Thursday, October 16, 2008

Legal Complaints Commission discredited after revelations Law Society lied during ‘stage managed’ appointments process

SLCC squareThe little credibility left of the 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been thrown into question once more after revelations the appointments process was corrupted by the Law Society of Scotland.

It has been revealed from documents obtained from sources, that Philip Yelland, the Law Society's Director of Regulation effectively provided the Justice Department with false information relating to regulatory disclosures on the solicitor applicants, which the Justice Department then amazingly failed to verify.

Exclusive : leaked for the first time – a deceptive regulatory disclosure from the Law Society of Scotland

Law Society of Scotland to Scottish Government re SLCC applicants Page 1Law Society of Scotland to Scottish Government re SLCC applicants Page 2

Philip YellandPhilip Yelland only gave limited information on the lawyer applicants : "I should point out to you that in terms of upheld complaints the only issues which it seems to be would be relevant would be if there were findings of professional misconduct against any of the individuals. Service complaints run against firms rather than individuals."

However, the Law Society’s own website contradicts Mr Yelland’s claim to the Government, having details of how to proceed service complaints against individual solicitors and even listing some of the limited sanctions which can be applied against solicitors found guilty of inadequate Professional Service (I.P.S).

How the Law Society handles Service complaints :

Service issues : such as poor communication, avoidable delay, failing to follow instructions and failing to advise about rising fees/outlays.

Service Complaints Before 1 October : For a transitional period until 2010, the Society will continue to deal with service complaints relating to business instructed before 1 October 2008. The Commission refers these complaints to the Society. Sanctions include the correction of mistakes, a full or partial refund or waiver of fees and payment of compensation.

Mr Yelland carefully limited his disclosure only to the individuals, as service and conduct complaints are rife at most legal firms in Scotland including those legal firms which the lawyer applicants to the SLCC worked : "I am assuming that you are not wishing any information about that given that it is individuals who have made the applications to the Commission."

A source within the Scottish Government’s Justice Department amazingly claimed there was no will within the Department after the change in Government administration last May to implement all the promises of independent regulation and ensure the SLCC was impartial enough.

He said: “Everyone here at Justice just wanted to get the thing going or hand the whole mess over to the Law Society who were constantly hammering away for control of it”. He went onto claim there was little doubt among the Justice Department's staff, the current Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill hated the idea of independent regulation of solicitors.

Staggeringly the Justice Secretary failed to check the false information provided by the Law Society of Scotland. However,Mr MacAskill is an 'experienced' solicitor and must have realised what was provided by Mr Yelland was completely untrue - raising the possibility there has been a cover up to prevent the appointments information leaking to the public domain.

The Law Society’s Director of Regulation, Mr Yelland, who signed off on the regulatory disclosure, also did not disclose the actual levels of complaints against the solicitors, as again many are well aware the Law Society either does not issue findings in complaints or carefully puts them to bed so there is no record.

A legal insider today said "it is impossible these solicitors have never had a complaint made against them ... there isn't a lawyer in Scotland who hasn't had client complaints and there isn't a firm with a clean complaints record"

A constituent of John Swinney today said he felt it important the true picture of these SLCC board members and their legal firms involvement in complaints and claims against lawyers was fully disclosed to the public :

He said : "Philip Yelland's letter to the Scottish Government is a pack of lies. In Law Society investigations into my own complaints against my legal agents, the Society determined and found the solicitor in question guilty of I.P.S (Inadequate Professional Service) and this has occurred on more than one occasion I can tell you"

Jane Irvine, the SLCC's Chairman and its board members could not be contacted for comment on the revelations, little wonder as it is now quite apparent there was a deliberate attempt by the Law Society to mislead the Government and the public over the solicitor applicants to the Commission.

I have covered problems with the SLCC’s appointments process before, which you can read more about here : Call for MacAskill appointments 'sleaze investigation' as revelations show Legal Complaints Commission member was subject of Police inquiry

Here follows the full text of the Law Society’s Regulation Director Mr Yelland’s disclosure, now revealed as defective and questionable in content …

Miss A. McArthur
Access to Justice Division
Civil & International Justice Directorate
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Dear Angela

Appointments to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 11 September addressed to my colleague Michael Clancy. Please note that communications in relation to the Commission should be addressed to me for the future.

