Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Legal Complaints Commission to delay monitoring of discredited lawyers insurance as worries increase over poor regulation of crooked lawyers

As staff from the Law Society of Scotland migrate over to the new 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, destined to begin its official work on the first of October 2008, tomorrow, it has been revealed today the 'independent' commission's monitoring role over the Law Society's Guarantee Fund and infamous Master Policy indemnity insurance arrangements may not begin until well into 2009.

As the 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission published it's operations rules late last week, the absence of any reference to the Commission's 'monitoring' role over the Law Society's well practiced insurance scams to thwart negligence claims against solicitors worried several clients whose claims have been stalled by widely reported corrupt practices by Law Society officials who have chosen to directly intervene in complaints and claims against crooked lawyers.

Jane Irvine, Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission admitted : "This is not in the Rules. The rules establish how we will deal with complaints. The SLCC has a range of other functions-including oversight of the PI policies & of course how misconduct will be handled. These latter two are not obligatory functions - but we shall be undertaking them within the first year."

Jane Irvine went on "If you read the Act the role is a "monitoring" role and we "may" do it. As i say we have determined we "will" do it! and work is already in hand. By the end of our first year we will be publishing a report on the effectiveness of the funds. It will happen & so far we have had 100% willing co-operation from the professional bodies ..."

So, effectively, there will be no monitoring of the Law Society Guarantee Fund or the Master Policy for Professional Indemnity Insurance for some time, enabling the Law Society to kill off a few more negligence cases and prevent a few more clients obtaining access to legal services to pursue 'crooked lawyers' for financial recovery.

It is also unclear as to whether the 'independent' SLCC will be allowed access to monitor client's financial claims against rogue lawyers which date before the SLCC beings its work on October 1 2008, and no information has been forthcoming from the Commission that question .. while no doubt the Law Society will be using the time to kill off as many claims as it possibly can ….

Douglas Mill Memo to Martin MacAllister 5 July 2001Law Society Chief Douglas Mill’s memo to the then Law Society President Martin McAllister (now appointed by Kenny MacAskill to appoint Judges) details a plan by Law Society officials to successfully thwart negligence claims against a string of crooked lawyers. The memo was then the subject of a bitter confrontation between John Swinney and Douglas Mill at the Scottish Parliament hearings into the LPLA Bill during 2006. How would the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission deal with that kind of evidence ?

One well placed legal insider claimed today "The delays in any oversight to the Master Policy and Guarantee Fund are no accident ... the Law Society might be going along with what is in the Act itself but the truth is they do not want any outside scrutiny of what is going on with their defence of financial claims, as the entire process is full of corruption from start to finish"

Policy is to protect both says Law Society - Kenneth PritchardAnother scandal involving client claims against the Law Society’s Master Policy emerged when Douglas Mill’s predecessor, Kenneth Pritchard wrote to a firm of solicitors advising them to cease acting for their clients who were trying to pursue negligence claims against crooked lawyers through the Law Society’s Professional indemnity insurance scheme. How would the SLCC handle such a situation, the likes of which is being repeated on an almost daily basis where clients claims against the Master Policy are ‘designed to fail’ by the legal profession itself.

Douglas Mill letter to Scottish Legal Aid Board demanding legal aid be refusedPersonally, as the letter from Douglas Mill to the legal aid board over me shows, I am not surprised the Law Society doesn't want any outside scrutiny of the Master Policy or the Guarantee Fund. I like many, have experienced the intense efforts the Law Society and it’s most senior staff will go to defeat claims and prevent even my own access to legal services to get anywhere near these 'compensation schemes' which are little more than fronts for financial operations which in my opinion rival the drug barons of South America.

Here are some examples of my own investigations and experiences with the Master Insurance Policy, which have all taken place because three has been a distinct lack of any external oversight :

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

If we look at the legislation in question, the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, refers to the 'monitoring' duties of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as follows :

Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 : 39 Monitoring effectiveness of guarantee funds etc.

(1) The Commission may monitor the effectiveness of—

(a) the Scottish Solicitors Guarantee Fund vested in the Society and controlled and managed by the Council under section 43(1) of the 1980 Act (“the Guarantee Fund”);

(b) arrangements carried into effect by the Society under section 44(2) of that Act (“the professional indemnity arrangements”);

(c) any funds or arrangements maintained by any relevant professional organisation which are for purposes analogous to those of the Guarantee Fund or the professional indemnity arrangements as respects its members.

(2) The Commission may make recommendations to the relevant professional organisation concerned about the effectiveness (including improvement) of the Guarantee Fund, the professional indemnity arrangements or any such funds or arrangements as are referred to in subsection (1)(c).

(3) The Commission may request from the relevant professional organisation such information as the Commission considers relevant to its functions under subsections (1) and (2).

(4) Where a relevant professional organisation fails to provide information requested under subsection (3), it must give reasons to the Commission in respect of that failure.

