Monday, February 18, 2008

Law Society staff secretly migrating into 'independent' complaints commission will ensure continuing problems of regulating Scottish lawyers

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill continues to disappoint the public in terms of their consumer rights against lawyers & legal services as it was revealed today that telephone comments by staff at the the Scottish Government's Justice Directorate have revealed that a vast amount of staff from the Law Society of Scotland itself are to be migrated to the new 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, where 'independent' means ... 'more lawyers than ever'.

At least 34 members of staff from the Law Society's headquarters at Drumsheugh Gardens in Edinburgh, are to work for the new SLCC, which was confirmed in a telephone conversation upon enquiries over the make up of the 'independent' complaints body.

The SLCC, which is yet to even start its work, but has suffered from constant attempts at the hands of the Law Society of Scotland to undermine its function, is rapidly losing it's independence from the legal profession at the hands of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, even though the aims of the new complaints body was to be a break from the past and ensure independent regulation of complaints against Scottish solicitors.

We were to be treated to a spin release from the Justice Directorate over the influx of Law Society personnel as a way of 'bringing into the SLCC the most capable staff of dealing with complaints against lawyers' but discussions on how to go about this still seem to be ongoing, as some are concerned over the 'more jobs for the lawyers to protect each other' image it brings to the SLCC.

Since I have now broken the story, that will ease the problems of telling the public I hope ...

A source at the Justice Department speculated that many of the members of staff from the Law Society had themselves been involved in mishandled complaints against some very well known solicitors, where clients rights and finances had been seriously breached by the conduct of their legal representatives, with the Law Society of Scotland taking a back seat and ultimately letting those solicitors, some who had been involved in serious financial frauds against clients, to escape penalty, while ensuring the client got no compensation.

As one lawyer put it this afternoon after hearing the Law Society staff were being squirreled into the new regulatory body - "that's like asking serial abusers to go into their victims homes when they are alone and abuse them again. I don't think the public will be very happy at that."

Oddly enough I have written along these lines before, being warned during the appointments process of the Law Society's wish to ensure its staff were "at the heart" of the new complaints body with the following articles :

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission 'lacks impartiality' despite Ombudsman's appointment as Chairman

Legal Profession attempts fiddle against new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as wider review required on injustice in Scotland

Levels of Lay Membership on new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission questioned as lawyers begin attempt to plant allies in positions

update 20 February 2008

After contacting the Scottish Government for comment, the following was received :

“Scottish Ministers have directed that TUPE applies to those staff at the Law Society of Scotland affected by the creation of the SLCC. The number of staff transferring will be borne out of the current internal organisational review within the Law Society.”

So, TUPE saves the day for the same people who are responsible for getting as many crooked lawyers off the hook as possible ... for instance, the people who let John O' Donnell amass some 21 plus negligence claims, will be saved by TUPE and instead of getting paid by lawyers to knock off complaints against lawyers, they will be getting paid by the taxpayer to knock off complaints against lawyers ...good work if you can get it - but not one move to tackle the long line of victims left by their prejudiced anti-public work at the Law Society of Scotland.

Here's some examples of the work of the Law Society staff who are migrating to the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission :

Law Society of Scotland covers up history of crooked lawyer as new President indicates little change on pro lawyer anti client policies

Peter Cherbi comments on top Scottish Lawyer revealed by the Sunday Mail newspaper to be at centre of 12 Negligence Claims by clients

Lawyers negligence insurance branded corrupt, anti-consumer as evidence reveals only one per cent of clients get chance of payout

Lawyer caught in media sting bribing clients to defraud Legal Aid Board - the tip of an iceberg

and a few more crooked lawyers and from SACL, many more crooked lawyers who are let off the hook by these same people at the Law Society who are going to transfer to the new 'independent' SLCC ...

If you want to find out more about TUPE, go here : Transfer of Undertakings - TUPE

The conveniently placed review of the Law Society's workings, which have been geared for the last few decades to getting as many lawyers off the hook from public & client complaints, might see jobs protected but will deliver a final blow of dishonesty to what was to be a new hope for independent complaints handling against the legal profession.

