Sunday, August 03, 2008

Law Society conference on client care falls short as lawyers told to 'dump & ruin clients’ to save themselves

Despite the promise of 'a new era' in dealing with complaints against crooked lawyers and attempts to improve the appallingly poor quality of Scotland's overpriced legal services market, the Law Society of Scotland are still choosing to undermine the very foundations of client care, with more of the usual policies, sanctioning lawyers disgraceful treatment of clients to the point of ruin.

One of a number of comments on my earlier article on legal fees here : Solicitors target clients with ‘sky high’ legal fees as Scotland's billion pound legal industry slows down went onto show how poor client care is regarded in the Scots legal profession :

“When confronted by a large legal bill of approximately £10,000 from the defenders in a personal injury case I instructed the solicitors then representing me to lodge a motion to the Court of Session on basis you outline, that is, the clear potential for a serious conflict of interest arising given the Auditor of the Court of Session would be ruling on matters relating to a fellow professional's expenses.

My solicitors refused to submit the motion, claiming it was incompetent. When I suggested it was for the Court to decide this and I should at least be allowed the opportunity to present the motion and receive the Court's decision my solicitors threatened to withdraw if I insisted on submitting the motion.”

Not much in the way of client care there … is there ? Could there be some kind of accounting fiddle going on too while one lawyer is tasked to investigate another colleague’s expenses ? Maybe you too are getting a fiddled bill in from your lawyer in a now common fraud by solicitors against unsuspecting clients …

So, while preaching an emphasis on caring for the client, and attending to good service with one hand, the Law Society’s ‘other hand’ is being used again to undermine what it publicly preaches, in favour of a more sinister policy of protecting its members once again from negligence claims and complaints against poor work …

Recently there has been an upswing in 'profession orders' from the Law Society to solicitors to dump clients who are either complaining against another solicitor, or are trying to lodge court cases for negligence or financial recovery of damages from lawyers who have ruined clients.

A very recent example letter follows below, from the Law Society of Scotland to a solicitor, which was 'inadvertently' sent to the client by a member of that solicitor's staff, and then forwarded to me, goes to show there is no let up even now in how low the Law Society feels it can treat members of the public and get away with it :

Dear ****

I am writing to you with reference to your client Mr ****'s negligence claim against Messrs **** & **** . I would emphasise this is private correspondence between us which is under no circumstances to be disclosed to your client.

I note your client is seeking to have the various papers he is in possession of relating to the investigation of the complaint against Mr **** submitted in evidence for his negligence claim.

I also note from the terms of your letter your client apparently is insisting on calling witnesses from the Law Society of Scotland who took part in the investigation of the complaint made against Mr ****.

In consideration of the above information you have furnished us, I recommend you withdraw from acting from your client immediately and make it as difficult as possible for any potentially dangerous material to be returned to your client in the file.

Yours sincerely,

Mr ****

* I have been asked to remove names & identities of those concerned for now, on the instructions of the client who sent me the letter.

I, of course, am not surprised in the slightest at the above letter, as this is a well trodden path for the legal profession when dealing with clients who have been ruined by one of their colleagues. It just goes to reinforce what has already been reported by myself and attested to by others over the years, the Law Society of Scotland is, a corrupt institution, and must be denied any future regulatory role in complaints or client claims made against solicitors.

I am not surprised ... why ? Well, just look at a few similar letters I have reported on in the past .. together with input from Cabinet Secretary for Finance Mr John Swinney (SNP) who bravely exposed another such letter in the Scottish Parliament itself.

