Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lord Gill : 'Victorian' justice system fails public as soaring injustice & poor legal services undermine credibility of Scots law.

Lord GillLord Justice Clerk Lord Gill. Scotland's Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill, in his speech to the recent Law Society of Scotland's 60th Anniversary conference, told the delegates a few unwelcome home truths in that Scotland's antiquated Justice system has in effect, turned into an injustice system, where outdated laws & procedures, monopolistic control by the legal profession over public access to expensive legal services, and a sense that many outcomes of cases which even get to courts are being undermined by professional interests, are combining to destroy the credibility of Scots law, and any lingering respect the public may have for our justice system, which according to the Lord justice clerk, is stuck in the Victorian era.

I would certainly agree with most of Lord Gill said to a rather stunned audience at the Law Society conference, most of whom have, themselves, helped maintain and nurture the many failures of Scots Law, and expensive legal services, simply to earn billions of pounds of profits over the years for themselves and undeserving Scottish legal firms.

Many of those solicitors present at the conference, including the 'big named' city legal firms in Edinburgh & Glasgow, lack any real 'global credibility' outside Scotland, as one American lawyer commented to me yesterday.

He claimed that "Many legal firms in Scotland have only survived and got to the positions they have, simply because their 'Bar Association' (the Law Society of Scotland) has cleaned up all their scandals and allowed them to feed off clients."

He went onto name some of Edinburgh's legal firms, several of which do business for the Scottish Government and claimed “they were not to be trusted with the documents to a second hand car and would never survive in the international marketplace if they didn't have their Scottish clients to fall back on and financially rape when it suited them to do so."

Of course, the Scots legal profession and all those who serve in it, have brought this predicament to our justice system by their own actions, which are and have always been geared up for greed, rather than providing the necessary public service which all of us must rely upon for organising our legal affairs, at some stage of our lives.

Many solicitors who attended the conference, despite Lord Gill's publicly welcomed critique of our 'banana republic' style justice system, sat smug in the knowledge they are backed by the political lobbying & arm twisting power of the Law Society of Scotland - dubbed the "World's worst regulator".

You can read more about how the Law Society has managed not only Scotland’s legal profession, but also our justice system, here : Toxic levels of complaints, poor standards of service & soaring fraud by solicitors makes Law Society of Scotland 'World's worst regulator'

Most of the big named firms from the legal profession will no doubt be hoping the Law Society's political weight and roll book of delaying tactics will again be put into play, thwarting any real reforms of Scots law which might clash with their model of a profit hungry monopolistic legal services market which forces clients to pay exorbitant fees for poor, inadequate legal services which in many cases leave clients financially ruined or in a bigger legal mess than when they first engaged a solicitor's services.

One onlooker to the conference said "It was like watching politicians feeding themselves from their parliamentary expenses accounts and not knowing when to stop. Many of the proposals put forward do not go far enough to reform Scots law because too many within the profession are concerned about maintaining expensive lifestyles & bonuses they all got used to in the good times."

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary MacAskill fails to make the grade on justice reforms. Yes, even the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, who, rather than take a proactive stance to resolving the many inadequacies of Scotland's failed legal system, seemingly prefers to sit back and allow the rot to ruin what little there is left of any credibility of Scots Law, demonstrating to many that Scotland definitely needs a much more capable, and impartial Justice Secretary who is unconnected to the Law Society of Scotland's long time cronyism and backhander style management of Scotland's legal profession.

With respect, Lord Gill, if you want to make a start on reform, here are one of the issues which must begin the process : Truth & reconciliation fails as MacAskill follows Law Society orders to Parliament on attempt to heal public confidence in legal profession

You can read more about Lord Gill’s Civil Justice review here : Lord Gill's Civil Courts Review

Here follows the Scotsman's report on Lord Gill's speech to the Law Society conference :

Senior judge hits out at Scotland's 'Victorian' court system

Published Date: 09 May 2009
By John Forsyth and Christopher Mackie

ONE of Scotland's most senior judges has launched a savage attack on the country's "Victorian" civil courts – and said reform is vital to tackle diminishing respect for Scots law.

Lord Gill, the lord justice clerk, said the system was outdated, expensive, unpredictable and inefficient – and that it was failing society and putting economic development at risk.

Without dramatic reforms, the reputation of Scots law would continue to diminish, he said – along with public confidence in the judiciary.

He told the annual conference of the Law Society of Scotland in Edinburgh: "The civil justice system in Scotland is a Victorian model that has survived by means of periodic piecemeal reforms. But in sustance, its structure and procedures are those of a century and a half ago. It is failing the litigant and, therefore, failing society."

As lord justice clerk, Lord Gill is Scotland's second most senior judge after the lord president of the Court of Session. In 2007, he was asked by Scottish ministers to undertake a review of the entire civil justice system and will report at the end of June.

His speech suggests ministers will receive a withering critique of the system. He said immediate reforms were required to check the "drift" in the system and that more radical reforms would be included in his report.