On enquiring whether the Scottish Government would announce to the public that Law Society staff were to be taken into the 'independent' SLCC, the following comment was received :

"We have already announced the establishment, location and membership of the Commission.There are no plans for any further announcements at present"

Yes, I can see that would be a tricky announcement to make, and with no apparent thought to tackle the problem of an influx of 'negligence preserving lawyers' to what was to be an 'independent' complaints commission, the Justice Secretary is making a mess of things for the public, in favour of lawyers ...

end of update

The continuing demise of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission even before it begins its work, seems to be aimed at preventing clients of solicitors and the public getting a fair hearing of their complaints in the independent venue which the SLCC was designed to be.

Allegations of continuing interference in the SLCC's formation process by the Law Society of Scotland, and charges of an almost "clueless attitude" at the Scottish Government on how to go about forming the new independent body to deal with public complaints against lawyers, have helped the legal establishment see that everything down to even the SLCC's appointments process has seen many from the legal profession itself migrate into the new body designed to prevent the mistakes of the old.

It's almost like the Law Society of Scotland has now renamed itself the "New" Law Society of Scotland - in the form of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and is ensuring professional survival and control over regulation by getting their own staff into the new complaints body to prevent fair & proper hearings of public complaints against crooked lawyers.

Also today, the Scottish Government refused requests from myself and others to carry out an investigation into the appointments process, citing there was no such need and that everything had been handled correctly and above board with all appointees declaring their full histories and backgrounds.

However as you know this is not the case at all, and the new Chairman Jane Irvine, confirmed in writing she had not been given any prior knowledge of the appointees to the SLCC, even though they include lawyers whom her office has considered complaints against how the Law Society of Scotland has handled complaints against their respective legal firms and other solicitor partners, and the checkered histories of ex-Police appointees to the SLCC to which the incoming Chairman was also not made aware of.

See my earlier article for the call for an investigation into the SLCC appointments process after revelations of previous scandals of some of the appointees here : Call for MacAskill appointments 'sleaze investigation' as revelations show Legal Complaints Commission member was subject of Police inquiry

A Justice Department civil servant today stated that "shortlisted lawyer candidates were subject to checks on their disciplinary record" but those records were themselves provided by the Law Society of Scotland - who are well known to fiddle a few complaints against crooked lawyers and legal firms ... so the records themselves have no validity whatsoever other than perhaps whitewash value, which the Justice Secretary seems to be using quite well .. when it comes to his friends in the legal profession.

Cover up or cover up ? - No need for an investigation into appointments scandal, says Scottish Government

Justice Directorate 18 February 2008

As for the public, well, there is clearly a diminishing chance of getting your complaints heard properly at the hands of the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, when it is going to be comprised of mostly migrated staff from the Law Society of Scotland.

The Law Society of Scotland have wasted no time in getting their spies into the new SLCC, and I say that with considerable ease, as given the performances I have seen from the Law Society staff against poor clients who had to complain against a crooked lawyer, I wouldn't trust anyone who worked at the Law Society to be able to change their conditioning and work in what is supposed to be a completely transparent regulatory environment at the SLCC, compared with the secretive, closed and corrupt regulatory environment at the Law Society of Scotland.

Not much of a public interest performance from Kenny MacAskill then, who doesn't seem to value Scots rights at all when it comes to dealings with lawyers.

There does seem to be a problem emerging now with the SNP on issues of Justice and public access to it. While I am fully supportive of many other Scottish Government policies in different walks of life, I am left to wonder, as many now are, why the SNP is failing on justice. Is that solely down to Kenny MacAskill and if so why is this being allowed to happen ?

Put Scots before lawyers for a change ... we deserve it, Mr MacAskill ...

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

So.The same people at the Law Society who have been fucking up complaints against crooked lawyers are now going to fuck up more complaints against crooked lawyers at the new organisation.Why doesn't this surprise me ??? AND WHY ARE THE SNP PROTECTING CROOKED LAWYERS ???

singalong said...

