Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Insiders attack MacAskill's Legal Complaints Commission as 'a front' while millions go on quango which refuses to investigate crooked lawyers

SLCC squareThe Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been condemned by members of its own staff as now being “little more than a front organisation for the Law Society” as revelations continue to emerge from within, that the commission would rather spend millions of pounds of public money and funds from the legal profession on itself while doing little of the work of investigating complaints against crooked lawyers which the consumer campaigns & legislation that created it intended the commission to do.

Eileen Masterman SLCC Chief Exec Eileen Masterman earns £70,000 p.a. While staggering salaries of up to £1,500 per week have been dished out to senior SLCC staff, and expenses of £300 plus, per day, 'handed out like smarties' to board members, consumers have not seen any improvement in handling complaints against crooked lawyers or improvements in standards of legal services.

SLCC Budget : The true costs of crooked lawyers to Scotland involves huge salaries, perks, and little action to help consumers

SLCC Budget 2008 1SLCC Budget 2008 2

You can read more about the SLCC budget in a previous report I wrote here: Commission budget 'protects lawyers not consumers' as taxpayers £2 million fails to be repaid despite economic meltdown

Scottish Legal Complaints CommissionToo many perks at lawyers quango ? A source within the SLCC admitted in an interview, they were "totally disillusioned" with the way things were going and warned of severe failures at the Commission which continues to dish out huge amounts of public cash on salaries, perks and other benefits to members while many complaints about crooked lawyers made by the public to the commission have so far been refused, on the staggering decision by its highly paid board that no cases which include any legal work instructed before 1st October 2008 will be investigated by its staff.

An SLCC insider said: "I don't believe the way the Commission is handling matters is what was planned under the previous Scottish Executive. The commission as it currently stands is nothing but a farce and there is a culture of fear among former Ombudsman staff that those who came onboard from the Law Society have taken over the organisation and are running it for their former masters".

The staff member went on : "The commission is about as organised as a herd of sheep and no one basically wants to upset the Law Society who have been very threatening over how the commission should proceed to do its work. Its like working under a dictatorship".

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill – out to lunch on SLCC failures ? I further asked the commission insider whether any help had been sought or was forthcoming from the Scottish Government to curtail the apparent influence of the Law Society on the SLCC, the response was blunt :

"Members of the public have no idea what is going on behind closed doors.The SLCC is being led like a dog on a lead and it now looks like the Government have given up on us doing anything positive for clients as the Law Society is calling all the shots".

"The SNP and MacAskill have made a total mess of the commission and there is a culture of fear that if anyone speaks out, they will face intimidation and the sack for rocking the boat".

Staggeringly, the commission insider also made allegations the recent decision by the SLCC to lower the levies paid by the legal profession, came about as a result of bullying from lawyers & advocates, who had "threatened to make unspecified problems for the commission if their requirements of a reduced annual levy was not met”.

Jane IrvineSLCC Chairman, Jane Irvine. After the alleged threats, the SLCC's Chairman, Jane Irvine, surprised many by announcing that levies would indeed be reduced, allegedly due to surpluses of millions of pounds of cash at the organisation, but despite the huge surpluses, Jane Irvine and the rest of the commission board members, many of whom are ex Police Chiefs and lawyers, felt it would be better to lower fees to solicitors than repay the public purse the millions of pounds of Scottish public money which has already been sunk into the commission without much to show for it.

You can read more about the annual £400 levies currently paid by solicitors to fund the SLCC, dubbed the “Penman levy” by some lawyers, here : Dean of faculty hints at rising fraud claims against solicitors as 'Penman Levy' bites hard into Scots law firms

A client who has spent three years trying to get the Law Society of Scotland to do something on his complaint against a well known Glasgow solicitor who himself is facing multiple complaints from other clients, expressed condemnation of the new commission. He said "This commission or quango or whatever it wants to call itself is just the Law Society under a different name. Maybe they should call it Law Society 2 for all the good it does".

He went on : "I have spent several weeks trying to get answers out of this SLCC and no one wants to help me, because the lawyer who has ripped me off is a well known crook and I think this commission lot want to let the Law Society let him off the hook so everyone who he has ruined cant get any compensation".

