Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Solicitors war against Legal Services Bill reforms reveals campaigning Glasgow lawyer holds position on Financial Services ‘consumer’ panel

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland members ‘in state of civil war’ over access to justice reforms. As the debate heats up over the Scottish Government’s plans for legal services reform, the Govan Law Centre’s Mike Dailly, who is seen by many solicitors as ‘leading the fight’ by some law firms to persuade the Law Society of Scotland to block the passage of the Scottish Government’s Legal Services (Scotland) Bill, which aims to promote & widen consumer access to justice & legal services, also holds a position on a ‘consumer lobby quango’ known as the Financial Services Consumer Panel, which 'advises & ‘challenges the Financial Services Authority on policy matters, to ensure the FSA takes into account the consumer interest.

Mike Dailly FSCP pageThe Financial Services Consumer Panel profile page for Mr Dailly lists the following details : “Mike is Principal Solicitor and Director of Govan Law Centre, Glasgow, one of the largest community based law centres in the UK. He is a Member of the Secretary of State for Scotland’s Poverty Advisory Group, Legal Advisor to the UK Sustainable Home Ownership Partnership, and a Member of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland’s Advisory Panel. He has over 15 years post-qualified experience as a practising civil court solicitor in Scotland with experience in using the law to protect consumers’ rights and tackle social disadvantage. Mike has European and international law experience, and has several academic publications to his credit. He also acted, from 2005-2008, as the solicitor to the UK unfair bank charges campaign.”

“Mike joined the Panel to bring to it a fresh consumer law perspective. He wants to ensure that the existing regulatory frameworks works as well as possible, while identifying areas of legal or operational practice that could be improved or strengthened for UK consumers. Mike sees membership of the Consumer Panel as providing an exciting opportunity to support the regulatory work of the FSA by constructing careful and persuasive legal arguments. He is particularly interested in preventative and self-help solutions, and a rights-based approach to ensure that consumers get a fair deal when it comes to money matters.”

The Financial Services Consumer Panel were asked for comment on whether they felt Mr Dailly’s stance against the pro-consumer reforms of the Legal Services Bill, was a potential conflict of interest in terms of the aims of the FSCP.

A spokeswoman for the Financial Services Consumer Panel said : "Mike sits on the Panel as an individual consumer advising the FSA on the regulation of financial services. Like all members of the Panel he has specific expertise - in this case being a lawyer - and he also has personal opinions. We are aware of his stance in relation to the Scottish Legal Services Bill and see no conflict of interest."

While the Financial Services Consumer Panel apparently support Mr Dailly’s stance against the Scottish Government’s plans to widen public access to justice & legal services in Scotland, through the Legal Services Bill, known to some as ‘Tesco Law’, the aims of the lobby group and its members seem to be at odds with other quarters of the UK consumer lobby, where, for example, the highly influential Which? consumer group, and Consumer Focus Scotland have expressed full support for the Legal Services Bill, which itself came about after Which? launched a “supercomplaint” to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the state of Scotland’s closed shop legal services market, chiefly dominated by solicitors & the Law Society of Scotland.

Upon investigation of the Which? “supercomplaint”, the OFT concluded there were failings in Scottish consumers being able to access legal services at their own choice, going onto recommend the Scottish Government address the issue without delay. The OFT’s response to the Which? super complaint can be viewed here : OFT response to super-complaint.

The Scottish Consumer Council, now renamed Consumer Focus Scotland, issued its response to the OFT’s consideration of the Which? super complaint, broadly supporting the moves to open up Scotland’s legal services market. The SCC’s reply to the OFT can be viewed HERE and you can read more about all this in an earlier article, here : Holyrood's Justice Committee offers ‘cautious support’ for Legal Services Bill reforms, as lawyers fight to hold back Scots wider access to justice

One might be left wondering why a lawyer who sits on a consumer lobby panel which didn’t say too much about the much similar Legal Services Act 2007 coming into force in England & Wales, now thinks we Scots should not have the same wide choice & access to legal services as our English cousins will soon enjoy, since the Legal Services Act 2007 has already come into force south of the border.