"Since I have now broken the story, that will ease the problems of telling the public I hope ..."

outstanding ! No wonder MacAskill wanted to keep this one secret ! Bravo Peter Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

How the hell did they think they could get away with that one

"It is time" ... the public knew the truth about the SNP said...

"It is time ... for a government Scotland can trust".

What happened?!

Oh, i remember now ... Salmond appointed a crooked ex-lawyer in charge of Scotland's Justice Department, thereby ensuring that Scotland's 10,000 lawyers were kept sweet, while the 5 million or so Scottish citizens under their corrupt rule were denied the much-needed end to self-regulation of the Scottish legal "profession"; denied access to proper and fair justice; and denied a justice system fit for a 21st century Scotland.

"It is time" ... the people of Scotland woke up to just how much they were conned by Salmond et al on 3 May 2007. The SNP only have THEIR interests at heart ... NOT OURS.

PS. There was a very interesting comment at the end of your last article i see :

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2008/02/lawyers-protecting-legal-services.html#c4958371538022405742

I believe their are 3 female ex-solicitors in the SNP ranks - Cunningham, Grahame and Sturgeon.

Take your pic "ladies and gentlemen" of the press and media...

Anonymous said...

Well spotted Peter and good to see this in print.

I don't think MacAskill will do any different from the Law Society line though because if he puts the public first he wont have a career to go back to when he is thrown out of politics and the sooner the better on that one.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the SNP are as bent as Labour and the LibDems when it comes to appointing people to quangos.
Former cops and lawyers don't qualify in my book as being very independent of the law so no wonder they are refusing an investigation which they were quick enough to criticise McConnell and his mob when they did it.

"It is time" ... the public knew the truth about the SNP said...

"It is time ... for a government Scotland can trust".

What happened?!

Oh, i remember now ... Salmond appointed a crooked ex-lawyer in charge of Scotland's Justice Department, thereby ensuring that Scotland's 10,000 lawyers were kept sweet, while the 5 million or so Scottish citizens under their corrupt rule were denied the much-needed end to self-regulation of the Scottish legal "profession"; denied access to proper and fair justice; and denied a justice system fit for a 21st century Scotland.

"It is time" ... the people of Scotland woke up to just how much they were conned by Salmond et al on 3 May 2007. The SNP only have THEIR interests at heart ... NOT OURS.

PS. There was a very interesting comment at the end of your last article i see :

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2008/02/lawyers-protecting-legal-services.html#c4958371538022405742

I believe there are 3 female ex-solicitors in the SNP ranks - Cunningham, Grahame and Sturgeon.

Take your pick "ladies and gentlemen" of the press and media...

moonlight serenade said...

Good story.I wonder why they never announced it?Could it be because we would all think those fuckers who were at the Law Society shouldn't be getting paid by the taxpayer to regulate complaints against lawyers when they couldn't do it when the Law Society was paying them? or was that the purpose all along? complaints blocking and now they are going to bring it to a taxpayer funded quango

Anonymous said...

Famous Last Words : I believe it was in one of her last interviews before leaving Office that Linda Costelloe Baker, former Legal Services Ombudsman, described the SLCC Bill as 'a mess'.

Anonymous said...

I admire the way the SNP are spending milions of pounds of taxpayers money to defeat Peter Cherbi.It must mean he is spot on all the time.No wonder because he wrote all this would happen and now its happening.

How much is this quango costing and why are these workers at the Law Society - a lot of them who are probably lawyers or going to be soon, going to be allowed to transfer to this quango and have their wages paid for by us ?

How many millions are going up in smoke on stopping people getting their complaints across about lawyers ? Why are lawyers getting all this protection from the Scottish National Party ?

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like your friend John Swinney should be asking questions in Parliament about this one ! or did he tell you about it because I presume he will have to authorise the SLCC funding as the Govt's Finance Chief.

34 extra leeches on at least say £30,000 pa well that's £1,020,000 so lets hear why we should be paying an extra million (and presumably a lot more) for more bloody lawyers to work for the Government !

