Friday, March 26, 2010

Tesco Law swapped for ‘Penman vote fiddle’ as Law Society’s support for legal services bill leads to solicitors civil war over access to justice

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland accused by its own members of not being democratic. SOLICITORS CLIENTS in Scotland have known for years, the Law Society of Scotland are, to put it mildly, a rather undemocratic organisation when it comes to taking into account the views of up to 5000 clients a year in dealing with regulatory issues & complaints against solicitors, with most complaints receiving what is commonly known as the ‘whitewash treatment’, where solicitors facing even the worst complaints would still remain in a job, no matter how severe the offence, or how severe the financial loss to consumers.

However, only now with the advent of a new legal services model for Scotland, where consumers may actually have the right to choose a non-lawyer to represent their legal interests, do solicitors find out the Law Society’s ‘undemocratic streak’ works both ways, after yesterday’s ‘vote nobbling’ of the Special General Meeting called by the Scottish Law Agents Society, where over 3000 'proxy votes’ cast by solicitors mainly it would seem, against the Law Society’s support of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill, were put aside, because the Law Society knew it would lose the vote. So, its only taken since 1949 .. some sixty years late, for solicitors to come out and call their own governing body undemocratic, and unwilling to listen to its own membership. Well .. all I can say to that is welcome to the real world.

Clients have felt maligned by the the Law Society’s ‘lack of democracy’ for decades under the society’s self regulation of the legal profession, where clients who had the need to complain of poor service or otherwise from their legal representative consistently had their complaints, views, evidence and pleas for help cast aside by Drumsheugh Gardens time after time after time .. a well worn path by the Law Society, and now the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which continues to this day.

Tell me, members of the Scottish legal profession .. where were all your protests when clients suffered a raw deal at the hands of the Law Society ? Is that a pin I hear dropping ?

Seriously, over the years of writing my blog, some solicitors have come to me saying things along the lines of “all this must end”, “self regulation has to go”, “we know we would be better off without the Law Society of Scotland” … but not once have I seen headlines in the newspapers of something along the lines of “Solicitors challenge their own Law Society to give clients greater say over complaints”. If such a move had taken place, believe me, members of the legal profession, you would have had much greater respect from the Scots population many years ago.

Where only now, that certain quarters of the legal profession itself are realising their dominant control of Scotland’s legal services market is threatened, do we see solicitors protesting against their own governing body … not for the best interests of clients (although I’m sure some claim that is exactly what they have in mind) .. moreover the protests are about money, and the loss of it.

Its just not good enough. As solicitors, you all have yourselves to blame for the mess you are in, which ultimately clients will have to pay for.

Decades of confrontation with clients, decades of lies, deceit, decades of arm twisting Members of the Scottish Parliament, and their Members of Parliament at Westminster before them into watering down or killing off proposals to reform regulation of the legal profession, reform of rights of audience, reform of court procedures, reform of civil & criminal law, and now, reform of the public’s access to justice, has given the public a view of the legal profession which will never change .. that of a selfish, manipulative, corrupt, anti-client, anti-consumer monopolistic business who will stop at nothing to protect its own interests.

It could have been so different, if the profession’s membership had listened to its fee paying clients, consumers and well .. common sense, all those years ago, but even now, as solicitors I doubt you are at all interested in the views of the very consumers who pay your way and maintain your existence. When you are, then you can claim you have clients best interests at heart in your accusations against the Law Society … but until then, be honest, its only about money – not the client’s best interests …

However, even in today’s newspapers, the rights of consumers in this debate on legal services, still seem very far away, as the grim reading in today’s papers makes for the chance of passing legislation increasing Scots access to justice, where The Times reports that We got it very wrong, admits Law Society boss as ‘Tesco law’ founders, the Scotsman reporting : Law Society accused of 'affront to democracy' as voting postponed and the Herald reports : Blocking ‘Tesco law’ could cost Scotland £500 million, warns law society president

Ian SmartLaw Society’s Ian Smart – no nobbled vote here, its just we knew we’d lose it so we adjourned it ! In a release from the Law Society, its President Ian Smart continued the society’s line on the Legal Services bill, saying : “The Legal Services (Scotland) Bill proposes major changes. There is no disguising that there are differing opinions within the profession on this. However all sides must be happy that there is now a fuller engagement with these issues and it would be churlish not to acknowledge the contributions of the Scottish Law Agents in that process. It was clear that as the debate proceeded today, the two sides may not be as far apart as perceived prior to the meeting. The decision to adjourn was taken in the hope that we might yet reach agreement on a way forward that is acceptable to the vast majority of our membership.”

