Friday, April 24, 2009

'McKenzie Friend' proposal to Parliament seeks to end 39 years of lawyers monopoly over Scots access to justice

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society 'monopolises' Scots access to court. THIRTY NINE YEARS after laws allowing a 'McKenzie Friend' in the English courts system were introduced to facilitate the public's access to justice by allowing a not necessarily qualified legal individual to assist a person in court, a McKenzie Friend Petition (Petition 1247) has been put to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, asking for the implementation of the same privileges of a ‘McKenzie Friend’ to be granted in Scotland, to help many who find it difficult through the current system of legal representation, controlled by the Law Society of Scotland, to secure access to the Scottish Courts.

McKenzie's friend Petition PE1247 Page 1McKenzie Friend petition will end 39 years of prejudice against Scots ‘justice rights’ in Court. The petition, brought to the Scottish Parliament by Mr Stewart MacKenzie, calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce a McKenzie Friend facility in Scottish courts as a matter of urgency. Mr MacKenzie’s case involving the legal profession became famous, when revelations of secret internal memos documenting a claims fixing policy at the Law Society of Scotland, resulted in a televised confrontation between Mr Swinney & former Law Society Chief Douglas Mill during the Justice 2 Committee's investigation of the now passed into law Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007. The memo-gate scandal eventually toppled Douglas Mill as Law Society Chief Executive in January 2008.

Mr MacKenzie speaking today to Diary of Injustice said : "I am hopeful the petition will get a good hearing at the Scottish Parliament, and begin the work of ending what is a glaringly prejudicial omission from the public's legal rights & entitlements in Scotland, while people in the rest of the UK have enjoyed and heavily used the right of having a McKenzie Friend accompany them in court hearings for nearly four decades."

John SwinneyCabinet Secretary Swinney will be asked to speak to Holyrood committee on the merits of McKenzie Friends. It emerged today, the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee has set a 5th of May hearing for the petition, but has not granted Mr MacKenzie the right to give oral evidence, to which the petitioner replied : "Since I am not being allowed to speak on the merits of my own petition, I have asked my MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, to attend the Petition Committee hearing and speak on my behalf, as he has done so with considerable care and attentiveness on previous occasions."

In England & Wales, the concept of a McKenzie Friend has existed for some 39 years, assisting people in court, who find it difficult to obtain legal representation either through cost or other reasons.

The guidance from the President of the Family Division of the courts in England & Wales states : Where proceedings are held in open court, it is clear from the principles set out in Court of Appeal decisions that a litigant who is not legally represented has the right to have reasonable assistance from a layperson, sometimes called a McKenzie Friend (“MF”).”

A litigant in person wishing to have the help of a MF should be allowed to do so unless the judge is satisfied that fairness and the interests of justice do not so require. The presumption in favour of permitting a MF is a strong one.”

A McKenzie Friend May :
• Provide moral support for the litigant
• Take notes
• Help with case papers
• Quietly give advice on: points of law or procedure, issues that the litigant may wish to raise in court, questions the litigant may wish to ask witnesses.

Mr Stewart MacKenzie's 'McKenzie Friend' Petition reads as follows : “39 years after a McKenzie Friend was introduced in the English Courts, we still do not have an equivalent in Scots law. For those who are unable, for whatever reasons, to be represented in court by a solicitor, be it cost or principle, it is unjust, immoral and a breach of their fundamental human right to have a fair hearing with reasonable “equality of arms” as required by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to force them to appear in court as a party litigant without the facility of having someone to offer them support and guidance.

As people in Scotland are having their lives ripped apart by having their homes repossessed without the opportunity, as they do in England, to at least have their day in court, it is barbaric and inhuman that this obstinate refusal to ensure that the people of Scotland are not treated in an inferior manner compared with the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to access to Justice. This is not an attempt to get the Parliament to consider any individual case.”