Mr Dailly, keen to ensure the Law Society of Scotland will drop its support for the Legal Services Bill, has set up a weblog called “Justice for Scotland” to organise his campaign for a “NO NO” vote to the planned Law Society referendum on the Legal Services Bill, to be held on 16 April 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh, a referendum which was originally called by the Scottish Law Agents Society, and which no consumers are invited to watch take place. The hostility by some quarters of the legal profession against the Legal Services Bill, has apparently caught the Scottish Government off guard, resulting in yet another defence of the planned legal services reforming legislation by Fergus Ewing.

Click to view Mike Dailly & Ian Smart debate solicitors best interests in a consumer world :

Some of the arguments being presented by the legal profession against the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill range from Ministerial interference in the Law Society’s Council appointments, to the possibility that crooks may end up owning legal firms.

Well, since we already have reached & passed the stage where crooks & criminals own and work in law firms (The Law Society’s own Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming found that out to his cost in 2006), that only leaves the Ministerial interference excuse, which was swiftly dealt with by an even swifter climb-down from Fergus Ewing on that very issue as I reported in an earlier article here : Scottish Government back down on lay appointments to Law Society Council as lawyers interests threaten to break pro-consumer legal services bill

If Scotland were to get the same entitlements as consumers in England & Wales, we as consumers could end up being able to buy cheaper legal services from non-lawyer owned companies such as Banks, supermarkets or financial specialists, instead of having to use the same old law firms who invariably end up making a mess of their client’s cases while ensuring they charge huge fee demands for negligent, poor, or even non existent legal work, with many of these same Scottish law firms generating up to 5000 consumer complaints a year, many left unresolved, or even whitewashed by the Law Society of Scotland.

If the current legal services market in Scotland can only offer lack of choice, poor quality yet expensive legal services, wholesale regulatory failure, and little respect of the fee paying client, why should we as consumers be forced to use it ?

Its time for change. I would encourage all consumers to support the Legal Services Bill by contacting your MSP at the Scottish Parliament, expressing your opinions on whether you feel Scots should be given wider access to justice & wider choice of legal services as surely everyone is entitled.

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


Anonymous said...

The FSCP response to your enquiry just demonstrates that there are none so blind as those who will not see - Mr. Dailly's double standards are abundantly clear to any rational thinking person.

Anonymous said...

Little bit of a conflict of interest there for Dailly ?

Anonymous said...

The GBA and their chums (no names mentioned) are only trying to secure positions on the Law Society Council so they can bully the rest of us.

I wouldn't vote for the SLAS/GBA proposal if my life as a solicitor depended on it.

Anonymous said...

From the story he sounds okay but as I've been to the Govan Law Centre myself I wouldn't have him represent me ever.


Anonymous said...

"Well, since we already have reached & passed the stage where crooks & criminals own and work in law firms (The Law Society’s own Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming found that out to his cost in 2006), that only leaves the Ministerial interference excuse, which was swiftly dealt with by an even swifter climb-down from Fergus Ewing"


Anonymous said...

Dangerous to allow lawyers onto consumer panels when really they dont want consumer reforms at all.Anyway how can a lawyer be a consumer when he stands to benefit financially from preventing these reforms going ahead ?

Anonymous said...

If Dailly, SLAS and their gang want to go it alone thats fine with me.
Just because they dont like the look of abs does not mean they should be able to spoil it for the rest of us or your consumer crowd Mr Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

Desperate tactics :

Legal Services (Scotland) Bill is based on a discredited free for all model from 2004

The Minister for Community Safety, Fergus Ewing MSP, claims that the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill would not jeopardise a strong, independent, Scottish legal system (Letters, 3 April 2010). However, that claim must be wrong as a matter of logic.

The bill would open up ownership of Scottish legal services to a worldwide market of investors and corporations, with consumer protection consisting of a risk-based licensing approach. Accordingly, notwithstanding how good the bill’s proposed regulatory scheme claims to be, the fact it extends ownership and control of Scotland’s legal services to a global market (of both legitimate and illegitimate interests) must mean the bill presents a real threat to Scottish consumer protection.

That risk is compounded by two incontro­vertible facts. Firstly, any risk-based regulatory system accepts an element of harm and failure, and invariably detects serious consumer detriment after damage has been done. Just think of the current payment protection insurance scandal. Do we really want this approach for legal redress and justice within Scotland?