Clearly the Law Society knew it would lose the vote, so, simple way of dealing with that is to stop the vote. Yes, a good show for democracy there, but as consumers we have all experienced this same policy where the Law Society deals with thorny issues .. simply kill discussion, kill reforms, kill any chance of public debate.

Scotsman coverage of some of the stories relating to Andrew PenmanLaw Society insider James Ness, famed for nobbling a Committee decision to send Borders solicitor Andrew Penman to the SSDT announced the vote would be cancelled. The opposing view from the Scottish Law Agents Society, revealed, amazingly, that James Ness, whom readers may remember, represented Scotland’s most famous crooked lawyer, Andrew Penman, before the Complaints Committee back in 1994 and got him off the hook from some of the most serious complaints imaginable, announced the vote proposed by the SLAS would not go ahead. Well, there’s a surprise ! So the shadow of crooked Borders solicitor Andrew Penman is still playing a hand in obstructing consumer reforms to legal services, and at the same time cancelling a vote by lawyers against their own Law Society of Scotland.

From the Scottish Law Agents Society website : “Deputy Registrar, James Ness announced that the motion to adjourn the meeting, once seconded, would go straight to a vote without need for a direct negative or opportunity for any members to address the motion, either in support or in opposition. Further, the proxy votes would be excluded from the vote so that the motion would be decided by those personally present. A number of points of order were raised from the floor and, while these were courteously answered, matters proceeded as initially ordered by the Deputy Registrar and the whole meeting suddenly disappeared through a sort of metaphorical trapdoor.”

“It had been fairly clear from the outset that, with the Law Society Council in attendance, the number of persons present who opposed the motion substantially outnumbered those who supported it, in the proportion of about 2:1, just as it was also obvious from the the proxy records which had been duly prepared and circulated by the organisers, that the proxies in favour of the motion outnumbered those against, in the proportion of almost 3:1. It was no surprise, therefore, when the option was certain defeat if the issue went to a vote, that those who opposed the motion duly voted for the adjournment of the meeting. This led to some further points of order and indeed to some outspoken adverse criticisms of the process which were finally brought to a conclusion when SLAS President Scanlan delivered a polite acknowledgement and acceptance of the technical correctness of the outcome.”

You can read more about how James Ness aided Mr Penman, blocking his prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, here : How Law Society's 'cancelled' prosecution of Borders solicitor Andrew Penman ignited moves to reform regulation of Scotland’s crooked lawyers

Scottish GovernmentScottish Government – ever so eager to concede to lawyers demands over consumer rights. Next week, we can expect more arm twisting from the legal profession on the Scottish Government & Scottish Parliament, inevitably bringing further concessions on the Legal Services Bill, perhaps watering down completely any chance that Scots will gain the right to choose their own legal representatives from an expanded legal services market, rather than be forced to live under the current regime where the legal profession itself determines who among us has the right to pay through the nose for access to justice …

Is this fair to consumers ? It certainly is not …. but as we see from the vested interests at play here, consumers have little or no voice in this battle over legal services at all, as the legal profession have already secured their political allies, even in the form of the Justice Committee Convener himself, Bill Aitken who, by the sounds of his praise for Douglas Mill and solicitors in general, is apparently dead against any reforms to giving people control over their own legal affairs … perhaps, then, as someone pointed out earlier to me today, the Office of Fair Trading will have to step in and force a change on behalf of Scots consumers, to ensure at least someone, is protecting our interests in this debate on legal services …

You can read my own coverage of the Legal Services Bill here : Legal Services Bill for Scotland - The story so far

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

imagine that !
another crooked lawyer stops his own pals voting against the law society !

Anonymous said...

Ian Smart must resign along with the entire Council if we are to get any peace over this.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the legal profession are only interested in themselves and to hell with the consumer.

The Law Society is obviously not fit for purpose, should be scrapped immediately and a truly independent and rigourous regulator brought in to protect the people who matter - the Scottish Public.

Anonymous said...

"Tell me, members of the Scottish legal profession .. where were all your protests when clients suffered a raw deal at the hands of the Law Society ? Is that a pin I hear dropping ?"

Greedy bastards generally dont protest when they are making oodles of money
As you say now because they fear losing that moeny they are protesting !

Anonymous said...

