Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Email 'smeargate' at Legal Complaints Commission requires resignations to restore regulator's public credibility

SLCC squareSLCC members & officials engaged in bitter smear tactics against public groups. While the controversy still rumbles on over the email smear-gate scandal involving former Downing Street Adviser Damien McBride & the Conservative Party, disciplinary action is now been demanded over a similar email smear campaign from within the 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, where Ministerial appointees engaged in bitter hate fuelled email smear exchanges against consumer groups & campaigners in attempts to exclude them from the commission’s objective of protecting the public against rogue lawyers, while the legal profession was apparently allowed ‘a free hand’ in policy discussions.

Jane IrvineSLCC Chair Jane Irvine to investigate members conduct. Given the ferocity of the email exchanges between SLCC officials & board members, Jane Irvine, the Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been asked to investigate members conduct with a view to raising disciplinary proceedings for the extraordinary poor judgement and unacceptable behaviour by key officials at the ‘independent’ law complaints body. The investigation will focus along the lines of :

(i) Apparent after hours activities by members affected judgment on policy discussions such as the monitoring of the Guarantee Fund,

(ii)The making of defamatory personal opinions made against claimants to the Guarantee Fund which may compromise claims to the Guarantee Fund and impugn the characters of claimants, supporters of such claims, and financial institutions,

(iii)Bitter expressions of discrimination & hostility were expressed by both board members and SLCC officials in emails against consumer campaign groups

MacAskill must clean up SLCCHow the media and I reported the email smear campaign at the SLCC. While there seems no indication the Damien McBride emails spread to others higher up the chain of command, and probably were not known about by the Prime Minister himself, the bitter hate fuelled rants of SLCC board members were spread and copied throughout the organisation, with the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill himself being made well aware of the anti-consumer culture which has infected the SLCC at all levels, even to the point where his own appointees to the commission embarked on Law Society style anti-client rants to destroy the credibility of financial claims for damages against rogue lawyers.

Smear-gate in Scotland – SLCC officials go better than McBride, attacking public, political groups & law reformers :

Email smear gate SLCC

John SwinneyJohn Swinney championed consumer protection against lawyers, but Kenny MacAskill allowed lawyers rights to 'run amok' at new complaints body. The bitter email smears & rants expressed by the SLCC’s board members & officials also appear to have a political connection, as insiders to the organisation now allege the failures within the commission which have allowed such an anti-consumer culture to develop, has now turned the beleaguered complaints regulator into a cesspit of political infighting where the organisation's failure is being blamed squarely on the current Scottish Government and the Justice Secretary himself.

An SLCC insider concerned the current Scottish Government is allowing the Law Society & its associates too much of a free hand at the legal complaints commission reiterated their stance :”I think it is in everyone's interests that the new Commission is truly independent but that does not appear to be what is being delivered. I think there were also those that believed the transfer of SLSO staff would offer some sort of guarantee of objectivity and independence, I know that was certainly the intention of ministers and senior civil servants in the previous administration.”

MacAskill tight lippedMacAskill still to act over SLCC email smear scandal. In comparison to the current inaction from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill over SLCC’s email tantrums, the head of the Civil Service at Westminster, Sir Gus O'Donnell today said in connection with the Damien McBride emails that "strengthened" guidance had been issued to department heads on codes of conduct on Wednesday, and that special advisers caught "disseminating inappropriate material" are to be automatically sacked under new rules.

In that case, the same should apply to the actions of those at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, whose actions have badly damaged the law complaints body’s public credibility and have brought the commission into disrepute. Who among the highly paid SLCC members & officials will now do the decent thing and resign over their astoundingly poor conduct ?