John Swinney MSP exposes Law Society Chiefs who ordered lawyers to dump clients who were ruined by crooked lawyers

On my own case too, I received similar treatment from none other than Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill and Director of Client Relations Philip Yelland, who personally intervened in both my legal aid claims, and ordered my solicitor not to take instructions from me which like the above letter quoted, sought to prevent my inclusion of evidence gathered by the Law Society against well known crooked Borders lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso, whom you can read more about from the Scotsman stories on that case here :

Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso -The Scotsman reports on Scotland's most crooked lawyer

Here are copies of the actual letters from Philip Yelland ordering my solicitor not to take my instructions on the claim against Andrew Penman, and Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill ordering my legal aid be refused here :

Philip Yelland - Director of Regulation - Law Society of ScotlandClient Relations Director Philip Yelland :

'I order you not to help your client Mr Cherbi or take his instructions on submitting evidence in his negligence claim against Andrew Penman'

Philip Yelland letter to David Reid ordering him not to take my instructionsDear Mr Reid

Complaint by Peter Cherbi against Andrew Penman

I refer to your letter of 30 July which my colleague Mary McGowan responded to during my absence on annual leave.

I would ask you to note the reference number on this letter which is in fact the correct reference number rather than the reference number quoted on the previous correspondence to you which relates to the subsequent complaint made by Mr Cherbi against Andrew Penman which is currently held in abeyance until such time as the negligence action has concluded.

I think that I should also draw to your attention at this stage terms of Section 56A of The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 as it seems to me that this is relevant to the issues which you are seeking to raise.

In terms of sub-paragraph (1) the taking of any steps under Section 42A (2) of the Act (that is a finding of inadequate professional service) shall not be founded upon in any proceedings for the purposes of showing that the solicitor in respect of whom the steps were taken was negligent.

In addition in terms of sub-section (2) any award of compensation made in respect of a finding of inadequate professional service may be taken into account in any computation of an award of damages to be made following on negligence proceedings.

I thought it only proper given that you had written to this office that these matters were drawn to your attention.

Yours sincerely

Philip J Yelland

So, what was Mr Yelland doing writing to my lawyer telling him not to take my instructions on submitting the evidence of the complaints investigation against Andrew Penman which I wanted heard out in the Court of Session ?

Were the Law Society so desperate they didn’t want all the dirty details of what happened at the Complaints Committee coming out in public, where Senior Law Society member James Ness had inserted false evidence and personal attacks to save Mr Penman in a routine which until then had been kept secret from most clients who lodged complaints against their solicitors …

Now the turn of Douglas Mill, who was determined to prevent my access to the court at any cost, even ensuring I wasn’t able to ask for a Judicial Review against how the Law Society Complaints Committee and a few of its top staff saved crooked lawyer Andrew Penman. Telling a few lies and half truths was certainly not beneath a rather desperate Douglas Mill as his letter to the Legal Aid Board demonstrates :

Douglas Mill - Law Society of Scotland Chief ExecutiveLaw Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill :

Cancel Peter Cherbi's legal aid claim and any access to justice on my orders or else

Douglas Mill letter to Scottish Legal Aid Board demanding my legal aid be refusedDear Ms Ewart

Legal Aid Application - Peter Cherbi

I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 20 March together with the copy of the intimation of Mr Cherbi's application for civil legal aid.

The Law Society would not wish to formally object to his application for Legal Aid but, I think it is only proper that I draw certain issues to your attention.

The complaint which Mr Cherbi made against Mr Penman was fully investigated by the Law Society and upheld. there was a finding of misconduct made against Mr Penman and also an order made in relation to the inadequate professional service provided.

Mr Cherbi thereafter exercised his right to refer the Law Society's handling of the matter ot the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman. the Ombudsman made certain recommendations some of which were accepted by the Law Society.

It is understood that Mr Cherbi seeks to judicially review the decision of the Council of the Law Society not prosecute Mr Penman before the Discipline Tribunal. the point which I would wish to emphasises is that whilst Mr Cherbi is clearly a person with an interest to complain and was entitled to make his complaint, it is for the Law Society in terms of the relevant legislation to determine, firstly whether the complaint can be upheld and then to determine the appropriate penalty.

The complainer does not have a part to play in determining penalty.