I would be wary of the SLAS account as they dont represent a significant part of the profession.Nevertheless your arguments about regulation are valid.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget the SLAS President & former Law Society President Michael Scanlan is married to the SLCC's Margaret Scanlan,of "called to the bars" fame courtesy of you.

Hidden agendas within the profession now coming to light so where do you stand on the 'civil war' Mr Cherbi ?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 16.23

Yes .. although little surprise to me to hear it was James Ness who announced it ...

# Anonymous @ 16.41

Yes, I agree ...

# Anonymous @ 16.47

Indeed ... this is a very selfish debate on legal services within the profession .. with the consumer interest taking last place ...

# Anonymous @ 16.48

Yes that sums it up ...

# Anonymous @ 18.05

Margaret Scanlan 'called' herself to the bars ...

I stand on the side of the consumer ... who as clients, pay for the legal profession to exist.

Consumers have the right to choose who represents their legal interests rather than the profession choosing who it will represent and thus allow access to justice ...

Anonymous said...

As the author of the comment at 26 March 2010 18:05 let me just say Peter I support you 100% in your argument to free up legal services.

The Scanlans are no friends of mine and I think its a shocking state of affairs that solicitors of any kind sit on the SLCC,including Mrs Scanlan.

Keep up your very good writing.

Anonymous said...

Quite a full report there Peter and very interesting.

I also agree its nice to see these leeches at each other's throats and just shows us they cant be trusted to do consumers legal work.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers are selfish, manipulative, corrupt, anti-client, anti-consumer monopolistic business who will stop at nothing to protect its own interests.
Well Peter they even let people committ suicide, so driven are they to protect their own, Mr Yelland was responsible for this.

Sam said...

Remember SLAS had a hand in forming the Legal Defence Union - that bunch of bastards who protect lawyers at any cost:
http://www.slas.co.uk/legal_defence_union.php

The Legal Defence Union (LDU) was formed in 1987 for the specific purpose of promoting and protecting the welfare of solicitors in Scotland. Indeed, the concept of an independent defence body for solicitors received unanimous support at the 1987 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of Scotland.

The LDU was the result of a joint initiative by the Scottish Law Agents Society - which is one of the oldest solicitors’ organisations in Scotland - and the Glasgow Bar Assocation.

It is committed to protecting the interests of all solicitors in Scotland whether engaged in court, conveyancing or commercial work, in town or country, and in all areas of activity.

At a wider level, the LDU aims to promote the interests and defence of solicitors in Parliament, in the media, and to the general public.

The LDU offers a refuge to solicitors in trouble by providing prompt, expert and wholly confidential professional advice. Assistance is available on a local or national basis and there is no restriction on choice of adviser.

It has extensive experience in advising on the problems which may affect solicitors. These include the most serious emergencies of professional life; for example, the threat of contempt of court, police raids on the office, Law Society or Guarantee Fund inspections or a citation to appear before the Discipline Tribunal. The LDU can also help with the many lesser sanctions facing solicitors such as Inadequate Professional Services, problems of conflict, conduct, confidentiality and other risk areas.

Financial support to conduct a solicitor’s defence is also provided if required. Members are automatically covered by Legal Expenses insurance for legal representation to defend their rights as solicitors before a professional disciplinary body, Law Society committee, criminal court on a matter of professional conduct, or in certain civil matters.

Anonymous said...

Lovely to see bent little Andrew Penman come back and bite the Law Society in the arse for saving him all those years ago.

Great stuff Peter keep rattling their cages !

Anonymous said...

None of this will succeed.
The Law Society will survive because the Scottish Executive needs them to maintain order in the profession.Dailly Scanlan and their group are no in touch with the reality of things.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dont forget the SLAS President & former Law Society President Michael Scanlan is married to the SLCC's Margaret Scanlan,of "called to the bars" fame courtesy of you.

Thats very revealing on its own !

So if I have this straight,the President of SLAS is married to a Board member of the SLCC who regulate lawyers conduct ?

We are therefore talking about some kind of coup by SLAS against the Law Society so really this is just a struggle for control not a split.Dailly & Scanlan see themselves as liberating the profession from Ian Smart and the Council but all they want is to replace them and knock off the Legal services Bill in the process.

Do they think we are stupid or what ?

Anonymous said...

why not just let both sides fight it out then wipe out whoever is left ?
be a lot easier for you and anyway they will be just as crooked as the rest !