If there are no resignations, it is clear that sackings should be the order of the day, to send a clear message to everyone that the legal profession's traditional bitter resentment of consumer organisations and clients best interests have no place at the SLCC, which was created to clean up the long term cronyism in complaints handling by the Law Society of Scotland, which consistently allowed crooked lawyers to remain in practice while unsuspecting clients fall ever more into the trap of poor legal service and widespread, well organised frauds by dishonest solicitors against the public.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

The mind boggles on what Scanlan & friends were up to.I would hazard a guess there is much more yet to be revealed.

Good work Peter.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the Scottish end just as crooked as us down south !

Anonymous said...

It seems to me this culture of smear and dirty tricks is pervasive throughout public bodies too.

Hen Broon will be more than comforted with that prospect but as you say only resignations will clear up your slcc.

Just a though,how many of those on £350 a day will want to resign ?

Honest or expenses,what a conundrum to face !

Anonymous said...

Spot on Mr Cherbi.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission must be free of any lawyer or political influence in favour of the Law Societies viewpoint. Masterman and her staff should resign, MacAskill should go and the perpetrators of hostile
e-mails against consumer groups should go. Clearly this is a culture issue the Law Society rot has spread which is not surprising when we look at some of the Commissions staff. Lawyers get out of the Commission now.

Anonymous said...

The SLCC has demonstrated in the clearest terms that it is possessed of an institutional bias, a sacking offence were it overseen by any proper or credible Minister.

Anonymous said...

Sack the lot of them and MacAskill too

Anonymous said...

The mind does not need to boggle at anything, comment 1

It was clear from the start the Law Society would take a hand in this new commission and that is exactly what happened - all to plan.These people absolutely HATE anyone who dare complains against their lawyer so no reason to expect otherwise.

Keep up the good work Peter Cherbi !

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr Cherbi (From your article above)

If there are no resignations, it is clear that sackings should be the order of the day, to send a clear message to everyone that the legal profession's traditional bitter resentment of consumer organisations and clients best interests have no place at the SLCC, which was created to clean up the long term cronyism in complaints handling by the Law Society of Scotland, which consistently allowed crooked lawyers to remain in practice while unsuspecting clients fall ever more into the trap of poor legal service and widespread, well organised frauds by dishonest solicitors against the public.

If there are no resignations, I doubt there will be Mr Cherbi then we need sackings. THIS WILL BE THE ACID TEST, MacAskill if they will not fall on their swords, you will have to encourage them, which will be a test of your position as Justice Minister?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have put it better myself.Sack MacAskill.

btw are you a supporter of John Swinney ? it seems that way from your writing

Anonymous said...

Did I read that right ? Is Jane Irvine investigating her own people at the slcc ?

That can't happen surely after what you uncovered there

EM said...

Hi Peter

I'm having a bit of difficulty reading those emails from the SLCC although I caught the jist of it in the other link.

It seems this attempt at replacing the Law Society was doomed from the very start unless you were a part of it.I thought as much.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Sackings or resignations will produce problems for the Executive and I don't think they want that or you to get the better of them.Prepare for some dirty tricks against you and anyone touting law reform.

Anonymous said...

For a man with no political aspirations you do like hacking Kenny MacAskill to bits.Is that because he is useless or just because he is a good for nothing lawyer ? lol

Anyway I agree with you.Sack the lot and start again

Anonymous said...

Brilliant blog Mr Cherbi and you are so right about these lawyers.they always stick up for each other and need bringing down a few pegs.

Good luck with your endeavours !

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi these are your words.

"I heartily advise anyone who finds themselves in the unenviable position of being failed, let down or financially ripped off by their solicitor to make sure the details of what happened is fully published, to alert others & ensure those who let down the client no longer remain in practice".

Correct Mr Cherbi, that is why people must keep their documents. Actions speak louder than words and we will see if we have any action from MacAskill on the
e-mail scandal at the SLCC.

Patients, clients, we must go public to crush the resistance from those who seek to protect corrupt professionals. Solicitors or doctors who lie, distort evidence, must be named to protect other patients and clients from the same treatment. Clients should avoid Ross Harper Solicitors, especially the litigation team who get legal aid money for nothing. I know from experience.

