Tuesday, June 02, 2009

‘It’s all about money, not justice’ as lawyers greed on legal fees spills over at Law Society AGM

Law SocietyLaw Society of Scotland won vote delaying practising fees row for now. PROTESTS from lawyers at last week's annual general meeting of the Law Society of Scotland over the 'high cost' of an annual practising certificate which allows solicitors to work, were insufficient to sway enough of the votes for an immediate reduction in the current annual practising certificate levy on solicitors of £665, raising the threat that many solicitors will increase their already exorbitant fees for legal work carried out on behalf of clients.

Instead, the Law Society won a five month delay to consider how it will react to members unwillingness to pay £665 a year to fund the huge salaries of staff and officials at the Law Society of Scotland's Drumsheugh Garden headquarters in Edinburgh, where as we saw in an earlier report, the current Chief Executive, Lorna Jack's salary along with the costs of her office which now stand at £326,000 a year.

Eileen Masterman & Philip YellandLaw Society’s Philip Yelland & SLCC’s Eileen Masterman do similar jobs on £1,350 a week. With solicitors already having to fork out £400 or so a year to fund the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, where Commission members are on up to £350 a day plus expenses, and officials such as the Law Society’s Director of Standards, Philip Yelland, and SLCC Chief Executive Eileen Masterman, are both doing the same job on salaries of £1,350 a week - all paid for out of solicitors pockets.

No doubt, the grumbles within the profession over these legal fat cat salaries will continue, but some legal firms are seemingly using their imagination to recover from clients, what they perceive to be the high costs of being a solicitor.

In several examples of accounts sent out to clients which have been brought to my attention, legal firms across Scotland are recouping their running costs and issues such as the cost of the practising fee, by issuing false fee demands to clients for legal work which has never been done.

I have reported on this subject earlier, here : Lawyers stealing from clients to earn 'double fees' while Law Society looks the other way in vast network of legal aid fraud & embezzlement & here : Lawyers fraudulent fee demands must be curbed by independent fee watchdog as culture of greed prohibits public access to justice

It is now becoming commonplace for legal firms to send out accounts to clients, falsely claiming they owe money on case work, some examples of which date back to over 10 years, where solicitors and their firms are regularly claiming to clients that “accounts have been overlooked and must now be settled”, with little or no explanation being provided for what work was actually done on the clients behalf.

Examples I have seen of some of these purely fake fee demands to clients have run into tens of thousands of pounds, the bills usually being accompanied with a seven day threat of legal action if payment is not made immediately, although when the legal firms are asked for specification & evidence as to exactly what work the solicitor did, the accounts are ‘reduced’ to in some cases, about a tenth of what was originally sought from the client, on threat of recovery.

A legal insider today admitted he was well aware many firms were sending out inflated bills. He said : “Many solicitors feeling the pinch have decided to look back through their work to see if they have missed sending out bills to clients.”

“Several of my colleagues are aware of a rising tide of complaints to the Law Society where clients are alleging they are in receipt of accounts from their solicitors for work which was never authorised or agreed to, and which there is no evidence even took place.”

He went on to claim that lawyers were being protected from criminal charges over the false fee demands, simply because of self regulation of the legal profession in Scotland : “If it were not for the fact the profession self regulates, I have no doubt the Police could be called in and fraud charges laid against several legal firms & individual solicitors.”

Of course, none of these issues were discussed at last week’s annual general meeting, although most or all of those legal firms attending are currently engaged in such practices, inspired by weak & corrupt self regulation, carefully maintained by the Law Society of Scotland, with any legislative reforms stifled by political allies to the legal profession.

Arguing about the cost of a practising certificate, while complaints, corruption, negligence, criminality and fraud spirals out of control among Scottish legal firms, will not repair the damage that lawyers have done to themselves, and their own business, and to public access to justice in Scotland.

The Scotsman reports :

No fireworks, but membership costs the burning issue

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

“If it were not for the fact the profession self regulates, I have no doubt the Police could be called in and fraud charges laid against several legal firms & individual solicitors.”

Just like Westminster MPs making up their own rules the lawyers have self regulation to shield them from fraud charges !

Anonymous said...

Little surprise to read of this.
As usual the council have taken over the issue which means any reduction will be to their liking not ours.

There are some interesting examples in your previous reports on the fees.How do you come by such information?

Anonymous said...

Lawyers arguing with themselves about the cost to work.Now that is a laugh!

Anonymous said...

as you said before Peter - its all about lawyers being able to make their own rules which HAS to stop NOW

Anonymous said...