Anonymous said...

"Further, the proxy votes would be excluded from the vote so that the motion would be decided by those personally present."

Mr Ness sounds an expert in the field of vote rigging.

I'm surprised no one called for a Police investigation of this but most of those present are shady characters anyway.

Anonymous said...

All you lawyer bastards are reaping what you have sown. Never has a profession been hated so much, and every one of you are warped criminals who see only what you want to see. You are all an affront to justice, from the law student to Lord Arthur Hamilton. Human vermin parasites who prey on people because you think they are of low intelligence. If any of you can bypass your anti client prejudices, what would you do in the clients shoes?

You are at war with the Law Society because of Tesco Law. You all loved the Law Society when Penman was being molycoddled. Only when you see a threat to profits do you mutiny. This speaks volumes about the mindset of the self regulator.

Anonymous said...

Kill discussion, kill reforms, kill any chance of public debate, AND IF THIS DOES NOT WORK KILL THE CLIENT.

ALL LAWYERS ARE CRIMINALS FROM LAW SCHOOL TO RETIREMENT. SCOTLAND'S LEGAL DICTATORS.

Anonymous said...

All those opposed to the reforms which are for the good of clients should make themselves known instead of hiding behind a secret ballot.That way we get to find out which lawyers to avoid using!

Anonymous said...

26 March 2010 22:46
Even if the Police were called in I for one wouldn't trust them or the outcome.

Anonymous said...

I hope all parties realise the amount of business confidence the events of the past week are losing law firms.

Anonymous said...

As the author of the comment at 26 March 2010 18:05 let me just say Peter I support you 100% in your argument to free up legal services.

Peter I also agree and a letter was published about McKenzie Friends this week so some papers have the guts to publish in the public interest. Let us have more of this so that people are aware to quote you Peter "The Law Society have interdicted an entire nation on this issue".

Lawyers are heading for the abyss, their reputations ruined because the people who provide their lifestyles are unimportant to them. We clients will destroy the reputation if these greedy, calculating, manipulative criminals so that all Scots know what they are up against when the go to a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

William Chisholm The Scotsman 11 October 1996

The son of a Borders businessman wants a report which investigated allegations of misconduct by a solicitor handling his father's estate to be re-opened.

Peter Cherbi has sent the report to Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth, with a demand for further action. He wants Mr Forsyth to force the Law Society to reopen the report to allow a prosecution of the lawyer, Andrew Penman, by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.

The Law Society investigation concluded that Mr Penman, of the Kelso law firn of P & J Stormonth Darling, should be prosecuted by the tribunal for the "appalling" way he handled the executry of Gino Cherbi, a Jedburgh businessman whose estate was valued at £300,000, after his death in 1990, aged 73.

But the decision to prosecute Mr Penman has been shelved in favour of a reprimand.

PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND, MR CHERBI'S LAWYER AND ACCOUNTANT RUINED HIS INHERITANCE SO PLEASE IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE TO YOUR KIDS NEVER MAKE A LAWYER OF ACCOUNTANT IN CHARGE OF THIS. THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND WANTED TO REPRIMAND MR CHERBI'S LAWYER, MR PENMAN ABOVE.
TODAY PEOPLE MOSTLY BUT THEIR OWN HOUSES, DO NOT WORK ALL OF YOUR LIVES AND LEAVE A LAWYER OR ACCOUNTANT AS EXECUTOR OF YOUR WILL. THESE PEOPLE ARE CRIMINALS WHO CAN STEAL YOUR ASSETS LEGALLY. AN ESTATE VALUED AS THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS VANISHES, AND THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND DO NOT PROSECUTE THE LAWYER RESPONSIBLE.

THESE PEOPLE RUIN CLIENTS BECAUSE OF THIS CULTURE TO MOLLYCODDLE CROOKED LAWYERS, ACCOUNTANTS AND DOCTORS GET THE SAME TREATMENT. THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND IS A CARTEL OF LAWYER CRIMINALS, CORRUPT, DEVIANT, RUTHLESS. NEVER LEAVE YOUR MONEY WITH LAWYERS OR ACCOUNTANTS.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Very good. All those 'consumers' praying for open legal services will be crawling back to their High Street lawyers when the new boys drop their shiny new toys after becoming bored.

Where will you all be then ?
Without a lawyer thats where.