Anonymous said...

I don't think its quite as bad as the McBride affair but nevertheless this kind of anti public attitude just doesn't fit with a regulator.
As you say they should resign with decency or be sacked in dishonour.

Anonymous said...

I see Cameron Fyfe of Ross Harper was on the Solicitors from Hell Website.
Clearly Mastermen and her friends at the SLCC are also Solicitors from Hell who write nasty e mails against consumer groups.
Sack the lot of them and then I can complain to an independent body regarding my crooked lawyer.

Anonymous said...

more snp SLEAZE against poor people'd rights against crooks in Scotland

must be getting big bungs to keep the lawyers looking after themselves eh ?

Anonymous said...

I will watch this space, to see if MacAskill acts?

Anonymous said...

Potential clients. Stay away from Scullion Solicitors in Hamilton. They have a crooked lawyer working for them.

Anonymous said...

The McBride caper has been going on for years but I doubt people suspected our 'consumer' regulators were such pitfulls of vipers too.

Time to take an axe to them all Mr Cherbi ? You would have many supporters because these bunch of people (as you can see from their emails) spend more time on rants than actually doing some good for the people they are paid highly to protect !

Anonymous said...

Hmm well everyone has said just about everything there is to be said.

Personally I think MacAskill knew exactly what kind of people he was putting on the slcc so none of this is a surprise.what is a surprise is its being reported and now we know what he and his appointed malcontents on the commission are up to.

Its all about saving lawyers from their clients,isn't it Peter.Just like the banking fiasco where if anyone ever tried to complain about a bank they got nowhere.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Mr Cherbi,

The e-mail scandal at the SLCC does not shock me. As you know lawyers and other powerful professions have had things their way for two long. No doubt this is how they evolved the system, so that they can act with impunity.

The legal aid issue, even if I could obtain legal aid to sue a doctor or lawyer, I could never trust a lawyer to take on the case.
I have strong evidence which lawyers would probably use for toilet paper.

Economists talk about restoring confidence so that people will go out and purchase goods from the shops. Aggregate demand in the economy, combined with lending from the banks stimulates the economy.
This is the problem with access to legal services, demand is there but lawyers will not sell their services to individuals who want to take a lawyer, doctor, local authority etc to court. It is like a car manufacturer not selling vehicles to a certain group in society. This is preposterous, but of course the car manufacturer's sales cannot backfire on them (no pun intended).
The only solution to this problem is overhauling the present system. We need to be able to go to court without using a lawyer, cut the lawyer out of the system. I am sure the following would happen.

1) We would have a better chance of a fair hearing, rather than no chance of a hearing as at present.

2) No lawyer will fight like we will, because we would be doing what they do now, driven by self interest.

3) The legal system would be fairer, rather than the chronic imbalance which prevails now.

4) Many lawyers may lose their jobs. This is what they are terrified of, but they themselves are creating this situation by leaving a lot of ex clients who are doing what we are doing to reform the corrupt system we have now. Lawyers refusing to take on cases which will harm other professionals, are creating the Peter Cherbi of this world. Victory to you Mr Cherbi, the hammer of the legal establishment. I will wait for MacAskills response now.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission have achieved one outcome.
They have convinced the Scottish People that no lawyer can hold a post in a complaints handling institution.
If lawyers think we are offensive they clearly have mental health problems. Lawyers I ask you to put yourselves mentally in the shoes of your victims. If you are of sound mind you would want justice too. Lawyers are the driving force in this, you only have yourselves to blame. What makes me really sick if that you don't care about your victims, because your decisions which ruin your victims lives do not affect you. That is why when a lawyer is murdered, killed in a car crash, or takes a terminal illness I smile. I am not sick of mind, you people made me feel the way I do today.

Anonymous said...