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary MacAskill criticised over his own failure to reform access to justice. While many of the failures to implement the 1990 access to justice legislation can obviously be pinned on previous Scottish administrations who stood by while the Law Society in effect dictated policies on restricting the individual’s right of access to legal representation and the courts, the current Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, and the Scottish Government have done very little, if anything to improve the lot of members of the public who simply cannot get into court because the legal profession feel it is not in their best interests to allow such cases to go forward.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to Cabinet Secretary for Business John Swinney 26 July 2007 Justice Secretary’s leaked letter promised cabinet colleague John Swinney that access to justice was happening two years ago. The road to reforming access to justice in Scotland has been a rocky one so far, as almost all attempts to-date of implementing changes allowing the Scots public increased access to justice and the Scottish Courts, have either been thwarted by the legal establishment, or held in political limbo by an exceedingly uncooperative Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who despite promises to Cabinet colleague John Swinney, two years ago in 2007 that change 'was on the way', has in reality made things very difficult for anyone other than solicitors to enter the Scots legal services market to this date and no doubt beyond.

Lord Hardie - Repeal Sections 25-29 24th June 1997High Court Judge Lord Hardie while serving as Lord Advocate, wanted to repeal Scots access to justice legislation. However, while the prickly thorn of reforming access to justice falls to the current Scottish Government to act upon, the legal establishment’s attitude to counter any reforms to increased access to the Scottish Courts go back years, as I revealed in an earlier report where in 1997, the serving Lord Advocate at the time, Lord Hardie, himself advocated repealing the laws which allowed increased competition in the Scots legal services market, which had actually been kept from the public by an intense campaign ran by the Law Society of Scotland for over seventeen years, seeing Sections 25-29 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 only implemented in March 2007 after public queries and the release of documents through Freedom of Information laws which revealed the secret campaign by senior law figures and civil servants within the Scottish Executive to withhold or repeal the access to justice legislation.

A member of the public whose legal case could have significantly benefited from the use of a McKenzie’s friend said today : “"It is a matter of record that Lord Hardie has consistently denied the Scottish Public any meaningful or proper access to the law by his stubborn obstruction of articles 25-29 [of the Law Reform & Miscellaneous Provisions (Scotland) Act 1990], allowing members of the public to be represented by a third party of their choice.“

He went on : “The deafening silence by every major political party which has accompanied this wicked betrayal of trust indicates their tacit approval of it. Disturbingly, the Scottish Courts have also consistently refused to allow recordings of hearings to be made - a proposal also rejected by the Scottish Parliament.”

Given the lack of willingness on the part of the current Scottish Government to speedily reform the Scots legal services market, leaving many clients out in the cold in terms of legal representation, many Scots caught up in legal difficulties feel with some justification, their rights are being impugned by both the legal profession and the Government simply to protect solicitors long held monopoly over access to justice.

Clearly the Scots public could benefit from the McKenzie Friend facility being applied to Scots Law, and as with other legal reforms long overdue, the Scottish Government should act without delay and reverse the 39 year prejudice against ordinary Scots obtaining access to courts, while our English counterparts have enjoyed the use and privilege of a McKenzie Friend at their side.

I therefore look forward to reporting on and watching how the McKenzie Friend petition progresses through the Scottish Parliament .. as surely the public interest of access to justice comes first over protecting solicitors business markets & profits.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

39 years for the English and nothing for us.What a bloody disgrace.

Nice of you to remind us that its not just the SNP who have fiddled while no one got into court ! Now they must change it !

Anonymous said...

Lord Hardie would't like you repeating that little quip about repealing 25-29!

Anonymous said...

Never knew this actually existed but its certainly a good idea.
Thanks for writing about it Peter.I don't see why Scotland should have been excluded all these years but I have a good idea why now you are onto the case !

Good luck and keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

Will keep a look out for this,thanks Peter.

Anonymous said...

Mr Swinney, I was very pleased to see how you dealt with Douglas Mill, clearly you are a man who stands up for your constituents, no matter what it cost Mill. Thank you for that. Please fight for Mr MacKenzie, we would rather have you as Justice Minister than Mr MacAskill. I think they should let him speak, and I look forward to seeing the outcome of this.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Mr Cherbi,

We need some way of getting to court, and if the MacKenzie friend is implemented it will end the descrimination we Scots have suffered for years. You are right, people who cannot get a lawyer cannot go to court. This is a breach of their human rights, and must be overhauled. We have an iron curtain of resistance when we want justice against a lawyer. Brilliant we will fight on, never never give up. Never get discouraged, by the vicissitudes of your campaign, we will win eventually. I will watch with great interest as events unfold.

Anonymous said...

Interesting report Mr Cherbi but the Law Society wont be too happy as usual.

Allowing in MFs to the Scottish Courts will dent some of those padded legal bills which are keeping solicitors firms in profit ..

wee rab said...