Second, businesses and investors are seriously high risk compared to legal firms. It’s a cultural thing. Risk taking is associated with higher financial returns, and even if you go bust, insolvency law encourages you to rise from the ashes as a pheonix: whereas if solicitors take risks, they end up struck off, with no re-birth. So conceptionally, this approach to legal services is wrong in principle..

Tellingly, neither European countries, nor the USA, are embracing the Scottish Government’s deregulation of legal services model. So why are we acting so regressively in Scotland? Critics say solicitors have a monopoly”in Scotland, but it’s a monopoly in the same way DVLA controls who can drive a car. And it’s not true, as anyone can set up a body to provide representation in the courts under the Law Reform (Miscellenous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990.

The truth is the Scottish Government’s bill is based upon a deregulation or “free for all” model from 2004. This was three years before the financial services meltdown from deregulation; an approach which has since been discredited and abandoned around the world. Yet Fergus Ewing and his colleagues clutch on to this flawed model because England did so in 2007?

Mike Dailly, Principal Solicitor, Govan Law Centre, 47 Burleigh Street, Glasgow.

Anonymous said...

So Dailly attaches himself to the FSA - that FAILED regulator who stood by and did nothing while Sir Fred Goodwin and his mob ruined the whole bloody country with greed,bonuses,huge bank charges and home repossessions !

What a bloody cheek he has coming on trying to stop the opening up of that other disgustingly corrupt monopoly LAWYERS and their legal 'services' which are about as much good as a service as a dead duck when really needed.

Scots should wake up to this abuse of our rights by a London based regulator with a bunch of self serving interests out to make sure we cant even get justice in our own country!

Oh and that Simon Bain story in the Herald linked earlier is not very impartial either! When do we get it splashed across the papers we all must do our duty and pay through the nose for a lawyer once a week ? Bloody disgusting !

Anonymous said...

As you say Peter criminals already run the legal profession in Scotland

The gangster map: 3,000 hardcore criminals and their crooked lawyers

Published Date: 03 June 2009
By Michael Howie

THREE-thousand drug dealers, money launderers, counterfeiters and other gangsters are at large in Scotland, a "mapping" investigation has revealed.

Almost 250 crooked lawyers, accountants and other "specialists" give criminals professional help, it shows.

The most complete picture of organised crime ever produced by police revealed 367 serious crime groups are active in Scotland – involving 4,066 people.

Senior officers yesterday revealed that about three-quarters of those operate in the country, with the remainder in custody or operating elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

Police unveiled the results of the year-long probe into the scale and extent of serious organised crime in Scotland, revealing that they had identified a hit list of the 20 most dangerous groups operating in the country.

The investigation has also disclosed that 202 of 367 serious organised crime groups in Scotland have access to guns.

The mapping project, led by Gordon Meldrum, the director-general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), will trigger a national crackdown on organised crime. Information gathered from the mapping project will be shared with front-line officers, who will carry out targeted searches in an effort to dismantle the groups.

A new background checks system will be set up to ensure public contracts for security, taxis, buses and other services will no longer be handed to fronts for crime gangs.

As part of the assault on organised crime, the Scottish Government announced a £4 million package to pay for 80 new posts at the SCDEA.

The money will also fund a new Scottish Intelligence and Co-ordination Unit to track crime across police forces.

Mr Meldrum, who drafted in a team of academics to help police to identify the gang leaders and how to exploit their weaknesses, warned that the net would now be closing on those involved in serious organised crime, which is estimated to cost Scotland about £2.6 billion every year.

"The message to these people today is that we know more than ever before about who you are, what you do, who you associate with, what you do in the afternoon, what your habits and haunts are. Enjoy it while you can, but look over your shoulder because you'll never know how close we are to you," he said.

Much of the extra funds for the SCDEA will be spent recruiting forensic accountants and other specialists in an attempt by police to counter the increasingly sophisticated skills used by organised crime gangs.

Mr Meldrum revealed that 241 crooked lawyers, accountants and other professionals help criminals to launder money and carry out other activities.