I will be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter and confirm that these commends have been noted. I note, incidentally, that the intimation document which you sent did not reach the Law Society presumably because the Law Society's full address was not included on it.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Mill
The Secretary

These letters on my own case are quite a common occurrence when clients of crooked lawyers find they can no longer gain access to justice or legal representation, the reasons for that being clear in the 'professional orders' handed down to solicitors from the Law Society, however, it is very difficult for a client to get hold of such material, believe me.

In one now famous case where there was a 'leak' from the Law Society of Scotland on the personal memos of Douglas Mill & others, did the true extent of the Law Society's ability and determination to prevent members of the public from obtaining access to justice in claims against crooked lawyers.

You can read more about that case involving a client who was able to testify before the Scottish Parliament in the following articles :

Law Society boss Mill lied to Swinney, Parliament as secret memos reveal policy of intervention & obstruction on claims, complaints.

The Corrupt Link Revealed - How the Law Society of Scotland manages client complaints & settlements.

Law Society boss Mill lied to Swinney, Parliament as secret memos reveal policy of intervention & obstruction on claims, complaints.

The determination of the Law Society to keep such a deniable policy afloat even led to it's Chief Executive and senior staff appearing before the Scottish Parliament and simply telling lies to deny what has become obvious to all - a policy to protect crooked lawyers at any cost whatsoever.

Law Society Chief Exec Douglas Mill – despite what my own memos say, I never fiddled complaints against crooked lawyers !

So, there we have it folks, for "Client Care", read "Client Control", and for "access to justice" read "control of access to justice".

What right if any does the Law Society of Scotland have to preach "Client Relations" when all it does is ensure that clients have no access to justice or legal services if it turns out like an increasing number of people, they have been defrauded by their solicitors ...

However, the Law Society with its seemingly vast army of paid political allies (some of whom seem to be in receipt of free legal services), continues on in its unchecked ways, reminding everyone, who is actually in control of the legal services and to this end, an impending, if imaginatively titled conference "Client Care and avoiding client dissatisfaction" hosted by the Law Society of Scotland, is listed as having the following aims :

(1) Identify areas which can give rise to client concerns and complaints
(2) Suggest ways of avoiding these issues
(3) Put forward ways of how they can be dealt with if and when they arise

Well, identifying areas which give rise to client concerns and complaints shouldn’t be too difficult … lying to clients, cheating clients, embezzling clients finds, ripping off the estates & wills of dead clients, stealing clients land & property … all areas which could give rise to client concerns & complaints, yes ?

Suggesting ways of avoiding the above … well .. that would be teaching and ensuring much higher standards of legal service, by keeping a watchful eye on the profession (which the Law Society has obviously not been doing) and ensuring that lawyers don’t continue with their present attitude of ‘lets rip off clients because we know we can get away with it’.

Putting forward ways of dealing with the above … well well well … I have a few things to say about that, as I’m sure many of you do too ! but put simply, an effective, independent regulatory body, fully accountable and transparent, with strong powers of enforcement, would just about do the trick, and of course, not forgetting opening up the legal services market fully to competition, to ensure that when lawyers feel they have to boycott an individual’s right of access to justice, that individual can still go somewhere else.

After reading all of the above, have a look here at the Law Society’s idea of a Client Care conference :

Client Care and avoiding client dissatisfaction

CPD: 2 hours (Other)

26 November 2008, The Law Society of Scotland

Client Care and avoiding client dissatisfaction has always been important in trying to avoid complaints. The creation of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission dealing with service complaints alone will see a change in the regulatory structure in 2008.

The aim of this event is to:
Identify areas which can give rise to client concerns and complaints;
Suggest ways of avoiding these issues; and
Put forward ways of how they can be dealt with if and when they arise

The aim of the event is to try to ensure that practitioners are aware of these issues and to give an indication in general terms about how the Commission is at this stage developing.

