Thursday, March 12, 2009

Insults fly at Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as Law chiefs launch bitter tirades against campaign groups & law reformers

SLCC squareScottish Legal Complaints Commission – a new ‘Law Society’ with the same mistakes. Spectacular revelations in emails obtained under Freedom of Information laws show that board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission who were personally appointed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, have engaged in bitter tirades against consumer campaign organisations & law reformers, frustrated their inclusion in the debate on improving regulation of Scotland's beleaguered legal profession may eradicate the present system of lawyers closing ranks for their crooked colleagues over complaints of poor legal service to clients.

SLCC reference to SACL 5Margaret Scanlan called campaigners against crooked lawyers "offensive". Margaret Scanlan, a lawyer, who is listed in the SLCC's website as being “an accredited specialist in family law at Russells Gibson McCaffrey” laid into consumer groups such as "Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers" in emails to & from colleagues, branding the organisation's website "offensive" and going on to claim that "no reputable organisations has anything to do with them". Margaret Scanlan : "I would prefer that we not give any recognition to SACL. I do not see why we have to name them even if we are bound to engage with them. Their website is offensive and so far as I am aware no reputable organisations has anything to do with them"’

Scanlan's initial email then started a tirade of abuse & agreement against consumer groups from other members of the Legal Complaints Commission, surprisingly including agreement from Professor Alan Paterson, who is listed on the SLCC's website as being “Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at Strathclyde University, an independent "Think Tank" on the Scottish Legal System.” Independent from what ?

SLCC reference to SACL 1Professor Patterson agreed campaigners against lawyers were "offensive". Professor Paterson : "Can see both sides of the argument on Society against Crooked lawyers. They are offensive, but I do not think that we can safely ignore them. Maybe best not to mention we will involve them since it may create hostages to fortune but I agree with you that they cannot wisely be ignored in this research."

Eileen Masterman SLCC Chief Exec Eileen Masterman agreed campaigners were "offensive". The bitter tirade against campaign groups did not stop with Board members, as emails show, even the SLCC's Chief Executive, Eileen Masterman sided with the Board members, condemning the campaign organisation as being "offensive" however Masterman conceded SACL would have to be included if only to give the impression the commission was not being "partial in some way".

SLCC reference to SACL - Eileen MastermanSLCC Chief Exec conceded campaigners must be allowed in. Eileen Masterman : "She (Margaret Scanlan) says their website is offensive (agreed) and that to her knowledge no reputable organisation has had anythign to do with them. I have no great difficulty with Margaret's first point but I think that if we name them straigt off we immediately dispose of any potential criticism saying that we are being partial in some way. Which ever way we deal wit this point though I believe they have to be included".

Scotsman 8 January 1999 Independent watchdog for lawyers proposedScottish Consumer Council "should not have interfered in regulation of lawyers” in 1999. An insider close to the commission today said : "Several consumer organisations including the former Scottish Consumer Council have been berated by people within the SLCC for their interference in the debate on reforming regulation of solicitors”. It was further alleged that the SCC, now renamed "Consumer Focus Scotland) was referred to by some as "a stooge of disgruntled clients during the 1990s" - this seems to relate to the SCC’s 1999 report “Complaints against Solicitors” which called for independent regulation to be brought in years before the Scottish Parliament passed the LPLA (Scotland) Act in early 2007.

SACL websiteLaw Society’s failings over complaints created SACL. An insider to the Scottish Government today condemned the email exchange from members of the SLCC. He said: "I understand why lawyers feel bad about Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers but the fact is if the Law Society had cleaned up its act and resolved the cases we keep getting letters about at the Justice Department, there would be no Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers and probably no need for the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission so the lawyers are their own worst enemy - they created SACL so they will have to live with it from now on."

He went on : "I don't think personal tirades against campaigners no matter who they are serve any positive purpose and only seek to undermine the foundations of the commission, which is fast becoming a joke in any case. The Government has a lot to answer for by allowing things to get out of hand to the stage where insults are flying and it seems some members don't even know what they are supposed to be doing. This shows there are serious failings at the SLCC which need to be put right."

