Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Truth & reconciliation fails as MacAskill follows Law Society orders to Parliament on attempt to heal public confidence in legal profession

There will be no 'truth & reconciliation" between the public and the legal profession under Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, according to replies received from the Scottish Government on this issue.

While some within the SNP are floating the idea of 'truth & reconciliation' as a way of resolving long standing cases of injustice, it is just one step too far for the public to be allowed any accountability against injustice caused not only by the legal system, but also by the very legal profession which has caused so much trouble & pain in Scotland.

Kenny MacAskill : lawyers money making will take priority over the public interest no matter what ...

Justice Directorate PE1033 final

I am not too surprised that Mr MacAskill, a lawyer himself who has publicly stated it will be his mission to defend his lawyer colleagues from any criticism or 'misrepresentation', over it seems, anything to do with the public interest, has ruled out a move to resolve the legal profession's sins of the past against clients, where poor or corrupt regulation of crooked lawyers has allowed so many solicitors to remain in practice while many clients have been financially ruined.

I am surprised however, the Justice Secretary so blatantly protects the legal profession from any possible reforms which would damage its monopolistic business model, as well as impugning its controlled regulatory model, the latter of which Mr MacAskill has felt so strongly to protect that he selected a group of lawyers and ex Law Society Committee members to ensure the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission continues the Law Society's valuable work of letting crooked lawyers off the hook.

You can read some of those reports on the demise of the SLCC before it has even begun its work here :

Call for MacAskill appointments 'sleaze investigation' as revelations show Legal Complaints Commission member was subject of Police inquiry

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

Calls for full disclosure on legal complaints commission members as Justice Department 'covers up' conflicts of interest in appointments scandal

So, who thinks the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will do any different from the Law Society of Scotland after those revelations ?

The proposals for 'truth & reconciliation' were made in Petition PE1033, which called for the Scottish Parliament to form an independent commission to resolve the legal profession's long list of poorly handled cases of complaints against crooked lawyers, which have caused so much harm to clients over the years.

Petition PE1033 : a call to resolve lawyers 'sins of the past' against clients, and a chance to do something for Scots before lawyers ...

PE1033 Page 1PE1033 Page 2PE1033 Page 3

The Law Society of Scotland however, had other ideas, and ordered the Petitions Committee to close consideration of the petition, implying the SLCC may be able to deal with such issues, when we now see from how the SLCC will be staffed, it certainly won't be dealing with any cases of the past, with the revelation the same Law Society staff who have caused such terrible injustice against the public, are transferring to the SLCC themselves ...

Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform - Law Society of Scotland demands no truth & reconciliation for ruined clients of crooked lawyers

Law Society of Scotland PE1033 Page 1Law Society of Scotland PE1033 Page 2

Michael Clancy, who is the Director of Law Reform at the Law Society of Scotland, but doesn't want the law reformed against lawyers themselves, certainly gives the orders as you can see from the above letter, and the Parliament are only too willing, save the odd note of dissent, to comply and ensure that any call to bring solicitors to account for their injustice against clients does not get heard.

Not only do we have justice denied by the legal profession in Scotland, we also have democracy & accountability denied when it comes to politicians being asked to do something extra to heal injustice, which they should have done a long time ago, and so obviously left out of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, which was brought in to heal some of the problems of biased complaints regulation by lawyers against lawyers.

It appears that Mr MacAskill shares the same chip on his shoulder against me which a few at the Law Society have, therefore I doubt I will revisit this issue with them again for now, as cutting through Mr MacAskill's 'I will support lawyers over people" bias is just impossible and I can't & wont offer the kind of incentives that the other Justice Secretary Michael Clancy along with his colleagues at the Law Society can offer the Scottish Government to keep such 'truth & reconciliation' proposals off the table.

Helping Scots victims of injustice is what being a Scot is all about ...

To Kenny MacAskill PE1033 final

Of course, it is open to others to raise the same issue ... and perhaps you may be more successful than me, so give it a try please - it's an effort to help all Scots who use lawyers and legal services.

