to the hilt and make sure that poor person is completely ruined for making a complaint against a crooked lawyer ....

I wonder, if the sinister organisation "Law Care" had anything to do with this flight from Scottish Justice for Angela Ballie ?

"Law Care", as we all know, is run by a very crooked lawyer by the name of James Ness, of Austins Solicitors, Dalbeattie, when I knew him ... Mr Ness represented Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso, against my complaint, and he fiddled the Complaints Committee hearing, to make sure that, as you have read in previous posts on this blog - crooked lawyer Andrew Penman got off the hook - to rob other clients of course ... and when it comes to 'caring' for crooked Scottish lawyers who get into trouble - "Law Care" is right up there helping them evade complaints, with excuses of stress and more .. to get them off the hook from the likes of embezzlement charges and much more ....

Of course, it's not always been like this - Solicitor James McIntyre, for instance, was given 3 years for having guns at his home in Linlithgow in 1997 .. which he was alleged to be holding for a 'crime family', which you can read about in Scotland on Sunday here : http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=229752003

I wonder where "Law Care" were when they bagged James McIntyre, or where were the legal profeesion's big-wigs ? .. well, McIntyre's face didn't fit with the powers at be at the Law Society of Scotland, therefore they threw him to the dogs ... but eventually, he beat the Law Society of Scotland and regained his license to practice ....

....and to compare, there's always the example of Andy Mcardle - someone who went up against the Scottish legal profession, was sectioned to shut him up, no lawyer would represent him against the legal profession, or help in his case (on orders from colleagues within the Scottish legal profession) and he eventually died under suspicious circumstances in jail ... alledged to have been murdered ... which you can read about here: http://sacl.info/3_guardians_of_justice.htm and I could quote a lot more people who have gone up against the legal system and been treated a LOT less with the kid gloves than Angela Ballie ....

so, what is so special about Angela Baillie then ? .. well, she was a partner at Legal firm RIchard Lobjoie in Glasgow, and it seems, having the contacts and ear of the big wigs within the Scottish legal profession - which she obviously has - seems to have paid off, and for now - the excuses of psychiatric difficulties is helping her evade justice while others in a similar situation would have been off to jail ...



'Ill' lawyer stalls drug sentence

A lawyer who smuggled drugs into a jail failed to appear for sentencing because she has been getting psychiatric help.

Angela Baillie, 32, from Newton Mearns, admitted passing heroin and valium to a prisoner in Glasgow's Barlinnie jail.

The High Court in Edinburgh was shown evidence from a psychiatrist confirming Baillie was unfit to leave the premises where she was being treated.

Defence QC Paul McBride said the solicitor has bi-polar disorder. She will be sentenced on 20 April.

Mr McBride indicated he will make a plea for leniency on grounds of diminished responsibility.

He said doctors believe that at the time of the offence, Baillie was suffering "a major depressive episode".

In February, she appeared at the High Court in Paisley and admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and diazepam.

The Crown said she made £52,556 from drug dealing and steps have been taken to strip her of her assets.


Drug lawyer's psychiatric history

A LAWYER who smuggled drugs into prison had a psychiatric history and was not fully responsible for her actions, it was stated yesterday.

Angela Baillie, 32, had been due to be sentenced for taking heroin and diazepam tablets to a client in Glasgow's Barlinnie jail, but her case was adjourned while she continued to receive treatment for mental problems.

Baillie, of Newton Mearns in Glasgow, admitted at an earlier hearing that she had been concerned in the supplying of the drugs, worth £1,558, in October last year.

Yesterday, her counsel, Paul McBride, QC, told the judge, Lord Kinclaven, that since the previous hearing, Baillie had been receiving psychiatric treatment at a clinic in England. A consultant had reported that Baillie was unfit to attend court.

Mr McBride said the accused had a history of psychiatric difficulties, and she had been diagnosed as suffering from a bipolar disorder. "She is in receipt of medication [at the clinic], which they have found in recent times needed to be changed," he said.

Mr McBride added that his understanding from the consultant was that Baillie met the legal test for diminished responsibility at the time of the offence and, apparently, that had been the position "for some significant period of time".

A second psychiatrist, from Glasgow, who had treated Baillie in the past, supported the views of his colleague from England.

Mr McBride said it had been estimated that background reports would be prepared and Baillie would be fit to attend court in two to four weeks' time.

Lord Kinclaven agreed to adjourn the case to next month.

Baillie had been caught after a tip-off that drugs were being smuggled into the jail

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

BBC Radio Scotland Debate on the legal profession - Peter Cherbi versus the Law Society of Scotland

After the late January 2001 article in Scotland on Sunday by Peter Laing appeared, reporting on the Justice 1 Committee of the Scottish Parliament taking up my campaign, along with others, to get an inquiry into crooked lawyers which I wrote about here : http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2006/03/more-campaigning-produces-results-phil.html ... BBC Scotland came looking for me, in the shape of Bruce McGregor, of BBC Radio Scotland in Inverness.

The article in Scotland on Sunday by peter Laing, had struck a chord with many people who had been ripped off by lawyers in Scotland ..... and the BBC had of course, picked up on that for the Garry Robertson Show on BBC Radio Scotland .... it was a good theme for a show .. and there was a lot of publicity at the time about how crooked the Scottish legal profession had become, thanks to the efforts of myself, Stewart Mackenzie - a very good friend from Perth, and the likes of the aptly named campaign group "Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers".

Bruce McGregor called me, and invited me onto the show - of course, I said YES ! .. and the stage was set for me to go up against 2 baddies from the legal profession - who turned out to be none other than Austin Lafferty, the somewhat flamboyant Scottish media lawyer .. and Joseph Platt - a past President of the Law Society of Scotland.

For the morning of Tuesday, 6 March 2001, I was ferried from my house in Jedburgh, to the BBC Radio Studios at Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders, where my 'on location' appearance in the programme was to take place, on a very cold, and snowy March morning (the week previous, we had been deluged with the infamous spring 2001 blizzards in the Borders). I did my sound test, and had a short walk through as to what I could expect to be asked, and how, of course, I should behave .... good thing I am as diplomatic as ever of course !

The show got started, with the normal introductions to the mornings topics, by Garry Robertson, then of course, the issue of the Parliamentary inquiry into Scottish lawyers came up first, and the parties - myself, Platt, and Lafferty, were all introduced to the audience ..... Platt & Lafferty were in their own studios ... out of reach of any axe swings they may have wanted to take at me !

The show, for me, was fantastic. I would really have to commend Bruce McGregor, Garry Robertson, his staff, and those at the BBC who invited me that day to speak on the issue of the client versus the lawyer, and how poorly members of the public had been treated by the Law Society of Scotland.

Mr Platt and Mr Lafferty for their part, of course, stuck to the legal profession's point of view - there was no problem at all with self regulation of lawyers by the Law Society of Scotland - and that complaints were few and far between - all complainers were just naggers and should be grateful of getting a lawyer to do their work, etc ....but of course, when I got to say my piece - about some of the things I have written about in this blog - such as ... crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso, raiding & ripping off my dead father's estate, faking up files, fiddling accounts, .. crooked senior Law Society officials interfering my case and fiddling my legal aid, fiddling the complaint, fiddling the Legal Services Ombudsman's report into my complaint & the Law Society handling of it, etc ... Joe Platt & Austin Lafferty reacted quite badly to that - dismissing of course, what happened, and trying to sideline me with tales of how great the Scottish legal profession was .. etc ... but all to no avail. Let's say .. Platt & Lafferty - despite their fame & position .. were .. 'unconvincing' !

What won my side of the argument that day, I think, was my quiet critisism of the way they were on the show, along with just how arrogant the Law Society of Scotland is, and, coupled with my chance to tell my own story, that won the day, and for me, showed Platt & Lafferty to be very anti client and single minded in their determination to keep regulation for themselves - lawyer investigating lawyer .. which has led thousands of cover ups over the years - all to protect crooked lawyers and their fat incomes, big houses, fancy offices, fancy cars, etc ...and of course, the show generated many many calls into the BBC, with many pointed questions on air from other ordinary people, just like me, who had been ripped off by their crooked lawyer - and weren't able to do anything about it due to the corruptness of the Law Society of Scotland and their crooked complaints procedures ....