Jane IrvineSLCC Chairman Jane Irvine. Jane Irvine, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Chairman would make no comment directly on the criticisms of board members, other than saying : "I can simply say that I encourage very open discussion at all meetings and am not aware of any “ferocity” of feeling against the SACL by the Board as a whole nor that this is reflected in decision making. The SACL have as you know been included as a consultee in research."

Scottish Legal Complaints CommissionMembers of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. Ultimately, these bitter exchanges reflect the same policy of undermining or excluding anyone from the debate on regulation of the legal services market in Scotland which the Law Society of Scotland has operated for years. Now these bitter feelings towards anyone who would dare take issue with the legal profession, have simply transferred over to the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and that does not serve either the interests of the legal profession or the public interest if issues such as consumer protection from dishonest legal practice are to be tackled and put right.

No matter what anyone thinks of any particular campaign group or the consumer organisations, or law reformers, the fact is that Mrs Scanlan and her colleagues, all appointed by Mr MacAskill would not be in their highly paid (£300 plus per day as expenses) positions if it were not for the work of everyone who helped create the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. In that respect, the public do deserve to be heard, rather than excluded.

MacAskill tight lippedKenny MacAskill has allowed the SLCC to fail. This unfortunately illustrates to me, the SLCC is failing to do its job as was intended by the legislation, created from a lot of hard work from campaigners, consumer groups, and reformers, who have now been sidelined by a co-opted body now taking on the views of the very organisation (the Law Society) which prompted the SLCC’s creation in the first place. The responsibility for this failure, rests directly with the Scottish Government and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.


Anonymous said...

really odd to see Alan Paterson get involved in all this stuff but I concur with your opinion it portrays the slcc as being the same as the law society

Anonymous said...

Obviously this lot need flushed down the toilet and someone less inclined to attack everyone put in their place.

Good expose as usual.How do you do it ?

Anonymous said...

The other side of the coin where everything is rosy :

Whatever happened to good investigative Scottish journalism these days ?

Anonymous said...

Scanlan's attitude doesn't fit with a consumer organisation does it ?

Replace her and anyone else who cant see past their lawyer loving point of view.

Anonymous said...

I begin to understand the deafening silence from Which magazine recently - clearly they know exactly the sort of people they would have to deal with at the SLCC.

I agree that MacAskill has set this up to fail, or at the very least attempted to pull the wool over the taxpayer's eyes.

Thank goodness you and SACL haven't fallen for it, just a pity one academic from Strathclyde University appears to have taken the bait hook, line and sinker.

Great article.

Anonymous said...

disgusting attitude

would Mags also condemn parents against pedophiles?

Anonymous said...

All of which proves my point that regulators end up as crooked as those they regulate !

Good work Peter !

Anonymous said...

Only solution here is to sack the whole SLCC and start again and I agree with you it needs to be watched.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 4.25pm

I assume the respected Professor knows he is supposed to be part of an organisation to help consumers out of the mess the Law Society has created, however I agree with what you say in that the SLCC does look the same as the Law Society now.

#Anonymous @ 4.33pm

Dogged determination and good sources ...

# Anonymous @ 4.54pm

Thanks for the link. Interesting story, sanitised of all truth too ...

Good investigative journalist still exists .. its just you have to look harder for it these days ....

# Anonymous @ 5.13pm

I entirely agree.

# Anonymous @ 5.58pm

I agree with your comments. A source tonight seems to feel it was the Law Society who saw to the appointments of the SLCC's board members, and Mr MacAskill simply waved them through.

More to come on that soon ...

# Anonymous @ 5.59pm

Good point.

# Anonymous @ 6.54pm

Thanks, and I agree entirely with your comment.

# Anonymous @ 7.28pm

Yes, the SLCC is certainly demonstrating it needs external oversight of its own operations ...

Anonymous said...

Good one Peter keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

I liked the comment about regulators turning as crooked as those they regulate.Very apt in the current climate.

Anyway I'm sure there will be some at this slcc wishing the black ink was used on your foi Peter.

Good work anyway and nice to see you catch them out once again.