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 7.41

I wouldn't be surprised if the SLCC changes its name to the "New" Law Society of Scotland the way things are going ...

"Independent regulation of the legal profession" seems to have taken a corrupt turn once more.

#Singalong @ 7.54pm

I think they are a wee bit upset according to today's despatch from sources ...

#Anonymous @ 8.02pm

Easy, because it involves lawyers, and no major political party will stand up and do something about it .. maybe ...

#"It is time" the public knew the truth @ 10.42pm

I don't think there will be much truth telling when it comes to Justice in Scotland - the system is full of professional liars.

#moonlight serenade @ 4.24am

probably ... and remember to point that out to your MSP.

#Anonymous @ 10.48am

Yes, perhaps they need to bring LCB back to clear up the mess, a mess left on purpose and being further messed up by the current Justice Secretary ...

I don't think anything happens 'by accident' when it comes to dealings involving the legal establishment .. just ask any victim of injustice that and they will probably agree ...

#Anonymous @ 3.05pm

An excellent idea. I have forwarded it for appropriate action ...

Anonymous said...

the poster at 142pm I was thinking the same myself

why are the snp protecting bent lawyers with our money and why has Bonnie Price Eck the great not got off his arse and stopped mcaskill in his tracks? Are they all on bungs from the lawyers too?

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted this is being allowed to happen.I spent over a year arguing with the scum at the law Society about my complaint and all these clerks did was pass letters back and forth and did nothing.The complaint was that my lawyer had STOLEN 21k from my dead wife's bank account which he did and I had the evidence even his signature on withdrawal slips from the Bank and the bastards at the Law Society did nothing about it.Never got the money back and the rat bastard lawyer is a big wheel.People do something about these lying bastards please and stop this lawyers always first thing because its a fucking shame this is allowed to happen just like legalised robbery do something please someone

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted this is being allowed to happen.I spent over a year arguing with the scum at the law Society about my complaint and all these clerks did was pass letters back and forth and did nothing.The complaint was that my lawyer had STOLEN 21k from my dead wife's bank account which he did and I had the evidence even his signature on withdrawal slips from the Bank and the bastards at the Law Society did nothing about it.Never got the money back and the rat bastard lawyer is a big wheel.People do something about these lying bastards please and stop this lawyers always first thing because its a fucking shame this is allowed to happen just like legalised robbery do something please someone

forth bridge tolls r us said...

Ive read enough here to keep me away from lawyers for good.

No good trying to get them to do anything for you because they will just rip you off all the time.Even the company I work for has problems with its lawyers.A contract signed with a US firm ended up worthless due to 'administrative errors' and nearly ruined the company.The bosses were told not to dare complain or their business would be ruined and they wouldn't get anything anyway.

Learn the lesson everyone and steer clear of Scottish lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter

I think you have done a wonderful job against the Law Society considering you are not a lawyer.

This SLCC is now lost.Forget it and campaign for what we really need which is an independent regulator along the lines of the Which? proposals.

Anonymous said...

This regulation game sounds very interesting :

Customers get ripped off because the regulator of whatever service they are using is crooked.
New regulator is created and old regulator cries foul then sends its staff to work for the new regulator and customers get ripped off again.

Are all you idiots still listening then ?

Why should we go anywhere near badly regulated services.We don't really need to go to lawyers all the time like they tell us we do and if we dont use them we dont get ripped off by them.If this isn't a damn good advertisement for breaking open this monopoly Cherbi keeps talking about I don't know what is.

We need to get away from these legal leeches and live a life again.How you do that is your own concern so go do it folks.

Anonymous said...

Scotland sure is a shitty place with all these crooked attorneys.Its a wonder you get anything done and you want independence?!Are you going to make your attorneys the new heads of state?!

What happened to Braveheart and all that shit?Was it lost to the lawyers with your Scottish McNazi Party?

Glad I live in the good ol USofA :) We don't have a tenth of the shit you guys are into!

Anonymous said...

Heard the one about the msp's clerk who destroyed files at holyrood on the orders of a law firm ?