I think, probably for me, the quote of the show came from Austin Lafferty - who said - his ideal client would be an old lady who came along to sell her house for £100,000 or something like that ... of course .. Garry Robertson quickly picked up on Lafferty's comment which sounded ..... shall we say .. stupid ?I thought ... along with, probably the whole audience, sure - an old lady with £100,000 to a Scottish lawyer must seem like an easy target .... and I can understand why then, he came up with such a thing .... because certainly from my own experience in the Borders - there has been many an old lady robbed by Scottish lawyers - while they were alive, and certainly after they died ... so, yes, a great quote to sum up the Scottish legal profession - let's rip off the old people ! - after all - he said it ! - the famous Austin Lafferty !

I'd say this Radio show that I did, was one of the best moments of my own personal campaign to get an inquiry into the Scottish legal profession, and also, be able to speak out to as many people as possible on what happened in my own case - to bring their story out too .. because that is what I am about and that is what this blog is all about - to get people to read the stuff - tell me if the same happened to them (which a few have done) and get the message out about just how bad corruption is in Scotland, when it comes to injustice and law - because of course, it affects us all.

Since there is now a Bill destined to be debated at the Justice 2 Committee at the Scottish Parliament, I hope to be invited back to have another go at the legal profession ! I have done a lot of work I think over the years to get to this stage, and in support of all those who have suffered the same difficulties as myself in their dealings with Scottish lawyers & the legal profession, I would hope that raising the issue again will do some more good, and bring out more maligned clients of lawyers to submit their experiences to the Justice 2 Committee for consideration .....

So, to BBC Scotland - thank you for this opportunity to discuss the issue of regulation of the legal profession in Scotland. The show contributed greatly to the debate on bringing improvements to the Scottish legal profession - and it also allowed other people like myself, to get in touch and do something about what happened to them at the hands of a crooked Scottish lawyer .... and that, has been one of the most difficult things to do over the years - bring people together ... because the Law Society has seen that for the main - we have all been kept apart .....

You can visit the website of BBC Radio Scotland at : http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/

The Garry Robertson Show is now known as "Morning Extra", at : http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/view/show.shtml?morningextra - and if you like - ask the BBC for a transcript of my show .. and read for yourself how the debate took place !

You can also visit Austin Lafferty's own website at http://www.austinlafferty.co.uk/ .. I wonder if he's up for more debate on the merits of lawyer investigating lawyer ? and any more old lady clients with £100,000 ?!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Soaring cases of complaints against Scottish Lawyers

Buried in the Saturday edition of "The Scotsman" - which no one reads because they have more to do at the weekend, is the story that Complaints against lawyers - yes, Crooked Scottish lawyers, have soared again this year, at 30% up on the previous year ..... soaring, as they do every year ....

The true number of complaints against lawyers, however, is thought to be much higher, and this is because the "Client Relations Office" of the Law Society of Scotland - yes, otherwise known as "The Dirty Tricks Department" of the Law Society, fiddles the figures and throws out many complaints, mainly by intimidating the client to the extent that they either back off through threats or because of combined action against them by the actual crooked lawyer & Law Society staff .. or simply because they realise it is a losing battle to make a complaint against a crooked Scottish lawyer - because his colleagues will cover up for him as has always happened in the past ... true number of complaints ? it is thought that there were well over 6000 letters of complaints against lawyers last year ... so the figures we get from the Law Society at 4849 complaints ... could be as believable as the UK Unemployment statistics ! .... try ... 6000 .. or 7000 ++++ !

Philip Yelland appears in the article - the corrupt Director of the Client Relations Department, who, personally, fiddled my own case against the Law Society of Scotland by ordering my own lawyer not to accept instructions from me to call senior Law Society officials as witnesses in a legal action ... and he did that more than once ... and to other people's cases too ...

don't believe it ? well, you can read how crooked Philip Yelland, and his boss, Douglas Mill, are, by reading my blog post at : http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2006/03/leaked-letter-shows-true-extent-of-law.html

Caroline Flanagan whines about how the profession will face hardship if fines of up to £20,000 are imposed on crooked lawyers for ripping off clients ... but, what about all the hardship, destroyed lives, destroyed businesses, destroyed families your colleagues in Scotland have caused, Caroline ? surely, your colleagues will only increase the amount they steal from clients to compensate for the increased fines ? because as the saying goes, 'once a crook, always a crook' ... and we all know that there are a heck of a lot of crooks in the Scottish legal profession ...

Read on for the article, from "The Scotsman", at :

Complaints against lawyers up 30%, reveals Law Society


COMPLAINTS against Scotland's lawyers soared by 30 per cent last year to nearly 5,000, The Scotsman has learned.

The Law Society of Scotland's annual report, unveiled at its closed-doors annual meeting yesterday, showed that 4,849 complaints were made against solicitors last year compared with 3,732 in 2004.

The level of complaints has more than doubled in five years, a trend described by politicians as "very worrying".

The majority of complaints were about inadequate professional service.

The Scottish Executive has unveiled plans to remove this type of complaint from the Law Society and charge a new independent body with investigating "service" grievances, effectively ending centuries of self-regulation within the legal profession.

The report also reveals that more than 1,000 complaints were dismissed.

A total of £214,393 was paid out to aggrieved clients in 452 cases. More than 60 lawyers were prosecuted before the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal for alleged serious misconduct.

Despite the massive increase in complaints, the society achieved a new target of dealing with 75 per cent of grievances within six months for the first time.

Philip Yelland, director of the society's client relations office, said: "The original target of dealing with 90 per cent of complaints within nine months was maintained throughout last year, despite a sharp rise in number of complaints. This is a significant achievement and one of which we are rightly proud."

The society claimed the rise was due to increased public awareness of the complaints system and continuing complaints by people mis-sold endowment policies in 1980s and 1990s.

Society president Caroline Flanagan said: "There has been a trend here which has pushed up the number of complaints in recent years, and that has been complaints about alleged mis-selling of endowments. We are actually now seeing those figures drop back off.

"Also, people are much more aware they have the right to complain. The Ombudsman acknowledged that in her report and said that was a good thing. I don't think it is because solicitors are failing at a higher level."

But Margo Macdonald MSP, who is chair of the Scottish Legal Awards, described the overall rise as "very worrying".

"Perhaps the first thing the independent complaints body should do is analyse the reasons why so many people are complaining. I do not think greater public awareness of the system explains that in itself.

"This is very worrying. We have all got to trust lawyers in the same way we trust doctors. If these figures reflected diminishing trust in clients, that would be extremely concerning."

Last November the society urged the Executive to create an independent body to investigate complaints about inadequate professional service from lawyers, which make up around 80 per cent of all such grievances.

The society's recommendations came on the back of an official consultation on legal complaints handling which attracted 500 responses.

Mrs Flanagan said yesterday's annual meeting had been "positive" with lawyers echoing her concerns about aspects of the proposed shake-up in legal services.

These include plans to increase the amount of compensation firms have to pay out to clients from £5,000 to £20,000.

"A lot of people were saying this could put them out of business, or steer away from certain areas of work such as legal aid, or cases of low value."

She also hit out at plans to make firms who are the subject of a complaint pay a £300 "handling fee", regardless of whether the complaint is upheld.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Law Society of Scotland resorts to more scare tactics in the willing media ....

Law Society scare tactics - if they can't hound you out of existence, they go to their pals in the media to do it .. although Michael Howie at "The Scotsman" has managed a more balanced view of Caroline Flannagan's grandeoise claims in stark contrast to some of his colleagues scribbings (mostly lawyers cloaked as journalists these days) ....

Yes folks - this could only indicate that it's the annual Law Society Annual conference .. where members parade up and down & give propaganda speeches about how great they are .. akin to the Nuremberg rallies of the Nazi party - and before you complain about my comment - please bear in mind that some of the biggest collectors of nazi memorabilia in Scotland are - lawyers ... (don't ask me why .. because I don't know), but I do know they collect them, because a militaria dealer I know who bought my dad's old WW2 KOSB uniform, gave me some pictures of some 'well known figures in the Scottish establishment' standing proudly along with their collections and flags (very weird!) ... and one of those in the photos knows I have the piccies .. hence why he resigned to go to other pastures .....

So .. while the sound of jackboots thunders through the Conference in Edinburgh ... remember that, despite the pleads of the Law Society of Scotland that legal services will suffer ... we, the public, will get a far better standard of regulation of our crooked legal services - which are, very very bad at the moment .. in fact - they couldn't get any worse than they are ... with complaints of thousands of lawyers faking bills & overcharging clients each year, falsifying files, falsifying actual work done .. plundering clients finances at will .. etc .... surely, it can only get better !