Far too much "may", don't you think ? A distinct lack of obligation to do certain things which consumers should be entitled to expect, as part of the 'increased consumer protection' which the LPLA Act and the SLCC were designed to give clients of Scottish solicitors.

Insiders who are unhappy with the way the 'independent' complaints commission is being hijacked by the legal profession itself, point to a lack of motivation on the part of the Scottish Government for allowing the Law Society to take over the process of forming the SLCC, staffing the ‘independent’ Commission with former Client Relations staff who have caused significant hardship to thousands of clients, and filling the 'independent' commission's board with ex Law Society Committee members, lawyers and close allies of the legal profession.

Holyrood in Solicitor's Sights Octover 30 2006 The HeraldLaw Chief threatens legal action against Holyrood - Lets not forget too quickly that Douglas Mill, the Law Society Chief Executive in charge of opposition to the creation of the SLCC and the LPLA Bill itself, threatened to take the Government to court on Human Rights arguments if legislation was passed which allowed such oversight into the Master Policy and workings of the notoriously corrupt negligence insurance schemes … so there is plenty of evidence around to show the Law Society doesn’t want outside interference in its precious but crooked Master Policy and Guarantee Funds .. which offer consumers no protectino at all from crooked lawyers …

From the Herald article : "Mill does have one nuclear option up his sleeve. He told The Herald that the society will probably take Scottish ministers to court after the bill is enacted, if it is enacted in its present form.”

Douglas Mill : “The civil servants seem incapable of distinguishing between the master policy (which is negotiated annually on behalf of all solicitors with insurers by the insurance brokers Marsh) and the wholly separate guarantee fund," he adds. "They want to look at claims (against the master policy) and how these are handled. But they cannot do that. If they do try to do this, I believe the insurers and the Financial Services Authority will tell the Scottish Parliament to take a hike."

You can read some of my earlier reports on dealings with the Master Policy and the Law Society on their beloved negligence insurance schemes here :

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

Law Society intervention in claims 'commonplace' as ex Chief admits Master Policy protects solicitors against clients

Using the Master Policy of the Law Society of Scotland to sue a negligent lawyer is impossible

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

So .. no shortage of evidence involving corruption within the Law Society and the legal profession against clients trying to pursue negligence claims or recover financial damages against crooked lawyers .. so why should there be a delay, when a delay will only allow the crooked to escape a little further …

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Law Society arm twisting the commission ?

That will be easy if they are also staffing it !

GOOD WORK AS EVER !

Anonymous said...

Just what exactly will be in this "published report on the effectiveness of the funds" ?

Jane Irvine will have to get her hands dirtier than that if what's been happening is to really get out.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you know too much Mr Cherbi

Anonymous said...

Not very well thought out this SLCC now is it if the whole thing has been going on for two years and still it doesn't have policies in place for what its supposed to do.
Fault of the Government I agree.

Anonymous said...

Some good points Peter.I don't think the SLCC will manage to do much in the face of the Law Society and the fact they are all working inside it anyway.

Good luck as ever.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this Commission is all its cracked up to be from reading your story and who is paying for it anyway?

Anonymous said...

Bit of a scoop here Peter?I haven't seen this anywhere else.Anyway good stuff and will pass it on

Anonymous said...

Some were hoping this wouldn't get out.
You have let the cat out of the bag as brilliantly as ever Peter.
What do you suggest as an oversight policy for Jane Irvine now ?

client said...

Another well formed quango not up to its job by the sounds of it but the lawyers will be happy if theres not going to be any signs of life.

How did the Law Society manage to get their staff onto this thing anyway and people still claim its independent?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 4.11pm

Yes, I would agree with that.

# Anonymous @ 4.21pm

Probably nothing worthwhile if the Law Society staff have anything to do with it and even if there are case studies, you will find a lot of Mr X and Mr Y, with no identification of the lawyers or firms involved. As much use as no use.

# Anonymous @ 4.23pm

You'd be surprised who knows what.

# Anonymous @ 4.36pm

I agree.

# Anonymous @ 4.55pm

I agree, the SLCC will be hard pressed to do anything with people within it from the Law Society who have taken such delight in ruining clients lives over the years.

# Anonymous @ 5.02pm

The legal profession are supposed to be paying for it ... but there has been plenty public expense in putting together the SLCC and the legislation, such as it is ...

# Anonymous @ 5.39pm

Yes it is a bit of an exclusive ...

# Anonymous @ 7.19pm

Form a new Department which has no lawyers, no former Law Society staff or anyone connected with the legal profession in it to investigate and oversee the Master Policy.

# Client @ 8.54pm

The Law Society managed to get its staff onto it because of transfer of power regulations, which the legal profession seem to have exploited to the full.

Anonymous said...

All well planned in advance which is why nothing has been done so far.Its not they are incompetent its just designed to look that way.

At the end of the day you are getting lawyers to investigate lawyers once again and that is no success at all.Get rid of lawyers looking after their own or there will never be justice for anyone.