PLEASE NEW READERS TRUST NO LAWYER THERE IS PLENTY OF PROOF OF LAWYER CORRUPTION ON THE INTERNET, ALSO LOOK AT www.sacl/info TO SEE PHOTOGRAPHS OF SCOTLANDS CROOKED SELF REGULATORS.
===================================
PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND, THE LAWYER WHO LEFT THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS AN IDIOT.

IF A LAWYER RUINES YOU, NO OTHER LAWYER WILL HELP YOU. LET US SAY YOUR LAWYER HAS RUINED YOU, AND YOU GO TO ANY LAW FIRM IN SCOTLAND FOR HELP. ALL SCOTTISH LAWYERS ARE INSURED BY ROYAL SUN ALLIANCE THROUGH THE CORRUPT LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND'S MASTER POLICY. ALL LAWYERS HAVE RECIPROCAL BONDS OF LOYALTY AND TRUST. A LAWYER WILL NOT EXPOSE YOUR ORIGINAL CROOKED LAWYER FOR YOU. EVEN IF HE OR SHE DID THEY WOULD BE HURTING THEIR OWN INSURERS.

IT IS THE SAME AT WORK. SAY YOU GET RSI AND DECIDE TO SUE. ALL LAWYERS, DOCTORS INCLUDING YOUR GP AND YOUR EMPLOYER ARE INSURED BY ROYAL SUN ALLIANCE. YOUR INJURIES WILL BE COVERED UP FROM THE DAY YOU SIGN LEGAL AID FORMS BECAUSE YOUR LAWYERS AND DOCTORS INSURERS WOULD BE PAYING YOUR DAMAGES.

EMPLOYERS DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HEALTH & SAFETY AT WORK UNLESS YOUR INJURIES ARE VISIBLE.

Anonymous said...

www.sacl/info go to bent judges

Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers state

"Lord Hamilton abuses his position to cover-up legal misconduct and criminality in Scotland's courts".

See Mr Cherbi's posting on McKenzie friends for Scotland to understand Lord Hamilton's Position on the debate.

Our Justice Minister Mr Kenny MacAskill on U tube

http://www.youtube.co./watch?v=iqFTJ0hOx4o&feature=related

Mr MacAskill defends and protects the legal system and it's cohorts because Mr MacAskill is a lawyer himself.

Anonymous said...

NEW READERS PLEASE NEVER TRUST A LAWYER SEE www.sacl/info

"The serious misconduct perpetrated by the 110 senior lawyers and judges, is just the tip of an iceberg. The human cost of this legal corruption is incalculable; years of stress, impoverishment and even suicide. There is also a huge burden to the taxpayer in funding a legal profession which has a vested financial interest in perverting Civil and Criminal Justice".

Look at the Rogues Gallery on the above website to get a picture of lawyer criminality in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

International observer mission of the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands ("Lockerbie Court")
" It is to be noted further that the defense teams for the two accused Libyan nationals – and in particular for the sentenced Libyan national – were not chosen by the two Libyan individuals, but by the Libyan government. Mr. Al-Megrahi’s defense team was chosen by the Libyan authorities and paid for by them, not by Mr. Al-Megrahi who has no funds. It did not act in defense of its client in a professional manner, but may have acted according to the instructions of the Libyan authorities whose interests are not necessarily directed towards establishing the truth in this particular matter of criminal justice, but towards reaching a political settlement with the United States and the United Kingdom for the removal of the sanctions and for unhindered economic cooperation".
Dr. Hans Koechler is on record as stating that the Scottish Justice System is like that of a Banana Republic. Dr Jim Swire who lost his daughter Flora states on his website
1. The identification of Al-Megrahi: In an extraordinary development in 2005, Maltese shopkeeper Toni Gauci was exposed as an unreliable witness by the man who in 1991 indicted Megrahi, former Scottish Lord Advocate Peter Fraser. In Fraser's words, Gauci was "an apple short of a picnic." And yet the judges trusted Gauci's contradictory and confused evidence, and ignored the fact that Gauci was on a promise of a multi-million dollar reward if Al-Megrahi was convicted. It is now documented and proved that Gauci was paid at least $2 million for his evidence, and his brother Paul $1 million.
2. The alleged bomb timer fragment: Was it planted to frame Libya for the crime? The fragment's label had been altered by unknown persons. And its finding and examination by Dr Thomas Hayes proved highly suspicious. A series of scientific tests in 2009 have proved that its survival two centimetres from the centre of a high explosive fireball was impossible.
-----------------------------------
I think Mr MacAskill released this man to protect the Scottish Legal Establishment.