This scandal clearly demonstrates that the balance of power is tipped the Law Societies way. That institution is corrupt, a den of iniquity, where the vile injustices against lawyers victims are covered up.
Clients of crooked lawyers reporting their situation to the Law Society or the SLCC, are throwing their efforts into a black hole hell bent on protecting the people who caused the clients distress in the first place. Solution, throw the lawyers out of both institutions and start again.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments on this article, and many important points have been raised, particularly by # Anonymous @ 12.24pm in that the operation of the SLCC has certainly proved that lawyers cannot be involved in the regulatory process at any stage.

I note the strength of feeling in several comments which many who have fallen victim to members of the legal profession share.

# Anonymous @ 12.21pm says "Personally I think MacAskill knew exactly what kind of people he was putting on the slcc so none of this is a surprise.what is a surprise is its being reported and now we know what he and his appointed malcontents on the commission are up to."

I would agree with that assessment as I'm sure would everyone who has been watching the SLCC develop.

# Anonymous @ 4.26pm said : "The SLCC has demonstrated in the clearest terms that it is possessed of an institutional bias, a sacking offence were it overseen by any proper or credible Minister."

That I can most certainly agree with, and as others have suggested what happens next will demonstrate exactly what the Justice Secretary's intentions have been all along.

There will be an update to this article soon.

Anonymous said...

Peter I look forwards to your update on this article.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say Peter.This attempt at independent regulation of lawyers has created another saviour for crooked lawyers - as it was always meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Jane Irvine investigates the slcc.What a joke!

When can we expect the whitewash and how long will she put it on spin cycle ?

Anonymous said...

Solicitor(s) ALAN ALEXANDER CRAIG, Solicitor, 194 Glen More, St Leonards, East Kilbride.

Mr Cherbi, another crooked lawyer from the SSDT.

Tribunal Date 25/03/2003

Interlocutor Edinburgh 25th March 2003. The Tribunal having considered the Complaint dated 31st January 2003 at the instance of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland against Alan Alexander Craig, Solicitor, 194 Glen More, St Leonards, East Kilbride, Find the Respondent guilty of professional misconduct in respect of his failure to progress Court actions which he had been instructed so to do by clients, his failure to progress instructions given to him by a client, his misleading his clients, his unreasonably withdrawing from acting for a client, his failure to implement a mandate and his failure to respond to the reasonable requests of the Law Society for information; Suspend the Respondent Alan Alexander Craig from practice for a period of two years to run concurrently with the Suspension imposed by the Tribunal on 12th December 2001; and Direct in terms of Section 53(6) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 that this order shall take effect on the date on which the written Findings are intimated to the Respondent; Find the Respondent liable in the expenses of the Complainers and of the Tribunal, limited to the sum of £1,000, as the same may be taxed by the Auditor of the Court of Session on an agent and client indemnity basis in terms of Chapter Six of the Law Society’s Table of Fees for general business and Direct that publicity be given to this decision and that the publicity shall include the name of the Respondent.

(signed) G. FRASER RITCHIE

I wonder is he is still in East Kilbride?

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi,

Gordon Brown has said sorry for the e mail scandal that is giving the press much to write about at the present time.
I wonder if we will see Kenny MacAskill making a public statement on Reporting Scotland? I am sure Jacky Bird would be only to pleased to talk to him. Say sorry Kenny for the mess you have created by allowing lawyers into the Scottish Legal Coverup Commission. If Gordon can do it so can you, say sorry for the Commissions rancid e mails against campaign groups. Yes Mr Cherbi, you are certainly rattling their cages. Get the lawyers out MacAskill, Independent means not influenced or controlled by lawyers.

Anonymous said...

If MacAskill does not act then we have proof (if that were needed) that he is more at home in the Law Society than the Scottish Parliament. If he wants to maintain a shred of credibility, he should sack the lawyers in the commission. If he does not he should resign. This is his dilema. Check Mate MacAskill.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the e mail scam has pushed MacAskill into a corner. I don't like Masterman but she and her subordinates have shot themselves and MacAskill in the foot.
The choice is yours Kenny, time to get off the fence and show us which party you are the Justice Minister for? The Law Society and it's other department the SLCC, or the Scottish Electorate?

