Douglas Mill, the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland since 1996 "has decided to leave his position as chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland in October this year" - according to the Law Society of Scotland website.
Douglas Mill, whose term as Chief Executive of Scotland's legal profession has been marked by some of the biggest scandals ever to occur involving solicitors, remains unrepentant over his poor showing as leader of Scotland's 10,000 solicitors and concludes in the Law Society Press Release : "It has been an honour to be the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland for the past 11 years. It has been a time of much change and there is a great deal more to come. I wish the Society all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing it continue to thrive."
Its a hard habit to break, Doulgas, this whitewash stuff .. and it sounds even less credible when its on yourself ...
Douglas Mill - made ridiculous suicide jibe in the Scotsman after Herald reported the Justice 2 confrontation between Swinney & Mill over interference in claims & access to justice
Douglas Mill's term as Chief Executive saw a policy of deep personal attacks develop against clients & campaigners, who dared take issue or criticise the standards of Scotland's legal profession. In as many cases as possible Mr Mill involved himself and intervened to halt complaints against fellow solicitors, even when there were serious allegations of fraud, embezzlement, falsification of files and concerted attempts to pervert the course of justice.
For many though, the memories of Douglas Mill will be that of the man who blatantly lied before the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament, when under questioning from Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, Mill consistently contradicted the contents of one of his own memos, which Mr Swinney exposed as a concerted, and well practiced action to prevent client claims & complaints against leading firms of solicitors from making it to court.
I have reported a few times on Douglas Mill's unbelievable account of the complaints & claims process against negligent & crooked lawyers ... a recent article summing things up fairly well : Law Society boss Mill lied to Swinney, Parliament as secret memos reveal policy of intervention & obstruction on claims, complaints.
John Swinney at the Scottish Parliament Justice 2 Committee questions Douglas Mill over secret memos of intervention against client claims, complaints & compensation against crooked lawyers.
Many in the press will also remember how the Herald newspaper reported the incident, in an excellent report by Paul Rogerson :
Would granny swear by the law society ? (not if granny were still living ...)
Many of you will also remember how Douglas Mill then brought in an English QC to threaten legal action against the passage of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid Bill - a piece of legislation bringing a measure of independent regulation to complaints against lawyers, which I and many others had campaigned for a very long time to have before the Parliament ...
Douglas Mill - Even threatened the Scottish Parliament & Government with legal action if they passed pro-consumer legislation
For me, my memories of Douglas Mill will be the man, along with Philip Yelland and a few others at the Law Society, who helped prevent the prosecution of Scotland's most famous crooked lawyer - Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors Kelso before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
You can read the Scotsman stories on how the Law Society of Scotland and Douglas Mill stage managed the Andrew Penman investigation here : Andrew Penman & Norman Howitt : Lawyer & accountant team up to ruin Cherbi executry estate
Douglas Mill personally hounded me over the years when it came to the Penman case, and the further complaints which resulted from dealings with solicitors associated with the estate of my late father, and later on, the even worse dealings over the death of my mum through medical negligence, where yet another lawyer - Michael G Robson, ruined the case and nothing was done.
Douglas Mill was determined at every step to ensure I would never attain access to justice, and would stop at nothing to ensure I could never get to court or get adequate legal representation to pursue a case successfully
Here's an example of how Douglas Mill personally intervened with my legal aid claim to ensure it failed
Douglas Mill writes to the Legal Aid Board - Dont you dare give Peter Cherbi any legal aid or else ... good thing SLAB leaked it ...
The Scotsman then dutifully and skillfully reported Mill's insidious intervention as follows
Douglas Mill's vendetta against Peter Cherbi - we have to prevent claims against solicitors at all costs
Douglas Mill, not content with fiddling my case, my access to justice, my person, my life, then went on to use an attack on his colleague, Chief Law Accountant Leslie Cumming, as a media excuse to silence all critics of the legal profession and target my blog for closure ... even insinuating it was such criticism of the legal profession which caused the attack on poor Mr Cumming but later it was revealed the attack actually came from within the legal profession itself .. and suspiciously no one has yet been caught for the incident ...
Law Society of Scotland - we must crack down on critics after attack on Leslie Cumming ... maybe blame a few at the same time ? - turned out it was probably a crooked lawyer who made the hit according to the Police ...
Douglas Mill's roll of shame continued, with his direct opposition to the opening of the legal services market, which campaigners had also been calling for years to be opened up to competition. Douglas Mill was hell bent it seems, on maintaining the Law Society of Scotland's monopoly on legal services ... so much that it took the Which? organisation to launch a "super complaint" to the Office of Fair Trading, resulting in eventual & widely praised recommendations to break up the closed monopolistic legal services market in Scotland.
Although some in the profession may disagree - simply because Douglas Mill has shielded them from transparency, accountability, honesty, customer demands for higher standards, and prevented the need to pay adequate compensation to those poor clients ruined by the legal profession, I would have to say that Douglas Mill has been almost the single biggest obstacle to change at the Law Society of Scotland, given his pursuit of a high profile campaign of vendetta after vendetta against anyone who would dare raise a complaint against one of his colleagues.
Memos of downfall - Douglas Mill intervenes in a claim against lawyers to ensure the client cant get access to justice .. a well practised process at the Law Society ...
Surely now, in the wake of the departure of Douglas Mill - the man who has done probably the most damage to Scotland's legal profession, and brought about the worst standards service, the highest levels of complaints against solicitors, the lowest levels of public trust in the legal profession, and caused interminable suffering to clients by personally intervening in case after case of claim & complaint against armies of negligent & crooked lawyers - the time is ripe, the time is now - to repair the damage Douglas Mill has brought to the relationship between the legal services market, the lawyer and the client, for the good of everyone concerned.
I hope a little more, for the future, and I hope, coupled with a request to Justice Secretary MacAskill today, that truth and reconciliation can now win the day and give back to Scotland the high standards & quality of legal service, safe to use, trustworthy, honest, accountable, transparent and with free choice for the consumer which we as Scots all surely deserve.