Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ex-Law Society Chief who led campaign against complaints reforms, resigned over anti client memos, now supports independent regulation of lawyers

Douglas Mill 4Former Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill, eventually brought down by his own memos. DOUGLAS MILL, former Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland who once threatened a legal challenge against the Parliament over regulation reforms, whose secret memos revealed he masterminded a policy of defeating claims & complaints made against ‘crooked lawyers’, and who famously attempted to frame critics of the legal profession for a spectacular mafia style murder attempt on his own colleague, Law Society Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming, (which later turned out to have been staged by rogue lawyers in fear of being investigated for criminal activity), has written to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee admitting that independent regulation of an expanded legal services market is needed in Scotland, after concerted campaigns by consumer groups & law reformers to open up Scotland’s closed shop legal services market saw the introduction of the Legal Services Bill, currently being considered by MSPs.

Douglas Mill Legal Services Bill Page 1Douglas Mill attacks Law Society for change of views & Parliament for lack of research. Mr Mill, who begins his letter expressing surprise at the volt-face in Law Society of Scotland policy in relation to Alternative Business Structures, going onto criticise and even the lack of a research base on the issues contained in the Legal Services Bill said : “I was privileged to serve on the Scottish Executive’s Research Working Group on the legal services market in Scotland which reported in 2006. One of the issues examined was restrictions on business structures and the conclusion reached by the Committee was The issue of Alternative Business Structures appeared to be likely to stay on the agenda and policy development work would be required to establish the extent to which they suited Scottish circumstances and how they might be best regulated if they were to become a reality in Scotland. To the best of my knowledge no subsequent research or policy development took place. Particularly when this Report identified not just one market for legal services in Scotland but a number of segmented geographical and practice area markets, it is at best very surprising for a Parliament committee to introducing evidence-based legislation to be proceeding without the underpinning research which such a profound piece of legislative change demands.”

Douglas Mill then went onto attack the philosophies contained in the Legal Services Bill as being conceived in the late 90s and early 2000s, when law firms were rolling in profits & giving senior partners huge bonuses. Mr Mill told the Justice Committee that such proposals now ”surely require examination in the current economic climate”.

On the subject of ‘independence of the Scottish Legal Profession, Mr Mill who as we all know is not shy in stating his views, comparing some of the proposals contained in the Legal Services Bill as something akin to forcing a ‘Banana Republic’ legal profession on Scotland (but we already have that, don’t we ?)

Mr Mill stated in his letter to the Justice Committee, again critical of their motives over the Legal Services Bill : “Independence of Scots Law and the Scottish Legal Profession -The Bill strikes directly at the heart of these and it is worrying to hear in some quarters that saying so is in some way “scare-mongering”. The potential for direct Governmental control of the legal profession contained in for instance section 35 could reduce Scotland to the type of legal profession seldom seen outside South America and Equatorial Africa. Whilst there are significant pressures towards the assimilation of Scottish and English law it surely ill-becomes a Scottish Parliament to facilitate that.”

Douglas Mill Legal Services Bill Page 2 & 3Douglas Mill’s view of regulatory difficulties, mostly caused by himself and the Law Society. On the subject of regulation, it is hardly surprising Douglas MIll vents his frustrations at the regulatory aspects of the alternative business proposals contained in the bill. Mr Mill commented : “Regulatory Difficulties – I agree with the issues mentioned by Professor Alan Paterson from Strathclyde University in his Written Submission. I would say however that in my experience of being effectively the regulator of the legal profession in Scotland for approximately 12 years, my views are stronger based on significant direct experience. These difficulties take a number of forms:- (a) Regulation of solicitors at the moment is a relatively straightforward matter as the ultimate penalty is striking a solicitor off the Roll of Solicitors and denying him/her their livelihood. No such significant penalty will apply to non-lawyer proprietors.”

Mr Mill continues in his submission to state the Law Society of Scotland cannot regulate ‘conventional solicitor firms’ and Alternative Business Structures, calling the situation a “profound conflict and an impossibility for the Law Society of Scotland.”

Sadly Mr Mill ignores the fact that most of the Law Society’s regulatory difficulties grew out of his 12 years of being the Law Society of Scotland’s Chief Executive, and continues in a ramble on regulation which ends with an attack on the Law Society itself, who, in Mr Mill’s own words ‘appear’ to have “accepted section 92 of the Bill which simply allows Scottish Ministers to control the representative body is, in the view of many, the final nail in its coffin as a representative body.”