Lets hope MacAskill doesn't come up with another 2 year delay for this.

What a crook.How does Swinney feel about that letter after 2 years ?!

Anonymous said...

A well motivated petition I would definitely support but why are they not allowing Mr McKenzie to speak on his own petition ?

I feel injustice has crept into the Parliament itself if the author of the petition is not at least allowed to speak.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 1.56pm

Such is the power of the Law Society of Scotland ...

# Anonymous @ 2.10pm

He shouldn't have made it then ...

# Anonymous @ 2.44pm

Thanks. Yes, it is a little talked about subject in Scotland, solely because the Scots legal services market is too used to being a monopoly, where solicitors control the individual's access to justice.

# Anonymous @ 3.42pm

I too will be interested to hear what Mr Swinney has to say about the petition, given his attendance of the Justice 2 hearings into the LPLA Bill.

This is after all, a constituent of Mr Swinney who has raised the petition, and duties to one's constituent come before Ministerial duties, as the Presiding Officer's Office has already confirmed ...

# Anonymous @ 3.57pm

Thanks, and you can be assured I will report on further updates to this significant petition at the Parliament.

# Anonymous @ 4.03pm

That it may well do, but it should be ultimately up to the individual who represents their legal interests, not the Law Society or solicitors.

# Wee Rab @ 4.30pm

Yes, I can just imagine that already, a number of excuses & delays have been jotted down on paper by Mr MacAskill in attempts to delay or defeat this petition.

However, what cannot be argued is that the rest of the UK has had this entitlement for 39 years, making anyone in Scotland who argues against it look a bit of a fool, or a sympathiser of restricting the public's access to justice ...

I don't know how Mr Swinney feels about the petition yet, but I'm sure we will find out soon ...

# Anonymous @ 5.45pm

Perhaps the Parliament is afraid of what Mr MacKenzie has to say, given some on the Petitions Committee have defeated access to justice petitions in the past ...

Anonymous said...

Mr Salmond Please read what Mr Cherbi said here.

Clearly the Scots public could benefit from the McKenzie Friend facility being applied to Scots Law, and as with other legal reforms long overdue, the Scottish Government should act without delay and reverse the 39 year prejudice against ordinary Scots obtaining access to courts, while our English counterparts have enjoyed the use and privilege of a McKenzie Friend at their side.

Mr Salmond I do hope you are going to continue with discrimination against us?

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi,

If MacAskill fights the petition the 5th of May, he should resign with immediate effect. This man is a barrier to justice because he belongs in the Law Society. Salmond should be ousted for giving the position of Justice Secretary to a lawyer, a bit like giving an arsonist a can of petrol.
Mr Swinney, show the Scottish People you are the man to replace Mr MacAskill, on the 5th of May. A MSP who fights for his or her constituents especially in this field deserves to be Justice Secretary.

Anonymous said...

THE PATIENTS ASSOCIATION

Mr Cherbi,

Last week I left a post regarding the Panorama nurse Margaret Hayward, please see the following form the Patients Association.

RCN launch petition for Margaret Hayward

Last week we covered the story of the decision of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to strike off Margaret Haywood who has been a nurse for over 20 years after she had used a concealed camera to film patients while working at Royal Sussex Hospital. We received number of emails from concerned members of the public giving their support to Ms Haywood. As always we are keen to understand your views on important stories like this and would be keen to hear opinions either for or against the decision.

The Royal College of Nursing have announced their full support of Ms Hayward, launching a petition calling for her reinstatement, with RCN Chief Executive Peter Carter stating in a special statement that “Margaret has been supported by the RCN since charges were brought in relation to her participation in the Panorama programme. Whilst the RCN cannot condone breaking patient confidentiality, we feel that the decision taken by the NMC to remove Margaret from the nursing register was unduly harsh.” She is expected to appeal the decision.

The petition was launched “to gauge the feeling around Margaret's removal from the register” and has already been signed by almost 15,000 people and be found on the RCN website www.rcn.org.uk.

Mr Cherbi

As health is of paramount importance to us all, can you all please support this lady, as she acted in the best interests of her patients in my view. She is being victimised to send a clear message to nurses not to go against their colleagues and hospital. It is the same in principle to the lawyers we are fighting except, no lawyer would go against another lawyer.

Anonymous said...