Just remember though - there will always be crooked lawyers around - and that's why organisations such as Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers, where you can go visit at http://www.sacl.info/ ... will always exist to expose such corruption within the ranks of the Scottish legal fraternity

PS ... I am not a popular person with "The Scotsman" now ... so don't expect much more 'balanced' coverage on my case ! ... it's against the spirit of their 'new outlook' on the legal profession ..... errm, I mean, sales ...

Link to the unusually more balanced article, from "The Scotsman", at :

Law firm shake-up 'will create advice desert'

RURAL Scotland faces becoming a legal-advice "desert" with solicitors being driven out of business by a shake-up to the way complaints are handled, the president of the Law Society of Scotland will warn today.

Caroline Flanagan, the society's president, will tell the society's annual meeting that a proposed four-fold increase in fines for firms who have complaints upheld against them, and costs incurred by a new independent complaints body, could deter many rural practices from giving advice on matters such as divorce and conveyancing. These traditionally attract a high level of complaints, but often form the core business for small firms in country areas.

She will highlight several "failings" in the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as proposed in the new Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill.

The Law Society is concerned that the commission - which will take over the handling of many complaints from lawyers themselves - is likely to cost more than the current system and will be funded by a levy on the profession as well as individual case fees, which will be payable whether or not a complaint is upheld.

Compensation limits for inadequate professional service have been raised from £5,000 to £20,000. There are concerns that this may be a crippling burden, particularly for small firms on tight margins, which will force many High Street firms to shut down.

The society also believes the proposal that ministers appoint members of the commission's board will compromise the legal profession's independence.

Lawyers gathered in Edinburgh will also hear that the proposals will breach the European Convention on Human Rights as neither those who complain nor solicitors will have a right of appeal. Mrs Flanagan said:

"The society questions the bill's constitutionality, its compliance with ECHR and the consequences of access to justice if it is introduced in its present form.

"Consumer interest rather than the public interest is at the heart of the Bill. The cost implications are enormous. My firm belief is that the introduction of the new commission in its presently proposed form will lead to the creation of advice deserts in Scotland.

"Smaller firms may well not be able to continue to practise. Certainly, many firms will question whether they are able to offer legal aid advice at all. Ultimately, if independence is lost and the rule of law threatened, the people of Scotland are the real losers."

But the Executive said change was needed to satisfy consumers' demands for higher standards. A spokeswoman said: "Consumers now look for more from the services they use. They want and deserve more choice, tailored services, transparency and confidence that when things go wrong their complaints will be handled fairly and efficiently.

"Consumers are right to expect high standards of service, and the time is now right for this culture change in our society to be extended into Scotland's legal system."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Crooked Lawyer - one of the 'cream' of the Scottish Legal Profession exposed as a drug runner - and now awaiting a jail term !

What an honour this must be for the Law Society of Scotland, and the reputation of Scottish lawyers everywhere ...... someone from the supposed 'cream' of the Scottish legal profession, found guilty for ... drug running .... and making plenty money at it too it seems ....

Yes folks, this is just another example of just how crooked, low down, and dirty, the Scottish legal profession has become - from running drugs, to threatening clients & ruining their lives, to buying off politicians, and to even apparently ordering murder hits on their own colleagues .... what a bunch ! - use a lawyer ?? we shouldn't touch those people with a barge pole these days - they are a danger & a menace to us all - including their own it seems .... when some of them are suspected of ordering murder hits on their own colleagues .....

All this makes you really wonder just why the Scottish Executive is so hell bent on clamping down on campaign & protest groups against the legal profession, such as Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers, Injustice Scotland ... and the rest .. to stop public critisism of the legal profession ... (example - Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson proclaiming the SACL website to be defamatory and using the Scottish Courts Service to shut it down .... ) kinda .. sinister, wouldn't you say ??? so why would the Government in Scotland be trying to shut up the critics of the Scottish legal profession, which is obviously riddled with so much corruption ? is it, that the Scottish Executive are getting some kind of backhander from the legal mafia to keep things quiet ? or is it something a lot more sinister we are missing maybe even something connected with the likes of the McKie case ? or connected with .. many cases involving crooked lawyers, some of them now promoted to .. .Judges .... do email me with your thoughts !

Still - it's good to see these kinds of things covered in the newspapers - and I am surprised it's in the Scotsman Tuesday edition - which is usually the legal edition for the lawyers you know .. to keep dwindling sales up ... and it makes a change from articles in the past few days extolling the virtues and seemingly godlike status of lawyers in Scotland ....

So - beware of your crooked lawyer - they might just be a murderer, a drug runner, a gun runner, an embezzler, a thief (especially of your money, your house, or a will) ... or just a plain crook .. take your pick .. there are around 10,000 of them to choose from in Scotland .. and plenty more law students up and coming to join their crooked ranks ... and my oh my, I could tell you a thing or two about some of those 'up and coming' law students ..

Read on for the article, from "The Scotsman", at : http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=380372006

Laywer who brought drugs into jail 'made £50,000'

* Angela Baillie caught smuggling heroin and diazepam for prisoner
* Prosecutors seeking £50,000 for alleged smuggling profits
* Case provoked outrage when judge ordered lawyer should not be named

A CORRUPT lawyer who smuggled drugs into prison has made more than £50,000 from crime, it was alleged yesterday.

Angela Baillie, 32, is awaiting sentence for taking heroin and diazepam tablets worth £1,558 to a client in Glasgow's Barlinnie jail.

However, in a parallel case under the Proceeds of Crime Act, prosecutors are seeking a confiscation order against her to the sum of £52,556. The figure has been calculated by trawling her financial affairs over recent years and working out her expenditure beyond her known income. Baillie, of Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, is contesting the application.

Her prosecution attracted widespread publicity last month when a judge initially made an order which temporarily prevented her from being named. The following day, after representations from the media, Lord Kinclaven lifted the ban under the Contempt of Court Act.

Baillie, who worked for a criminal law firm in Glasgow, had been caught after an insider claimed to the authorities that drugs were being supplied to an inmate by his legal representative during confidential prison visits.

The police were alerted and special screenings were carried out to ensure that none of the prisoners due to meet their lawyers had anything on them before a one-to-one meeting in an individual cubicle.

Baillie's client was strip-searched after his consultation with her and he was found to have a cigarette packet, which had been opened and resealed with sticky tape. It contained 158 diazepam tablets and 14.85g of heroin. DNA on the sticky tape matched samples from Baillie.

The advocate-depute, Peter Ferguson, QC, told the High Court in Paisley that, due to the quantities involved, it was "plain beyond doubt" that the drugs were "for supply to the prison system generally".

Baillie could face a jail term when she appears for sentencing later this month.

Yesterday, a preliminary hearing in the confiscation proceedings was held at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The Crown claimed that Baillie's expenditure over the last six years, funded other than from known sources - she was earning around £30,000 a year - amounted to £52,556 and "represents the benefit from general criminal conduct".

It added that she had a realisable asset, her home, which was worth an estimated £165,000, and she did not have a mortgage on the property.

John Scullion, counsel for Baillie, said both sides were requesting a continuation in the case "to enable these inquiries to be completed".

The judge, Lord Emslie, agreed to schedule another hearing for next month

....and just to compare events over a few days .... I have tagged on this article from last Friday's Scotsman ... you would think that Kate Rafferty was talking about an entirely different profession .. probably on ... another planet ! I wonder who on earth at the Scotsman dreamt up this following article ?

Where does drug dealing, murdering, thieving, and embezzling come in to her praise of the Scottish legal profession I wonder ? .... and to answer her own last question .. "How far can a law graduate go ?" - well, ma'am - all the way to prison, is the answer ..... just remember - there are plenty LLB holders who are crooks, thieves, gunrunners, hoodlums, embezzlers & murderers - having an LLB doesn't give you an automatic pass to honesty ...

Link to this article, from "The Scotsman" (I don't know why they bother really - it's so obvious propaganda for the legal profession) .. at ;

Fri 10 Mar 2006
Guarding the legal system and protecting the people within

THE legal profession may have been with us for centuries, but today's Law Society of Scotland has only been established since 1949.

Established by the Legal Aid and Solicitors (Scotland) Act, it is the governing body for solicitors in Scotland. When simply put, the society is the protector of the legal system in Scotland - protecting the interests of the solicitors and those of the Scottish public in relation to their dealings with the legal profession.

Any solicitor practising in Scotland must be a member of the Law Society, from which the Practising Certificate is issued.

At the moment, there are around 10,000 solicitors in Scotland, who can each provide advice on legal matters and represent clients in court. If a solicitor is also a Notary Public, they can record certain transactions and legal documents.