So, little wonder that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill supports his colleagues in the legal profession, when they are capable of ripping off earning so much from the taxpayer, as the following story on how much money lawyers took from the taxpayer for themselves in the miners compensation deal demonstrates.

Before anyone says, 'oh the miners compensation rip off happened mostly in England & Wales, and it couldn't happen in Scotland', well, the Law Society of Scotland and it's member legal firms have been doing the very same to Scots for decades, on a wide range of cases, and so far have got away with it because the politicians have sat back for so long and done nothing ...

The Herald reports :

10-year wait for ex-miners as lawyers earn £1.3bn

DANIEL BENTLEY

Former miners have been forced to wait more than 10 years for government compensation for pit-related illnesses, a powerful committee of MPs said yesterday.

Some even died while their claims were being processed because ministers underestimated the size and complexity of the project, the Public Accounts Committee found.

Solicitors have earned more than £1.3bn in fees for handling the claims, with one firm alone collecting nearly £124m.

Average administration costs amounted to more than the claim itself in more than two-thirds of the cases.

In a highly-critical report the committee said the government had expected about 218,000 claims for lung disease and vibration white finger, with payouts totalling £614m.

There have now been about 762,000 claims which it is thought will cost about £4.1bn once they are all settled, as well as another £2.3bn in administration.

But tens of thousands of ex-miners are still waiting for an offer. Last September there were about 128,500 claims still awaiting settlement.

Some miners had waited more than 11 years between their medical assessment and receiving an offer.

Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, accused the Department of Business and Enterprise of having "seriously mismanaged" the schemes in their early stages.

Far too much money went into the solicitors’ pockets

"Its attempt to implement the schemes swiftly, combined with its underestimation of how many claims would be made and how complex some would be, resulted in many claimants having to wait a very long time for the compensation they were owed," Mr Leigh said.

"Some of these were elderly and ill and in no position to wait for years for compensation - in some cases 10 years or more. Some claimants even died while waiting. The taxpayer has also taken a big hit, with the cost of just administering the schemes expected to total nearly £2.3bn."

The restitution packages were arranged after British Coal was found to have been negligent in the cases of ex-workers who had developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from dust and vibration white finger from equipment in the pits.

But the government failed to get its own actuarial assessment of the likely number of claims and liabilities under the Coal Health Compensation Scheme, instead relying on British Coal's forecasts.

Ministers did not initially realise that deceased miners' claims would be payable to their widows and families.

The cross-party committee also criticised the government's dealings with solicitors, accusing it of "weak" negotiations on their fees which led to higher administration costs.

Of the £2.3bn administration expenses, solicitors' bills accounted for £1.3bn.

The average cost of processing each claim was £3100, more than what two-thirds of miners received in compensation.

Just 10 law firms collected between them £635.8m in fees. The highest earner was Thompsons, which received £123.6m.

The government is chasing up to £100m in repayments from solicitors after a court ruling that certain cases should have incurred a smaller fee.

Some solicitors also effectively double-charged for their services by taking a cut from their clients' compensation packages on top of their government-paid fees.

The Legal Complaints Service believes lawyers owe millions of pounds to tens of thousands of miners.

It is currently contacting every miner covered by the scheme urging them to check whether they had money wrongly deducted.

Mr Leigh said: "There are lessons aplenty here for other parts of government planning and implementing new compensation schemes.

"Far too much money went into the solicitors' pockets."

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting.Are you saying Kenny MacAskill would have let lawyers in Scotland do the same in the miners compo deal ??

Anonymous said...

Remember the lawyers scored their billion pound profits under this Labour Government but you are correct about the SNP.They have done no different.

I wish everyone (including you) would wake up to the fact the SNP are not a socialist party.They are a party for business as their biggest donors show clearly,not a party for the public at large.There may be factions of the SNP who feel different but the 'tartan tory' nickname is spot on and you will get nowhere with this lot either Mr Cherbi.

Why should anyone be surprised a lawyer supports lawyers over fellow scots and I think MacAskill will just laugh at the last bit of your letter.Words like that as noble as they sound,are just wasted on the likes of him.