There are 10,000 lawyers and millions of other Scots. Looking at the arithmetic the lawyers cannot keep their monopoly on legal services.
Every time a lawyer stings a client we have another, convert to the fight.
Make no mistake MacAskill, the Scottish People will break your monopoly over the legal services industry.

Anonymous said...

This has the makings of a good petition and I'm pleased to see you reporting on it Peter.

Good luck to the petitioner Mr Mackenzie and I look forward to reading more developments as time permits.

Anonymous said...

Mr MacAskill,

You should realise that no matter how loyal you are to your lawyers justice will prevail.
It is criminal that people are oppressed by lawyer discrimination in 2009. Your professional loyalty to each other is the catalyst for reform and the campaigners will win.
I could not trust a lawyer to be my principle, as the law of agency states, because that lawyer would be a member of the club I am fighting. Your days are numbered, you have too much power for the good of the layman.

Anonymous said...

If Lord Hardy had a decent bone in his body he would resign, but then, why bother when no politician is demanding he do so?

The Law Society and 'Justice' Committee's malicious agenda is clearly demonstrated by the refusal to allow Mr. MacKenzie to even speak to his own petition.

Democracy? equality of arms? access to justice?.......ha!

Anonymous said...

Mr Salmond

I believe most Scots want to stay within the United Kingdom, and end the monopolistic stranglehold of the the legal profession.
If you would concentrate on the lawyer issue, more you would do a better job for the Scottish people you love so much. It will be very interesting to see what happens on the McKenzie Friend proposal, scheduled for the 5th of May.
It is time MacAskill and you fell on your swords, and go for all the good you are.

Anonymous said...

was told to read this because I cant get a lawyer

hope it is approved soon

Anonymous said...

Very interesting report Peter but I think there are a lot of questions needing to be answered on just why this has been kept out of Scotland for 39 years and why MacAskill and Lord Hardie and god knows who else have been involved in the delays.

Scotland gets second best once again ?

Anonymous said...

A good enough idea but you will have to get around 39 years of judicial arrogance to allow Mckenzie friends into the Scottish courts.

Judging by Mr MacAskill's letter to his own colleague and some other links I've read tonight leading back to your blog I think you are in for a hard slog on this one Peter.

Keep us informed.

Anonymous said...

Responding to post @ 1:02PM. You said I was told to read this because I cant get a lawyer.

-----------------------------------

I cannot get a lawyer either. There are many of us in this position. You must be a threat to the reputation of a lawyer. Please tell everyone you know as they may be next to be stung by these filthy people with their equally filthy coverup masters.
These self protecting criminals are ruthless, but their power is diminishing daily. I think we will have much resistance from the Scottish Parliament. Salmond would want a referendum on splitting the union tomorrow, but giving the Scots rights over the legal establishment, no chance. I watch him on television shouting about Scottish Independence. Free the Scots from the union he shouts, but he is silent on legal rights for ordinary Scots against crooked lawyers. Go on SNP, reject the MacKenzie Friend proposal on the 5th of May and prove that you are the enemy of the Scottish Electorate. Those who protect crooked lawyers have the same morals as them.
Mr Swinney stood up to Douglas Mill, it is a man with the qualities of Mr Swinney we need not the Salmonds of MacAskills of this world. There is a much chance of MacAskill going against the Law Society, SLCC as there would have been of Hitler allowing free speech. MacAskill went through university with other law students. The bonds formed there alone make him unfit for the position he currently holds. I look forward to the 5th of May.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi I noticed this today, from an earlier article of yours.

Scotsman Reporter and a great friend receives an OBE at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

Taking a break from reporting on the viles of society, today, I would like to congratulate a great family friend and one of the best reporters I have ever met, Mr William Chisholm, Borders Reporter for the Scotsman Newspaper for over 30 years, for his award of an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

Link to the awards ceremony here, from "The Scotsman" newspaper : http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=982172006

For more than 30 years, William Chisholm has memorably covered both national and regional issues in Scotland, and also reported on my own experiences with the legal profession, as of course, I lived in Jedburgh, a small town in the Scottish Borders for many years.

Mr Chisholm, best wishes to you.

LONG LIVE JOURNALISM AND FREE SPEECH. SOME PEOPLE HAVE PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE FOR THEIR BELIEFS.