I attach below the information which you are seeking about the six candidates highlighted in the letter.

I should point out to you that in terms of upheld complaints the only issues which it seems to be would be relevant would be if there were findings of professional misconduct against any of the individuals. Service complaints run against firms rather than individuals. I am assuming that you are not washing any information about that given that it is individuals who have made the applications to the Commission.

In terns of the information which you are seeking I would advise as follows :-

1 (Censored)

2. David Hay Smith

Mr Smith was enrolled as a solicitor on 14 October 1971 and is a Partner with Messrs Shepherd & Wedderburn, LLP in Edinburgh. There are no findings of professional misconduct against Mr Smith and there is no period in the intervening thirty six years where he has not been enrolled.

3. (Censored)

4. Margaret Scanlan

Mrs Scanlan has been enrolled as a solicitor since 5 September 1972 and there are no periods in the intervening thirty five years where she has not been enrolled as a solicitor. There are no findings of professional misconduct against her.

5. (Censored)

6. David Chaplin

Mr Chaplin was enrolled as a solicitor on 30 October 1972 and is a Partner with Messrs Anderson Fyfe LLP in Glasgow. There are no findings of professional misconduct against Mr Chaplin and there are no gaps in his enrolment in the last thirty five years.

I trust this is the information you are seeking. If you need more information, please let me know.

Yours sincerely

Philip J Yelland,
Director of Regulation,
Client Relations Office
DD 0131 478 8163
E: cro@lawscot.org.uk

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh fuck ! how did you get that ?

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece of reporting Peter.I don't think I've ever seen such a letter before.
I agree that service complaints can be filed against solicitors and founded upon by the Law Society - I know a few solicitors who have this on their record so Mr Yelland was not honest as you say.
I think your story does shine a light on the murky goings on at the slcc and its time now to begin again.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I suppose what Yelland wrote was accurate up to a point....the point after the address!

Anonymous said...

You are spot on about IPS.Yelland lied,the finding indeed can be made against a solicitor not just their firm.

Anonymous said...

ouch

sack yelland and macaskill together because they are both arses

Anonymous said...

David Chaplin's firm Anderson Fyfe had staff working as prostitutes so maybe Yelland didn't want to reveal that too.

Top Firm's Law Girl Is £100-An-Hour Hooker

By Derek Alexander

A LEGAL assistant at a top law firm is leading a sleazy double life as a £100-an-hour hooker.

Ailsa McGuffie quickly dumps her boss's case work and offers her own brand of illegal services once she leaves her city centre office.

The 27-year-old is a paralegal with an award-winning firm of solicitors who have a string of blue chip clients.

But the Sunday Mail can reveal McGuffie - who calls herself Emma - also works as a prostitute in a notorious red light district.

McGuffie has worked for Anderson Fyfe solicitors in Glasgow for a year since moving from Aberdeen.

She is responsible for researching and managing caseloads, including mortgage and property transactions.

Paralegals also take care of paperwork for litigation and criminal trials.

Anderson Fyfe is one of the country's most successful law practices and won Firm of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2006.

But its high-flying partners will be shocked to learn one of their trusted employees has a sleazy double life.

Once McGuffie finishes her shift she regularly heads to Glasgow Green to tout for sex. She offers kerb crawlers a string of seedy services to help fund a drug habit.

A source said last night: "Ailsa has been working as a prostitute since she moved to Glasgow a couple of years ago.

"She's got a heroin habit to feed and working in a normal job wouldn't be enough to do that.

"Glasgow Green is where she's met almost all of her punters and she gives them her number in the hope they become regular clients."

A Sunday Mail investigator made contact with McGuffie by phone.

Our man pretended to be a previous client she had met while soliciting for sex. McGuffie, who lives in Glasgow's Yoker area, claimed to remember him and agreed to meet at the Ibis Hotel in the city centre on Wednesday night.