Anonymous said...

a good effort Peter.
Pity there weren't more like you but lets hope someone else takes it up.

Al said...

"Truth and Reconciliation" under crooked MacAskill, Salmond and this Scottish Nasty Party "Government" ... and Scottish politicos generally?! Fat chance!

These "great and good" men and women who run and rule Scotland don't know the meaning of these words, far less have the decency, integrity and humanity to be able to enact them - as i said previously here :

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

As for MacAskill? My views on him are very well known on this and other forums, and i said 9 months ago what i thought he should do if he was going to just protect and support his 10,000 chums over 5 million fellow Scots here :

http://shirleymckie.myfastforum.org/sutra335.php#335

If Messrs MacAskill and Salmond don't like what i have to say about them, then they know what needs to be done. The allegations remain the same 13 months on from the first letter to Salmond : "procrastination, intransigence, criminal collusion and concealment, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and theft of a family’s property" in the case of the X abuse and neglect scandal.

Like i say :

"Truth and Reconciliation"?! They don't know the meaning of the words.

http://shirleymckie.myfastforum.org/sutra1318.php#1318

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

Anonymous said...

Clancy's letter to the Parliament is typical of the way the Law Society influences politicians so don't be surprised if theres more that has not been disclosed to you.

MacAskill is simply acting out the role of puppet to the Law Society.He will do nothing that troubles his friends or colleagues and those who are seeking justice in Scotland should look elsewhere to get it.

I feel it is time for action rather than words,Mr Cherbi.

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 3.01pm

I am saying exactly that - that Kenny MacAskill would have let lawyers in Scotland do exactly the same to the miners in this compensation deal.

Actually I believe there are some firms of lawyers in Scotland involved in all of this anyway, so yes it has been happening since the SNP were elected last May ...

#Anonymous @ 3.32pm

Yes I agree, the SNP are certainly not a socialist party - which is why the Scottish Conservatives are supporting them in certain policies, backstabbing the SNP in others.

I agree with your last point too, but one has to try of course ...

#Anonymous @ 3.55pm

Thanks.You can try too if you like !

#Al @ 4.01pm

Many would agree with you "Al" and certainly in terms of Justice policies, I would too.

I am told Mr MacAskill's policy to prevent reform to the legal profession has the backing of the First Minister himself.

If that is so, it is a great pity.

#Anonymous @ 7.26pm

I agree with your comments.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work Peter.MacAskill is bad for justice

Dominic said...

A good proposal Mr Cherbi.It should have been taken up but I can see why Clancy jumped on the Petitions Committee to stop it.

Did anyone get offered a free mortgage to throw it out?

Anonymous said...

The SNP proposed this same idea for victims of abuse so if its good enough for that its good enough for any issue.

Bring back your petition Mr Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting how the lawyers ripped off the miners and us !
Was that whole exercise just a job dreamed up to get the lawyers all the money in the first place ?

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with everyone else on this one too.Petition pe1033 sounds like a good deal for everyone but Mr Clancy put the boot in once again.

I dont see why the Law Society should be able to influence the Petitions committee like that on an issue which gets to the very heart of their own wrongdoings.The parliament should have called for input from other organisations on this one before closing it down on the say so of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

"Far too much money went into the solicitors pockets"

Yes indeed and that happens all the time when you go to see a solicitor.

Waste of time using them.How about someone start clawing back all these charges from lawyers like whats happening to the banks and their overdraft ripoffs !

Anonymous said...

Whoever gave MacAskill the justice job must be having a laugh at the rest of us.Obviously he was dropped in to gum up the works again which he is doing just fine.

Quicker the snp are out the better.Never thought they were a lawyers only party but now we all know.

Holls172 said...

HELP! Would someone (legally qualified preferably) be able to help me. I am doing my dissertation at the moment (4th year llb) and need help with the up to date position on legal aid fees for Scottish advocates... Particularly, fixed fees and the longstanding debate. I am so confused with all the regulations etc. Can someone help? Thanks so much, H.