Kenny MacArskill condones and covers up abuse - the scum of the earth said...

# "It is time" ... the public knew the truth about the SNP @ 3:20 AM :

Is it Christine Grahame MSP by any chance?!

# Our friend from the good ol USofA :) @ 10:04 PM :

Couldn’t agree more re Scotland being run by the lawyers within the Scottish McNazi Party and their bum chums at The Star Chamber.

MacArskill, Scotland’s very corrupt and crooked INjustice Secretary, is certainly a very nasty piece of work from what I have been reading on Peter’s excellent blog over recent months.

Time some brave and bold investigative journalists did a good delve into this man’s past track record when he was a practising solicitor … and what he got up to over the past 9 years as an Edinburgh MSP.

I know for a fact that he condones and covers up serious neglect and abuse of his constituents, so time he was exposed for the evil and wicked scumbag he really is once and for all…

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2007/12/justice-secretary-rejects-independent.html#c1243742615267351342

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2008/02/truth-reconciliation-in-scotland_08.html#c8926289071206169360

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2008/01/call-for-macaskill-appointments-sleaze.html#c8086114065093573423

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2008/02/judicial-independence-in-scotland-sees.html#c2018985421610178160

Anonymous said...

I am a member of UNISON.
I find it strange that members of what is a privately funded institution are apparently having their jobs saved by the Scottish Government and being transferred to a publicly funded body.
I am all for saving jobs but this seems grossly unfair given the kind of cuts we have to take in the public sector and I can see us getting it again over this issue.

Anonymous said...

Good update and I hear you are causing the fur to fly on this one yet again.

One thing to note.Writing a news story, predicting what the Government will say, then they say it, then updating your story and taking out any credibility of their comment has to be a bloody good job.

You should take over the hootsmon and bring it back from the brink, young man !

scotland needs less lawyers said...

TUPE to save these bastards jobs so they can go on doing more of the same !

Fucking SNP MacAskill is only out to save lawyers jobs while the rest of us can get sacked.Bastards indeed and will never vote for them again.Who the fuck dreamed up this crooked deal the law society I bet

Anonymous said...

An incredible story Peter.MacAskill was hoping to keep this one quiet and the Law Society thought it had slipped under your radar.

If I may recommend a course of action :

Gather all the names of Law Society staff who have participated in complaints over the years and publish them so people who are forced to go to the SLCC to make a complaint against their solicitor will know who is there to ruin their chances of getting a fair hearing.

I'm sure you will have long lists of names to do that !

Good luck and keep up the excellent work !

Anonymous said...

quite an update !

suffice to say this is as bad as the judges demanding their pensions be included in echr

snouts in the trough sack them all ! be rid of the filth that caused all this harm to people

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 6.26pm

You could always ask Mr Salmond himself ...

#Anonymous @ 7.20pm & 7.24pm

What you went through sounds terrible.Sorry to hear it but it's typical of the way the Law Society will cover up for one of their solicitors. I'm sure they will have played on your grief at losing your wife too.

Please email me the details of what happened and include any material from the Law Society if you can.

#"Forth Bridge Tolls r us" @ 8.08pm

Sounds like good advice.

#Anonymous @ 8.24pm

You may well be correct.

#Anonymous @ 9.37pm

If you are suggesting boycotting legal services there are many people for that idea but as you can see, the legal establishment usually twist the knife when things like that happen, forcing people to need lawyers services again .. almost akin to creating a drug dependency ...

#Anonymous @ 10.04pm

Protecting the legal profession is really making an international fool out of Scotland - and there is no one else to blame expect the politicians who are doing it - not the public, most of whom do not support crooked lawyers.

#Anonymous @ 10.30pm

Yes I have, and add to it one of the SCPB staff, according to a 'source'. You can email me if you like.

# "Kenny MacAskill condones & covers up ..." @ 3.12am

Sounds like a few journalists need to visit this story for reporting ... perhaps a group campaigning on abuse issues could be brought into position too and the matter widely publicised.

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 12.48pm

You must have commented while I was writing the update.