In a strong statement to the Justice Committee on the issue of money laundering laws, Mr Mill goes onto accuse the Legal Services Bill of facilitating ownership of legal firms and their use as money laundering portals, although it seems several Edinburgh law firms have helped clients with dodgy secret foreign bank accounts in countries outside the tax jurisdiction of the UK authorities, leaving Mr Mill’s praise of the Law Society & profession in this regard, rather hollow.

Cash laundering link to law chief stabbing - Scotland on Sunday 29 January 2006Douglas Mill’s 12 years as THE regulator of Scottish lawyers led him to attempt to frame critics for a murder attempt on colleague Leslie Cumming, over reputed money laundering investigations. Mr Mill on the subject of money laundering said : “Whilst money laundering obligations sat uncomfortably on solicitors’ duties of confidentiality when they were introduced, they are now accepted as entirely necessary. Indeed the Law Society of Scotland and the legal profession in Scotland are to be congratulated for their excellent record in this area. The Bill quite simply facilitates ownership of legal firms and their use as money laundering portals. As Professor Paterson says, “Ensuring that the fitness for involvement test is effective to exclude criminal elements from investing in or taking control of law firms is a significant issue.” Significant and impossible to ensure. I have spoken to solicitors in Glasgow involved in criminal law who are very well aware of the potential danger of control by criminal elements.”

Mill continued to condemn the bill’s proposals, saying : ““The money laundering rule of law and mortgage fraud implications are such that with the greatest conceivable respect the mechanisms in the Act are frankly risible.

Douglas Mill might worry about lawyers & criminals coming together, but as I reported earlier, its already happening, on a huge scale : Scotland's Got Crooked : Police investigation reveals hundreds of crooked lawyers & accountants assisting organised crime gangs

Mill also went onto claim it was inappropriate that lawyers be asked to put their own money into a ‘Guarantee Fund” which would also cover non-lawyers, putting forward the idea that a separate Guarantee Fund should be created by the Scottish Government for the non-lawyer entrants into the Alternative Business Structures legal services market.

Mill said : “Again Professor Paterson is correct in identifying that for the protection of the public, the Guarantee Fund presently operated by the Law Society of Scotland is essential. It is entirely inappropriate for traditional solicitors to be asked to be joint and severally liable for the financial actings of non-lawyer proprietors. The alternative is the funding of a separate Guarantee Fund for Alternative Business Structures. This is an area where the Government has to be careful or the disaster of the Scottish Executry Services Board will be repeated.”

It should be noted that despite Mr Mill’s claims of public protection via the Law Society’s current “Guarantee Fund” arrangements, the Law Society version is itself, mired in scandal and woefully short of funds, which you can read more about here : 'Ground-breaking' investigation into Law Society's Master Policy insurance reveals realities of corrupt claims process against crooked lawyers and here : Advisory : Clients must protect their money from unsafe legal firms as Law Society's Guarantee Fund fails

In a final swipe at the Scottish Government’s proposals, Douglas Mill attacks the regulatory architecture of the Legal Services Bill, even going so far as to propose an equivalent of the English Legal Services Board, to be independent of the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Government – interesting turn around from Mr Mill .. who I’m sure wants to head up any such organisation, much to the detriment of consumers, and Scots everywhere.

Douglas Mill Legal Services Bill Page 4Ex Law Society Chief finally admits independent regulation is a must if the legal services market is to be opened up in Scotland. Mr Mill said : “A Regulatory Architecture - I have to say in passing that the financial memorandum is totally and utterly unrealistic. For Alternative Business Structures to work in Scotland on a regulatory basis there requires to be a strong body independent of both the Law Society of Scotland and the Government and it has to be funded properly. In other words, there would require to be a Scottish equivalent of the Legal Services Board down South with all the costs that would imply. One alternative is however for the English Legal Services Board to have jurisdiction over ABSs with “outlets” in Scotland although this may correctly be seen as politically inappropriate.”