I watched a film about Sophie Scholl, (Sophie Scholl--The Final Days). Her brother Hans and another member of The White Rose Group distributed anti Nazi leaflets after the fall of Stalingrad. They were executed by the Nazis, because they did not sing Hitler's song.
Martin Luther King said, "If you are not prepared to die for your beliefs, you are not fit to live. These people paid a terrible price for free speech, it is the most valuable of our rights, and a free press is vital to this process.

Anonymous said...

Margaret Thatcher was a formidable politician. She lost touch with reality especially over the devastating effects of the community charge or poll tax. This tax was tried in Scotland before any other part of the United Kingdom. The riots in London later demonstrate that she had committed political suicide.
She would not listen to her ministers and her disrespectful treatment of Sir Geoffrey Howe, resulted in the devastating speech which triggered the leadership contest.
To some extent this is similar to the legal profession, but they are not elected. Too much power allows them to do what they want, and people are now saying enough is enough. Prior to devolution why did the other parts of the United Kingdon have the MacKenzie Friends and we did not? My intention here is not to cause offence but to ask the Scottish Parliament why they have not implemented this before? They clearly are a lawyer loving parliament.

Anonymous said...

To me,at least from reading your blog,it looks as if there is a mechanism in Scotland in place to prevent any reforms of the legal profession or anything to do with people's access to representation taking place.

Most worrying.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi

If any of you supporters want to know how important free speech is, please read the following and learn the terrible price some people have paid for free speech and freedom of expression.

One day in 1942, copies of a leaflet entitled “The White Rose” suddenly appeared at the University of Munich. The leaflet contained an anonymous essay that said that the Nazi system had slowly imprisoned the German people and was now destroying them. The Nazi regime had turned evil. It was time, the essay said, for Germans to rise up and resist the tyranny of their own government. At the bottom of the essay, the following request appeared: “Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute them.”

The leaflet caused a tremendous stir among the student body. It was the first time that internal dissent against the Nazi regime had surfaced in Germany. The essay had been secretly written and distributed by Hans Scholl and his friends.

Another leaflet appeared soon afterward. And then another. And another. Ultimately, there were six leaflets published and distributed by Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, four under the title “The White Rose” and two under the title “Leaflets of the Resistance.” Their publication took place periodically between 1942 and 1943, interrupted for a few months when Hans and his friends were temporarily sent to the Eastern Front to fight against the Russians.

The members of The White Rose, of course, had to act cautiously. The Nazi regime maintained an iron grip over German society. Internal dissent was quickly and efficiently smashed by the Gestapo. Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends knew what would happen to them if they were caught.

People began receiving copies of the leaflets in the mail. Students at the University of Hamburg began copying and distributing them. Copies began turning up in different parts of Germany and Austria. Moreover, as Hanser points out, the members of The White Rose did not limit themselves to leaflets. Graffiti began appearing in large letters on streets and buildings all over Munich: “Down with Hitler! . . . Hitler the Mass Murderer!” and “Freiheit! . . . Freiheit! . . . Freedom! . . . Freedom!”

The Gestapo was driven into a frenzy. It knew that the authors were having to procure large quantities of paper, envelopes, and postage. It knew that they were using a duplicating machine. But despite the Gestapo's best efforts, it was unable to catch the perpetrators.

One day, February 18, 1943, Hans' and Sophie's luck ran out. They were caught leaving pamphlets at the University of Munich and were arrested. A search disclosed evidence of Christoph Probst's participation, and he too was soon arrested. The three of them were indicted for treason.

On February 22, four days after their arrest, their trial began. The presiding judge, Roland Freisler, chief justice of the People's Court of the Greater German Reich, had been sent from Berlin. Hanser writes:

He conducted the trial as if the future of the Reich were indeed at stake. He roared denunciations of the accused as if he were not the judge but the prosecutor. He behaved alternately like an actor ranting through an overwritten role in an implausible melodrama and a Grand Inquisitor calling down eternal damnation on the heads of the three irredeemable heretics before him. . . . No witnesses were called, since the defendants had admitted everything. The proceedings consisted almost entirely of Roland Freisler's denunciation and abuse, punctuated from time to time by half-hearted offerings from the court-appointed defense attorneys, one of whom summed up his case with the observation, “I can only say fiat justitia. Let justice be done.” By which he meant: Let the accused get what they deserve.