Anonymous said...

It must be thrilling to be able to say "I told you so" about James Ness & Drew Penman.
Both should be thrown out the profession for the calamity they have brought us.

Anonymous said...

The majority of the press are either cowards or lawyer lovers.

Anonymous said...

Hootsmon claim "peace" has broken out between the two groups of greedy bastards (probably they realised their greed had spilled out into public and some were starting to notice)

http://business.scotsman.com/legalissues/Peace-breaks-out-in-Law.6186803.jp

Anonymous said...

Received a letter from my lawyer this morning with a bill for work he claims needed doing on my title deeds.Just called his office to say I will be in this afternoon to pick up my files as I never gave him permission to do any of the work he is now talking about.

Will let you know how I get on.

Anonymous said...

That Scotsman story - is that news or just the Law Society's angle ?

There will be no "peace" as long as abs is on the table.

Anonymous said...

Good expose of the innards of Scotland's crooked legal establishment.Your blog should serve as a warning to anyone using or thinking of using a lawyer up there.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Very good. All those 'consumers' praying for open legal services will be crawling back to their High Street lawyers when the new boys drop their shiny new toys after becoming bored.
===================================
You hope, I do not think so. It is dealing with crooked lawyers like you in the first place, that make us want reform. Your statement above is a sign of desperation and a reflection of your intellect.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Received a letter from my lawyer this morning with a bill for work he claims needed doing on my title deeds.Just called his office to say I will be in this afternoon to pick up my files as I never gave him permission to do any of the work he is now talking about.

Will let you know how I get on.


YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING, TRUST NO LAWYER, SCOTLAND'S BAD EGGS.

Anonymous said...

Long live freedom of speech and freedom of expression, our civil rights to dissent, because dissent created civil rights in many countries, and those without civil rights are already spiritually dead.

Dissidents are powerful. Victory to the people of Scotland. Victory over LEGAL DICTATORSHIP.


Mr MacAskill I do not like you but I do not hate you either. You can protect your profession because you and your friends control the policymaking process. But you cannot silence us, you cannot crush dissent, and you are losing a battle for justice because you protect injustice. It is not possible Mr MacAskill to reach into the mind of a member of the legal profession. Even when you have a lawyers civil war clients rights are of no importance to you.

Anonymous said...

right now from where I sit I wouldn't recommend a Scots lawyer if they paid me $5m!
You have a big problem over there hope you get it fixed

Anonymous said...

the rest of it :
http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Peace-breaks-out-in-Law.6186803.jp

Later, a Law Society spokeswoman insisted the adjournment had been fair and fully within the terms of the body's constitution. "All of the proxy votes cast are still valid and will be held until the meeting reconvenes," she said. "The society's members will be informed of when the meeting will be reconvened."

For his part, Law Society president Ian Smart also insisted the developments at the meeting had been above board, and that the adjournment and subsequent announcement of negotiation had come as a result of the contributions made by members on the day.

"It became apparent as the speeches were going on that the two sides were not maybe as far apart as we had thought," he insisted. "There was a willingness to compromise on the part of the law agents, and to be fair, more of a willingness to compromise on the part of the big firms."

"Both sides looked over the precipice and backed off," he added.

McGovern denied he had been party to any agreement, but insisted that, notwithstanding the events of Thursday, his organisation, and allies, stood ready to take part in negotiations with the society's council and the big firms. But for him, he noted, the concerns still remained, despite the decision by Ewing to drop the controversial provisions in the bill.

"I am still concerned about the representative function of the Law Society, because to my view, the last few months have shown that they have a real problem representing this profession," he said. "That is still a live issue as far as I am concerned."

The managing partner of Dundas and Wilson, Alan Campbell, called for solicitors to engage with the dialogue, given that the ABS legislation is on the cusp of being brought into force. "Hopefully no-one wants the Law Society to be disengaged from this entirely and a sensible compromise will be reached," he said. "I'm sure the profession want to be influencing the debate."

Meanwhile, Robert Pirrie of the WS Society, expressing a personal view, said the profession would have to "wait and see" what emerges from the negotiations and the referendum, due to be called on 7 April. He said: "The referendum question asks if solicitors support ABS 'as long as there are appropriate safeguards'. The problem is a lack of consensus on what is meant by 'appropriate safeguards'.

