Tuesday, June 15, 2010

McKenzie Friends from today in Court of Session, Lord Gill’s ‘super’ McKenzie Friend with rights of audience proposal goes to Holyrood

Lord Hamilton 2McKenzie Friends made official in Court of Session by Lord Hamilton. McKenzie Friends are officially available to all Scots court users & party litigants in the Court of Session as of today, 15 June 2010, after Lord Hamilton’s Act of Sederunt announced earlier in February of this year finally took effect, allowing anyone who cannot obtain legal representation for litigation which demands a place in Scotland’s highest court, to file a motion requesting the services of a McKenzie Friend to assist their case.

McKenzie friends as we are all probably now well aware of, are lay individuals who assist party litigants in court, for example by providing moral support, helping with court documents, or giving discrete advice. The Lord President has now clarified the situation in the Court of Session through an Act of Sederunt which comes into force today. Lord Hamilton has also notified the Sheriff Court Rules Council which will consider the matter at its meeting tomorrow, 16 June 2010. This will include an acknowledgement that lay assistance to party litigants is possible; a description of what form this assistance can take; and a presumption in favour of allowing a party litigant to have such a lay assistant.

margo_macdonaldA McKenzie Friend’s friend – unswerving support from Margo MacDonald MSP helped bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s Courts. The success of the campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland, kicked off by Petition 1247 filed by Stewart MacKenzie at the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee, and supported by several law reform campaigners & groups, consumer organisations such as Consumer Focus Scotland & Which?, included key support from MSPs such as Margo MacDonald & David Whitton, and even support from the original McKenzie Friend himself, Australian Barrister Ian Hanger QC, all backed up by developments during November 2009 which saw Scotland’s first civil law McKenzie Friend allowed in the Court of Session by Lord Woolman during M.Wilson v North Lanarkshire Council & others (A1628/01), was hailed today by Scottish Parliament insiders as a collective effort showing the system of public petitions had worked well, helping to bring in a reform which had also been recommended by Scotland’s Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill who had spent considerable time on the issue of lay representation as part of the two year Civil Courts Review.

Whilst I would characterise the year long campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland as being more of a struggle between the Lord President, the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government and supporters, there is no doubt a reform which featured heavily in Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review has made it to existence much sooner than if things had been left to the courts system itself to allow. After all, Scotland has been without McKenzie Friends for forty years, an omission no one is yet willing to explain substantively, and apparently an issue the Petitions Committee feels it cannot seek answers to.

Act of Sederunt proposal for McKenzie Friend certificateApplication for a McKenzie Friend in the Court of Session will cost £45. There are also some questions remaining over access, costs & funding of McKenzie Friends in Scottish Courts after the Court of Session Rules Council minutes revealed some ‘devil in the detail’, most notably on fees(proposed by the Lord President to stand at £45 per motion for a McKenzie Friend), which have been sharply criticised by some as party litigants are often unrepresented and have been put in a position of being a party litigant more because they cannot afford the expensive legal services of Scotland’s legal profession rather than the constant argument from the Law Society of Scotland that their cases are not worthy of courtroom attention. Given the costs of travel to the Court of Session and other associated costs, it is hoped the £45 fee may be looked at in a sympathetic light as applications for McKenzie Friends being to reach the Court of Session.

While Scots will be stuck with the £45 fee for the time being, fees for applications of McKenzie Friends/lay assistance in the English family courts (pdf) apparently stand at £175, using the Application Form C2 (pdf). However, party litigants have been able to circumvent the fees by writing to the judge enclosing the CV of their intended McKenzie Friend, according to individuals well experienced in the McKenzie Friend process in the English courts.