PETER YOU SAID

Examples I have seen of some of these purely fake fee demands to clients have run into tens of thousands of pounds, the bills usually being accompanied with a seven day threat of legal action if payment is not made immediately, although when the legal firms are asked for specification & evidence as to exactly what work the solicitor did, the accounts are ‘reduced’ to in some cases, about a tenth of what was originally sought from the client, on threat of recovery.

NOTE AGAIN

"THE LEGAL FIRMS SEND OUT A SEVEN DAY THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION IF THE DEBT IS NOT PAID". PETER THIS IS WHAT YOUR DIARY IS ALL ABOUT. A LAW FIRM CAN TAKE A CLIENT TO COURT, BUT IF THE CLIENT WANTS TO TAKE THE LAW FIRM TO COURT THEY ARE AUTOMATICALLY SOLICITOR BARRED. A NICE SITUATION FOR THESE CRIMINALS TO OPPRESS THE PUBLIC.
CRIMINALS THEY ARE, THAT IS WHY THE TENTACLES OF THE LAW SOCIETY EXTENT TO THE LAW SCHOOLS. JUST LIKE THE CHURCHES, BRAINWASH THEM YOUNG TO PROTECT THE PROFESSION.

MacAskill tmust have cheese for brains said...

So the lawyers had a fun day out with their Nuremberg rally at the Sheraton.
Who wore the short moustache ?
Was MacAskill along to assure them he would defend their sorry asses to the last ?

Anonymous said...

“If it were not for the fact the profession self regulates, I have no doubt the Police could be called in and fraud charges laid against several legal firms & individual solicitors.”
-------------------------------------

Well said and this is why self regulation must end. Self regulation is a licence to steal, cover up, threaten, and keep everything squeaky clean.

The crisis at Westminster demonstrates that MP's would love to have escaped the expenses scandal by being exempt from Freedom of Information Laws. MP's are not sorry for the expenses rip off, they are sorry they have been exposed for the criminals they are.

Law firms sending out false claims for work is similar in principle to what has happened at Westminster. Before the high court ruling that MP's had to let us know how much they had claimed they were quite happy to claim for everything they bought. MP's were self protecting parasites, the same as the Scottish lawyer parasites who can be sure that their masters at the Law Society/SLCC will protect their reputations no matter what they do. It is for this reason that self regulation must end.
The expenses scandal has highlighted in the most public way, that self regulation = corruption. The lawyers who are complaining about Law Society fees clearly think they are suffering injustice. NO it is the clients without a legal remedy who are the victims of injustice.

Anonymous said...

PROTESTS from lawyers at last week's annual general meeting of the Law Society of Scotland over the 'high cost' of an annual practising certificate which allows solicitors to work.

PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND YOU WILL PAY A HORRENDOUS PRICE COMPARED TO THE PRICE THESE CROOKED BASTARDS PAY FOR THEIR PRACTISING CERTIFICATE, IF YOU DEAL WITH A MEMBER OF OUR NAZI LEGAL PROFESSION.
PLEASE, PLEASE NEVER TRUST A LAWYER, THEY CAN TREAT YOU ANY WAY THEY LIKE, WITH IMPUNITY. GRADUATE NAZI'S, THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE.
GOING INTO A LAWYERS OFFICE IS LIKE DIVING INTO THE SEA FULL OF GREAT WHITE SHARKS, AND HOPING NONE OF THEM WILL HARM YOU.
IF LAWYERS HARM YOU, FORGET THE NORMAL COMPLAINT CHANNELS. BETTER TO POST THE CORRUPTION ON THE INTERNET.

YOU CANNOT BE SUED FOR DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER IF YOU HAVE DOCUMENTS FROM A LAW FIRM WHICH BACK UP YOUR COMMENTS. THEY CANNOT TOUCH YOU AS LONG AS YOU STICK TO THE FACTS.
TO ALL VICTIMS OF CROOKED LAWYERS, UNITE AND FIGHT, BECAUSE WE WILL WIN. PARLIAMENT IS LOSING, 80% OF THE ELECTORATE STATE THE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT AT WESTMINSTER, AND SO IS THE LAW SOCIETY AND THE SCOTTISH LEGAL COVERUP COMMISSION. CORRUPT TO THEIR FOUNDATIONS. VICTORY TO THE LAYMEN. END SELF REGULATION NOW.

Anonymous said...