Advocates are also members of the Faculty of Advocates, part of the College of Justice. Most of the advocate's work involves the higher courts and providing more specialised advice. The initials QC (Queen's Counsel) indicate a senior advocate. Solicitor Advocates are the only other solicitors who can appear in higher courts. This was introduced in 1993, giving solicitor advocates equal rights to advocates.

The Law Society is the first port of call for anyone considering a career in the legal profession. The website www.lawscot.org.uk provides up-to-date information.

A law degree can be a passport to many different careers. Some graduates enter the civil service, go on to work in chartered accountancy, or even financial services.

There are qualified lawyers in industry and business as well as in the media. The police and the diplomatic service are also popular routes taken by those who have achieved the LLB qualification.

How far can a law graduate go? Well, his degree may not have been gained in Scotland, but a certain Edinburgh-born lawyer is currently celebrating his third term at 10 Downing Street.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Crooked Scottish accountants want protection when they tell on their clients

Scottish Accountants running scared to the Home Office, wanting protection for giving information about their clients activities ..... well, that is all well and good, if they suspect or have evidence that their client is participating in illegal activities .. but what happens when you get a spiteful or corrupt member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland who decides to cover up his crooked activities by providing false information on a client to get them into trouble when it's really the accountant who is the crook ???

I was faced with this exact situation, where Norman James Howitt, a corrupt accountant from the Scottish Borders firm of Welch's, and now a member of Eildon Housing Association's Board and also a member of the Borders College board, sold my dead dad's car to a friend of his at a knock down price and pocketed the money to his firm, until it was discovered ... but it was also later revealed he took my mum's pension book for himself, and tried to set up a trust where he even took all my mum's money and made her pay for him to look after it .... which i wrote about with more detail here http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2006/03/norman-howitt-crooked-borders.html

Mr Norman Howitt, was so intent on covering up what he had done, to avoid detection, that he threatened me with Lothian & Borders Police - and feeding them bogus info about me to cover his own corrupt tracks ... and I was visited by Police at my home to take a statement over his false allegations ... good thing my mum was alive at the time because she was able to back me up that I had done nothing wrong .. and that it was crooked Norman Howitt who was the crook .... yes, lads, I remember very well PC Keith Sudlow from Hawick coming to my house at 47 Bongate, Jedburgh, that Saturday afternoon, to tell me that Howitt had been claiming a lot of lies against me ... to cover his own tracks of course as my own statement revealed ...

So, you can see the evidence for yourself in the blog post I made .. what think ? Howitt a crook or what ? ... fancy, stealing a pensioners pension book, and trying to rob her of all her money ? what kind of a guy is that ? A CROOK of course ... a THIEF ... and for that THIEF to run to the cops and tell them lies about me to try and cover his own tracks ... something like that has to be carefully looked at before being acted upon ......

From what a former Chief Superindentent of Lothian & Borders Police once told me, you have to suspect the people giving the information on someone, as much as the person who is the subject of the allegations ... that being because the motives of people giving information on others can frequently be just like crooked accountant Norman Howitt - to take the heat off their own corrupt crooked activities .... so I think I will be making a written submission to the Home Office that if accountants give information on people, they will have to open themselves up to scrutiny, just in case they are on the fiddle too ... because in my case, Norman Howitt was certainly on the fiddle ... and as you can also see from that blog posting, Dr Tom McMorrow isn't such an angel himself .... he didn't do much on my complaint against Norman Howitt - he was more interested in making sure they could get the crook off the hook and stop me from claiming any compensation for what Howitt did ... in fact, Tom McMorrow was twice taken off the investigation, because he started slagging matches with me in letters, and just told outright lies about things I was supposed to have said - just to get crooked Norman Howitt off the hook ...

Even more sinister was the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland interference with the DTI and FSA about my case .... I had taken the issue of what crooked Norman Howitt had done to both the DTI and the FSA .. but Tom McMorrow sent them some letters telling them to stop listening to me about my case, and he also told them a pack of lies about me to drop my case - so much so that the DTI and the FSA had a meeting about me at Ministerial level and decided that "it would be against the public interest to assist Peter Cherbi as it would jeapordise public confidence in the regulation of accounants within the UK and expose that there were no statutory rules [at the time] for the regulation of accountants" - all this just to protect crooked Norman Howitt from being revealed to be the thief, liar and crook that he really is.

So, Tom McMorrow ... I don't think your motives for running to the Home Office are very honest really - your Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland are just as crooked as the Law Society of Scotland - and it is high time the regulation of accountants is taken away from the likes of you stitch-up boys in your own profession ....

As far as the connection to the Leslie Cumming story is concerned .. well, Cumming is back at work, whereas many of the clients of solicitors he is supposed to regulate .. have their lives totally destroyed ... and McMorrow's concerns over the revelations in the Tessa Jowell & David Mills scandal, are even more laughable ... what does McMorrow really worry about ?? that it will be revealed there was a host of crooked accountants moving money about all over the place for Mills & Berlusconi ??? - remember folks - it's the accountants that usually move the money, and skimp off the tax revenues for their clients .. or create complicated & secret trusts on & off shore - to hide money from the Inland Revenue, the Police, even, their clients .... so, better have a bit more regulation on Accountants I think - rather than blindly listening to them as Tom McMorrow wishes .... and read my blog post at before you read about the wishes of the accountants profession .... http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2006/03/norman-howitt-crooked-borders.html

Article from Scotland On Sunday at :


Law sparks accountant safety fears
MURDO MACLEOD (mmacleod@scotlandonsunday.com)

SCOTTISH accountants are demanding protection from clients whose questionable activities they must report under strict new money laundering and fraud laws.

The Institution of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) is asking ministers for assurances that any information their members pass on about criminal dealings will be kept confidential and that they will receive protection from the authorities.

Accountants north of the Border are making the submission to the Home Office, along with their English counterparts, in the wake of a series of threats to accountants and an attack on the Scottish Law Society's chief accountant, Leslie Cumming. The attack on Cumming is widely believed to have been connected to his investigations of crooked dealings among lawyers.

Tom McMorrow, the Director of Regulation and Compliance for ICAS said: "Accountants are obliged to pass on information to the authorities and there are serious worries over how confidential that information will remain."

The matter is being dealt with by the Home Office because money laundering legislation is reserved by Westminster.

McMorrow added that many accountants had been alarmed by some of the coverage of the case of Tessa Jowell and her husband, David Mills, which has seen confidential documents from accountants published in the media.

An insider added accountants were increasingly finding themselves as the target of threats. The source said: "People who launder money are likely to be pretty nasty people. Some accountants have been threatened in no uncertain terms."

Cumming, who was ambushed outside his Edinburgh home by a masked attacker, has told detectives that the assault was most likely ordered by a corrupt solicitor whom he has investigated.

It is thought Cumming, who was treated for knife wounds, gave the police the names of two former lawyers he has investigated for embezzlement and professional misconduct.

Due to the nature of his work, Cumming is understood to have regularly received hate mail.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More Campaigning produces results - Phil Gallie gets us an inquiry into crooked lawyers at the Scottish Parliament

The current farce with the Scottish Parliament relocating to anywhere that will take it due to the loose wooden roof beam (because of a missing £2 bolt, the "Herald" newspaper reveals), is almost too much to bear .... of course, plenty at the Scottish Executive and within the Parliament itself LOVE this news ... wonder why ?? .. well, as long as the media are reporting on loose bits of 'kindlin' at the Scottish Parliament .. then they are staying off the real issues .. which can be quietly swept under the carpet of course .... McKie case ... a bent Scottish Criminal Records Office, questions over the Lockerbie trial ..... etc .. you name it .. as long as the public's attention is focused on that hanging piece of wood on the roof of the debating chamber - nowt will happen .. and what matters most .. won't be reported ... certainly not by the Scotsman ... for looking at today's edition - more 'easy on the lawyers' stories .. sponsored by the legal profession ... enough to make a rabbit throw up I think ...

Another thing that bugs me is Tommy Sheridan's motion trying to get MSPs to disclose if they have bought properties & made profits on them from their Parliament Expenses Allowances. What is this ? does he believe that idea will float ? why doesn't he ask better questions - such as - why some Ministers & politicians have been given favourable property purchases against ordinary house hunters it seems, from records disclosed to someone I know ... (too late to hide this one, guys - the records I've seen appear genuine) ... I'd email Mr Sheridan and tell him about this - but I'm not his constituent and they don't listen to people outside their constituencies - or so they claim in responses .... maybe he will use his own initiative & find out for himself ... trouble is though .. there are people aware that documents on this have leaked out, and the particular sellers involved in the done deals, have all been silenced or smoothed over .... maybe some journalist who doesn't wear a collar these days will pick up on this and do the story ... good luck to them if they do ....