"Some think this undermines the value of the question, others that it simply reflects the stage we are at. Negotiations may help fill in some of the blanks."

With the implicit threat by the Scottish Government that the legal profession can expect to see the Legal Services Bill reforms brought in, no matter if they are fully on board or not, every lawyer in Scotland will hope that the blanks are filled in.

Anonymous said...

Scotsman :
http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Peace-breaks-out-in-Law.6186803.jp
Peace breaks out in Law Society's Murrayfield clash on ABS policy

Published Date: 29 March 2010
By Christopher Mackie

AFTER weeks of increasingly-bitter infighting among lawyers in Scotland, it appeared to some on Thursday that peace had finally broken out.

News filtered out that the two warring factions in the dispute over the Law Society's policy on alternative business structures were to sit down and talk, offering a potential end to the damaging schism developing among the legal profession.

The development came at a special general meeting of the society, held at Murrayfield Stadium, that promised to be every bit as bruising as the battles witnessed on the famous turf.

Certainly, the Law Society of Scotland was happy, insisting the move to the negotiating table by the big firms and the Scottish Law Agents Society was a result of both sides "pulling back from the brink" and aiming to present a united front on the Legal Services Bill reforms currently making their way through parliament.

Supporters of ABS suspected the momentum of the rebellion had been somewhat diminished by Fergus Ewing's dramatic announcement that the sections of the Legal Services Bill that were causing so much angst had been dropped.

Nonetheless, the society's opponents immediately branded the meeting a farce. They claimed the thousands of proxy votes, carefully cultured by them over the past weeks in preparation for the day had been disenfranchised on a technicality that allowed proceedings to be adjourned solely using the votes of those solicitors that happened to be in the room.

In the end, the adjournment was carried by 76 votes to 33 with 12 abstentions.

Mike Dailly, who had set the tone for the battle even before it had begun, claiming the society's referendum on its ABS policy had been "rigged", said it had been a "dark day" for the Scottish legal profession.

"Democracy has been shamed, denied and abused by a small elite of 70 members, against the clear voice and will of 3,200 members against Tesco law," he said.

"The council of our society has lost all credibility today. You can deny a democratic vote by filibuster or technicality, but the only loser is the reputation of our legal profession which now lies in tatters after this affront to democracy".

His evident anger was echoed by John McGovern, the president of the Glasgow Bar Association, who insisted the adjournment had been managed so as to avoid an embarrassing defeat for the society.

"The Law Society realised it wouldn't win," he said. "Its policy on ABS was set to be overturned on a proxy vote by approximately two to one. The meeting was adjourned at 11 o'clock – it was 45 minutes old at that stage – for a comfort break. That comfort break lasted 30 minutes. There were around 100 to 120 solicitors at the meeting and the Law Society, I suspect, realising that most of those solicitors were council members or supporters moved to adjourn the meeting, thus avoiding the embarrassing vote loss."

He added: "They realised they were going to lose the vote, and all of a sudden we have an adjourned meeting. We wanted a vote, but we weren't allowed it.

"There is a debate constitutionally about whether what they have done is right. I don't see how you can adjourn a meeting to a date that is not fixed."

Anonymous said...

I will never trust a lawyer now Mr Cherbi, your blog is shocking.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society and it's bandits including MacAskill control the policymaking agenda, hence no legal protection for lawyers clients.

Anonymous said...

The headline from that Scotsman story is very misleading.
Dailly is still calling on Smart to resign and the GBA are still attempting to hijack the Law Society.Nothing has been settled.

Anonymous said...

As I said I would update you on my progress with the bill my lawyer sent me.

I have been refused access to all files my lawyer is holding including my house titles until I pay this bill for £1,402.73 for "updating my titles" yet he never asked me if he could do the work and there is no detail in the bill on exactly what he did.I asked his secretary to get him to send me an itemised bill explaining exactly what he claims he did and he even refuses to do that.

I am going to call this stupid Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and the Law Society but before I do I wwant to send you copies of the bill and other stuff so you can publish it before his pals cover up for him.I am NOT going to pay that bill.

Anonymous said...

Seems mentioning your name helps.

I told the secretary to tell him I had been in touch with you and put a comment on your blog.

Telephone rang at 11am and told to collect my file which I now have.He asked for the bill back which I gave him.Thanks a lot !

Can I donate to your campaign ?

Anonymous said...

You see this is why I would never vote for the torags in Scotland.They wont even give us justice so their Aitkens & co should be kept out of office