Lay Representation Rights of Audience Legal Services Bill Amendment Fergus EwingThe Scottish Government have lodged a promised amendment to the Legal Services Bill proposing McKenzie Friends with a right to address the court. While questions remaining over the use of McKenzie Friends (Lay Assistants) in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts will be answered at tomorrow’s Sheriff Court Rules Council meeting, chaired by Lord Hamilton himself, another benefit has emerged from the successful introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s Court of Session .. in the form of a recent amendment lodged by the Scottish Government to the Legal Services Bill, which proposes to allow Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review recommendation of a ‘super’ McKenzie Friend with a right of audience, who will be able to address the court as well as assist their party litigant with all the other tasks associated with a McKenzie Friend up to now.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We have lodged amendments to the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill to allow provision for lay representatives, who do not have a right of audience, to address the court on behalf of a party litigant, in certain circumstances."

“In the report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review ("SCCR"), it was noted that “there may be exceptional circumstances in which it would be appropriate to permit a McKenzie friend to assist a party litigant and, with the court’s permission, to address the court". It went on to recommend that "a person without a right of audience should be entitled to address the court on behalf of a party litigant, but only in circumstances where the court considers that such representation would help it". We intend to implement this recommendation, so this will be the first recommendation of the SCCR, requiring primary legislation, to be implemented.”

So, compliments to the Scottish Government on this one … the first recommendation of Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review to hit the streets in a usable form for court users in Scotland’s civil justice system. Lets have more please, including the reforms suggested by Lord Gill on Class Actions and also digital recordings in court which many would welcome being implemented in the present rather than far in the future.

I reported on the issue of transcripts of proceedings in Scotland’s courts in an earlier article here : Scottish court users advised to 'take along a note taker' as omissions in civil court transcripts jeopardise consumers access to justice and clearly Lord Gill feels the matter of digital recording facilities in Scotland’s courts would assist the interests of justice, confirmed to me by many litigants involved in civil actions where the events which took place in court are often omitted from interlocutors and later references made by opposing legal teams.

Lord GillLord Gill recommends digital recordings of all civil court evidence. The extent of problems with court transcripts and recordings, was referred to in Chapter 6 of Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review, where the Lord Justice Clerk stated : “Currently where evidence is recorded in civil cases this is done manually by a shorthand writer. In our view it would be more efficient to record digitally all evidence in civil cases, as happens in criminal cases. The cost of this should be borne by the SCS. The availability of digital recording facilities in all courtrooms would contribute to more flexible usage of accommodation. We understand, however, that to equip a court fully for digital recording could cost up to £15,000. That may be prohibitive in smaller courts. Mobile facilities could be made available in those courts when required. If parties required a transcript of the evidence a charge would be made for this service. In many instances a recording of the evidence would be all that would be required.”

Clearly problems do exist with transcripts of courtroom activity, which as Lord Gill concludes himself, would easily be curtailed by the digital recording of all evidence in civil cases. You can download Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review at the following links : Civil Courts Review

Volume 1 Chapter 1 - 9 (Covers McKenzie Friends, procedures, use of information technology in courts, advice etc, 2.99Mb)

Volume 2 Chapter 10 - 15 (Covers mainly the issue of Class (multi party) actions etc, 2.16Mb)

Synopsis (215Kb)

How about it Mr Ewing ? It wouldn’t take much to produce an additional amendment to the Legal Services Bill putting forward Lord Gill’s recommendation on recordings of all civil court cases. Given the terms of the Civil Courts Review and Lord Gill’s proposals, I’m sure the Scottish Parliament would support such a move, which would be welcomed by many …

While there is still some work to do on McKenzie Friends in Scotland, to ensure Scots have the same entitlements as our English cousins, I would like to thank all involved who have cooperated in my series of reports on McKenzie Friends over the past year, thanks going especially to the original McKenzie Friend, QC Ian Hanger, MSPs such as Margo MaDonald and David Whitton, and the many officials from the Scottish Court Service, Scottish Government Scottish Parliament and others who have spoken out when it counted, or given statements to complete my coverage.

Also, and not least, my thanks go to all those unrepresented party litigants who have told me of their stories, all of whom have endured a considerable denial of their access to justice over the years in Scotland, simply because their cases were either too controversial or involved parts of the establishment which the legal profession were too close to. I hope through my reporting on the petition and the campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland, I have given you all a voice and a chance of access to justice, denied to you for too long ...

The Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament will again discuss Petition 1247 later in the summer.

You can read my earlier coverage of the campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland, here : McKenzie Friends for Scotland : The story so far

All written submissions for the McKenzie Friend petition at the Scottish Parliament can be read here : Written submissions for Petition 1247, McKenzie Friends for Scotland


Anonymous said...

Nice to see the good guys winning for a change.

Keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

Hand't seen the amendment so thanks for posting it.Good to see Lord Gill's SCCR going places at last.

Anonymous said...

So some progress at least, Lord Hamilton's perverse insistance on the use of the term 'lay assistant' apart.

Here's hoping Lord Gill's recommendation about McKenzie Friends being allowed to address the Court is not only presented to parliament, in the shape of the proposed amendment,
but passed.

Anonymous said...

So McKnenzie Friends - sorry, 'lay assistants' - are to be allowed in the Court of Session at least, but an already disadvantaged unrepresented party must;

1. Pay for the priviledge, and in
certain circumstances also
pay the other side's costs.

2. Not be allowed to offer a
McKnenzie's Friend even a
nominal amount to help
cover their costs.

3. Not receive any reimbursement
of costs arising from the
engagement of a McKenzie's
Friend - even in the event of
a successful prosecution.

Err.....whatever happened to the Court's duty 'to ensure as far as is possible an equality of arms between the parties', or that other legal dictum 'expenses follow success'.

Clearly lots more work needs to be done on this curate's egg of legislation.

Anonymous said...

Allowing McKenzie Friends a right of audience will bring with it problems unless there is some form of regulation or accreditation.How do you propose to handle this ?

Anonymous said...

An interesting comparison between yours and the Scotsman's version of yesterday :


Its rules revealed that an application for recognition in court would be by enrolling a motion at a cost of £45, whereas no fee is charged in England.

Bill Aitken, convener of the Scottish Parliament justice committee, says: "I doubt if £45 will represent a serious impediment to anyone wishing to enlist the support of a lay assistant, but I agree it does set a different tone from what I understand prevails in England."

while you said :

While Scots will be stuck with the £45 fee for the time being, fees for applications of McKenzie Friends/lay assistance in the English family courts (pdf) apparently stand at £175, using the Application Form C2 (pdf). However, party litigants have been able to circumvent the fees by writing to the judge enclosing the CV of their intended McKenzie Friend, according to individuals well experienced in the McKenzie Friend process in the English courts.

I thought the Scotsman were wrong so thanks for confirming that point.Perhaps you might want to put Mr Aitken right?

Anonymous said...

I can just imagine Lord Hamilton reading all this with gritted teeth !

Good one Peter as always carry on !

Diary of Injustice said...

# Anonymous @ 16:58

Its not over yet ...

# Anonymous @ 17:16

Yes ... hopefully more of the recommendations from the Civil Courts Review will be implemented asap ...

# Anonymous @ 17:48

I agree ... and I will continue to report on the progress of the amendment during the forthcoming Scottish Parliament & Justice Committee debates on the Legal Services Bill ...

# Anonymous @ 18:01

Indeed yes .. there are still many points to address ...

# Anonymous @ 18:15

I'm sure this will develop over time .. after all Scottish Courts have no experience of Civil Law McKenzie Friends yet because none have been allowed up until recently ...

# Anonymous @ 18:24

Obviously there is a charge for lay assistance applications in the Family Courts .. the information is available online.

I'm sure I wont need to contact Mr Aitken as he has probably been informed of the true position in England & Wales by now ...

# Anonymous @ 19:20

Well at least the Act of Sederunt is now in force and court users can choose to go down the route of a McKenzie Friend (Lay Assistant) ... so it did work and Lord Hamilton 'did his bit' in the end ... sort of ...

Anonymous said...

Wake up Lord Hamilton it is our legal system not yours.