Douglas Mill’s letter to the Justice Committee on the Legal Services Bill can be downloaded in pdf format HERE

Douglas Mill does make some good points, particularly of course on independent regulation of the legal services market – including of course, independent regulation of solicitors. However, if we are to see it, people such as Mr Mill, despite his self proclaimed 12 year experience as THE regulator of solicitors in Scotland, must be kept well away from any ‘independent’ body to ensure the public get the protection they have as yet, never had against ‘crooked lawyers’ and others working in the legal services sector in Scotland.

Would Granny Swear by the Law Society - The Herald June 5 2006Mill’s confrontation with John Swinney effectively ended his run as the Law Society’s Chief Executive. For those not in tune with the recent past, Douglas Mill will be best remembered for spectacularly resigning in January 2007 a few weeks after video coverage was published of his terse confrontation with the now Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney over Mill’s own memos against clients of ‘crooked’ law firms, which the Herald newspaper reported the previous year had demonstrated a resolve to defeat client’s damages claims against Scottish solicitors & law firms and the infamous “Master Policy” Professional negligence insurance scheme run by crooked insurers Marsh UK & the Law Society itself.

You can read more about Douglas Mill’s resignation over the memo-gate affair, here : Breaking News : Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill who lied to Parliament, pursued 'personal vendetta' against critics - to resign and some previous reports on Douglas Mill, HERE


Anonymous said...

Mill has changed his spots only as you rightly point out to get on any new regulator created out of the Law Society mess.

Anonymous said...

Mill sounds very bitter

Anonymous said...

Mr Mill, I have still to read Peter's article, but I just want you to mentally put yourself in the position of clients who have no legal remedy, because people like you block access to justice to protect the profewssion. If you were a client, you would want justice too.

Self regulation is a one sided biased method of policing any profession, and it must be obliterated at all costs, for justice systems to have credibility.

It was proved you lied to the Justice 2 committee, and you had to resign because of that. Injustice anywhere pushes for a new equilibrium, and that it what we want. Not cover up and more poor legal service. Prosecutions of corrupt lawyers is essential, and this will ensure the others clean up their act. My sister was left (we have the documents) for five months with no money. Her incapacity benefit was stopped by her GP, because he was lying to the court. If her case got to court she would have discovered her GP of 30 years was lying to kill her litigation against her employer. Ross Harper solicitors did not challenge the GP, because all parties were insured by Royal Sun Alliance. Her employer eventually ternimated her contract. For five months her family paid all of her bills, and The Law Society of Scotland did not want to know. Without a strong family she would have been starved into submission, by people like you who only see the protection of people who should be jailed. THEY ARE ALL STILL PRACTICING.

Scotland's Legal System Mr Mill is run by criminals, who do not get prosecuted because of self regulation. Ross Harper will have left clients without money before, because they are insured by the same company, as my sister's employer was insured. If we ever can link these victims up we will be taking action to warn others of the criminals they are dealing with. Imagine if I could cut off all of your income Mr Mill? You think about it.

Anonymous said...

I dont think you should give this monster a platform on which to speak as I have been dealing with his thugs at the law Society for 3 years and still no further forward with my complaint and I would not believe a word Mill ever wrote

Anonymous said...

Mill will know plenty about money laundering crooked lawyers because many of his members are at it

Anonymous said...

First comment - I agree.
This is a play for a job by Mill but as Peter says he should not be allowed anywhere hear a regulator for legal services.

Anonymous said...

An alternative title could be "Mill - Yesterday's man who ruined his own job & reputation just to victimise people who complained against their lawyer sulks over reforms"

I for one would not like to see him back in any complaints system.He is a danger to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Mill has changed his spots only as you rightly point out to get on any new regulator created out of the Law Society mess.

I do not agree. How can any independent regulator of the legal profession generate trust with the public if Mr Mill, or any lawyer or their sympathisers are on that regulator. Mr Mill is out and he will have to stay out. He has no credibility, so I take what he says with a pinch of salt.

Visit Douglas Mill Consulting for a non wonderful experience said...

"The potential for direct Governmental control of the legal profession contained in for instance section 35 could reduce Scotland to the type of legal profession seldom seen outside South America and Equatorial Africa."

This is already the norm in Scotland.Mill is out of tune with what he himself was responsible for causing.

Anonymous said...

Totally in agreement with you - Mill is not to be trusted nor anything he says until at least he repairs all the damage he did to clients

Anonymous said...

Mill doesnt seem to like this open legal market idea :

Anonymous said...