Lord Gill also urged conference delegates to be "receptive to the conclusions of a lawyer-led programme for reform – if only for fear of something worse". He added:

"If you were to sit down and devise a justice system for the 21st century, it would be nothing like we have."

Lord Gill identified three areas that his report, due to be handed to ministers in June, will address: access to law, delay and inefficiency.

He said: "The judicial structure should be based on a proper hierarchy of courts and the procedures should be appropriate to the nature and the importance of the case, in terms of time and cost. Scottish justice fails on all these counts.

"Its delays are notorious. Its costs deter litigants whose claims may be well founded. Its procedures cause frustration and obstruct, rather than facilitate the achievement of justice."

One of the greatest inhibitors to access in the civil courts is not just the cost to businesses or individuals pursuing litigation, but also what they perceive to be the personal cost of undertaking an action. This is particularly an issue in areas of law such as family matters – especially those that involve children – and complex personal injury cases.

Delay in civil litigation is often caused by the volume and urgency of criminal case work that forces judges to interrupt or defer long-scheduled court days. Lord Gill reported a "surprising depth of feeling" among litigants caused by the long gap in issuing judgments once the case had concluded.

He said: "Unless there is major reform and soon, individual litigants will be prevented from securing their rights, commercial litigants will continue to look elsewhere for a forum for their claims, public confidence in the judicial system will be further eroded, Scotland's economic development will be hindered and Scots law will atrophy as an independent legal system."

Huge changes to be proposed in his review are likely to include a focus on an increased and better use of IT. He claimed that Scotland was "far behind many other jurisdictions" in this area.


Anonymous said...

"It was like watching politicians feeding themselves from their parliamentary expenses accounts and not knowing when to stop. Many of the proposals put forward do not go far enough to reform Scots law because too many within the profession are concerned about maintaining expensive lifestyles & bonuses they all got used to in the good times."


Lawyers have no credibility in Scotland, just like the greedy politicians who claim everything from the taxpayer. THE SYSTEM ALLOWS THEM TO DO IT, THEREFORE THE SYSTEM IS ROTTEN.
Lawyers and medics, (yes the doctors too) are protected by a Victorian system which needs dragged into the 21st century.
The system is like politicians awarding themselves pay rises, expenses, a free for all, corrupt crooks all of you.

Anonymous said...

One of the greatest inhibitors to access in the civil courts is not just the cost to businesses or individuals pursuing litigation, but also what they perceive to be the personal cost of undertaking an action.

Anonymous said...

If you try to sue your employer here is what will happen.

Your lawyer will work with the defenders lawyer, and your GP to ensure you get nothing.

You will get a bill from the Legal Aid Board, which you may have to pay.

Your employer will be insured by the same company as the above professionals. A cosy situation indeed, so do not get injured at work, you will be left injured with no compensation.

Anonymous said...

Lord Gill is spot on but what is he going to do about it ?

If I were him I'd be watching my back as the Law Society starts the usual whispering campaign against anyone who tells it how it really is.

Anonymous said...

No, this can't be right.

Our Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill - ably echoed by his Tory opposite number Bill Aitken - has told us (time and again) the great debt we all owe to the Scottish Legal Profession, how highly regarded it is at home and abroad, how it has quite proper ambitions to mirror the RBS as a 'world leader' etc etc.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society wont be featuring too much of Lord Gill in their Conference release,especially after attacking his criticisms of solicitor-advocates and their woefully inadequate regulation.

Thanks for the link on Gill's review - I hadn't realised there were so many submissions handed in,some of which look suspiciously cloned by the LSS,wouldn't you agree Peter ?

Anonymous said...

what should we do?

The government and polititions have failed us by deception...

The Law Society of Scotland and the judicial system have failed us by deception...

The Crown Office have failed us by deception...

It sounds to me like the near end of the validity of our society, where the very structures of democracy have failed the people.

Protectionism over time has lead to complacency and brazen corruption.

Will the police step-in 'in the public interest' Or has the police system become another institution tainted by political and legal intervention?

The only way to prevent a very rapid and severe backlash from ordinary citizens is to have an independent consumer organisation
to back the public in setting up an overarching regulator with real power to investigate 'in the public interest' who report to the police/crown office/Law Society and Government to force them to take the right action.

There are too many organisations in our society that are clearly above the law!

Judy x

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading about that petition you wrote and how the Law Society killed it off.

If you have any way to do it you have to get in touch with Lord Gill and let him know how people feel on the ground about lawyers and the way the justice system is basically ruining lives of people who try to use it.

Anonymous said...

Brian Gill recently had a go at solicitor advocates being poorly regulated.In response the Law Society and the society of solicitor advocates attacked him and sent out their assassins to the media so expect to see some heavy criticism of Gill in the next few weeks,even though we all know what he is saying is true.