Anonymous said...

dont really care much about sacl(their website is less offensive than some tabloids)but your sources have a point - it it wasnt for crooked lawyers there wouldnt be an sacl !

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you were right all along about this bunch.They will do no good for anyone except themselves and lawyers just like before

R.McDonald, Edinburgh said...

These people were chosen by MacAskill (a lawyer) to make sure no one else except lawyers could handle complaints against themselves and this is the result.

Anonymous said...

If they are too busy stacking the deck against critics maybe they should go find another job to do because they are obviously not there to help the public from what I can see of those emails.

Good work said...

exactly which bit of the sacl website does scanlan find offensive ?

any of her friends happen to be crooked lawyers up on the page ?

Anonymous said...

I agree MacAskill is responsible for all this lunacy but it will take someone else to clean it up because he will NOT.

Anonymous said...

Great public service work Peter.

Just what do these people mean as 'Offensive'? I think that they should be asked to explain just exactly what they mean,...Is this libellous?

Is it 'Offensive' in our society to warn the public about those who do damage to our society?

Is it 'Offensive' for mere plebians to have the timerity to think they can report crooked lawyers and perverse systems which are against the public interest?

Is it 'Offensive' to tell the truth about what is going on?

Or Is it 'Offensive' to these people that they are now being exposed as crooks when some have become too used to considering themselves as being above the law!

Maybe the Public should speak out against these people who have a starting position of being anti-public (SACL), as being 'Offensive' to the Public and to stop using them until such times as they properly represent the Public instead of maintaining the status quo which has been proven as corrupt.

Judy C

Anonymous said...

Having a go at the crooked lawyers mob is one thing but the comments against the Scottish Consumer Council are way out of line.

The SCC has done a lot more for consumers than this bunch of numpties at the slcc will ever do !

Anonymous said...

I dont think anyone at this slcc has a right to have a go at anyone after what I've read on this blog!

Anonymous said...

Looks like those who start the insults are the ones with the most to hide.
Do they have booze ups at the SLCC on our money ?

Anonymous said...

Peter Cherbi and Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers must be supported at all costs.
The legal profession have too much power for the good of their clients and the general public. Lawyers and the Law Society only have themselves to blame. They are the driving force for pressure groups and individuals like Peter. Give the Scottish people justice by obliterating self regulation.

Anonymous said...

Having dealt with dishonest lawyers myself it is frightening how much power is bestowed on people who read a particular subject at university.
Peter you and Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers are NOT OFFENSIVE. You deserve the full support of the public.
If people are unfortunate enough to have similar problems with dishonest doctors, you will find that they are also protected to the same extent as lawyers. In my view two of the most self protecting, corrupt professions on the planet.
Please keep up your excellent work Peter. The Law Society, and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, hate you because you tell the public how it is. The Scottish people need more Peter Cherbi's and more pressure groups like Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers. The current system provides no legal remedy for victims of crooked lawyers. Why should any lawyer be honest if the penalties for corruption are a cover up. The fact that lawyers do not want independent complaints handling, dictates that they have much to hide.

Anonymous said...

We want to thank Mr Cherbi and Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers for their internet sites and campaign.
It is an indictment of the current system that you have to go to these lengths to change things.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Mr Cherbi

Thank you for your warning regarding clients leaving money with law firms. If clients have not been able to get compensation out of the Law Society fund in the past then the money in the pot now is probably going to stay there.
Your warning about a lawyer using a clients house purchase money for his firms liquidity does not shock me. Look what this pressure group say about those at the top of the legal profession.
Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers have named the following professionals as crooks.

Former Sheriff Hugh Neilson.

Lord Gill-Lord Justice Clerk.

Lord Cullen-Former Lord President.

Gordon Jackson QC.

Lord Hamilton-Scotlands Lord President.

Readers please check for more information.

Regarding the above five individuals Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers stated
"We chose them because of their positions at the top of the Scottish arbour mafiosa. The judges named and shamed are big time crooks whose main function is to conceal criminal activity by their fellow lawyers and their associates. They should have all been jailed years ago".
If the people at the top are crooks what does that say to the general public about the rest of the legal profession. Take Mr Cherbie's advice DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MONEY WITH LAW FIRMS OR YOU STAND A GOOD CHANCE OF LOSING IT.

