Sunday, April 20, 2008

Law chiefs & politicians who left Scots denied access to justice should move to heal legal system's sins of the past

The ability to revisit a story these days is helped greatly by the use of technology, and as clips of politicians praising, even shielding those who have caused Scotland's public and legal system a great deal of harm filter through to the web, I thought I would take an opportunity to show people what reformers and campaigners are up against when it comes to promoting reforms and reconciliation to Scotland's much ruined legal system.

As many of you are aware from previous articles I have written on the prospect of opening the Scots legal services market, I am very much for such a move, where for once, you, the individual will be in control of who you want to represent your legal interests.

I have covered many articles on opening the Scots legal services market here : Previous articles on access to legal services

As things currently stand, and have stood for decades, the Scots public have never had such a choice, always having to use a member of the Law Society of Scotland to gain access to legal services and the Scottish courts ... and if you have a controversial issue requiring the services of a Scots lawyer, perhaps one which may not be in the interests of the Scots legal profession to pursue, you will have found yourselves cast out along with thousands of others, denied access to a lawyer and access to justice, by the very same legal profession which claims to serve Scotland so well.

Over the past couple of years since the successful campaign to bring the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 into being, many issues have come to light revealing just how focused the Scots legal profession has been on denying individuals access to justice, with even the very highest levels of staff at the Law Society of Scotland being shown to have interdicted ordinary Scots access to justice, preferring to follow their own policy of protecting colleagues within the legal system, many of whom are now widely known to have performed so poorly for multiple clients, they would be better filling a jail cell than earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from clients who get nowhere in their cases ...

One such individual widely known to have interdicted many Scots access to justice is the current [but resigning] Law Society Chief Executive, Douglas Mill .... who felt so assured of his position of being able to halt peoples lives when it came to access to legal services, he sat before the Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee and simply lied through a questioning by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, of events revealed in Mill's own secret memos, which indicated a well practiced policy by Douglas Mill, other members of the Law Society of Scotland, and the insurers of intervention in claims & complaints against fellow solicitors, ensuring the lawyer got off the hook, while the client got nothing.

Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill before the Justice 2 Committee - I swear I prevented people getting access to justice ...

Not too long after the above video was posted on You Tube, Douglas Mill announced his resignation, which you can read more about here : Breaking News : Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill who lied to Parliament, pursued 'personal vendetta' against critics - to resign

However, such people as Douglas Mill who have ruined the lives of many ordinary Scots seeking justice, or even just a simple closure to their case of complaint or legal claim, have their fans, supporters, and those who will shield them from scrutiny or attempts to put matters right.

Here is a recent clip of one of Douglas Mill's fans, none other than the Scottish Conservative Justice spokesman, Bill Aitken MSP, who unwisely praised Douglas Mill, even holding him up as an undeserved 'example of excellence'.

Bill Aitken MSP praises Douglas Mill as an example of excellence but in reality Mill lied to the Scottish Parliament and threatened court action against legislative reforms ...

What on earth could make politicians praise such an individual as Douglas Mill, who in reality has presided over the worst period of history for Scotland's legal profession, where client complaints have reached nearly eight thousand in some years, and solicitors generally are viewed as untrustworthy, even endemically corrupt ?

You can read previous articles I wrote about the legal services debate involving these matters here : Scotland fights political interests for wider access, choice of legal services over protectionism of lawyers monopoly

Well, perhaps what we are seeing in Mr Aitken's words of praise of Douglas Mill, are an example of the underlying support the legal profession and people such as Mill have enjoyed from politicians over the years in Scotland, the very same politicians who have mostly stood back while the Law Society of Scotland merrily ruined the lives of anyone who challenged its authority .. clients and solicitors alike.

Surely time for that one to end then, and those politicians who are fans of those who cause injustice to be replaced ? Well, I thought so myself last May when we had an election in Scotland, but just look at the next movie of the current Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, who seems to be such a fan of his colleagues in the legal profession he has made his case and position very clear on any proposed reforms to the way the Scots legal profession manipulates the legal services market and ordinary Scots access to justice ...

Kenny MacAskill sees it as his mission to protect lawyers from anything ... hardly a justifiable SNP goal ?