However I don't take to his 'lawyer led reform' suggestion because its his colleagues within the legal system who as you rightly say have made the problem themselves.Maybe even Gill is just too blinkered and cant see the wood for the trees.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think anything will happen from this except maybe the Law Society agreeing with him,taking the ideas and putting them forward in their own usual way.
Isn't that what always happens when someone of this judge's stature criticises his own legal system which he is a part of after all.

Anonymous said...

Comment at 1152am

I agree with you completely.

Nothing will come of this just as the Law Society cleared out Gill's attack on solicitor-advocates.

What we are dealing with here is a group of Fred Goodwins who basically control the justice system for their own personal profit.

They should be under no illusions that as long as there's no justice there will be no peace.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So its taken this judge all these years to come to those conclusions you have been writing about for years ?

Disgusting.The public should rise up against these good for nothing crooked lawyers who have jammed up society so much we cant do a thing without their say so.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic blog you write Peter.I love it.If there is any sense people will rise up and overthrow these little dictators who run our lives with their schemes and thievery.

Just look at the news tonight about the parliament in London and what mps have been getting up to - mps being the good friends of lawyers just as msps are.Now people its time to stand up and do something about all these leeches who have ruined many a life

Scottish "Justice" laid bare for all to see ... said...

I wish everyone who posts on this forum pursuing justice for themselves and / or their friends, family and loved ones every success in your dogged and relentless fight for the TRUTH and JUSTICE in your cases of injustice and miscarriages of justice under a Scottish police, legal, judicial and political establishment that remains in the dark ages ... self-protecting of their own, full of many with vested interests, unwilling to listen, unwilling to reform, unwilling to admit their mistakes and apologise and, generally, as rotten and corrupt as it was when MacAskill and Salmond came to power two years ago.

I doubt that will ever change ... not under MacAskill's and Salmond's watch at any rate ...

Best wishes and the TRUTH and JUSTICE to you all.

Anonymous said...

I hate lawyers. If I live until I am seventy years old, I have 3,640 weeks. Our lives are too short to have these criminals ruin it.
Stop these criminals investigating (covering up) complaints against their own profession.
Fantastic work Mr Cherbi, you should be honoured for your Diary of Injustice.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 2.15pm

I agree .... and I think we have to remember that the people who effectively legitimised greedy politicians and greedy bankers, by twisting the rules, regulation and laws to suit, are the lawyers ..

# Anonymous @ 3.21pm

Exactly .. what we have currently is an outrageously expensive justice system which protects the guilty and greedy professions, at the expense of the individual's rights.

# Anonymous @ 3.28pm

I agree ... this is typical of anyone who tries to bring a case against their employer, courtesy of the legal profession.

# Anonymous @ 4.03pm

The knives are already out for Lord Gill it would seem .. a colleague at a newspaper was passed a story today from a legal firm, on behalf of the Law Society no doubt ...

I don't think there's any truth in the story though ... just an attempt at deflecting attention from the judge's criticisms of Scots Law.

# Anonymous @ 4.33pm

Yes .. quite a turn around ... but who believes Bill Aitken and Kenny MacAskill anyway .. after all, Mr MacAskill has even turned down assisting a constituent who is in considerable difficulty with his health, and whose problems could all be resolved by probably a few minutes Ministerial authority ...

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 7.12pm

Yes .. it seems there is no press release from the Law Society yet on Gill's statement ...

# Judy @ 8.23pm

I agree entirely with your comment ... we must have fully independent regulation of legal services, and from the looks of the problems at Westminster with expenses .. they could do with a similar dose of independent scrutiny ...

# Anonymous @ 9.13pm

Thanks, I will.

# Anonymous @ 9.57pm

Lawyers will never 'lead reforms' in this country .. as I've often found the words 'lawyer' and 'reform' are incompatible with each other, at least given my experience in the world of regulation of legal services.

# Anonymous @ 11.52am

Yes, you are probably correct .. the Law Society will co-opt Lord Gill's ideas and slow them down, in the usual manner they always do ...

# Anonymous @ 10.13pm

I agree !

# "Scottish Justice ..." @ 9.54am

Lets hope so, and the more we can do to further people's access to justice, the better.

# Anonymous @ 5.01pm

The honour goes to all those who suffer injustice which we must bring to an end, collectively.

Thanks for all your comments, emails & suggestions, which I will take up, pass on and write about further soon.

Anonymous said...

Took him long enough to admit it.
So when is the big change planned ?

Anonymous said...

After a very blunt experience with the Police about a complaint I made against my very crooked lawyer I think theres a lot more that needs to be reformed than just civil law.

Anyone trying to complain against a crooked lawyer and involves the Police stands the risk of the lawyer using his Police connections to totally ruin their lives so be warned the Police and fiscals are no friends to the public when it comes to crooked lawyers as I found out.

You know all this anyway Lord Gill so do something about it with your position

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 9.02pm

I'd be interested in hearing more about your problem with the solicitor and any issues connected.

Please post a further comment.