The Scottish Executive kicked off the oral evidence on Tueday 25th April 2006, where the Committee took evidence on the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill from Louise Miller, Mike West and Chris Graham, Access to Justice Division, Scottish Executive.
Mike West .. now there's a name many people may be familiar with, who have had complaints against lawyers and experienced the full corruption of the Law Society of Scotland and who have felt it necessary to write in to the Scottish Justice Minister, or even the First Minister .
Mr West, a Civil Servant, and some of his colleagues such as Malcolm Pringle have fielded thousands of letters each year from ordinary members of the public who have been ripped off by solicitors ... with .. the same response ... 'The Executive cannot become involved, it's the Law Society of Scotland's duty to regulate the legal profession in law ... you may also take your case to the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman .. etc ...' and of course, everyone who tries this route gets nowhere, and while all this is going on, the crooked lawyer gets a fat bonus for avoiding your complaint .. and the staff of the Client Relations Office of the Law Society of Scotland give themselves another medal for wiping out another ripped off client.
Even when you involve your politician - be it an MSP or MP ... the same tired old letters are fired back and forth between the Justice Department and clients of crooked lawyers ... the client ultimately gaining nothing from the experience ... but of course .. all the while the client is writing letters to the Scottish Executive in desperation on their cases ... the Law Society of Scotland can have access to anyone at the Justice Minister's office they so wish ... and they can do anything they wany .. while most people get absolutely nowhere.
The link for viewing the oral evidence submissions being held at the Justice 2 Committee is : http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?iPid=3§ion=22&title=Justice+2
Remember everyone ... if YOU have an issue with what is said at these hearings by the likes of the Scottish Executive, the Law Society of Scotland and it's great many allies who have been invited to give oral evidence, and others, then make sure you take note of what is said, and write into the Justice 2 Committee with your views ... because we don't want the legal profession to get away with any lies in front of the Justice 2 Committee now, do we ? ... and we can bet there will be some HUGE lies told to save their crooked skins.
The Law Society of Scotland should be up next Tuesday to give oral evidence - so stay tuned to hear some of the biggest lies ever told .... and make sure you let the Justice 2 Committee know your feelings on their testimony
Who knows ... if the Justice 2 Committee are brave enough to call me to give evidence .. then you might just see me there speaking about how the new legislation would improve the rights of clients against a highly manipulative and discriminatory regulatory system which the legal profession in Scotland have used for years against the public ... on the other hand of course .. it is highly unlikely that Justice 2 will risk having me before them ... so powerful is some of the things I have up my sleave which I will talk about in my own time.
In other news - the day after "Black Wednesday" in the Blairite Camp of Westminster politics, and beyond the realm of 'Prezza's affair, Charles Clarke's negligence in letting loose 1000+ foreign criminals onto our streets, and the rest of it... a new Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman was appointed .. Ms Jane Irvine ... who has held various posts relevant to investigating complaints in the past ... not much to tell yet, since she hasn't investigated any cases of complaint agains the Law Society of Scotland ... but I will be keeing an eye on this issue of course.
Here's the Press Release from the Scottish Executive ... typically understating matters of Linda Costelloe Baker's resignation to save political face ... really .. on a week like this in British politics .. I don't know why they even bother.
Legal Services Ombudsman
An interim Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman has been appointed with effect from April 26, 2006.
Jane Irvine takes over from Linda Costelloe Baker, who has resigned to take up post as the UK Visas Independent Monitor, until a permanent appointment can be made.
Proposals set out in the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, currently at Stage 1 of the Scottish Parliamentary process, would see the abolition of the role of the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman.
A Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, with a non-lawyer chair and a non-lawyer majority, would instead receive all complaints against legal practitioners which it has not been possible to resolve at source.
Jane Irvine has specialised in resolving consumer complaints and reviewing the manner of responses to consumer complaints since 1980. Jane acts as an arbitrator and conciliator in a diverse range of consumer issues from holiday to funeral and financial service complaints.
She also sits on the Disciplinary Board of the Institute of Actuaries, acts as a mediator in consumer and commercial disputes and works voluntarily as a Member of the Mediation Panel for Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
As a past HM Lay Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland Ms Irvine reviewed the manner of responses by Scottish Police forces to complaints by members of the public for three years between 2001 and 2004. She was also the elected Chair of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2003-2005.
The appointment of Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman is made under Section 34 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990. The post was advertised on March 31.
The post of Ombudsman is independent of both the Executive and the legal profession. The Ombudsman investigates concerns about the way a professional body, such as the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates, has handled a complaint against a practitioner.
The Ombudsman sends a report of her investigation to the complainer, the practitioner and the professional organisation. If the Ombudsman is not satisfied that the complaint has been handled fairly, efficiently and thoroughly she can make recommendations to the professional body, including payment of compensation for inconvenience or distress caused by the way the complaint was handled.
As Interim Ombudsman Jane Irvine will be vested with the same powers as a permanent Ombudsman.
Ms Irvine was chosen by Scottish Ministers for the post. Her appointment is part-time (30 hours per week), with an annual salary of £55,000. Her office is situated in 17 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3DL.