Okay, back to the battle then .. so, you read the article I wrote the other day on a little victory we won - where the Scottish Executive has now decided to bring in an independent body to regulate complaints against lawyers ? ... think that was easy ? .. hell no ... and, of course, we have been here before .. June 1999 & February 2001 to be precise .. where in 1999, I, along with a few others, put the issue to the Justice & Home Affairs Committee of our [then new] Scottish Parliament - who promptly told us to get lost ...

We then campaigned even harder and in February 2001, Phil Gallie MSP, campaigning on my behalf and a few others, managed to secure the "Regulation of the Legal Profession" inquiry by the Justice 1 Committee - of which he was a member, until he started asking awkward questions about why people were protesting and complaining about lawyers ... he was then replaced as Tory Justice Spokesman by Lord James Douglas Hamilton .... and the Inquiry descended into a farce, where the clients of crooked lawyers were banned from appearing at the Parliament to speak on their cases & difficulties, but the Law Society and their pals were all allowed to speak glowing reports of how great lawyers were ... and the results of the long inquiry were ... fiddled even more .. with submissions from members of the public being edited, blanked out, removed, fiddled, etc ... by Scottish Parliament staff ! on the orders of the Law Society of Scotland ....

I took part in the inquiry though, and made my submission, which is on this site in an earlier blog post ... but it has only been through more intense campaigning by us clients of crooked lawyers, along with organisations such as "Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers", that we have actually arrived at what seems to be a success ..

Here anyway, I am again in the newspaper - Scotland on Sunday this time ... where the case against the bent lawyer on my dad's will - Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling solicitors, The Square, Kelso, makes it back into the limelight .... no success though for me, because the crooks over at the Law Society of Scotland made sure I would never get anywhere ....

makes a good story though .. and these articles - and more to come, made a heck of a difference to the campaign .. gave it a great boost !

more to come of course and here's the article from "Scotland on Sunday", which led to the BBC tracking me down for an appearance which you will read about in the next few days ...

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

The disguises of the 'lay members' of the Edinburgh Committee circuit revealed ...

The Committee Circuit of Edinburgh - one of the great "Gangs of Crooks" running Scotland these days ....

A few of you who have contacted me have raised the issue of Committee Membership around the various 'professions' .. such as solicitors, medical services, financial services, etc ..... and, like me, most of you have experienced problems when complaints or issues have been dealt with a particular "Complaints Committee" or similarly named body which has looked at what happened to your case ....

The thing is, as many of you are realising now, is that most of the Committee Members around the various Edinburgh cliques ... sit on each others Committees ... and this is one of the reasons why complaints have got nowhere in many important cases over the decades of the existence of this structure ....

Lay Members - those who are supposed to be 'independent' 'lay people' - having nothing to do, supposedly, with the profession's Committee they sit on, are, more usually, relatives of either politicians, political party workers, local government officials, or members of other professions who have been brought on to a Committee in the guise of an ordinary person, to fiddle the complaint ....

Over the years, I have discovered some great examples of this kind of Committee Member 'placement' by the professions & the Executive - to make sure no one gets anywhere with complaints .... we have had examples such as the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman sitting on other regulatory Committees such as the Instutite of Chartered Accountants of Scotland ... and senior members of the medical services sitting on the likes of the Scottish Legal Aid Board ... and 'lay members' of the Law Society Complaints Committees sitting on political quangos, Police Boards, and a raft of other favoured places - all to make sure that when you are ripped off or mistreated by the 'so-called' professional you have used as a paid service ... .nothing happens to them .... not very surprising then that complaints against the likes of crooked lawyers, bent accountants, and negligent doctors, haven't got anywhere ....

In one stark case, I came across a Priest, who sat on a Law Society Complaints Committee as a 'Lay Member'. He was so enthralled by the 'wine & steak' dinner circuit which he had involved himself in at the Law Society, that he just couldn't keep his mouth shut, and had to write a letter to "The Scotsman" Letters to the Editor section ... condemning all those who challenged the authenticity & impartiality of the self-regulatory complaints system of lawyers in Scotland - you know .. the crooked set up run by the Law Society of Scotland which the Executive is now having to change ....

Well, while this Priest was protesting the greatness of his new masters at the Law Society and demanding that we, the public, should all shut up and let those at the Client Relations Department of the Law Society continue to fiddle complaints & protect crooked lawyers ... he had totally forgotten about his 'vocation to God' - something which, I assume, gave him the calling to be a Priest in the first place ... and nowhere in his letter at all, did he ever raise the fact that he was a Priest, other than when it came to giving his address at the end of the letter ....

After reading such a letter, of course, I had to investigate further .. and found out quite a bit about what was going on and how this Priest had ruled mainly in favour of crooked lawyers in his Committee dealings .... so I wrote a letter to his Archbishop asking why this Priest seemed to have placed his helping crooked lawyers rip off & destroy people above, his vocation to God ..... and not long after that of course, he 'retired' from his position on the Complaints Committee ... but the staggering concept remained .. a Priest ... sitting on Complaints Committees of a professional organisation ... which had tormented so many and even caused the deaths & suicides of people ?? ... how many mortal sins have gone unrepented here I wonder ..
Another example came to light, where a senior member of the Mental Welfare Commission was also on the Scottish Legal Aid Board .... want to know what happend to cases where the two organisations interests collided ? .... well, you guess right ... not a lot !

The Police Boards throughout Scotland are one of the worst offenders of this type of Committee Member placement .. but you all know that anyway, so that's ok - just don't expect any complaints about the cops to go anywhere - because of course, they don't ! - and with Mr X sitting on Mr Y's regulatory Committee, but also being his cousin, or banker, or doctor, or whatever - you can expect your complaint against Mr Y to be swept under the carpet ....

If you are wondering about the Scottish Parliament's part in all this ... well, a few of those connected to msps mps, and other long time politicians, also sit on such regulatory Committees in the cosy gang which has sprung up in Edinburgh over the past few decades .... and of course, the Scottish Parliament's own way of dealing with complaints against msps and staff is now legendary in terms of its corruptness .... and exemption from the likes of the Freedom of Information Act, which the Law Society also made themselves exempt from too ...

You know ... most journalists in the Edinburgh newspapers know all this anyway ... so, why isn't there a wee bit more attention to this ? because it's a hell of a big conflict of interest .... which has proliferated all over the place without anyone doing a damn thing about it ....

A Written Constitution for Britain - time we had one !

There are some sure disgruntled journalists at a newspaper I will refrain from naming .... I have received several emails from journalists who read this blog - with regard to the issues of lawyers 'slipping in to the trade & masquerading as journalists' ..... seems I was right about that .... no surprises there though ....

Unfortunately, the case seems to be that if anyone raises this as a point at their work these days, they get fired, or hounded out of their jobs .. so that would account for a heavy slant towards the legal profession in some unnamed Scottish newspaper I would guess ... yes ? ...

well, lads, keep up the good work as much as you can, and be assured - I am bound to the same levels of keeping my sources secret as much as you are ... won't get me telling on any of my contacts identities - and I never have !

Anyway, on to a related topic - of interest to us all I think :

Something we sorely need in the UK - a written constitution, rather than the mess of laws and fiddles we currently have to rely on to safeguard our rights .... something which is damned hard to do these days in Britain - with Tony Blair opting out of European Commission Human Rights Legislation when he feels like it ... and of course, lawyers only taking on cases relating to Human Rights issues when it doesn't cross with their own profession's policy on ECHR and transparency .....

example - ask a lawyer in Scotland to take a case on against the legal profession for abuse of human rights ? - you get nowhere - you are denied Legal Aid, if you need it, and you case is buried ..... but ask a lawyer to take on an issue which the legal profession can back-door bargain with the Executive ... ? then .. yes ... the case goes forward, in a contrived, arranged way ... but you don't really get a success of course ....
support a written constitution for the UK ! - and visit Charter 88's website at : http://www.charter88.org.uk/

New push for written constitution
By Ollie Stone-Lee
BBC News political reporter

The case for a written UK constitution is proved by the government's decision to create a guide to the constitution, says campaign group Charter88.

The UK relies on a mass of laws, conventions and judges' decisions instead of a specific constitution.

But ministers are paying for a guide to teach teenagers about the constitution.

The government says it is not creating a written constitution by the "back door". Charter88 says if the guide is needed, so is a full constitution.

Debate surfaced recently about the role of the Prince of Wales when a former aide told the High Court the heir to the throne saw himself as a "dissident" working against political consensus.