The Commission could not be contacted today for a response to the allegations from consumers & its own staff.

Since it appears the SLCC isn’t doing the job it was intended to do, perhaps we need a new Commission ? because the MacAskill version is definitely not working …

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

clearly Macaskill should have been sacked as Justice Secretary along with the others today http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7880931.stm
but maybe wee eck doesn't have the balls to do it ?

Anonymous said...

Good to see some people not afraid to speak out and I definitely agree you need to get a new commission which does the job its supposed to.

Any ideas on how that should be achieved ?

Anonymous said...

wow ! they're in the money that's for sure !

how much is Secretary Buckfast getting to look the other way ?

Anonymous said...

This was always bound to happen, no matter who was at the Scottish Executive.
I do agree with you however this is not going to resolve the complaints problems generated by people such as yourself and I doubt it will bring in any new business!

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

So what the insider is saying is the Law Society bullied the slcc to bring down the levy and it complied ?
How about an investigation into that one please.

Anonymous said...

big budget for doing nothing

scrap it and start again this time with the proper people in charge (not lawyers)

Anonymous said...

MacAskill is not proving himself to be much use to anyone other than lawyers if this is all happening

Anonymous said...

All I see is a bunch of people feathering their own nests and why all this duplication anyway ? The Law Society is still investigating complaints and will be doing so for years to come.

All these huge salaries are completely unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

and I am another one who has been calling these slcc for a week and still no further forward on getting my complaint in

Anonymous said...

I could just sum it up like this for you Mr Cherbi - It is morally wrong to give these bastards any public money whatsoever.
Make them pay it back every single penny.

Anonymous said...

Linda Costelloe-Baker, former Legal Services Ombudsman, predicted all of this when she described the bill introducing plans for a 'new', 'independent' complaints authority as "a mess"!

How right she was.

Eric said...

Masterman's 70k a year would be better spent on medicine for a cancer victim and I'd like to hear some fucker argue against that one !

Brilliant reporting as ever Peter its just a pity the newspapers have all been bought off by a bunch of creeps and crooks that call themselves lawyers !

Anonymous said...

1st comment sums it all up - MacAskill should have been sacked yesterday but he probably has dirt on Salmond so thats why hes still there at justice

Anonymous said...

1st comment sums it all up - MacAskill should have been sacked yesterday but he probably has dirt on Salmond so thats why hes still there at justice

Anonymous said...

None of these people deserve any benefits perks or fat cat salaries if they are not going to do their job properly

Anonymous said...

Peter,the "MacAskill version" of anything,no matter what it is,does not work!

Anonymous said...

If memory serves there are only around ten former slso staff at the slcc so that narrows down those who feel disgruntled with the present arrangements.
Maybe they should go jump out the nearest window so the Law Society can replace them with yet more rubber stampers from their numbers ?

Anonymous said...

Yet another good law issue that should be appearing in the hootsmon but for the perception the paper has been usurped by the legal profession.

Keep up the good work !

SLEAZE NATIONAL PARTY said...

The Sleaze National Party are doing a good job of protecting their friends I see.

SNP = SLEAZE NATIONAL PARTY

SLEAZE NATIONAL PARTY said...

I mean everyone,really ! who on this planet protects lawyers other than the SLEAZE NATIONAL PARTY !

Anonymous said...

I have read your comments before on the slcc so I decided to try something this week with a complaint.
The net result was nothing and just as you say the people there just dont want to listen to complaints.
I wonder how many complaints are being binned at the slcc on the orders of the Law Society ?

Anonymous said...

A highly objectionable group of people feathering their own nests before doing some good for others is what I make of this slcc but nothing will be done about it such is the extent of corruption in both banking and law these days.

Anonymous said...

Just another reminder not to use a scottish lawyer which anyone with sense now probably knows.

good writing Mr Cherbi

Anonymous said...

lots of snouts in the trough ! and its Kenny's appointed snouts too !

Anonymous said...

70k buys a lot of hair color lol !