Philip Yelland from The Law Society

Philip Yelland from The Law Society
Russell Lang from Marsh
Jane Irvine, Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Registration: 5.30pm Seminar: 6pm - 8pm

£55.00 + £9.62 VAT = £64.62

If the legal profession want to hear from clients themselves (which they obviously don't), why not let in clients for free ?

Could it be that Philip Yelland would rather order solicitors to drop their clients, not take their instructions or see to it they never get access to legal services again, rather than teach how clients should be respected and not ripped off or have their access to justice limited ?

Perhaps a good idea now would be for Jane Irvine, the Chairman of the 'new' and supposedly independent Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to hold some client care conferences at the SLCC and get the public perspective on how client care should develop, not the wishes orders from the legal profession itself.


Anonymous said...

Relax Peter
You have sold us the fact that lawyers in Scotland are a bunch of hoods.
It doesn't take too much upstairs to see that anyone who writes those kinds of letters about someone is generally a bad person.Moreover it seems to portray Mr Yelland and Mill as prolific and well practised in their poison pen interference.
Someone said in your other posting the standard of ethics in Scotland must be very low to allow this.I agree with that word for word.
Hope you and all those people get justice one day.

albionrules said...

No I don't think clients going to that conference will be a good idea.The lawyers might get too many earfuls from some of their clients !!

Anonymous said...

Disgusting to say the least and you have the evidence right there so that about wraps it up for the Law Society.
Out of interest why didn't your lawyer make more of this or was it the case he was either too afraid of he Law Society to speak out on your behalf or did they pressure him to shut up?
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

You might just have spoiled Mr Yelland's week again !

Anonymous said...

Those letters from the Law Society to solicitors are commonplace.You are only scraping the top of the iceberg with this story Mr Cherbi.If the public were to be made fully aware of what went on behind the doors of the Law Society I doubt there would still be a Law Society.

Anonymous said...

If Jane Irvine had any respect for her office she would never agree to appear on the same platform as her co-speakers; one from a wholly discredited, self serving and thoroughly selfish organisation, the other from a disgraced insurance provider whose shameful and unlawful conduct is a matter of public record.

Anonymous said...

I have a letter with much the same wording from the Law Society. I actually ignorred it but kept it for future use.

Maybe I will send it to you for your own records because the client involved actually won a substantial settlement because I did not walk away from him as the letter suggested.

Anonymous said...

I think the Law Society have a persecution mission against you Peter.
Those letters are written with real hate against you - anyone can see that.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 9.41pm

Thanks, and I agree with your comments.

Regrettably I also agree that the standards of ethics, at least in some professions, is generally poor in Scotland ... as a result of too much self regulation and getting their own way over the years.

# Albionrules @ 10.29pm

Well it might be good for the Law Society and their club to get some earfuls.

# Anonymous @ 8.41am

A little of both as far as my lawyer goes. He ended up not too honest either ... took a sickie when the going got tough ... works as a "Law Accountant" now so beware ...

# Anonymous @ 9.22am

Good. He has spoiled the last 14 years of my life, along with a great many others. Mr Yelland has a lot to answer for.

# Anonymous @ 9.38am

I agree.

# Anonymous @ 10.58am

I completely agree with you.

Jane Irvine should now come forward and hold client conferences at the SLCC, without inviting along some of those who have done so much damage to clients over the years from the Law Society.

# Anonymous @ 12.01pm

Yes, I would gratefully receive such a letter, thanks ...

# Anonymous @ 12.57pm

I've always thought that myself .. nice to see others recognise the same.

Anonymous said...

I think you should attend that meeting Peter and give them what for over what this bunch of mafia do to people.

Great story btw better than all that pish about how great lawyers are in the hootsmon !

Anonymous said...

Very sad that people resort to that level of corruption to stop someone getting their day in court.If the same had been done against them they would have had plenty to say too so say it Peter and expose these THUGS AND BULLIES AND ABUSERS.They have done it to many so they should answer for it as you say.