Peter Facey, co-director of Charter88, said he welcomed any guide which tried to clarify the constitution for schoolchildren, but he wished the publishers luck.

"Our current constitutional settlement is largely unwritten. Different things apply in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland," he told the BBC News website.

"Misunderstanding is rife, and even in academic circles there are still massive debates going on."

We don't want to look as though we want to create one through the back door
Department for Constitutional Affairs spokesman

"Writing a quick, simple guide to this tangled mess will be quite the task.

"It's obvious that the very need for a guide to our constitution demonstrates the requirement for a clear and transparent constitution, one that British citizens will be able to access quickly and easily."

The Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) is paying the Citizenship Foundation £197,000 to produce the constitution guide, not including the costs of printing and distributing it.

It will be aimed at 14 to 19-year-olds, amid government fears that the younger generation is ignorant about constitutional issues.

Work on writing the guide is just finishing and it is expected to be printed in April or May, and distributed in July.

The authors say they want it to be accessible and designed in an engaging way so students understand what the constitution is.

Ministers want to improve youngsters' knowledge of the constitution

The guide will make clear in its introduction that there is no specific written constitution.

A DCA spokesman stressed the government did not want to create a written constitution.

"We don't want to look as though we want to create one through the back door," he said.

The spokesman added: "We think it is important that people understand our constitution and the way it works.

"It chimes with the government's general commitment to citizenship education."

Anthony Barnett, editor of Open Democracy, said having the guide would make people more aware of the need for a written constitution.

"Anything which makes the present state of affairs more widely know is a good thing definitely," he said.

"It will make the arguments stronger for a democratic citizens' constitution, which obviously has to be written."

Former Cabinet minister and constitutional expert Lord St John of Fawsley said it would be difficult or "probably impossible" to write a guide to a constitution which was not a specific written document.

"But if keeps them out of mischief...," he joked.

"You do not need it. There are plenty of books on the constitution. I have written a few myself."

Lord St John said he hoped the authors of the guide would consult widely.

"The whole point of our constitution is that it has grown over the centuries and it can adapt to the circumstances," he argued.

"You can see if you contrast it to the United States constitution the folly of having a written constitution. We have depended on our institutions."

Conservative shadow constitutional affairs minister Oliver Heald said he thought the guide was worth producing as long as it did not cost millions of pounds.

"There is a real problem that young people do not know enough about our system and our constitution and I think they ought to know more about Parliament too," he said.

Mr Heald was also opposed to having a specific written constitution, although he thought it was worth looking at calls for a bill of rights.

A Victory for us ! - Scottish Executive announces terms of the bill enforcing reform of the legal profession in Scotland which now goes to the Scottis

Some more questions about how to handle the media have come in, which I will try to answer in the next few days .. but dealing with the media can of course be a fickle experience ..

Take for instance, the matter of how I told a Scotsman journalist (initials : TT) about the McLeish rent story and his constituency offices, nearly 10 months before it became news ... how did I do that ? well, I knew Andy Duncan of Glenrothes, Fife .. that's why ! .. and don't be fooled that David McLetchie & others were the prime movers behind the McLeish story .. I knew all about it over a year before it came into the public arena, and the way in which Andy had been treated by Mr McLeish, his constituency msp. If it hadn't been for Andy Duncan doggedly pursuing the matter .. nothing would ever have come to light ..... but it goes to show, sometimes journalists don't listen .... wonder why ? well you'll just have to come up with your own conclusions on that one .... but, it's not the same for all newspapers of course ... and since others have told me great stuff about their msps over the years, maybe it's about time to have another scandal ??? ....

To today's business then ......

The terms of the "Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, something which I have been campaigning for since 1994, have now been announced where, as clients of lawyers in Scotland, we will get a lot more rights than we have previously had when dealing with lawyers ... but there are still many pitfalls and catches, which need to be addressed when the Bill comes up for its considertation by the Justice Committee 2 ... and of course, if any of you readers, or your parents, have had bad experiences with lawyers, please keep reading this blog and I will post details of how you can make submissions on what happened to you, to the Justice Committee 2 of the Scottish Parliament.

Personally, I think the biggest catch of the Bill, is where complaints over MISCONDUCT and FEES will still be handled by the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates ... and I can well understand why the likes of the top fiddlers at the Law Society want to keep this part of the regulatory process in house - that is because this is the most dirty part of regulating the crooked lawyers & advocates .. the part where the real dirty side of the Scottish legal profession is revealed .. where lawyers act as they like and do as they like - without the fear that their pals over at the Law Society will do anything against them ... and even though service and consumer complaints do comprise a lot of the complaints statistics against the hordes of crooked lawyers in Scotland .. the fact is that many complaints which start out as consumer or purely service complaints, also reveal matters of misconduct and questions over fees ... which will then of course go on to the crooked hand of the Law Society of Scotland to deal with .... so we certainly have to make our representations over that when the Justice Committee 2 starts to look into the matter, don't we !!!

However, I personally view this as a great step forward from the apallingly poor level of rights we, as clients of lawyers have had to endure over the decades in Scotland, where complaining against a lawyer has been a farce & fit-up by the Law Society of Scotland - 20+ years of naked 'Client-bashing' ... but what must now come also, and this is very important, is a complete independent review of how all these people have been treated over the past decades by the legal profession regarding their complaints against solicitors and we, as those victims of the legal profession, must continue our campaign to see we all get justice !

So at least, congratulations to all us individual campaigners and members of Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers and the Scottish Consumer Council & National Consumer Council who supported our views, who have helped force this issue into the political arena for reform - because one thing is for sure, if it had been left to the politicians, there would have bee no debate, and no reform because of the lobbying power of their pals in the legal profession .. and the proliferation of lawyers in the political arena .. whether it be lawyers who are actually politicians, or lawyers who are married or connected to politicians ....

Here's the coverage on this, from today's Herald newspaper ... great coverage of the issue I think, and my compliments to the newspaper for remaining balanced in this issue.

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/57351.html (Herald link now out of date)

Lawyers face claims of up to £20,000
PAUL ROGERSON March 03 2006

Scots who receive poor service from their lawyers will soon be able to claim up to £20,000 in compensation – four times the present maximum.

Hugh Henry, deputy justice minister, announced the rise which will bring Scotland in line with England and Wales.

The move delighted consumer groups but dismayed the Law Society of Scotland, the governing body of the nation's 9000 practising solicitors.

The measure is included in the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, which aims to modernise justice services and encourage "healthy" competition.

The cornerstone of the legislation is the creation of a new independent watchdog to handle complaints, which will comprise a majority of non-lawyers and end centuries of self-regulation.

Mr Henry said: "Consumers now look for more from the services they use. They want and deserve more choice, tailored services, transparency and confidence that, when things go wrong, their complaints will be handled fairly and efficiently."

The Scottish Executive announced in December the country's 10,000 solicitors and advocates would be stripped of the right to police themselves after piecemeal reforms to the regulatory regime failed to win public confidence.

In a public consultation, just 10% backed keeping the present system. Currently, the Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates, its sister body, has the ultimate power over resolving complaints – and deciding compensation.

Policing the legal profession
Editorial Comment March 03 2006

Revolution, not evolution. That was the verdict handed down by the Scottish Executive yesterday when ministers published their plans for the way the legal profession is policed. The Law Society of Scotland, which carries out the bulk of regulation at present, initially had argued against change, but eventually came round to agreeing that the system was ripe for radical overhaul – the executive's preferred option. There will, indeed, be blood on the walls (although too much for the Law Society's liking, it appears).

According to the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, the role of regulation will be passed to a new, independent body with teeth.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will have an inbuilt majority of lay members. It will handle complaints that cannot be resolved between client and lawyer. In addition, it will have powers to enforce its recommendations.

Lawyers or their firms found to have let clients down will be liable to fines of up to £20,000.

Caroline Flanagan, president of the Law Society, predicted the proposals, when enacted, would increase costs considerably.

The bill says the commission will be funded by a levy on lawyers and an additional charge on firms that attract the most complaints. No business operating in a competitive marketplace likes to see its cost base rise as it could be put at a disadvantage with rivals. The law is no different to any other sector in this regard. But the blunt fact is that, if all lawyers did the job to the best of their ability, there would be no need for the commission. But they do not and there is. The Scottish Legal Services ombudsman, the body that will disappear when the commission is set up, has handled a four-fold increase in complaints against lawyers since 2001.

That in itself tells a story of customer dissatisfaction with the current system of self-regulation and has reinforced a perception that it serves the interests of lawyers, not clients. That is neither helpful nor healthy.