Freisler and the other accusers could not understand what had happened to these German youths. After all, they all came from nice German families. They all had attended German schools. They had been members of the Hitler Youth. How could they have turned out to be traitors? What had so twisted and warped their minds?

Sophie Scholl shocked everyone in the courtroom when she remarked to Freisler: “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare to express themselves as we did.” Later in the proceedings, she said to him: “You know the war is lost. Why don't you have the courage to face it?”

In the middle of the trial, Robert and Magdalene Scholl tried to enter the courtroom. Magdalene said to the guard: “But I'm the mother of two of the accused.” The guard responded: “You should have brought them up better.” Robert Scholl forced his way into the courtroom and told the court that he was there to defend his children. He was seized and forcibly escorted outside. The entire courtroom heard him shout: “One day there will be another kind of justice! One day they will go down in history!”

Robert Freisler pronounced his judgment on the three defendants: Guilty of treason. Their sentence: Death.

They were escorted back to Stadelheim prison, where the guards permitted Hans and Sophie to have one last visit with their parents. Hans met with them first, and then Sophie. Hansen writes:

His eyes were clear and steady and he showed no sign of dejection or despair. He thanked his parents again for the love and warmth they had given him and he asked them to convey his affection and regard to a number of friends, whom he named. Here, for a moment, tears threatened, and he turned away to spare his parents the pain of seeing them. Facing them again, his shoulders were back and he smiled. . . .

Then a woman prison guard brought in Sophie. . . . Her mother tentatively offered her some candy, which Hans had declined. “Gladly,” said Sophie, taking it. “After all, I haven't had any lunch!” She, too, looked somehow smaller, as if drawn together, but her face was clear and her smile was fresh and unforced, with something in it that her parents read as triumph. “Sophie, Sophie,” her mother murmured, as if to herself. “To think you'll never be coming through the door again!” Sophie's smile was gentle. “Ah, Mother,” she said. “Those few little years. . . .” Sophie Scholl looked at her parents and was strong in her pride and certainty. “We took everything upon ourselves,” she said. “What we did will cause waves.” Her mother spoke again: “Sophie,” she said softly, “Remember Jesus.” “Yes,” replied Sophie earnestly, almost commandingly, “but you, too.” She left them, her parents, Robert and Magdalene Scholl, with her face still lit by the smile they loved so well and would never see again. She was perfectly composed as she was led away. Robert Mohr [a Gestapo official], who had come out to the prison on business of his own, saw her in her cell immediately afterwards, and she was crying. It was the first time Robert Mohr had seen her in tears, and she apologized. “I have just said good-bye to my parents,” she said. “You understand . . .” She had not cried before her parents. For them she had smiled.

No relatives visited Christoph Probst. His wife, who had just had their third child, was in the hospital. Neither she nor any members of his family even knew that he was on trial or that he had been sentenced to death. While his faith in God had always been deep and unwavering, he had never committed to a certain faith. On the eve of his death, a Catholic priest admitted him into the church in articulo mortis, at the point of death. “Now,” he said, “my death will be easy and joyful.”

That afternoon, the prison guards permitted Hans, Sophie, and Christoph to have one last visit together. Sophie was then led to the guillotine. One observer described her as she walked to her death: “Without turning a hair, without flinching.” Christoph Probst was next. Hans Scholl was last; just before he was beheaded, Hans cried out: “Long live freedom!”

Unfortunately, they were not the last to die. The Gestapo's investigation was relentless. Later tried and executed were Alex Schmorell (age 25), Willi Graf (age 25), and Kurt Huber (age 49). Students at the University of Hamburg were either executed or sent to concentration camps.

Today, every German knows the story of The White Rose. A square at the University of Munich is named after Hans and Sophie Scholl. And there are streets, squares, and schools all over Germany named for the members of The White Rose. The German movie The White Rose is now found in video stores in Germany and the United States. Richard Hansen sums up the story of The White Rose:

In the vogue words of the time, the Scholls and their friends represented the “other” Germany, the land of poets and thinkers, in contrast to the Germany that was reverting to barbarism and trying to take the world with it. What they were and what they did would have been “other” in any society at any time. What they did transcended the easy division of good-German/bad-German and lifted them above the nationalism of time-bound events. Their actions made them enduring symbols of the struggle, universal and timeless, for the freedom of the human spirit wherever and whenever it is threatened.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

How lucky we are that we do not live under a dictatorship, these people are famous, two of them medical students and Sophie a philosophy and biology student who dared to stand up to Hitler. How lucky we are and how important free speech and freedom of expression are.
Would the lawyers do the same to us if they could?
These young Germans showed the world, that there are people prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs. We are lucky because even though we detest lawyers their power is not the same as Hitler. How fortunate are we?