Anonymous said...

I see below Mill blamed campaigners for the attack on Mr Cumming.

(Law Chief Douglas Mill blamed campaigners for attack on colleague but it turned out to be lawyers. So bitter were the feelings by some at the Law Society of Scotland, the then Chief Executive, Douglas Mill, held private briefings with journalists and attempted to blame campaigners for the attack on his colleague, however it soon became clear to many in the following days the attack on Mr Cumming came from within the legal profession itself, and Douglas Mill had little more to offer on the subject, which even to this day has seen not one arrest in connection with the Cumming attack).

Clearly Douglas Mill or someone at the Law Society sent out his own SS man, and did what Hitler did, when he blamed the Poles for attacking Germany.
Mr Mill stated he has never intervened with any complaint from a member of the public about a lawyers handling of their case. This was a barefaced lie, which demonstrates the character of the man, so he will lie about the Cummings attack.

Campaigners would not have anything to gain by attacking Mr Cummings, but Mill would if he could prove campaigners were behind it. We do not need to resort to violence Mill, the pen is mightier than the sword. The latter is what low life lawyers do when they cannot get their way by diplomacy. Your days are numbered, and adopting the methods of the gangster will only backfire on you. Perhaps one day you will have time to mull things over behind bars.

Anonymous said...

MacAskill has been throwing taxpayers money at a cloned Law Society, get the lawyers out now. They are there to protect lawyers, the greatest barrier to justice for victims of the legal profession.

Anonymous said...

Re the 12.01pm Post;

It is being reported, but only by brave and tenacious reporters such as Mr Cherbi.

Question : Where are the media?

Re the post of 12.15am;

Add Biggart Baillie to the list.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi is driven by values which lawyers do not have. The most important are truth, honesty and decency.
Lawyers should pay attention to these words, "Oh what a tangled web we leave when we set out to decieve". Just like Mill in front of the Justice Committee, a man untrustworthy, and unfit to hold high office.

Anonymous said...

The legal profession have lost the plot and are against the ropes when they need to adopt violence, as their method of control. The attacker of Mr Cummings must be caught, but more importantly, who ordered the attack?
The police investigation should never have been wound down. The Lawyer controlled mafia must be stopped. They clearly have much to hide, and reputations to protect.

Anonymous said...

Money controls everything in this world, and bent lawyers, their professional bodies, and insurers have one purpose, to stop compensation payments to victims of lawyers.
This is why there has been a hate e mail scam, because lawyers and the above have too much to lose. It is disturbing how much power this profession have in the modern world.

Anonymous said...

NHS Nurses Who Protect Patients get Struck Off.

"Margaret Haywood, 58, filmed at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for a BBC Panorama programme in July 2005.
She was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council which said she failed to "follow her obligations as a nurse".


This is proof of how loyal the medical profession are to each other. This has nothing to do with patient confidentiality, it is the same as the Primary Care cover up of corrupt doctors. Medics who expose medics face the chop.

Anonymous said...

Probably this lot have too much dirt on each other for there to be any resignations - the result of MacAskill creating a lawyer stuffed quango to look after lawyers best interests.

Anonymous said...

MacAskill should now do the honourable thing and resign. He has shown by the whitewash at the SLCC, that he belongs in the Law Society. Ms Goldie resigned from the Justice 2 committee, because of the conflict of interest issue. Kenny you should follow her example if you want to maintain a shred of credibility? You title as Justice Minister is a facade for a man who belongs with his own profession, the Scottish Electorate do not have a Justice Minister. There was never a better saying than "actions speak louder than words". You remind me of a lawyer I asked to sue another lawyer on my behalf, he said angrily "the legal system is not for that". Resign Kenny, you are a mandarin for the Law Society, and it's interests.