Have McKenzie friends to suffer pecuniary loss when helping a party litigant?

Here is a radical ideal Lord Hamilton. Take some of your own medicine. Why don't you work for nothing like you want McKenzie friends to do? Please lead by example. Would you send someone swimmimng with their hands and ankles bound? This is your strategy with McKenzie friends.
You are kidding no one.

Anonymous said...

You are a master of difference and descrimination Lord Hamilton. You work for nothing like you want McKenzie friends to do.

Anonymous said...

This Hamilton Chap, wants to call McKenzie friends assistants.


Many Scots have better intellectual capacity than you so do not patronise us with your legal mind. You do not want people forming the link that McKenzie friends have been kept out of Scotland for 40 years to help the legal profession.

No McKenzie friends = More money for crooked lawyers Hamilton old boy. Simple.

Anonymous said...

Oh its not as if the hootsmon get things wrong very often lol

Anonymous said...

Not so sure about rights of audience unless as someone already raised there is an accreditation scheme in place for the lay assistants.If not we are going to end up with every Tom, Dick or Harry thinking they can get away with saying anything in court and this will do immense damage to the whole McKenzie Friend issue in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Transcripts and/or recordings - that is, accurate and complete transcripts - of proceedings must MUST be available to all parties to an action free of charge.

At present potentially crippling fees are charged for the priviledge of obtaining a transcript of hearings to which one may be a party - and even then the contents of that transcript its contents are at the discretion of the Court.

And this is a meaningful and proper access to justice?

Anonymous said...

Been reading your blog for well over a year and just to say your coverage of law news is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I have printed this off along with Hamilton's letter in February and will go into court tomorrow asking for details on McKenzie Friends.They will not dare lie to me now and say none are allowed !


Anonymous said...

Yes congrats all round also the 2 billion words you wrote on this probably drove Hamilton to despair and got it signed into law before you ran out of ink!

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the fees in England so dont moan too much about £45.We dont get the Scotsman down here thankfully but I read their version via the link provided in the earlier comment.It all seems a bit complicated considering how things work in England.
Good luck with it all fellow citizens !

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Peter I knew you could do it !

Also I hope Marsh are the insurers to BP in that horrendous oil spill in America hope they get pasted for their utter negligence if it had happened here you can bet no one would have received a penny with these horrible thugs in charge of the justice system

Anonymous said...

Great work Peter, you are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Nothing much more to say except you have a very good blog and its good to see these kinds of reforms coming through under the SNP when as you point out yourself nothing happened in the past 40 years before now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Hamilton needs replacing with Gill who seems more in tune with whats wrong rather than Hamilton trying to keep things as aye been !

Anonymous said...

Recordings of civil hearings came to England & Wales many years ago so you Scots will have to pull your socks up to catch up.
It wouldnt be missing because your judges are afraid to hear themselves snoring on the microphone ?

Anonymous said...

Well Peter if you dont mind me saying so I think the Petitions Committee is a load of crap and I know you dont think much of it either after what they did to your own petition some way back.
As you said in your posting it was more of a struggle than the McKenzie thing just being granted and it took a year to do it.

Also did you see today the Convener of this Committee in the news for his remarks about someone in the meeting ?

Watch it on BBC here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/10322748.stm he sounds like he should be in "The Scheme" instead of "Holyrood pratts" !!!!

Anonymous said...

I hope there is some kind of information being put out by the courts to tell people they can have McKenzie Friends now.Have you heard of anything like this yet Peter if so please publish it so we can all know how to do it.


Anonymous said...

Hamilton again : http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Laptop-buyer39s-116k-damages-win.6364126.jp

Laptop buyer's £116k damages win thrown out by appeal judges

Published Date: 16 June 2010

A £116,000 damages award to a disgruntled shopper has been wiped out by appeal judges, in a landmark ruling with implications for thousands of consumers in Scotland.
Richard Durkin returned a laptop computer to PC World because it turned out not to be the kind he wanted.