He added: "This is about making life difficult for serious organised crime groups – whether that's about arresting them, whether that's about bankrupting them, whether that's just about making Scotland a really, really difficult operating environment for organised crime."

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill described the extent of organised crime in Scotland as "very concerning". He said: "They cannot and will not be allowed to spread their criminal networks, and today's announcement will go a very long way towards thwarting them."

Recent high-profile organised crime cases include the jailing of Jamie "The Iceman" Stevenson for almost 13 years in April 2007 over a £1m money-laundering scheme.

George "Dod" Buchanan had to hand over £200,000 of assets in January 2008 after a judge ruled they had almost certainly been paid for from drugs. And Lewis "Scooby" Rodden, was jailed in 2005 for running protection rackets aimed at "persuading" construction firms to award him contracts in Ayrshire.

Anonymous said...

Leslie Cumming agrees with you Peter !

Law chief blames crooked lawyers for knife attack
By David Lister, Scotland Correspondent

AN ACCOUNTANT stabbed and left for dead outside his home in Edinburgh believes that he was targeted because of his work investigating crooked lawyers.

Leslie Cumming, 62, has told detectives that he believes his attack was most likely connected with his work investigating corrupt solicitors in his role as chief accountant of the Law Society of Scotland, The Times has learnt.

Mr Cumming, who heads a team that inspects the accounts of solicitors to check that they are not laundering money or stealing from clients, was stabbed repeatedly on Monday after parking his Jaguar in a garage behind his flat. The attack has sent shockwaves through the affluent Murrayfield area, where Victorian houses sell for about £1 million and residents include the city’s leading bankers, lawyers and academics.

Although police are refusing to rule out the possibility of mistaken identity, they suspect that the stabbing of Mr Cumming was, indeed, a planned attack, probably by a professional hitman.

Detective Inspector Keith Hardie, who is heading the investigation, admitted yesterday that a repeat attack was possible. His officers have issued security briefings to the 12 accountants employed by the Law Society’s Guarantee Fund, which inspects the books of all solicitors in Scotland and compensates clients if they have been defrauded by their lawyers. It also investigates whether solicitors are being used by criminal gangs to launder money.

Mr Hardie said: “Although these attacks are very rare, the level of violence used against Mr Cumming was particularly unusual. We have considered the possibility of a repeat attack and, though we think it highly unlikely, Mr Cumming has been afforded advice in relation to his personal security.” Detectives have also asked the Law Society to provide a list of solicitors being investigated by Mr Cumming with a view to identifying possible suspects.

Mr Cumming has worked closely with the National Criminal Intelligence Service and has lectured on anti-money laundering regulations.

Mr Hardie said: “If we can establish a motive we can investigate that with a view to finding the person responsible. I’m keeping an open mind but obviously the type of job Mr Cumming does means this has to be a significant line of inquiry.”

Mr Cumming had parked his car at about 5.05pm on Monday when he became aware of a figure approaching in the narrow lane behind his home. As he turned he was slashed several times in the face by a man wearing a balaclava. He threw himself on his assailant, who stabbed him repeatedly in the back as he tried to wrestle him off. As Mr Cumming fell to the ground, his attacker walked off down the lane and into a neighbouring street. Bleeding profusely, Mr Cumming staggered through his garden to alert his wife, who was inside their flat.

Detectives are baffled by several aspects of the attack. The attacker, described by police as “cold and calculating”, did not speak a word. Although it is being treated as attempted murder, officers believe that the attack was probably carried out with a short-bladed knife, suggesting that the attacker may not have intended to kill Mr Cumming but merely to deliver a warning. Witnesses have reported seeing a man of stocky build, in his early twenties and dressed in dark clothing, running in the area about the time of the attack. No weapon has been recovered.

A neighbour, who did not want to give her name, said yesterday that she was shocked by the attack. “I’ve lived here since I was 3 and I’ve never heard of anything violent like this. It’s a peaceful, quiet place,” she said.

Mr Cumming, likely to have facial scars for life, was recovering at home yesterday. He said in a statement: “It was a traumatic event and I am now glad to be out of hospital and with my family. We are looking for some privacy at this time to help my recovery.”

Anonymous said...