But it will not be possible to level that charge against the commission if it lives up to expectations.

The new body will deal with grievances about the service provided, the subject of about 90% of complaints, rather than fees and the conduct of lawyers. But conduct can affect service. When the line is blurred, and the client suffers either way, it would perhaps have made more sense to hand the commission powers over all complaints, including conduct. The Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates, which are responsible for professional discipline, would still have a role in applying appropriate sanctions after the commission's deliberations. This reservation aside, the bill's provisions should be welcomed.

Taken with measures to enable qualified and regulated patent agents, trademark attorneys and legal executives to represent clients in appropriate cases in court, the bill should give the public access to a better, fairer deal from the law. That cannot be bad.

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/57342.html (Herald link now out of date)

New legal complaint scheme ‘more open’
PAUL ROGERSON March 03 2006

NEW moves to establish a more independent system for handling complaints about Scotland's lawyers were yesterday welcomed by consumer groups and opposition politicians.

Legislation will set up the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, with a non-lawyer majority, to handle issues about services provided.

It also paves the way for abolishing the monopoly which 10,000 solicitors and advocates enjoy over paid advocacy rights north of the border.

People other than trained lawyers, such as patent agents and legal executives, are set to be allowed to represent clients in Scotland's courts for the first time.

Reform campaigners have argued that this measure will make it easier and cheaper for the less well-off to secure access to justice. Solicitors and advocates can charge hundreds of pounds an hour, rates which critics believe would not be so high but for the monopoly enjoyed by the Law Society of Scotland and Faculty of Advocates, their professional bodies.

Graeme Millar, chairman of the Scottish Consumer Council, said: "The SCC has argued for many years for a fairer and more transparent procedure for dealing with complaints about lawyers, which consumers can have confidence in.

"We have also argued that greater competition in the provision of legal services is in the interests of the public. We very much welcome this bill."

John Swinney, the former SNP leader who has taken a close interest in a more independent complaints-handling system, welcomed the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill as "a long overdue step" in tackling a regulatory weakness.

"A number of my constituents have had a terrible ordeal in trying to secure justice when solicitors have let them down," said the MSP for North Tayside.

The main function of the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will be to handle consumer or service complaints, which comprise about 90% of the thousands of grievances lodged each year about solicitors and advocates.

Complaints of misconduct and over fees will still be dealt with by the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates.

Hugh Henry, deputy justice minister, said the bill would improve the handling of complaints, better co-ordinate the provision of legal assistance, and ensure suitable advisers are available to the public. He added: "I am confident we can provide modern legal services that set high professional standards and deliver excellent, qualified advice to the public."

The new bill also gives the Scottish Legal Aid Board responsibility for legal aid in the higher courts, where it is at present decided by the courts themselves. It will also open up access to legal advice by allowing the legal aid board to fund advisers with particular expertise – for instance, on housing matters – rather than lawyers alone.

But Caroline Flanagan, president of the Law Society, said: "We have significant concerns about a number of key features in the bill and will be highlighting those as the bill passes through the Scottish Parliament."

Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland wants it easy for crooked lawyers

"We should not condone naked lawyer-bashing" - the title of the article says ... so, what should we do when we find out that a lawyer has stolen an inheritance, or interfered in a case to deny a client legal aid funding, or lied to a client, overcharged them, ripped them off, destroyed their life, stolen their home - should we. give them the Victoria Cross ? or a Lordship title & a big house
We are left, therefore, to ponder the words of Douglas Mill - the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland ... remember him ?? this is the guy who sneaked a letter into the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and fiddled my civil legal aid funding so that I couldn't challenge his pals at the Law Society for their fiddled investigation of crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso .....

Anyway, as the article suggests, the good ol' boys over at the Law Society of Scotland, and the great & the crooked of the Scottish legal profession, are worried that with the publication of the new bill later this week which will attempt to reform the legal profession and the way it is regulated ... they are going to be at the sharp end, with clients having much greater rights when using the services of a Scottish lawyer ... but, as we all have come to expect over the years .. there will certainly be the usual catch & slip outs for crooked lawyers ...
For instance, would we, the client, be able to see a full regulatory history of the lawyer we would like to use, before we use them ? just as, for instance, you can see the ingredients on a can of baked beans ? .. well, probably not .. because if we knew about all the client complaints and fiddles most Scottish lawyers had been up to prior to us using them .. we wouldn't touch them with a barge pole ...
Oh, then ..who will administer prosecutions and punishments against crooked lawyers we have complained against to a new independent regulatory body ?.. well, the Law Society of Scotland want to keep that for themselves too ...
Maybe ... there should be a review of the dirty despicable way in which the Law Society of Scotland have fiddled cases in the past against people like me .. and lot of others ??? .. well, if that ever happened, there would be thousands of cases to be reviewed .. such has been the deceit of the Law Society and its merry band of crooked lawyers over the years ...

The following article was sent to me by a reader ... reporting on the concerns of ... Douglas Mill ... .who got himself on to the working group at the Scottish Executive, along with some other pals at the Law Society ... to ensure of course, the profession has its own say on the future of regulation .. can't have the consumer given all those rights, can we ???

I have to admit - by way of propaganda from the professions, this article ranks as one of the best ... just look at the lack of any challenge to the remarks of Douglas Mill and other lawyers quoted ... it's amazing ... especially the part where Douglas Mill says "The Law Society in England and Wales has admitted a failure to handle complaints. We do not have the record of failure that they do." ...isn't that amazing ?? coming from the man who fiddled my own case at the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and has brought down so many other complaints against lawyers to sweep everything under the carpet ??? and .. no evidence to the contrary further on in the article, from a newspaper which at least once, used to print the victims side of the story ?? wow ... what a turn around !

Read on for the article, but remember, what you will read is the view of the legal profession against the public .... they want the right to keep ripping us off .. are we going to let them ?

We should not condone naked lawyer-bashing

SOLICITORS could be unfairly penalised for the failings of the legal profession south of the Border should the Scottish Executive replicate the Clementi White Paper proposals, the Law Society of Scotland has warned. Douglas Mill, the society's chief executive, raised concerns that the Executive may follow the English example of raising the compensation limit for inadequate professional service (IPS) to £20,000.

Mill told The Scotsman that if the new independent complaints handling body - the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission - is empowered to impose such a penalty on solicitors it would be "nothing less than naked lawyer-bashing."

He says: "When IPS was introduced 15 years or so ago, the level stood at £1,000 and it was quite wrong that that level was not increased for a long time, but when they did increase it, it went from £1,000 to £5,000 literally overnight.

"Having read the English Clementi White Paper, the figure the English body is being given is £20,000. That would be an entirely inappropriate figure for the Scottish marketplace, for a range of reasons. A 20-fold increase in penalty in two or three years is nothing less than naked lawyer-bashing.

"It will be a test of the true courage and independence of the Executive to see what they come up with because there is a suspicion they are simply being led by the nose by the English here. The Law Society in England and Wales has admitted a failure to handle complaints. We do not have the record of failure that they do. We just hope the Executive doesn't take the easy way out, which is really just replicating the provisions that were necessary in England and which would be entirely unnecessary, and possibly even unaffordable, in Scotland."

The Executive has set up a working group to consider the Scottish implications of the English White Paper - The Future of Legal Services - Putting Consumers First - which is closely based on the proposals made by Sir David Clementi in 2004. But the Scottish working group will not report until after the publication of the Legal Profession and Legal Assistance Bill, due this Thursday, which will flesh out the detailed proposals for the new independent complaints commission, announced in December.

Mill adds that if the SLSC is granted the power to impose a penalty of £20,000 on solicitors, it could have serious implications for the viability of high street firms and access to justice in rural areas.

"Our concern is not so much the big firms - they don't get complaints because they don't do the kind of work that produces complaints. But high-street firms doing repossessions, summary crime, matrimonial work and so on get a complaints experience. If they are potentially fined up to £20,000 in a case, that will cause these firms either, where possible, to pass that cost on to the client base and, where that won't be appropriate - and it won't be for legal aid or most of the client base firms like these carry - it will peril the future of these firms."

John MacKinnon, vice president elect of the society and a partner with Brown & McRae in Fraserburgh, says the changes to complaint-handling could have serious implications for recruitment.

"We have grave concerns about what will happen in a small practice like mine and in a small town like Fraserburgh," he says. "There is a huge problem with professionals already - we can't attract doctors, we can't attract dentists, we have difficulty attracting solicitors. In Fraserburgh, there are about 12 solicitors but only one under 40." MacKinnon adds that if a £20,000 penalty were to be imposed it could make it harder to resolve complaints at the early stages. "If they were to go down the same road as in England and increase the compensation to £20,000, I think we would be less able to sort it out at source."