Anonymous said...

Admirable for raising the issue although I feel as others do you will be in for an uphill battle on this one Peter.

Its still worth doing though and hopefully the fact it has been available in the rest of the country for years will force it through in Scotland.

One last point to the "Sophie Scholl" admirer.

If you are set on seeking change why don't you get out there and protest about this kind of stuff ?
If you do want genuine reform that's the only way you will get it.

Anonymous said...

How daft ! McKenzies in Scotland cant have a McKenzie friend !
What is the ministerial excuse (lie) for not allowing this in Scots law ?

Anonymous said...

Good to see you get back to your core campaigns Peter.I was getting tired of reading about that sllc who we all suspected would be just as bad as the law society from the start.

Keep up the good work and hope this petition makes some ground as it should !

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments.

I would encourage anyone reading this article to contact the Parliament's Petitions Committee in support of the McKenzie's Friend Petition.

You can contact the Petitions Committee at :

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/petitions/contact.htm

Clerk to the Committee: Fergus D Cochrane

Assistant Clerk: Franck David

Assistant Clerk: Jonathan Orr

Administrative Support to the Committee: Eileen Martin
Contact: 0131 348 5982
RNID Typetalk service: 18001 0131 34 85982

Fax: 0131 348 5088
Email: petitions@scottish.parliament.uk

Anonymous said...

I hear the petitions lot are screaming blue murder over your story Peter

Keep them on their toes !

Anonymous said...

One last point to the "Sophie Scholl" admirer.

If you are set on seeking change why don't you get out there and protest about this kind of stuff ?
If you do want genuine reform that's the only way you will get it.

THANK YOU I WILL. I AGREE WITH YOUR ADVICE.

10:50 AM

Anonymous said...

Excellent posting as ever Peter.

I will also support the MF petition.

Good luck.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 5.55pm

Good for them.I was told earlier this evening the Law Society have already 'interfered' in the matter so the petition's hearing on 5th May should prove an interesting one as to who stands up and shows their cards as supporters of the Law Society's monopoly over access to justice.

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned as to your last comment Peter.

How did you find out the Law Society have 'interfered' in this petition ?

It is not for the Law Society to dictate what happens at parliament surely.

Anonymous said...

The letter from MacAskill to Swinney is hilarious !

Is this how they lie to each other in the SNP ?

Anonymous said...

What right does a Lord Advocate have to suggest repealing laws allowing people to get into court ?

Why has no one explained why Lord Hardie did that and what about all the people fighting to get access to a courtroom all these years and then finding out the law was held back from them ?

Anonymous said...

39 years is a hell of a long time to keep people out of a court.If the SNP don't change this we know whose side they are on (as if we don't already know !)

Its all about money isn't it Alex ?

Anonymous said...

As long as the litigant is competent enough in their quest and the mckenzie friend knows his stuff I don't see why this shouldn't be allowed in Scotland.

Keep up the good work Peter.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 9.48am

A tip from an insider ...

All will be revealed in due course ...

# Anonymous @ 11.23am

It seems so, given only the Association of Commercial Attorneys have been granted rights of audience, on a 5 year restricted practising certificate for construction law only !

# Anonymous @ 1.21pm

I support calls for an investigation and explanations as to why Lord Hardie said what he did, and why Sections 25-29 were withheld from the public for some 17 years, however I think all things considered, while Lord Hardie put forward the notion to repeal Sections 25-29, he was probably just the tool used by the legal establishment to have their way.

# Anonymous @ 1pm

I agree.

Anonymous said...

Here is another one Peter.

Wednesday, 1st April, 2009 8:45am

CROOKED LAWYER SCAMMED £90k
by Irvine Times Reporter

A FORMER Irvine lawyer could be jailed after he scammed almost £90,000 from clients.

William Pirie Rennie, of Beaufield Gardens, Kilmaurs was working as a solicitor at Rennie & Co in Irvine High Street when he embezzled the huge sum of money.