Dailly & Co solicitors were paid £98,500 legal aid last year http://www.slab.org.uk/annual_report_2008_2009/payments/Firm%20earnings%20alphabetical%200809.pdf

Anyone being paid public money should not prevent consumers choosing who they want to do their legal work !

Anonymous said...

For once you and the Law Society appear to be on the same side !
How does that make you feel ?

Anonymous said...

Try getting the Govan Law Centre to take you on if you are trying to sue a lawyer.You'll see just how honourable they are then.NOT!

Anonymous said...

sounds to me as if these lawyers are more worried about losing money than anyone's "access to justice" am I right ?

Anonymous said...

Yes its a fact only selfish people hold back progress for the rest of us and I call having a choice of legal work companies progress rather than Dailly's wish to retain what is very clearly a monopoly.

I also noticed Mr Dailly forgot to mention in his letter to the Herald his precious Law Society will still be regulating the legal market post abs and as we all know he who controls regulation keeps the keys to the kingdom.

Anonymous said...

"Mike sits on the Panel as an individual consumer advising the FSA on the regulation of financial services. Like all members of the Panel he has specific expertise - in this case being a lawyer - and he also has personal opinions. We are aware of his stance in relation to the Scottish Legal Services Bill and see no conflict of interest." DOUGLAS MILL DID NOT SEE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EITHER IN SELF REGULATION. HOW CAN ONE GIVE ADVICE REGARDING CONSUMERS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES AND BLOCK JUSTICE REFORMS WHICH WILL WEAKEN LAWYERS? IT IS LIKE TONY BLAIR TRYING TO INTRODUCE A POLICY OF MASS CULTIVATION OF GM FOODS IN THE UK. 85% OF THE PUBLIC DID NOT WANT THIS. THEN WE FIND OUT LORD SAINSBURY WHO WAS POURING MILLIONS OF POUNDS INTO NEW LABOUR AND GM CROP RESEARCH AT THE SAME TIME.

Anonymous said...

All very well but what happens when the new entrants in legal services decide they are fed up with it and cut their business ?
That will leave people crying about where have all the lawyers gone.

Anonymous said...

I'm very pleased you wrote this one Peter and debunked the Dailly myth of being a fighter for the miserable.
Clearly he is not and also I support 110% the comments made yesterday about the FSA being a FAILED REGULATOR who allowed the banks to go bust.Brilliant to whoever said that!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Peter I have a letter from the Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland I will send to you sometime, which demonstrates that accusers of doctors are guilty before trial.

They never took legal action because a member of this union was a former partner of the medical practice accused of corruption.

This is an example as you stated Peter of the self regulators placing colleagues in the right places to either block a client or patients access to justice or in this case send a threatening letter and take no legal action because their accusations were lies.

To MDDUS I see this doctor has now moved on. You are a crooked union who fabricate evidence and fail to take legal action because you are the liars.

Anonymous said...









Anonymous said...


The Question : Mr John Swinney (North Tayside) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what contracts and arrangements for the provision of insurance services it holds with (a) Royal and Sun Alliance and (b) Marsh UK.

The Answer : (S2W-30261)

Mr Tom McCabe: The Scottish Executive does not hold a central record of contracts and arrangements for the provision of insurance services.

The Executive’s finance system (which covers core Executive departments and many Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies) shows that some payments have been made to Royal Sun Alliance and Marsh UK. However, details of the contracts and arrangements which relate to those payments could only be provided at disproportionate cost. SURE MCABE, JUST LIKE THE CROWN OFFICE DO NOT KEEP RECORDS OF LAWYERS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS, SAME REASON DISPROPORTIONATE COST. THE AUTHORITIES ONLY LIKE BEING PROFLIGATE WITH TAXPAYERS MONEY WHEN THERE ARE NO REPERCUSSIONS.


Anonymous said...

Detective Inspector Keith Hardie, who is heading the investigation, admitted yesterday that a repeat attack was possible. His officers have issued security briefings to the 12 accountants employed by the Law Society’s Guarantee Fund, which inspects the books of all solicitors in Scotland and compensates clients if they have been defrauded by their lawyers. It also investigates whether solicitors are being used by criminal gangs to launder money.
The Mafia are the Law Society of Scotland.