Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Lawyers squabble over control of legal services monopoly & regulation as Scots consumers forced to wait for wider access to justice

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society’s argument to maintain closed shop legal services weak. The debate on the Legal Services Bill, which aims to open up Scotland’s monopolistic legal services market, currently dominated by solicitors & the Law Society of Scotland, took another twist at the weekend with the appearance on television of the current President of the Law Society, Ian Smart & the Govan Law Centre’s Mike Dailly, where chiefly, the concerns of the profession itself were debated, rather than how consumers would ultimately benefit from long needed changes to the way we choose our legal representatives & access justice.

A clip of the interview, from BBC Scotland’s The Politics Show, passed onto me makes for interesting viewing for all those concerned about how the legal profession wish to keep their business market stitched up as the long held monopoly which lawyers have been used to maintaining over the public’s access to justice.

Both Mr Smart & Mr Dailly appeared not so interested in the lot of the client, (who is after all paying for them to offer legal services as a business, rather than some noble cause which serves the community) more the representatives of the legal profession, minus anyone from the consumer lobby, appeared to focus on the internal squabble for control of the Law Society itself, and its current dual roles of representing solicitors as well as regulating them, and of course its alleged claims to represent the clients best interests, claims which we all know to be .. well … a deceit.

Law Society President Ian Smart & Govan Law Centre’s Mike Dailly on Legal Services Reform.

From the debate I note Mr Dailly brings up the well known issue of supermarkets & banks price fixing their services & products. Well of course we all know the legal profession does exactly the same, and gets away with it time & again as there is no recourse to question solicitors bills (false, padded, or genuine) other than submitting the account to an almost bogus audit to the auditor of the court, who also usually happens to be a solicitor.

I think we need less of those one sheet A4 letters with four lines of text on it, charged at £160+VAT each which solicitors are so famous for charging clients for (usually around 10 or more at a time over at least a year and nothing achieved in the client’s case) and more competition where consumers will be able to shop around for legal services rather than be ripped off by the current crop of … well .. for the want of a better term, qualified robbers ?

Fortunately for Scots, there are more sensible forces in the debate on legal services reform such as Which?, who have done a lot of work to bring the Legal Services Bill to the Scottish Parliament, after the whole process was kicked off by the Which? “super-complaint” to the Office of Fair Trading, which you can read about in a previous report, here Consumers call for OFT Inquiry to investigate restriction of legal services in Scotland

Which? recently did a survey of consumers, supporting the notion that most Scots wish to see a more open legal services market, and be given freedom of choice on who represents their legal interests, rather than being forced to use a solicitor who can basically charge what they want (that old price fixing model solicitors have been used to all these years).

Which? research concluded most Scots want more open legal services market & independent regulation (click on images to view larger versions)

Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 1 Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 2 Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 3 Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 4

Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 5 Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 6 Which consumer resarch on legal services for Scotland Page 7

For consumers to be able to trust & depend on legal services, independent regulation is a must, considering the disgraceful history of the Law Society of Scotland and now the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission on the subject of regulating complaints against solicitors.

Sadly the Scottish Governments Legal Services Bill currently lacks any significant proposals for independent regulation of legal services in Scotland, as the Law Society seems to have easily arm twisted the likes of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill into backing away from that idea for now … but the campaign goes on to bring fully independent regulation to Scotland’s currently ill served legal services market.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Having watched Smart & Dailly's poor impression of good cop bad cop I'd prefer lawyers were taken out of the legal services market altogether.A very poor showing from the Law Society and no wonder Mr Campbell looked slightly bemused at it all.

Anonymous said...

Thats how the president of the law society turns up to a tv debate ????

Anonymous said...

Quite right, nothing short of an end to self regulation will suffice.

Anonymous said...

Both come across as sanctimonious pricks and do little for their own arguments however the big miss here is no one from the Scottish Government there to promote their bill.

Whats up Scot nats ? have you deserted the sinking legal reform ship even before stage 2 ?

Anonymous said...

Yes as you say Peter,Which? put in a lot of effort over this, and very happy to see their research proves Laurel & Hardy wrong.

Good work.

Anonymous said...

I think we need less of those ... qualified robbers"

FULLY BEHIND YOU ON THAT PETER !!!!

Anonymous said...

I am sure both buffoons are going around saying "Oh look how well we did on BBC" but the truth is they look a right selfish pair of money grabbers irrespective of how they dress.

I look forward to buying my legal services from Tesco than having to use either of these cretins.

Anonymous said...

Looks more and more like the 'smoke and mirrors' campaign you wrote of previously - all designed to prevent any improvement to the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Strange no one from Consumer Focus Scotland has come forward on this matter.Are they asleep or what ?

Anonymous said...

So what is the point of these supposed reforms if all thats happening is lawyers are going to be allowed to bring in outside money ? This has nothing to do with offering people more choice over legal representation its all about business within the legal profession itself.STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN ALONG WITH MACASKILL's BS

Anonymous said...

Smart does not have a smart dress code, perhaps he is looking for compassion by pretending to be poor? I would not trust Smart or Dailly.