However, the bank that had provided credit for the purchase continued to chase him for payments, and blacklisted him when he refused to make any.

Mr Durkin, 41, an off-shore surveyor, of Aberdeen, successfully sued in the sheriff court over the blacklisting, but that decision was overturned yesterday by appeal judges in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Recognising it would be an unpopular ruling with consumers, the judges said the credit agreement had remained in force even after the sale of the laptop was cancelled. One did not automatically end with the other, they stated.

So, when Mr Durkin would not pay, HFC Bank was entitled to treat him as being in default, and to report him to credit reference agencies for inclusion on their registers as a bad risk.

Lord Mackay, sitting with Lord Hamilton, the Lord President, and Lord Eassie, said consumers like Mr Durkin could sue to have a credit agreement annulled and to recover money they had been obliged to pay in the meantime, but he conceded: "We recognise that from a lay consumer's point of view, such remedies to recover damages are not as obvious or as readily enforceable as a right to rescind the credit agreement itself."

Mr Durkin intends to take the case to the Supreme Court in London, but said it had already cost him "over £200,000" in the Scottish courts.

"It is a travesty of justice. I am still in shock. I just can't believe they have done this. It is difficult to quote any printable statement. I have always said the law is an ass," he said.

In 1998, Mr Durkin wanted a laptop with an built-in modem. The assistant in PC World in Aberdeen suggested a Hitachi model, but it was in a sealed box and could not be checked for a modem. Mr Durkin bought the laptop on the understanding it could be returned if there was no modem. He paid £50 and signed a credit agreement with HFC for £1,449 to cover the balance of the price. At home, he found the laptop did not have a modem, and he took it back to PC World first thing the next morning.

The store refused to take it back, but Mr Durkin left it, and had to raise a small claims action before PC World repaid his £50.

Although he explained the situation to the bank, HFC insisted he meet payments under the credit agreement, and warned of the consequences if he failed. In due course, he was served with a default notice and his name was added to registers of the UK's largest credit reference agencies. The entries remained until 2005.

Mr Durkin had wanted to buy a property in Spain, but was unable to obtain a mortgage while on the registers. He sued HFC, and Sheriff James Tierney in Aberdeen ruled that Mr Durkin had validly rescinded the credit agreement and awarded him £116,674, mainly for the difference between the price of a Spanish home while he was on the registers and after he was removed from it.

Following a similar case, Sheriff Tierney held that under the Consumer Credit Act, the canceling of a sale meant a linked credit agreement also fell.

In yesterday's appeal judgment, Lord Mackay said the contract of sale and the contract of loan were separate agreements, and the proper reading of the legislation went against Mr Durkin's case, even though "the general policy which lies behind the 1974 Act involves the protection of consumers".

The consumer champion Which? said its advice was: "Do not sign a credit agreement unless you are completely sure you want to enter into the agreement and you are not going to change your mind."

Anonymous said...

What do you think Peter was Lady Smith right to sentence a granny for having an 80 year old gun ?


Grandmother jailed over WWII 'family heirloom' pistol

A grandmother has been jailed for five years for possessing a "family heirloom" World War II pistol.

Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.

She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.

Cochrane told the High Court in Edinburgh that she had never contemplated she might be committing a crime by keeping the gun or that she might need to get a licence for the weapon.

She said: "I thought it was just a war trophy."

Defence solicitor advocate Jack Brown argued that the circumstances surrounding the case were exceptional and that it would be "draconian, unjust and disproportionate" to jail the grandmother-of-six.
Prohibited weapon

However, Judge Lady Smith said: "I am not satisfied that a reasonable explanation has been put forward for not handing this gun into the authorities throughout the 29-year period she says she has had it in her possession."

The judge said she was unable to find herself satisfied that this was one of the rare cases in which exceptional circumstances existed.

She said: "The result is I have no alternative but to sentence Mrs Cochrane to a period of five years."

The case began after police arrived at the 53-year-old's home on 17 June 2009 with an arrest warrant for her son who had failed to turn up for a court appearance.