Mr MacAskill, not content with his startling outburst against the legal profession's critics & reformers, then went on to justify his actions by claiming Scotland owes a great debt to lawyers and the legal profession ....

Kenny MacAskill : Scotland owes a great debt to lawyers ... but should this so-called 'debt' prejudice the need for change and public interest reforms ?

Well, I have no doubt that Scotland has indeed owed debts to the legal profession, and of course, I very much support elements of the Scots legal profession who have, over the years, come forward and challenged inept or unjust laws, have ensured that clients legal cases and the public in general are heard on legal matters, and particularly those solicitors who have worked hard for and represented their clients honestly, with vigor and succeeded in bringing a measure of justice and access to it to those who need it

In general however, I find from talking to many people, public and solicitor alike, that Scotland and the legal profession are about quits on things these days .. so time to rid ourselves of these claimed 'debts' (which generally turn into political favours or such) and move on to bring reforms in which are both in the interests of the public and the legal profession alike.

One further area which the Justice Secretary should also be looking at, if Mr MacAskill can get past his seemingly distinct prejudice of dealing with anything which criticises the legal profession, is that of bringing truth & reconciliation to the many cases of injustice which the Law Society of Scotland have themselves caused over the years.

What a great thing it would be if someone could heal the deep divisions between the public and the Scots legal profession, bringing closure & justice to the many who have been denied it over the years .. and surely the time to do that is now ...

You can see my idea of bringing truth & reconciliation to clients and the Scots legal profession here : Law Society kills Petition PE1033 amid calls for review of injustice & regulatory sins of the past

As you can see, the Law Society of Scotland were too afraid of my idea to let it live, but surely taking the time now to bring dialogue, reconciliation & settlement to people by cleaning up the mistakes & ruined lives left by the failed regulatory policies of Douglas Mill's Law Society of Scotland is worth the effort, to heal the rifts caused by the policies of a few which should not be allowed to continue to ruin the public's trust in both the legal profession and the justice system ?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice of you to let us know about MacAskill's intentions and I wont be voting for any 'protect the lawyers party' ever again.

Anonymous said...

Not a mention about reforming Scotland’s justice system, or the truth, justice and reconciliation you seek, from King Alex in his speech to his deluded hero worshipers at the SNP conference this afternoon. So ONE YEAR ON from them gaining power by the skin of their teeth, and no change or action whatsoever … and there won’t be under Salmond, MacAskill and their crooked friends at the Law Society either.

For those who are looking for Crown Office Disclosure from them just now too: I’m afraid there is no chance of that folks … Angiolini was appointed by them last May after all. The Scottish justice system will only get worse (if that is possible) under Salmond and MacAskill, and “It is time” that people who are suffering injustice woke up and smelt the coffee.

Perhaps the likes of Iain McKie, John MacManus and all those who purport to be crusaders against injustice in Scotland spoke out publicly now and called for Mr MacAskill to resign. After all, the conflict of interest with him being at the helm of Scotland’s Justice Department is irrefutable and he is well-known to pervert the course of justice in many cases known to them by now.

Mr Cherbi and one or two others have done just that. “It is time” many others out there put their heads above the parapet and spoke out publicly now too … or does self-interest and their own personal agendas prevent them from doing so I wonder?

?? said...

I don't think Kenny MacAskill likes anyone who doesn't like lawyers by the sounds of it.Well that's fine for Kenny but if he feels that way he should go back and be a lawyer and let the rest of the SNP get on with running the country instead of protecting leeches who don't deserve protecting.

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 3.43pm

Remember Mr MacAskill doesn't control the SNP, as one more senior member of the party told me recently ...

#Anonymous @ 5.07pm

As I was saying to someone earlier today, there needs to be change but as that person pointed out these people who frequent the Justice Minister portfolio all come from the same culture which has caused so much injustice.

Perhaps it is time to put someone in the Justice position who has no allegiances to the legal profession & legal establishment as after all, if someone is going to do the cleaning, they will have to be much more open to change than the present holder of the Justice position, Mr MacAskill ...