MacAskill should follow Jacky Smith and resign. Oh did she fall of was she pushed. Never mind she will have more time to watch her blue movies with her hubby.
Good job we found out about the expenses, they would be ordering bondage gear and all sorts and we would have paid for it. No doubt a few kinky lawyers at Westminster, will have done the same.

Anonymous said...

Thieves arguing among themselves is what I would describe this event but we should be interested because it shows lawyers care nothing about us. They are just interested in lining their own pockets in the same way politicians are doing.

Anonymous said...

This is from the CorruptLawyers.co.uk website

Extract from book: The Brotherhood
Solicitors I was told, "Are past masters at causing endless delays, generating useless paperwork, ignoring instructions, running up immense bills, and misleading clients into taking decisions damaging to themselves."


Litigation is defined as the taking of legal action.

A solicitor's role is to gather the evidence from his client.

A barrister's [Counsel] role is to represent his client in a court of Law.

A victim who wishes to be represented in court cannot approach a barrister direct and present him with the evidence, he has to first present his case to a solicitor, who in turn presents it to the barrister.

Unfortunately this process encourages fraud and allows a solicitor to present the barrister with any fictitious story that he thinks will maximise his profits.

It is impossible for a client to know when he is being defrauded, because he is not allowed to see the instructions prepared by his solicitor and given to counsel [barrister].

If you wish to take legal action, you are normally advised to instruct a solicitor. Most people try to avoid this, because solicitors charge between £80-800 per hour. Normally if someone does decide to use a solicitor, it is because they have exhausted all other options.

Because solicitors get paid by the hour, to maximise their profits, they drag out their client's cases for as long as possible and try to get it heard in the High Court, which is more expensive than the lower courts. Having your case heard in Court generates mountains of paperwork, which is charged to the client. By the time the case finally gets to court in three to five years, the client's bill will be over £30,000.

Most cases do not have to go to trial, they can easily be sorted out using the interlocutory process of the courts, however it is not in the solicitor's interest to use this process.

A corrupt set up indeed.

Anonymous said...

If there are no prosecutions over the expenses scandal, we can conclude there is two tier justice in action again. How can MP's who have claimed for morgages that are paid in full get out of that?

What about the two peers suspended from the House of Lords accused of attempting to change the law for payment.

I remember Johnathan Aitken MP when the press were accusing him of corruption, he took legal action, he said

"If I have to raise the sword of justice to cut out the cancer of bent journalism, then so be it".

Well folks Aitken ended up being jailed for perjury, and he found God in prison. I hope he learned his lesson by reading one of the commandments in particular,

Thou shalt not lie.

So perhaps we will see some criminal prosecutions, and when MP's go to jail they may find God too. No doubt Nick Robertson will keep us informed theough the BBC.

Anonymous said...

BBC NEWS

MSPs to pass new hate crime law
The bill will widen existing law to cover gay hate crimes

New laws to bring in tougher penalties for hate crimes are expected to be passed by MSPs.

Under the legislation, crimes motivated by hatred of gay or disabled people would be considered as aggravated offences.

The bill, brought by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, has won ministerial backing.

However, the Conservatives said it could create a two-tier justice system, allowing some victims to gain more rights than others.
-----------------------------------
Victims of crooked lawyers have no rights. Political double standards in action again.

No disrespect to disabled or gay people, but the Conservatives must realise we already have a two tier justice system because many people are barred from legal action because they cannot get a lawyer.

Victims of crooked lawyers cannot get justice, because to obtain justice against a corrupt lawyer will ruin his or her reputation.

One final point, I am surprised Glasgow University gave Douglas Mill a job, because his reputation of interfering with clients claims at the Law Society must damage the universities reputation. Clearly it must be a case of birds of a feather stick together.

Anonymous said...

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY WEBSITE

Professor Sheila McLean to lead group considering changes to medical compensation

Issued: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 15:39:00 BST

The group will consider whether Scotland should introduce a system which would mean that some patients injured by medical treatment could receive financial compensation without requiring to go through the legal process. (LAWYERS WILL NOT LIKE THIS).

Currently, compensation for injuries caused as a result of medical treatment provided by the NHS in Scotland is awarded on the basis that patients can prove doctors had legal responsibility and there was clinical negligence. (A TOUGH ONE HOW DO YOU CONVINCE AN EXPERT WITNESS ANOTHER DOCTOR HAS HARMED YOU)?

The no-fault system would require only that patients prove their injuries were caused by treatment but without the need to establish any blame or responsibility. (TO PROTECT THE REPUTATION OF DOCTORS).