He was not at the flat, but the 80-year-old pistol was found underneath a mattress in her bedroom.

When interviewed, Cochrane told police that the gun had previously belonged to her father and that she had kept it when he died.

She said she believed it was a real gun, but had no ammunition for it.

The weapon was sent for examination by firearms experts who concluded that it was a Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927.

Cochrane admitted having the 7.65 millimetre Browning self-loading pistol at her home without a firearms certificate and possessing the prohibited weapon without the authority of the Secretary of State or Scottish ministers.

Anonymous said...

BBC News

Doctors to flag up mentally ill patients who own guns.

Okay who is going to flag up mentally ill doctors in the same circumstances?

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair

The former PM also has a number of highly paid jobs which bring in between £5million and £9million a year.

His latest money-spinning contract – a role with hedge fund firm Lansdowne ­Partners – is expected to earn him £250,000 for just four speeches.

Mr Blair also has a £2.5million ­annual deal with JP Morgan, to “explore business opportunities in Libya”.

He has a £2million deal with Zurich Financial Services and has been signed up by Random House to publish his ­diaries for £4.6million.

Mr Blair also earns between £50,000 and £170,000 for making a speech.

On top of that he gets a prime ­ministerial ­pension of about £65,000 a year – and Britain contributes to the cost of his office staff and 24-hour security.

And he was taking millions from Lord Sainsbury to implement a policy on GM foods, and bypassing the cabinet and legislature to implement a policy no one wanted. Just like the Iraq war, Blair is a terrorist.

Why should the taxpayer pay for this scumbags security, if Bin Laden is after him it is Blairs fault not ours.

Diary of Injustice said...

Thanks for all your comments and as far as suggestions go for information on McKenzie Friends from the Scottish Court Service I will look into this immediately and do a further feature.

On the subject of Lady Smith jailing the Grandmother for 5 years over the pistol I dont know the circumstances of the case but it does seem rather harsh considering what I have read in the media today and considering who gets away with what in Scotland. Also I am reminded of Lady Smith's husband, David Smith, who is a board member at the SLCC and branded victims (including some who had taken their own lives) of fraudster solicitors as "frequent flyers" ...

Balanced justice ? I dont think so ...

Anonymous said...

Also I am reminded of Lady Smith's husband, David Smith, who is a board member at the SLCC and branded victims (including some who had taken their own lives) of fraudster solicitors as "frequent flyers" ...

Balanced justice ? I dont think so ...

I see,so suicide victims are frequent flyers to Mr Smith.Perhaps his wife Lady Smith in the newspaper today should jail him for 5 years to help him understand what led these people to commit suicide because of what their lawyers did to them.

I could say much more but you probably wont print the comment so will leave it at that !

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi I am a politics student and what I find about ideologies is that people who subscribe to ideologies think everyone else is wrong. These people are self righteous, accuse them of corruption and they baulk.

I think self regulation is such an ideology from what I see in those people protected by it, such as Mr Mill.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Lady Smith should have jailed Douglas Mill who used his granny as an excuse to cover his memos to kill off Master Policy claims although if her husband's nasty attitude is anything to go by she'd probably give Mill a medal ?

I wonder what Lady Smith did when she was a lawyer ? Any clues or stories about her former clients ?

Anonymous said...

Balanced justice ? I dont think so ...

Balanced legal people?

Great blog.

Anonymous said...

Asked today in Glasgow Sheriff Court about McKenzie Friends - they said "its coming soon" ! Idiots !

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Lady Smith did when she was a lawyer ? Any clues or stories about her former clients ?
If my memory serves me correctly The Sheriffs Association threatened the Scottish MSP's with the ECHR if they dug into sheriff's backgrounds.

Anonymous said...


2305 people searching this website this morning. Perhaps your crooked lawyer is there, if not put them there.

Anonymous said...

Balanced justice ? I dont think so ...