The Times tracked Rennie down to his home this week, but the shamed solicitor refused to comment on his crime.

The 56-year-old had originally been charged with embezzling £139,484 but he eventually pled guilty to a reduced sum of £87,349 at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week.

Rennie carried out the scam between June 1, 2002 and September 9, 2004 at his Irvine office.

Sentence was deferred at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court for background reports.

See this week's Irvine Times for the full story.

(Has he been reported to the Law Society, SLCC?) He must never be allowed to work as a lawyer again, that is how we need to proceed to clean up this filthy profession.

FAIIRPLAY said...

McKenzie Friends: What most people don't know is Solicitors DO NOT want to represent them? Its a caste run profession and your ability to get a good lawyer handling your case is relative to who you are and how wealthy you are. Whilst your busy explaining your case to a lawyer, he's studying you closely and trying to second guess how much you'll pay him, how readily you'll pay up, and of course he's very very interested in your philosophy about paying your bills on time, meaning his / her bills. Pass this hurdle and you might make it to the High Court, better still go to appeal. You see layers know your 65% of their clients will never come back, they know charging £180.00 per hour / £250 in London is a bit of a liberty, and as for McKenzie Friends - let them have the dross, the workshy, the poor huddled masses yearnig to escape from their clutches. Last word Solicitors switchboard operators screen [kill] 75% of the calls made to them for legal advice, you've seen the adverts first 30 minutes free, mention that your a labourer, a factory cleaner, or living in Deadend Street, West Hartlepool, and no ones available to take your call. Did you know the EEC say McKenzie Friends must be allowed and encouraged.

FAIIRPLAY said...

Here's an Expose. If your like me you sort of trust people, reckon you can taker care of yourself, and you have the impression Solicitors are like priests, vicars and bank managers. Here's the nitty-gritty, a lawyer wants 10% of your estate when you die, if you've got a house worth £250000K, he wants £25000K for selling it for you, and he's not exactly keen on mentioning he paid an Estate Agent another 2.5% for being the the actual seller. Lets say you've got £100 000k in cash in the bank, well for passing it over Solicitors want the normal fee, then a **success fee of 5% for doing a good job**. My daughters was a probate lawyer for a large firm and their bills make her cringe.So wave the welcome flag on McKenzie Friends being allowed in Scotland. My wifes elderly Glasgow aunt was 1930s conditioned to be frugal, saved her money, a lawyer got £17500,00 [Seventeen, thousand, five hundred pounds] to administer her 3 bed - semi estate. She was dead and couldn't exactly complain, he got this money because she thought he was a gentleman, a rogue would have been a lot cheaper? Say Yes to McKenzie Friends. And do a google-search on Success Fees payable to Probate Solicitors?

Anonymous said...

FAIRPLAY YOU SAID

"Last word Solicitors switchboard operators screen [kill] 75% of the calls made to them for legal advice, you've seen the adverts first 30 minutes free, mention that your a labourer, a factory cleaner, or living in Deadend Street, West Hartlepool, and no ones available to take your call. Did you know the EEC say McKenzie Friends must be allowed and encouraged".
-----------------------------------
Correct they love money, not clients, well said.

FAIIRPLAY said...

Did you know British Lawyers can beat the world at playing ping- pong. They don'y play on a table, they don't use a bat and ball, they use letters, typed letters, the rules of the this fraud game are: You send me a letter, and I'll send you two letters, maybe 3 in return. My first letter will thank you for your letter, it will state that I will have to speak to my client about it's contents and will revert back to you. The game then starts. Properly played it can go on for months and if Legal Aids involved for years. I've seen Solicitors office floors with files of letters 2 feet thick. And each letter might cost £150 to £350.00 each. So some trusting mug [a client in proper circles] is going to get slapped with a bill for £50000-00 over a simple fence boundary dispute? See Daily Mail - Mrs XYZ £110k legal fees over fence dispute. In Stockton on Tees, there is a family of three brother/s, all lowlifes, drunks, thieves and yobbos. If they are arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, they plead not guilty, run to a Solicitor and another round of ping-pong letters starts in the Magistrate court. The youngest yobbo is now 52, and worth over a million pounds to this firm of well known firm of Solicitors in defence fees. So they don't object to bunging him £20-00, now and then. It's called a retainer. And as for the Solicitors Complaints Bureau in Leamington Spa, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.