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The expert group established today will first of all look at if such a scheme should be introduced in Scotland and if so how this would work alongside the existing clinical negligence arrangements for the benefit of patients and NHS staff alike.

“I am delighted to announce that Sheila McLean has agreed to accept the position as chair and I look forward to the receiving the group’s report and recommendations.”

Professor McLean said: “The review group will evaluate both the principles and the practice underpinning no fault liability, drawing on evidence from existing schemes, and considering their applicability to the Scottish legal situation. I am delighted to chair this committee which is charged with exploring the feasibility of what would amount to radical law reform for Scots Law.”

Anonymous said...

University of Glasgow

Mr Douglas Mill
Position Director of Professional Legal Practice

I AM SURPRISED MR MILL GOT THIS POSITION AFTER JOHN SWINNEY QUESTIONED HIM AT THE JUSTICE 2 COMMITTEE MEETING. WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW, TO EMPLOY A MAN WHO INTERFERED WITH CLAIMS AGAINST LAWYERS AT THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND?

Anonymous said...

MPS LEAVING PARLIAMENT BBC NEWS

The following MPs have said in the past three weeks that they will not contest the next election
Conservative: Andrew MacKay, Julie Kirkbride, Douglas Hogg, Sir Peter Viggers, Anthony Steen, Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton, Christopher Fraser
Labour: Margaret Moran, Ben Chapman, David Chaytor, Ian McCartney, John Smith, Patricia Hewitt, Beverley Hughes, Michael Martin (Speaker)

Good morning Peter, we could say

It's all about money, not politics, as MP's greed on expenses, at Westminster destroys public trust in the system.

These people are not representing their constituents, they are robbing us like the Law Society/SLCC. The British taxpayer and users of legal services are getting a raw deal. Those who make the rules ensure there are wide parameters in those rules.

I wonder how many MP's will be rehoused behind bars? Now we will see two tier justice in action.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments and tips, keep them coming in please.

Basically it comes down to this : Solicitors pay around £650 a year to the Law Society of Scotland to be kept out of jail.

While that might sound a strong comment to solicitors, it is, what clients feel to be the case.

The £650 a year to the Law Society of Scotland in annual subscriptions, and the £400 complaints levy to the SLCC keeps self regulation of the legal profession going, which allows solicitors to fleece clients at will, mostly without fear of a criminal prosecution because the Law Society, or as we see now, the SLCC, will cover up the evidence which the Police & Crown Office would have to rely on to prosecute solicitors for stealing from their clients.

Its as simple as that - pay £650 a year and you can go do what you please, overcharge, embezzle, steal, anything, and not get sent to jail - that is the reality of self regulation, nothing more than a cover for criminality.

If anyone feels like arguing with that, go take a walk round some MP's moats, duck houses and third & fourth homes, which funnily enough, is what's been going on in the legal world for years.

Anonymous said...

Basically it comes down to this : Solicitors pay around £650 a year to the Law Society of Scotland to be kept out of jail.

Peter I could not have put this better myself. People should pay great attention to this statement because the Law Society/Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will never bite the hands that feed them.

A case of criminals buying legal protection from criminals. This is the reason all of you people out there including myself are barred from justice.

"We are Legalised Criminals" these four words should be signposted over every law firms office, the Law Society, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.

Anonymous said...

"Its as simple as that - pay £650 a year and you can go do what you please, overcharge, embezzle, steal, anything, and not get sent to jail - that is the reality of self regulation, nothing more than a cover for criminality."

From all the headlines you and the newspapers are generating on these kinds of stories I am beginning to think the same !

No wonder the London parliament was self regulated for so long and I for one dont believe Broon or Cameron will change it because there's too much criminality going on there too !

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, you got out of the wrong side of bed today Peter !

Anyway, as good an argument as always against crooked lawyers. I am surprised there are any left in business after reading what you have to say about them !

Anonymous said...

I have just received a summons from a firm of solicitors seeking money for work they claim has been done, but which they can not or will not identify.

This is the second firm of solicitors who have tried this tactic with me - obviously the credit crunch is having an effect on the legal profession and conveyancing work - the first withdrew their claim before the scheduled Court hearing, agreeing instead to accept the origional (and much lesser) fee I had proposed several months before.

For reasons which will be abundantly clear to those who read this blog I am also effectively required to defend the second action myself, and I look forward to alerting the Court to what amounts to nothing less than a fraudlent misrepresentation of fact by the other side.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers are the real criminals - along with many of those already behind bars !