As you will see, TUPE has been applied to the transferring of staff from the Law Society to the SLCC.

Amazing, given what has been going on at the Law Society - transferring the very same people who caused the problem in the first place into the new body created to resolve the problem of poor regulation against lawyers.

Something rotten about Scottish Law when that happens ...

#Anonymous @ 2.07pm

Thanks, - only reporting the facts of course.

Oh I don't think I'd make a good Scotsman editor if that's what you have in mind.

There would be too many regional news and public interest stories in the paper .. none of which the politicians or the professions want to hear about these days.

#"Scotland needs less lawyers" @ 3.05pm

Interesting nickname, but don't tell me how you would go about it please.

You are correct on your final point. Apparently the Law Society insisted on this - that comes from the Justice Directorate direct ...

#Anonymous @ 4.01pm

If I may recommend a course of action :

Gather all the names of Law Society staff who have participated in complaints over the years and publish them so people who are forced to go to the SLCC to make a complaint against their solicitor will know who is there to ruin their chances of getting a fair hearing.


An excellent idea. I had thought about this for nearer the time but as you suggest, I will put it the works now.

*For some reason, some comments are not showing up. Anyway, thanks for all your best wishes and lets keep up the campaign to get a fully independent legal services board and regulator for a fully opened legal services market in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I like the idea of naming these lawyers who are migrating over because of TUPE.

If they are to become public sector workers lets have full disclosure on what they have been up to. Names andwhat they did,how they fucked up peoples lives and how many BENT LAWYERS THEY WHITEWASHED !

jings said...

What a disgrace.

People who have been mistreated by these people have a right to feel bitter over this.I wouldn't be surprised if something has to change here now you have exposed it.

keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Sounds too convenient the whole thing and on the back of other stories you wrote about Douglas Mill resigning etc

Its probably all been planned that way but looks really dirty with you writing about it all the time.The people who say stay away from lawyers are probably right so lets do it.

Anonymous said...

name and shame the lot of them

Anonymous said...

I read a comment of yours in the scotsman that said Kenny MacAskill should rename himself Minister for Lawyers.

You are right on the money with that one !

Anonymous said...

Good debate on this.

I know quite a bit about the T.U.P.E. requirements so I'm not surprised this is being applied to those at the Law Society who are evidently going to lose their jobs when the SLCC takes over whatever they were doing.

The problem is as Mr Cherbi points out is these same people are the root cause of poor complaints handling against solicitors so transferring them into the new taxpayer funded commission will only transfer the problem not remedy it.

If you want an example closer to home, do you think the public would have accepted that the famous four of the SCRO in the Shirley McKie case be transferred to the new SPSA in their original roles ? Sure they were offered positions but they took the money instead didn't they ?

The same should apply to these people from the Law Society, even more so as it seems they have been adept at letting criminals off the hook for years so they are not to be trusted in the new complaints venue.

Having said all that I don't think I would trust this SLCC anyway after reading the rest of your postings Mr Cherbi.The whole thing sounds like a stitch up from start to finish.

Good luck with your campaigns and writing.

Jas said...

I agree 100% with the comment at 8.11pm.

These people shouldn't be allowed to transfer to this new commission after what they have done for all these years.

Have the newspapers been told not to cover this story ?

It seems a biggie considering we are all about to get a quango staffed by the very people who caused it to be brought into existence in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi.thank you for printing my comment on what happened to my complaint against the lawyer who robbed my dear wife.I am too ill to get involved in a campaign now due to depression but I will send you the letters from the law society and one says I should stop the complaint to help with getting over the death of my wife.THose people are horrible at the law society and someone should stop them really from anything to do with keeping criminals in their jobs because lawyers are real criminals and get away withit.I hope people will do something and stop them

Anonymous said...

Reading some of these comments makes me angry about lawyers getting away with all this stuff.Payback will have to be in kind.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who best to write a complaint to about the lack of power and impartiality law society for scotland? MP? MSP? they followed all the right process so their own complaints process will be useless, but were just going through the motions.