Anonymous said...

A very interesting set of letters.Does this new one relate to your own case or somebody else ?

At the very least the Law Society were harrassing you at the very most it could be considered stalking or even an assault.

Did you lose out financially due to Mr Yelland or Mr Mill's intervention in your case? If that can be established you should claim against the Law Society for what has happened but I doubt you would be able to get a lawyer to represent you because of company orders from above.

Disgusting as the other comment said and shameful there isn't a lawyer honest enough in Scotland to take this on and settle it.What does that say about the great gaggle of lawyers in Scotland

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to suspect the same will happen to my claim against Tods Murray.My lawyer has went quiet on me since January when we were supposed to be in court.
Help please someone

Scotland needs less lawyers said...

Dear Mr Yelland and Mill

You should both be sacked for doing what you did.How many times have you written behind peoples backs to ruin their lives ?

Good for Peter and his compatriots to expose your evil ways.Bad for you that people still allow you to earn money for stepping on people to protect your crooked lawyer friends.

Anonymous said...

Dirty tricks from crooked lawyers to save crooked lawyers.
However looks up to this lot needs their heads examined or sent to jail

Anonymous said...

Nice to see John Swinney defending those who are trodden on by big business or is it?
Why has nothing been done about this now even with Swinney standing there revealing all?

Anonymous said...

The Law Society took my file from my lawyer and I have never been able to get it back after excuse after excuse

I can see why now and I will be asking a friend of mine to get in touch with you soon

all the best

Anonymous said...

I have seen these letters before on your blog but never bothered to read them.Now I realise why you were hounded in this way - you tried to bring a Judicial Review against a Law Society decision not to prosecute someone who undoubtedly deserved striking off.

You have suffered a serious injustice in these letters and what has happened since to you.Those who did this to you should be made to apologise and agree a settlement with you for what is obviously an appalling amount of damage caused to your life.

Anonymous said...

beggars belief the whole thing and those letters are just evil

Anonymous said...

I really think you deserve a full investigation into what happened and hopefully some criminal charges against those people you found out did this to you.

God bless.

Big Ed said...

None of this surprises me.The Law Society have been involved against complaining clients since they were given the task of investigating complaints.They became complacent with how they handled cases and you caught them out big time.

Full marks for your effort and writing.I'm sure you should actually be in politics or something because you are definitely a good guy compared with the slimey lawyers who are working against you.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi I've been reading your blog all evening and wondered if the lawyer mentioned in the letter from Philp Yelland is the same David Reid who worked at Morisons Solicitors iN Edinburgh?
I have important information regarding him you need to know and if I could contact you please.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say Peter and I hope you are able to bring some changes to this very corrupt group of people.

Good luck and all the best.

Anonymous said...

If theres anything I've learned reading this blog its to give lawyers a wide berth.I think all lawyers must be crooks now no debate about it.

I hope all of you get some justice and get those crooked lawyers locked up.

Anonymous said...

How about 1000 clients gatecrash that conference and tell these scumbag lawyers something about client care !!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Yelland was certainly not helpful in either case I complained of, as it happens he was rather condescending in both cases,
He did his utmost to make me feel insignificant in the great scheme of things.
As far as my lawyers are concerned and possibly only in my opinion, my lawyers are taking instruction from someone other than me, and it would seem that I as their client really don't matter any more!

Anonymous said...

Little doubt after reading the letters from Philip Yelland and Douglas Mill that the Law Society interfered in your case.

They certainly have it in for you and the first comment on your post is spot on.Only a bad person would write that kind of a letter with probably a lot to hide.

Anonymous said...

I have been told my solicitor received a similar letter from this Mr Mill.I called to ask for it this morning and he told me if I force him to hand if over he will withdraw from acting for me but at least he admits receiving it.

Anonymous said...

Will Mr Yelland be presenting those letters against you as good examples of client care ?

