Monday, February 09, 2009

Scots must make nation’s voice heard on MacAskill’s ‘access to justice’ consultation, ensuring consumers champion over lawyers vested interests

ScottishGovernmentWhile it looks increasingly like the legal profession have decided to stuff the Scottish Government's consultation on legal services reform with replies written mostly by the Law Society itself, there is still a chance for the rest of us to put forward our views on what everyone else feels about access to justice in Scotland.

The consultation, titled "Wider Choice and Better Protection - A consultation on the regulation of legal services in Scotland", is all about reforming Scotland's monopolistic legal services market, where, if you want access to justice or the courts, you have to use a Law Society of Scotland solicitor.

If anything goes wrong with that arrangement (and the odds are it will), and your solicitor becomes (or unknowing to you already is) a crooked lawyer, you can expect as tens of thousands of people across Scotland already know, no compensation for the inevitable financial loss or hardship you will suffer as a result of your Law Society of Scotland solicitor's actions.

So, to put it bluntly, do you feel you should be able to choose your own legal representative ? or do you feel the legal profession should choose your legal representative for you ?

Do you believe that a solicitor, or the legal profession should have the right to deny you legal representation solely because pursuing your case is not in their own best interests to do so ?

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society would rather control your legal affairs. Perhaps if you have, for instance, a medical injury claim, which a lawyer wont pursue because the same insurance firm who insure doctors for medical accidents or negligence, also insure lawyers ? Maybe if you have a case against a local authority or public body, no Law Society of Scotland lawyer will take the case on, simply again because there are too many professional links from the legal profession to that public body you have a legal dispute with.

If you feel you should be able to choose your own legal representative, at a competitive price, rather than have the legal profession itself bully you into a bad choice of lawyer who will probably end up doing not a lot for you other than charge huge bills for little work, then make your feelings known in this consultation and take a few minutes to complete the online forms.

The link to the online form for participating in the groundbreaking survey is here : "Wider Choice and Better Protection - A consultation on the regulation of legal services in Scotland"

You can also download a copy of the full consultation in pdf format here : "Wider Choice and Better Protection - A consultation on the regulation of legal services in Scotland" (pdf)

Your completed submission must be returned by 3 April 2009, only a month to go, so get your views in on one of the most important areas of business in Scotland, which all of us require access to - legal services, justice, and the Law. Make sure your voice is heard, and that fairness, and consumer protection prevails over the narrow minded interests of the Law Society of Scotland who wish to maintain control over Scots access to justice.

Kenny MacAskillKenny MacAskill limits consultation aims into regulation. However, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has his own views on access to justice, and reforming regulation of lawyers in Scotland. As a lawyer himself, it seems Mr MacAskill would rather protect lawyers from the public, than protect the public from lawyers, as you will see in the following video clip :

Kenny MacAskill would rather protect lawyers than the rest of us :

Please make your voice heard, before the lawyers and Mr MacAskill see to it that your access to justice remains under their control, rather than under your own control.

For anyone interested in those who actually took part in compiling Mr MacAskill’s consultation, here are some details from an earlier Press Release issued by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, which seem to show a heavy bias towards the legal profession and vested interests :

Expert group set up to help reform of legal profession

During October 2008, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill announced that he was to consult some of Scotland's leading legal experts as we continued to develop our plans to reform the legal profession.

The new group considered options for the forthcoming legal profession bill which will introduce alternative business structures for legal services in Scotland.

Issues considered included how best to protect the core values of the legal profession and ensure high quality of service, how to regulate firms which combine legal and other professional services, and how best to support access to justice in the new environment.

The group's findings will help inform the public consultation which is expected to be held early next year, with the bill expected to be introduced later in 2009.

The membership of the group is as follows:

Professor Alan Paterson, Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Services, Strathclyde University.
Richard Henderson CB, President, Law Society of Scotland.
Richard Keen QC, Dean, Faculty of Advocates.
Lindsay Montgomery, Chief Executive, Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Sarah O'Neill, Principal Policy Advocate, Consumer Focus Scotland.
Sue Aspinall, Principal Case Officer, Market and Project (Professions), Office of Fair Trading.

Which? and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are also being consulted through correspondence.


Anonymous said...

ok Peter will do.Thanks for keeping us all informed !

Anonymous said...

Looking through the list on who was on the consultation panel doesn't exactly fill me with confidence in a consumer friendly outcome.

1 or 2 from the timid consumer fraternity and the rest are lawyers.

a wise man once said the Scotsman used to be a decent newspaper ! said...

You do realise MacAskill was referring to YOU in that clip you have.I mean who else could he be on about.It has to be you! You have the man so scared he's falling over himself to cover for his bent lawyer buddies and has to say so in Parliament !

Anonymous said...

No wonder the 'consultation' reads like it has been written by lawyers!
MacAskill is making sure no one gets their voice in Peter but its a good effort on your part anyway to publicise it.

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the consultation link Peter but I don't think the way the questions are phrased indicates there will be any change from all this.Still I put in mine so hope it means something and hope others do too.

Good luck !

Anonymous said...

ok Peter I will give it a shot too and thanks for all your advice and alerts on your excellent blog !

keep up the great work !

Anonymous said...

Time for all those who claim to serve, protect and respect the law to put up, or shut up.

I for one will be sending in my response.

Anonymous said...

and why were no campaigners on that group ? the whole thing is a stitch up from start to finish to protect lawyers as they always do

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip - never use a Scottish lawyer is what I pick up here !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.I will fill out the form and also send in the pdf version just to make sure they get it.
Lawyers dont deserve to regulate their own as you say and there are plenty examples to back that up.Kenny MacAskill can go to hell along with all his bent friends he's protecting.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I do not think much will come of this consultation as minds already seem to have been made up by Mr MacAskill and the Law Society.