?? @ !0.02pm

I agree with your comments.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, and no denying the evidence - or hiding from it, just a pity the gutless wonders who are entrusted with reporting such matters regularly maintain a deafening silence.

Anonymous said...

# ??
I dont think MacAskill will be welcomed back as a lawyer certainly not by the legal aid board who i heard barred macAskill as a lawyer, the same as happened to Robertson in todays sunday mail.
So if true then if kenny boy was to go back to being a lawyer then he wouldn't be able to claim Legal Aid

Anonymous said...

Interesting you should focus on those point made by Bill Aitken & Kenny MacAskill but if they think they are making friends with solicitors by coming out with that rubbish they are both very wrong.

Remember Peter many of us feel the same as you about Douglas Mill and the Law Society.Its just that if we aired our thoughts we would no longer be solicitors.

Carry on your work.

Anonymous said...

A very good report.

I assume the Justice Secretary will watch his p's & q's next time now you have rounded on him over this.

Anonymous said...

In reply to the second comment I think its time macAskill was sacked.He wont resign because he knows he can hold the party to ransom over their seat numbers at Holyrood.
The good thing is that if you do get a new justice minister out of this you will get rid of the fly in the snp ointment which MacAskill really is.

not a lawyer said...

Scotland owes BUGGER ALL to the Law Society of Scotland and if Kenny MacAskill is so in love with his lawyer friends he should F*OFF and join them and let the SNP get on with the work of governing Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Take it from me that gutless wonders get sacked if they cover this kind of stuff.I used to work at the Scotsman so I know all about that.

Anonymous said...

Looks like oor kenny is sucking up to his lawyer pals instead of doing for us what we voted him in for.

Get rid of him Alex.Hes no use to the rest of us in this state !

Anonymous said...

If you are looking for stories you should revisit this : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/788621.stm

I'm sure a reporter of your talents can uncover much more on what happened and why it should come back to reckon with those who caused it..

Anonymous said...

Good clips and no chance for them to deny it either.

I will take others advice and avoid voting snp if macaskill continues with this crap !

Anonymous said...

Cant believe the man was so stupid in letting that out on camera.Well all three of them actually !

Anonymous said...

Looks like both of them were giving Mill a good send off.

I liked your petition you mentioned.Get it back into Parliament and get something done about it as I think that's the most constructive idea I've ever seen to tackle the problems the Law Society has brought us all.

Anonymous said...

An interesting turn of events for one of my clients today who asked me to mention to opposing counsel last week we would call you as an expert witness in a negligence case.

The defenders agent called me at 11:30am yesterday to say they would settle with no expenses due.That came after a year of correspondence where basically nothing was achieved.

My client would like to contact you properly over this matter at some stage.

Anonymous said...

Good report against these lawyer lovers.We need to get more impartial people into the Parliament if this is all they are going to do!

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with what you are saying Mr Cherbi and your effort to bring some kind of help to clients who have genuinely been wronged by their solicitors.

Keep up the good work.

Peter Cherbi said...

#Anonymous @ 12.13pm

I never considered that I would be an "expert witness" on negligence, but I could certainly attest to my experiences in dealing with negligent lawyers and the poor way the Law Society of Scotland has regulated complaints over the years.

I would be pleased to hear from either yourselves or your client.

#Anonymous @ 3.56pm

Thanks, well it wouldnt be so difficult to do something for the people who have been wronged by solicitors or the legal profession if the legal profession would come half way to meet them, apologise for what they did, properly address the issues and fairly compensate victims for their losses but as you can see, its all about spending 50million to avoid admitting negligence on 5k or so ... that surely can't be in the economic interests of the legal profession at large, particularly with all the bad publicity it generates and other scandals which come to light as people take up the case to expose wrongdoings by solicitors.

A lot could be achieved by more conciliatory elements of the Scots legal profession coming to the discussion table and hammering out a policy to deal with the 'sins of the past' and ongoing issues ... and it would certainly achieve a lot for the profession at large, the public interest, and perhaps even the legal system which is in dire need of a wee bit of tlc ...

Ted said...

If Bill Aitken's idea of an idol is someone like Mill who has lied to Parliament and threatened it with court action he should be removed as justice committee convener.