Interesting character this Douglas Mill
For what you write he has done he should be in jail along with anyone who helped him

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Douglas caused all these problems on his own and probably the attack on Cumming who I doubt was as totally innocent as the media make out.

Anonymous said...
12 Jan 2010
Tods Murray partner profits down almost 50%

Profits payable to the 43 partners of Edinburgh based Tods Murray have fallen by almost 50% over two years.

The total paid has dropped from £8.7 million to £4.5 million, equating to an average payment per partner of £104,975, down from £197,873 in 2007.

Managing partner David Dunsire said the firm had experienced a slight fall in turnover in the 19 months to March 2009.

"Against that backdrop, we have taken the opportunity to review and adapt our business strategy going forward," he said.

"We believe that our firm will be stronger in the long term as a result and we remain confident in our future development."


Anonymous said...

What I am a bit concerned about here is we end up with even worse regulators like what happened with financial services - FIMBRA,PIA etc which caused a disaster for UK consumers and the ineffectual FSA who let the banks basically do as they pleased until they went bust.

Couldn't you just settle for the independent regulation part of the argument and let law firms get on with providing legal services but regulated by one powerful regulator ?

Anonymous said...

Only a lawyer could risk trusting you Mr Mill.

Anonymous said...

Give Mr Mill a holiday in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

just really shocked to read all this goes on in Scotland

hope you get it all sorted out and those who need it jailed !

Anonymous said...

Good evening Mr Mill,

Let us be honest. If you had not been caught out protecting lawyers, you would still be at the Law Society protecting lawyers. Why should anyone trust you? It seem to me your change of heart is insincere.

You shot yourself in the foot, by your own ways. Lawyers must never be trusted. You have many letters after your name, but a few are missing, C R O O K

Anonymous said...

Mr Mill would have protected crooked lawyers and kept protecting them if John Swinney had not undermined him at the Justice 2 committee meeting.

He is not sorry for protecting crooked lawyers, he is sorry for being caught. Every (you know what) gets their day.

Anonymous said...

With the way Scotland runs its law industry I'm no longer surprised Fred Goodwin, RBS and HBOS crippled the entire country.Now I just saw a video on You Tube of this creep Mill praising Goodwin as if he was a bloody hero! Disgusting.

There should be a purge of all Scottish lawyers and bankers around the world - get them out before they harm your companies because they all operate like Mill and his cronies.DANGEROUS PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW THEIR OWN ENDS AND WIPE OUT THE REST OF US!

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mill appears to be teaching law at Glasgow University Law School.

I will remember to keep that in mind and steer clear of any of his pupils in the event they turn out to be like him !

Anonymous said...

Mr Mill

Every day I tell my children not to trust lawyers, or priests because of corruption and child abuse. The priests do not believe they will be judged by god, or they would be afraid to follow their sick urges. I am not calling you a pervert, that would not be just or right, but you are a dangerous man to receive a complaint from a client about their lawyer. Our justice system is sick, the people who run it are protected like the Nazi's. The church did what you did, cover up.

Let the children suffer to protect the church, and these people tell me one day I will be judged by God. That is a joke, there are demons in the church because anyone who abuses a child should be burned.

One day Mr Mill, you may face your maker and pay with your soul for all the torment your conduct has caused clients. To me the Law Society of Scotland and it's membership are like the Nazi Party, and clients are like the Jews, because I have no doubt you would gas us if you could.

Anonymous said...

taken me an hour to read all this

good blog and good work kid! hope you get rid of these hoods!

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mills was the most dishonest, inompetent and corrupt Chief Executive the Law Society ever had, he was basically nothing but a crook and criminal, he perverted the course of justice in many claims by clients who made claims against the Law Societies Master Policy, which is almost impossible to make a claim against, thanks to Douglas Mills corrupt and criminal activities and interferance with all claims made against the Law Societies Master Policy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the whole thing is a set up to get him back at the Law Society ?

Anonymous said...

Decision makers who control the insurance companies payouts all have the best legal protection going, self regulation.