Anonymous said...

I think you are saying this new commission is of no use which is what we all thought in the first place

Time to start all over again then!

Anonymous said...

This is a complicated subject but I understand your main points about lawyers protecting lawyers and its obvious there is a big problem with this in Scotland and probably many other countries.
Maybe I would say give this new organisation a chance but you write it is also staffed with lawyers so how can it be of any use?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the new commission will do any different from the Law Society when it comes to Master Policy "monitoring" or whatever that is supposed to mean.

Another whitewash in preparation but good to see you expose it for what it is.

rat-killer-for-all said...

The best thing for crooked lawyers has to be a good dose of rat killer.Lets face it most of them are rats anyway.

Anonymous said...

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/business/Calm-before-storm-as-law.4536218.jp

how much did the hootsmon get paid to write that advertisement?

Anonymous said...

Even if Mill is gone the Law Society will always be the same - a bunch of protectionist evil bastards who are always up to no good.
Whats the odds on some of their former workers telling all to their former bosses once they start working at this new commission ??
Worth placing some bets do you think ?!

Anonymous said...

Personally I'm with the rat poison option but don't quote me please !

Anonymous said...

I asked my lawyer about this Guarantee fund and he said he knew nothing about it, claimed it didn't exist! and when I said I knew about the master policy he said I should start looking for another lawyer!
I think he has been ripping me off so I will be back to you soon Mr Cherbi now that I know all about this.
I may not get anywhere trying to get another lawyer but I will have a bloody good try at doing something agianst this c*nt and Jane Irvine wont stop me thats for sure

Anonymous said...

A very interesting letter from Douglas Mill to the legal aid board on your case Peter.I wish I had known about that earlier as I suspect similar has happened to me after I tried to get a lawyer to examine what our previous lawyer did to us.You wont be surprised to learn we are getting nowhere and it doesnt look from this slcc you write about they will be much help either.

we can speak to whoever we want so "fuck you" to the lawyers said...

Good story Peter.I spoke to one of our photographers who was at the opening of the SLCC today.He said he spotted several boy shaggers, a paedophile, some dodgy ex cops and other bent lawyers you may know by their famous names.
Good thing you were out of it laddie - this commission is nothing but a club full of crooks.

Anonymous said...

If there was truly to be a break from the past the former Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, her staff and all those lackeys from the Law Society along with their friends wouldn't be in this new commission so obvikuosly no change to be expected.


Take measures to protect yourselves against crooked lawyers everyone and do it yourself - don't rely on Irvine and chums to do it for you.

Anonymous said...

Blimey ! That must have been some meeting with all the pervs and lawyers (which are which ?)

Anonymous said...

hehe Peter a friend of mine told me to read the comments this morning and I am definitely not disappointed !

My former boss was at that gathering at the slcc yesterday.Oh how I remember how his dear wife always used to call up asking for her husband while he was procuring the youngest available rent boys on Regent Road for himself and friends.
I might just have to write about that myself one of these days!

keep up the good work !!

Anonymous said...

This quango is full of lawyers and cops so what help is that going to be to anyone complaining against a lawyer?

Anonymous said...

How much is the taxpayer getting stung for this set up for lawyers to keep covering up for each other ?

Anonymous said...

Show me an insurance company that wants outside scrutiny of its claims system.This thing will be rotten to the core because it involves the legal profession so there's little wonder they want it all swept under the carpet.

Don't let that happen Mr Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

In the event this mob actually achieve something against crooked lawyers what will happen to the rest of us who have been fucked over before it came along ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Cherbi
I tried to contact the scottish legal complaints commission today about a complaint i have with the law society which is getting nowhere and is 4 years old.They told me they cannot help me and said I have to wait on the law society doing something which is disgusting.I am at wits end over this and cant get any help from anyone.What do you suggest I do?

Anonymous said...

interesting story for you -

http://www.journalonline.co.uk/news/1005755.aspx

Solicitor charged with embezzlement
Valerie Macadam in court over alleged misappropriation of client money

News, 1 October 2008

A solicitor has appeared in court, charged with embezzling almost £175,000 from client funds.

Valerie Macadam's licence to practise as a solicitor was revoked by the Law Society of Scotland after an investigation. She is now facing criminal charges, alleging that she syphoned money from her former firm's client account into her own over six years.

Macadam, an American, had a licence to practise in the US and Scotland. The latter was suspended in January 2004 when the Society appointed a factor to run her Edinburgh law firm Macadam SSC until it was wound up.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Ms Macadam pleased not guilty to the charge. The trial date has been set for next month.

Anonymous said...

Good comments and I agree with them all in that this slcc commission will do nothing.Its run by lawyers anyway and it seems to be full of ex-cops which are hardly a trustworthy combination !!!!

Anonymous said...

I hear you have upset the Law Society again Peter.Good work and keep it up !

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! I called up the SLCC today and was told the same - nothing before 1st october! what a fat lot of use this lot are