Once in the room she asked for a cigarette before discussing fees.

She said: "I'll do half-an-hour for £60 and we'll see how long it takes you. If we go over the half-hour then it'll be £100.

"It must have been a while ago that you saw me because I can't remember you."

Our man told her he picked her up while she solicited for sex on Glasgow Green. Seeming more relaxed, McGuffie replied: "I was down there a couple of nights ago and left after about 15 minutes, I don't know what's wrong with me.

"I try to stick to my regular clients now - maybe I'm just being paranoid."

McGuffie then listed the sex services she offers as she stripped, showing off a large Maori-style tattoo at the base of her spine.

She then jumped on the bed and invited our man to join her but he made his excuses and asked her to leave. She got dressed and pocketed her cash - six £10 notes.

As she left she patted our man on the backside and said: "Maybe I'll see you again, take care."

The next day she left Anderson Fyfe's office in Gordon Street at 12.30pm and went to St Vincent Street public toilet, where she stayed for 25 minutes before heading back to work.

Our source said: "It's amazing she can work in an office and carry out duties while on hard drugs.

"The people she works with have no idea what she's really like and their clients won't be happy to know that someone like Ailsa is handling their paperwork.

"Their jaws will hit the floor when they find out what she's all about."

Anderson Fyfe were yesterday unavailable for comment while McGuffie failed to return our calls.

Anonymous said...

Really amazing you got your hands on that and the slcc going all quiet looks like confirmation.
Good work Peter.You are by far the most tenacious and honest writer on law stories in Scotland !

Anonymous said...

Correct as ever Mr Cherbi.
MacAskill will know perfectly well himself service complaints can apply to individual solicitors and should have asked for it.

Yelland is as ever an unlikeable fellow.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing this stuff was leaked by someone in the justice dept ?

They will never forgive you for it Peter.First time I've ever seen a disclosure like that in public.

Anonymous said...

Oh look who it is - Anderson Fyfe with the happy hookers !

Maybe they were providing services to the Scottish Government too ???

gosh ! said...

"Jane Irvine, the SLCC's Chairman and its board members could not be contacted for comment on the revelations"

So she either told you to F*off or she can"t tell a lie big enough to deny it ?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the phones are burning tonight over your publication of this stuff Peter.Good writing as usual and keep at them as always!

Anonymous said...

Mr Yelland is very chummy with Dear Angela but I have had letters from bis sod for over a year telling me what he cant do to help my complaint against our thieving lawyer.


Dont trust Yelland any of you he is there to protect bent lawyers and is very good at it

Anonymous said...

so the whole thing was a stitch up between yelland and macaskill to get this lot in

WHAT A SURPRISE !

Anonymous said...

Amazing you got that letter but now we know what we have all guessed that this slcc is a fit up and we shouldn't trust it or any of the people on it

Anonymous said...

Angela McArthur obviously isn't up to her job if she didn't point all this out to MacAskill - not that he would listen anyway with the lawyers pals act in full swing here !

Anonymous said...

Just get a lynching party ready Peter - it would be a lot quicker !

Anonymous said...

The SLCC are trying to worm their way into CAB offices but I will be telling people about your version of it now.

Good work keep it up

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear Perhaps Macarskill should just hang his coat up and go take a f~ck to himself.

He is not interested in being Justice Secretary well at least not by his inactions on matters of justice or injustice's

Let someone else take over who is not a lawyer and better suited.

Anonymous said...

Nice catch Peter,no doubt there is an inquiry underway trying to find out how you got the document.Perhaps "dear Angela" and chums will be hauled over the coals again or matches stuck under their fingernails until they talk.

Anonymous said...

Both those firms (Anderson Fyfe and Shepperd & Wedderburn) have had service and conduct made complaints against them.

Anonymous said...

Very selective words in that disclosure and no information on whether there have actually been any complaints raised against those people mentioned.
Sounds like a whitewash which the Government were eager to accept ?