Anonymous said...

Well I just want to say after watching that clip,Scottish lawyers SUCK !

Anonymous said...

I think the clip you linked shows a great need for removing regulation and representation of clients interests from the Law Society.How anyone can trust a lawyer in Scotland after reading some of your other posts is beyond me.They are undoubtedly a self serving bunch who do not hold their clients in much regard.

Good luck in your campaigns.

Anonymous said...

As usual a deafening silence from that other quango the so called Consumer Focus Scotland group, another group long past its sell by date.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting although I feel the research carried out by Which? should have had top billing instead of the two solicitors having a go at each other in the video clip who are both undesirable to me as legal reps.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said about the Scottish legal complaints commission.they are totally useless and have done nothing with my complaint after 4 months.probably just as crooked as the Law society is

Anonymous said...

I think we need less of those one sheet A4 letters with four lines of text on it, charged at £160+VAT each which solicitors are so famous for charging clients for (usually around 10 or more at a time over at least a year and nothing achieved in the client’s case) and more competition where consumers will be able to shop around for legal services rather than be ripped off by the current crop of … well .. for the want of a better term, qualified robbers ?

YES PETER AND CLIENTS WHO REFUSE TO PAY FACE LEGAL THREATS FROM THE SAME RATS WHO KNOW CLIENTS HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE, THAN ASK FOR HELP FROM ANOTHER MEMBER OF SMART'S CHRONIC CROOKED HOUSE OF CORRUPTION. A LICENCE TO PLUNDER CLIENTS ACCOUNTS IF EVER THERE WAS ONE.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments on this article.

As some have already pointed out, I too think the debate on the current Legal Services Bill is in danger of being seen as something of an internal squabble between lawyers, rather than a genuine attempt to give the public more choice over who they purchase legal services from.

Perhaps the reforms could have been more widely advertised & consulted on ... but that is the fault of the Scottish Government, as campaigners & consumer organisations can only do so much ... and the issue is apparently too complicated for newspapers with decent circulations to take on as a theme ...

The public should have a right to choose who represents their legal interests, and feel safe in that choice, that, if something goes wrong down the line, there is independent regulation which will address any concerns and deal with any problems effectively .. however, neither of these aims will be satisfied by the Legal Services Bill as it currently stands.

"Another Fine Mess ..." suits the proposals on the table so far ...

Anonymous said...

Scottish lawyers are not fit to represent members of the public. The latter are dealing with human garbage, of the lowest rank. The politicians are no better.

The Govan Law Centre would not help me against my crooked lawyer from Ross Harper. I was indeed foolish to think any lawyer would help me.

Anonymous said...

Watched the clip,read yours and the stuff from Which.

Dailly & Smart are both history.We are well rid of them when Tesco Law comes along.

The Law Society should be winding itself up now and letting consumers get their own representative body.I urge you to think about this carefully now Peter because there are not many around who are as expert at all this as you are.

Good work as always.

Anonymous said...

Great work Peter.

Anonymous said...

Take my advice and bail out of Scotland before it sinks of this mess the lawyers put you all into.

Anonymous said...

if politicians can be sent to court over stealing from taxpayers so should lawyers be sent down for their extortion of clients

Anonymous said...

Doctors use legal privilidge, and lawyers bar other lawyers clients from justice to protect their colleagues and insurers.

Omnipotent professions, or criminals will far too much power for the public's own good.

Rats in wigs and rats in white coats.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the Law Society new solicitors, a crooked looking bunch if ever there was one. They are in the right place.

Anonymous said...

Dailly states he could not sue a bank if a law firm was controlled by a the bank, he therefore cannot sue other lawyers. Put it this way Mr Dailly, would you sue Andrew Penman and Howitt for Peter Cherbi, enough said.

Dailly "500 years of independence", no oppression is the right word here.

Smart states. Client protection, Smart this is non existant, you are like Douglas Mill.

Anonymous said...

Dailly and Smart distort reality in the video clip, they are acting out of their own interests, nothing to do with clients.

The big supermarkets will squash the Govan Law Centre like a gorilla standing on a grape, that is what Mr Dailly is afraid of.

I see Mr Smart got dressed up for the interview.

Anonymous said...

Mr Dailly your firm would not sue Ross Harper Solicitors for me, I had more chance of getting a flight to Mars. So please do not try to fool the public, lawyers are a club of self protectors and that is what you are doing in this interview with your sidekick who looks as if he had fell out of bed.

Anonymous said...

Now we see just how much lawyers dont deserve the place they made for themselves in life.Burn away self regulation and criminalise the conduct of the thieving thugs who are no better than any other business.CROOKS!

Anonymous said...

Dailly and Smart, the apple dumpling gang, looking after their own interests as usual. Not one of them would help a client stung by a lawyer.

Smart, please do not keep saying things about client protection, you both know only lawyers get protection.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Peter,I believe we have real problems with this pair running the justice show in Scotland.Good riddance when Tesco Law comes along!