Those who decide if clients or patients get justice, self regulate, and the result is the Mr Mill kind, cover up what colleagues do to clients. Royal Sun Alliance the underwriters of the Master Insurance Policy love you Mr Mill, you have saved them millions. Your old colleagues at the Law Society, will operate the same way you did. They will be more careful they do not get caught. The Law Society is the Legal Professions Protection Society. It has nothing to do with protecting clients, and Masterman's quango is the same.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt at all whoever attacked Cumming was instructed to do so by one of the 'crooked' fraternity he was probably investigating but if you stand back and look at Cumming's investigations,mostly nothing ever happened and all the info collated just went to Mill's desk for a decision.Mill will have a little (big) black book on who is the dirtiest in the legal profession and I am sure he will use that at some stage to get his way (maybe he already has?)
Look on the bright side Peter,if Douglas Mill gets to sound off again at the Parliament you will get more coverage to use against the Law Society and all these miscreant lawyers!

Good luck and keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

A doctor's father died due to the negligence of another locum doctor.

The victims father wants changes made to the system, but would he have spoken out if the patient was one of his colleagues patients. I think not, such is the bias and chronic hypocrisy of the medical profession.

An injuction which killed a theatre nurse, resulted in a cover up when she was having a baby. Ironically the nurses family managed to get a solicitor to dig and found out about the cover up. Self regulation never works, it blocks access to justice, and protects the incompetent and corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Yes Peter, this is the real Mr Mill.

Mill’s confrontation with John Swinney effectively ended his run as the Law Society’s Chief Executive. For those not in tune with the recent past, Douglas Mill will be best remembered for spectacularly resigning in January 2007 a few weeks after video coverage was published of his terse confrontation with the now Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney over Mill’s own memos against clients of ‘crooked’ law firms, which the Herald newspaper reported the previous year had demonstrated a resolve to defeat client’s damages claims against Scottish solicitors & law firms and the infamous “Master Policy” Professional negligence insurance scheme run by crooked insurers Marsh UK & the Law Society itself.

Do the public think he will change his spots?

Anonymous said...

So in summary Mill's position is 'everything was fine when I was leading the law society, none of the recommendations will work, maintain the status quo'.

Particularly risible is Mill's stated 'concern' about persons or organisations who are neither fit or proper becoming part of the Scottish Legal community - Mill's has made sure that every Scottish Solicitor must rely on an insurance provder whose shameful and unlawful conduct - I am referring to the 'Marsh Frauds' reported in the USA and elsewhere -is a matter of record, yet has still been allowed to enjoy what is effectively a monopoly for many years in the provision of Professional Indemnity Insurance and the Master Policy.

Doubtless Mill's friends on the Committee will see matters differently.

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mill wants his job back - plain and simple !

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the new Principal at Glasgow University has doubts about whether Mill's career history sends the right message to prospective students - Mill was appointed to the Law Department when Sir Russell Muir, the Edinburgh civil servant involved in the massive overspend on the Scottish Parliament building, was in charge at the University.

Funny how things always lead back to Edinburgh isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me Peter, that you have broke the camels back with regards to getting the word out to the public concerning the state of the legal pofession and Douglas Mill has obviously adopted the (if you cant beat them join them attitude) as the writing is clearly on the wall with his change of heart that the good old days of stealing from the vulnerable are coming to an end. It also looks like Mill can recognise the future demise of the SLCC and thinks that there may be an opening position for him to (Chair) a new non lawyer regulator comission and obviously thinks we can all be fooled again? No chance Mr Mill I would rather pass a kidney stone than see you in charge of anything?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you gave this loony yet another platform.

Mr Mill really is yesterday's man, Peter. I know he did you a great disservice, probably caused a lot of people a lot of hurt but is he really worth another page on your very fine blog ?

Anonymous said...

Mr Mill is a most detestable character.

Anonymous said...

End self regulation Mr Mill, you will be popular with your old chums at the Law Society of Scotland.

Lawyers are cancer, destroying the people they abuse to earn their corn, and steal from people who cannot fight back. To be honest Mr Mill, if I had my way the Law Society of Scotland and their members including the complaints commission would be gassed with Zyklon B. Watching the colour drain from lawyers faces would be the ultimate pleasure. Have a nice day. I hope you are sincere, we shall see?

I hope my views are not too strong Peter but if you do not publish I will understand. All the best.

Anonymous said...

No chance Mr Mill I would rather pass a kidney stone than see you in charge of anything.
I cannot argue with this statement.

Anonymous said...

also very embarrasing as he is at my uni and for what I dont f*ing know ! said...

How is Douglas Mill's dead granny ?
Remember the one he swore on her grave he didnt protect crooked lawyers ?