I agree Peter and I also think self regulators in general have mental health problems, I mean the Law Society Ness chap refuses to prosecute Drew Penman and then the Law Society hate your guts, Jesus Christ what are these people on. If you Peter had embezzled money from lawyers you would be in prison. The application of justice depends on who you are, so everyone is not equal before the law.

Self regulation creates the attitude, you cannot touch me, I am above the law. This is why there is your blog, sacl/info Solicitors from Hell, Victims of the Legal Profession Society, and countless others in the Western World.

We the dissidents are all fighting for what self regulation (The Law Society SLCC) denies clients, JUSTICE.

Dissent reinvents politics, it will do the same with self regulation. Those who cover up lawyer criminalities days are numbered. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

There is growing evidence on the Internet that self regulation does not work. Web sites such as Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers, www.sacl/info, A Diary of Injustice in Scotland by Peter Cherbi, petercherbi.blogspot.com are only two of many sites calling for an end to self regulation of the Legal Profession.

The online auction site E Bay uses a superb system where buyers and sellers can leave feedback after a transaction. I think this system should be adopted by clients of civil lawyers. Naturally I would expect protests from lawyers regarding this. They will argue this would be an unfair system of policing their activities. Lawyers currently investigate complaints from members of the public about other lawyers. Is this system fair and unbiased?

Lawyers are an omnipotent profession. The current legal system in many instances prevents victims of crooked lawyers getting to court, because many lawyers do not take on cases that will damage other lawyers reputations. In my opinion it is time to use the internet to bypass the current biased complaints system. Multiple clients leaving negative feedback about the same law firm will drive crooked lawyers out of the legal services industry. Honest firms should welcome an E Bay style feedback system because positive feedback should strengthen their position and increase business as a result. Self regulation maintains a system that undermines justice, and no client can be confident of access to quality civil legal services until it ends. If the legal profession continue to resist an end to self regulation, clients need to develop an online database feedback system to protect themselves.

Members of the public should use the Google search engine and type "Crooked Lawyers" for more information on this issue of paramount importance, because many people need to use law firms at some time in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Good work on the McKenzie Friends maybe now you should turn your attention to Scotland's judiciary because they clearly need to be made more accountable than they currently are

Anonymous said...

GP struck off over morphine deaths

Dr Howard Martin Dr Martin was cleared of murder in 2005

A retired doctor has been struck off after giving excessively high doses of morphine to 18 dying patients.

A disciplinary panel found that former County Durham GP Dr Howard Martin had not acted negligently but had "violated the rights of the terminally ill".

He was cleared of murdering three of his patients five years ago.

But he has been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC) for "completely unacceptable" treatment of some patients.

The fitness to practise hearing in Manchester centred on the deaths of patients between 1994 and 2004 at surgeries in Newton Aycliffe, Shildon and Eldon.

It heard that Dr Martin had an "autocratic attitude" and believed he was always right.
Self regulators are all autocratic.

Anonymous said...

Is everything concerning the law such a trouble to do in Scotland ?
You must have a very backward justice system and as for the Judge who jailed the lady for the antique gun well .!

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is possible to have a "meeting of the minds" as contract law states on this issue.

Bypassing the official complaints channels with e bay type websites is the only solution to this problem, so that clients can give prospective clients their views on lawyers and law firms.

As for publishing client complaints against their lawyers, great idea Peter. As you know their will be a massive gulf between the Law Society position on this and actual feedback from clients.

The Law Society do not regulate, because if they did there would be no space for dissent, because it would not be necessary.

People of Scotland, please trust no lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Self regulation is illegitimate power, those who investigate their own corruption are corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Cameron Fyfe took legal aid payments for 6 yes six years and on the day of the proof it transpired that he had forgotton to tell the defenders in my case i had been sequestrated in 2004.

So after 8 years of trying to get my case into the court of session edinburgh, the defenders called caution and it was granted £50,000.

To be able to continue i would have to find that money, i am now representing myself as a party litigant and am horrified at his mistakes.

I have the productions in the case i have reported him to the law society and they have done nothing.