Anonymous said...

Cracks must be starting to appear in the LSS now you got your hands on that kind of material.

Anonymous said...

Yes very good but Jane Irvine should know plenty about those lawyers and their firms anyway because she is/was the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman !

Anonymous said...

So this is what they call independent complaints against lawyers ? What a rip off and brought to us by the SNP of all people

Anonymous said...

I know this Philip Yelland and it doesn't surprise me what you write about him

Anonymous said...

I hate lawyers and I LOVE your blog !

My Hero :) Keep it up mate !!

Anonymous said...

Please everyone who reads this do not believe this man Yelland.He has helped ruin my life for years after I tried to complain against my lawyer expose him Peter please and tell everyone how bad he is

Anonymous said...

dont know how you got it but this letter is good insight into what is going on behind the scenes

yelland seems too luvvy with angela too

Anonymous said...

If this had happened about a bank after it had failed there would be a national outcry.The SNP need lynching for allowing all this to take place whlie macAskill covers it up

Anonymous said...

and who in their right mind will bother to write to this bunch of cover up merchants to complain against one of their own ?

honestly - with the big heating bills falling housing values no money keft in the bank and no job it would be just as well going and * the bastard who screwed the last penny out of you

Anonymous said...

Good leak Peter.The slcc is as bad as the Law Society it supposedly replaces.
All part of the plan I imagine which Mr MacAskill is waiving through for a reason probably involving large sums of money and power channelling you know where

Anonymous said...

I sense people are becoming a bit desperate over this stitch up and why not.Time to roll you your sleeves folks and do a spot of diy on these crooked lawyers!

Anonymous said...

Yes a good story Peter.

I wouldn't trust this slcc after reading this.Maybe there should be a protest near their offices ?

Anonymous said...

Plenty lies being told by the Law Society there.If MacAskill could bother his arse to check the facts he would see there are loads of complaints against those firms.

Crooks to the end!

Anonymous said...

this yelland is the most evil person i have ever had to speak with and he has done his b est to ruin my family life after i made a complaint against my lawyer

Anonymous said...

Yes I could tell you a long tale about Anderson Fyfe which definitely wont feature in Mr Yelland's letter
I will send it to you and you can do with it what you like (nice letters from Yelland among the files too)

Anonymous said...

Glad to see people finally waking up to this miserable quango created to protect bent lawyers again.

I think the people should revolt against all this and do something instead of being forced by more bent lawyers to sit down and write letters about bent lawyers.Wouldnt you agree Mr Cherbi it migh be more productive ?

Anonymous said...

I hear the SNP are spying on staff at the Justice dept to see who is talking to you.Wonder how those sh*thead civil serpents feel having their homes and work bugged !

Anonymous said...

Peter I have a box full of letters from the same Mr Yelland.
I have proved him a liar many times but he and his crooked lawyer pals keep getting away with it.
I wish there was something we could all do against such people

Anonymous said...

Excellent expose of sleaze - that letter was obviously part of a whole series of stitch ups for this slcc membership by Yelland and his cronies and no wonder the lawyers are saying nothing about paying for the thing !

Anonymous said...

This is quite interesting Mr Cherbi, the letter you obtained from Yelland to Angela.
There have been a number of meetings about this at the Law Society.They wont be happy it got out to you.

Anonymous said...

Shower of CROOKS THE LOT OF THEM

Anonymous said...

I don't think things are going to change either. it doesn't matter what you do to these people. My mothers will bqueathed it too me but they have lied so long and had her completely surrounded that I don't feel much different here. I hope you will a long battle that is difficult to fight. especially when there is so much corruption from everywhere. I don't feel very confotable with everything always going on behind my back and no one wants to be upfront.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could hook you up as my lawyer and win this battle. but I think it is imposible.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 8.34pm

I do wish I could help you in your situation but unfortunately I am not a lawyer and am not in the USA.

I see we have similar problems with the legal system, like many others ... I would hope that if you were able to publish some material of what happened to you, on the internet, notice may be taken of your predicament.

Best Wishes.