I agree with those who say these are disgusting letters.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 1.39pm

I might if I am invited, although I fear I might have to appear behind bullet proof glass and have a couple of L&B's finest along as bodyguards !

# Anonymous @ 1.53pm

Yes I know .. and remember this has been done to many people, not only me. Time to put an end to it hopefully ?

# Anonymous @ 2.12pm

The new letter I quoted refers to another case, the others with pictures refer to my case.

Yes I did lose out financially, heavily too, as well has having my access to justice denied - just the same as others have had their access to justice denied and lost out financially.

No lawyer will represent anyone with claims against the Law Society of Scotland. Such a thing is not allowed.

# Anonymous @ 2.38pm

Please could you email me via my profile or make a further comment regarding your case and Tods Murray.

# "Scotland needs less lawyers" @ 3.02pm

I agree .. and Scotland needs more honest lawyers !

# Anonymous @ 4.10pm

I would speculate that Mr Swinney has had his career threatened in some way if he says too much ?

Look at it this way, who can Scotland do without more .. John Swinney, a gang of crooked lawyers, or an inept Justice Secretary who is a lawyer.

I'd say let's keep John Swinney ! anyone else care to vote on that ?

# Anonymous @ 4.30pm

Looking forward to hear from you on what sounds an interesting case.

# Anonymous @ 4.39pm

Yes, it all comes down to preventing anyone being able to get a Judicial Review against the Law Society of Scotland .. and of course stopping anyone getting access to justice as they very successfully did against me.

# Anonymous @ 6.21pm

I can assure you in terms of your comment, there is quite a bit of evil going around when it comes to letters from the Law Society against clients.

# Anonymous @ 6.53pm

Thanks, and an investigation for all the other victims too.

# Big Ed @ 8.10pm

Thanks .. well I'm not very interested in political office to be honest, I'd rather see this injustice affecting many people cleared up and attended to.

I do have a project to try and encourage Truth & Reconciliation but as you can see, implementing such a thing against a profession which has become far too used to lying or using threats to get its way, does impede the process slightly ...

# Anonymous @ 8,18pm

Yes, the same David Reid. Please contact me via my profile or post a comment on what you have.

# Anonymous @ 8.43pm

Thanks.... Here's to us all ...

# Anonymous @ 10.37pm

Yes I hope so too.

# Anonymous @ 11.37pm

Interesting idea ...

# Anonymous @ 10.11am

Your lawyers are probably taking instructions from Mr Yelland now .. as is typical in cases where he is involved.

# Anonymous @ 10.29am

Yes, I agree ... they certainly do have it in for me .. and anyone who takes issue with their position as regulator of complaints against lawyers.

# Anonymous @ 12.41pm

Interesting, please contact me with further information about that, and try to persuade your solicitor to hand the letter over.

# Anonymous @ 1.17pm

He probably has it framed over his fireplace.

Anonymous said...

Quite a lot of comments and none supporting the Law Society why is that now??
Are no lawyers going to come forward and support their lovely Law Society and honest man Yelland for doing the dirty on everyone?

Anonymous said...

Yes the Law Society are out to get Peter Cherbi and anyone else who stands in their way.
I used to work there and it is the most corrupt institution you could ever imagine and all those politicians you keep quoting Mr Cherbi don't need to do any imagining because most of them have been through our doors at one time or another for hospitality which would raise the dead.

Anonymous said...

Very damaging letters.No wonder you were never able to get anywhere.
Jail isn't good enough ?

Anonymous said...

"I would speculate that Mr Swinney has had his career threatened in some way if he says too much ?"

Yes that is precisely what happened.I know who told you that too.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers teaching lawyers how to swindle clients and whats the Ombudsman doing going to that anyway?

Anonymous said...

Hmm I cant imagine how you got these letters anyway well done.

One observation though.Your Scottish politicians must be a shower of corrupt bastards to allow this to happen to you and do nothing.