Michael Clancy, the society's director of law reform, also warns the revamp of complaint-handling could undermine access to justice. He says: "Certain practices don't have the capacity to pass on their costs," he says. "I am thinking about practices in rural areas and small towns and practices that are the backbone of access to justice in this country, through the legal aid system.

"Ultimately, if we want a system that provides an overall service throughout the country, which gives access to justice and allows us to comply with ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] in giving independent advice on civil rights and obligations and criminal law, we have got to think strategically. A change to the complaints system could have a potentially damaging consequence."

The new bill is also expected to clarify how solicitors will fund the new complaints-handling commission. Mill says it would almost certainly cost significantly more than the current complaint-handling system, on which the society spends £2.1 million a year. "I don't see this body costing less than £4 million or £5 million a year," he says. "There is also a hidden subsidy of at least a million pounds because £2.1 million is what we actually spend. But each of the client relations committees is staffed 50/50 between solicitors and lay representatives. Sure, we pay these people expenses, but they are giving a huge subsidy of time to the process."

He adds: "There are 13,000 solicitors whose names are on the roll just now. Of them 10,000 are in practice. Of them, about 2,700 of them are what we call in-house lawyers, including fiscals. So, will they pay the levy to this body?

"If it is going to cost £4 million or £5 million, what percentage of that is going to be raised by the profession and what percentage is the state going to properly pay? The Executive are going to save about £400,000 by decommissioning the [Scottish Legal Services] Ombudsman's office, so we really feel at least that contribution should be made from the state."

He adds there is also concern about how solicitors should be charged: "Is it a per capita levy? Or is it 30 per cent levy and 70 per cent 'polluter pays' or the other way around? 'Polluter pays' is one of these sexy expressions that sounds quite good. But it is not bad lawyers creating complaints, it is the client base creating the complaint."

A spokeswoman for the Executive confirmed the bill is due to be published on Thursday. However, she adds it would not be appropriate to pre-empt the findings of the Scottish Clementi working group.

Peter Cherbi & the Scottish Media

While I sift through several emails of files I have received from some 'guid folks', I am eagerly keeping an eye on the McKie fingerprint case where it turns out a hell of a lot of people in the legal profession knew about the 'secret report' written by Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Jame MacKay in 2000 ... but seemingly we only hear about it now ... strange, that, isn't it ... it's almost like people in the legal profession (and an occasional politician or two) were consulted on it's contents, but helped to keep it under wraps .. for fear of what ... ? upsetting the Lockerbie Trial ? ... and denying justice to Shirley McKie ?? or maybe worse ... keeping the inpression that Scottish Law is so respectable & perfect, when the reverse is now revealed to be the case .... there's Scot's Law for us then ... a load of tosh ! ..

anyway, today, I am going to try and answer an important question coming from you guys in your emails to me .... that of, how did I get the publicity & media attention on my case, and how to handle the media ...

Now, before anything else, remember this. Lawyers hate stories appearing about their crooked deals in the press ... they absolutely HATE it .. and they go all out with their colleagues in the Law Society of Scotland to issue counter press releases against clients, hold off the record briefings against complainants, trying to stain their characters, etc .. all in an effort to get rid of the story ... so, think of me (and many others) going through all that while our stories actually made it to the media ...

Well, firstly, all the media coverage I got in "The Scotsman", in my fight against crooked lawyers, and an even more crooked Law Society of Scotland .. would now probably be impossible, as the paper no longer appears to support independent regulation of the legal profession or the standpoint of complainers such as myself, as it did from 1994-2002. In any case, the journalists who wrote the articles relating to my cases are no longer with the newspaper, some have retired, and some have transferred to other newspapers ....

I admit there are some articles recently in "The Scotsman", relating to crooked lawyers, but they seem to come more from Law Society of Scotland press releases, than they do from active complainants against lawyers (at least that is from what I've found from people contacting me since around 2003) ... and there are way too many articles written by lawyers posing as jounalists - purporting to be news ... for instance, the Tuesday edition of "The Scotsman" is probably only readable by lawyers these days .... and we all know what they are up to, don't we ....

Why is this ? well, a journalist who was at the Scotsman but who is now with a newspaper in England warned me the paper was changing its policy and that, apparently, there had been an embargo placed on articles relating to me ... was I bothered ? well, not really. I 'had my shout', as it were, so that was it ... I just had to develop other ways of getting articles into the press .. and I did as you can see from related media coverage to my fight with the lawyers this year ... taking in some political dimensions too :)

Sadly, I was told "The Scotsman" would be featuring heavier legal articles, written by lawyers, who number many now on the Scotsman staff .. actually one of those lawyers who writes their media law section, Campbell Deane, a partner in the Glasgow legal firm of Bannatyne Kirkwood, France & Co, had posession of my client file for awhile, after a request from me to represent me in legal issues involving negligent & crooked lawyers. He looked at my various cases, but of course refused to take me on (too much work, not interested, can't go up against the Law Society etc ...), so I would suppose he will certainly not be sympathetic to my cause against his own profession .. and of course, since 2003 - nothing more on me in "The Scotsman" .. surprise, surprise ....

oh well .. too bad .. there are other newspapers & media outlets out there which don't have to rely on deals to prop up their circulation through sales to professions and allowing mouthpiece propaganda articles out as 'news' ... and as we all know, the news these days, apart from TV, comes from the internet - not from newspapers that most people simply don't buy, when they can get their info & latest for free on the web rather than reading yesterday's news ...

but ... I would still advise you to read "The Herald" and the "Sunday Herald" newspapers from time to time ... they did have a campaign to bring independent regulation to the legal profession, and have featured more honest, balanced articles on complainants cases, and if you want to seek publicity on your own case, give them a call, and I'm sure they will take a look at it - but remember, have a summary of your case, don't make it complicated, and be prepared to share any evidence to back up your claims against the legal profession or whatever your story is about, so that the newspaper, whichever it is, can check your claims and satisfy itself it is a genuine story which can be published.

Whatever you do, stick to the facts. Don't ever make a claim which you can't support in evidence and never get into a slagging match with lawyers or those whom you are up against - they will only use that against you with all the power they can muster ... your honesty and your plight are your main advantages ... trust me ... I have stuck to this format, and even with everything I have said on my blog so far, or on TV, on Radio, or in the Courts,not one of the crooked lawyers or crooks at the Law Society of Scotland, could ever turn my words against me .. for it is all true .... as you can see from what I publish ...and you know what ? it happens to thousands of people ... maybe even someone you or (for the younger readership) someone your parents know ...

Oh yes .. I referred to ways in which I now get my stories out, well ... those ways are for some to wonder, and some to try and find out ... but whatever I get involved in, you can be sure it's the truth, and not some concoted pile of fiddled papers, memos and files coming out of a crooked lawyers office or cheap attempts at propaganda in the form of press releases from his colleagues at the Law Society of Scotland ... I'm into facts, not spin ...

I have been in other newspapers too, of course, even ... English newspapers !. I have also been on TV and on Radio ... so at least, others thought me credible enough to face the live media, which I did. More to come on that in a later article, when I will tell you of how I was matched against Joseph Platt (Former President of the Law Society of Scotland and Austin Lafferty (the media-ish lawyer) on Garry Robertson's Good Morning Scotland show on BBC Radio ... quite a memorable experience, and one which came off very well for us poor victims of the Scottish legal profession ....

So, before you read an article in a Newspaper - just stop and think for a bit about it ... maybe it's a story about house prices booming in your area, or a great deal with a bank or mortgage company, or that there has been an upsurge in people writing their wills because of something or other .. but hey - it turns out that the author of the article isn't a journalist at all, it's a LAWYER ! - and that lawyer's firm & profession stands to benefit from you taking your business to that same Bank they talk about (and use) .. or it provokes you into selling your home to buy another .... all on the basis of a planted article in a newspaper, written by a lawyer from the legal profession to spur on business and at the end of it, rip you off with high charges, sloppy work, and even a little embezzlement thrown in for good measure .... so remember .. what you read in the printed press these days .. might just not be true ...
So, my advice to campaigners & readers is - keep publicising your case against whoever you are fighting, and make sure that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows the identity of that crooked person, lawyer, or whoever has ripped you off, because the crooked among us are definitely publicity shy .. and while it might get you back some of the money you wasted on that crook, it may also stop the same thing happening to someone else ....