Anonymous said...

As an individual who found it impossible to get compensation from the Law Society, please please please never trust any lawyer.
This profession rip your heart out and spit in your eye. In litigation your family GP of thirty years will fight against you so hard, you would think he or she was paying your damages.
When individual professionals are so powerful no lawyer will help you, you will stand alone aganst these ruthless criminals.
If Harold Shipman had used a firearm the gun laws would have changed overnight. Please note I mean no disrespect against victims of gun crime, or Shipmans victims. He used a syringe therefore he was harder to detect. Has the law changed to protect patients from another deadly doctor since the Shipman enquiry? I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers are offensive, must work in the legal profession.
No matter where I go, I tell people to check out the and write it down for them. I also tell them about Peter Cherbi's site. You can reach a lot of people by word of mouth. I urge all readers (except lawyers) how sarcastic am I, to tell everyone they know about crooked lawyers.

Anonymous said...


You will need medical evidence. Your employer your GP, all consultants you see for medical reports, and all lawyers in your case will all be insured by the SAME COMPANY. If your case gets to court (I doubt it) the Sheriff will be a paid up member of the Law Society of Scotland. The Law Society is a criminal organisation who looks after lawyers.
The consultants cannot be sued when they give a medical report about you. Even if they lie they still cannot be sued.
When people are injured in this type of litigation here is what they are up against.
If the doctors say your have been injured, their own insurers will have to pay you damages. So they are laying the boot into their own insurance companies.
If your GP lies in your medical records, NHS Primary Complaints Handling will protect him or her never you. These people taught me the true meaning of unaccountable criminals.
My medical records showed that I had been seeing a consultant psychiatrist for twenty years (A LIE) and when I was referred to the incapacity benefits doctor the form asked if I had any mental illness. My GP put a line through that box, because he knew I was not mentally ill. He was trying to stop my incapacity benefit and was telling Hamilton Sheriff Court I was mentally ill at the same time.
WHAT DID THE NHS DO TO HIM, NOTHING. He was accused of corruption in public and did not take any legal action.
Do you know why litigation solicitors and doctors are filth? It is because they allow you to start litigation proceedings (they are making money) and if you have been injured they will cover it up for their insurers.
If after reading this you still want to sue your employer YOUR GP WILL FIGHT AGAINST YOU AS IF HE WERE PAYING YOUR DAMAGES OUT OF HIS OWN BANK ACCOUNT. When my GP was caught he asked me if I would put it behind me to save his neck? You work out who has the mental health problems.
Have you ever heard the saying "Trust me I am a doctor".

Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment about the medical profession and the NHS. The Healthcare Commission for England and Wales has stated that, patient complaints are not taken seriously by the NHS.
I can prove in a court of law (if I could get there) that NHS Primary Care leave dishonest doctors working with patients. I believe patients have a right to know if their doctor has been distorting medical records. Harold Shipman was murdering old ladies and distorting their medical records in the afternoon of the murder. The Police investigations confirmed this.
Shipman as I understand it also had a drug problem. If patients had been told about this, they may not have wanted him as their GP, and perhaps some victims would have been saved.
The complaints handling systems for doctors and lawyers needs overhauling. NHS managers who protect corrupt doctors should be prosecuted with them. The crooks at the Law Society should be prosecuted with the lawyers they protect. If clients and patients are to obtain justice against these crooks, jail sentences will be necessary. That is the only option to clean up these professions.

Anonymous said...

I noted that the
Scotish Legal Complaints Commission Chief Executive Eileen Masterman agreed campaigners
were "offensive".
Good morning Eileen. They are not offensive, they are telling the truth. The question is why are the offended lawyers not "Smokin em out" as the ex American president would say. I will tell you why. It is because they are not just offended lawyers, they are guilty offended lawyers.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and the Law Society are like a building riddled with dry rot. Everything needs torn out and replaced to make sure no rot remains. Eileen people like you should not be offended, you should be taking legal action to prove the pressure groups are dishonest.