Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Disgraced lawyer banned by Legal Aid Board after £560K claims returns to work, Law Society takes no action to protect Scots consumers

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland’s weak touch self-regulation allows ‘crooked lawyers’ to continue working for unsuspecting clients. THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND’S self serving, self protecting system of lawyers regulating each other has once again demonstrated the Scottish legal profession is thoroughly unfit to regulate its 10,000 solicitors and protect the client’s best interests at the same time, as the Sunday Mail newspaper revealed this weekend yet another ‘disgraced lawyer’ solicitor Steven Anderson, has returned to work after the Scottish Legal Aid Board found him guilt of making ‘unjustified claims’, while the Law Society has taken NO ACTION to protect the public.

The Sunday Mail’s investigation into Steven Anderson came after Scottish Legal Aid Board issued an earlier Press Release stating an investigation had found non-compliance with SLAB’s Code of Practice for Criminal Legal Assistance. The SLAB Press Release identified solicitor Steven Anderson, stating “this non‐compliance included: holding unnecessary meetings with clients, and making inappropriate, multiple and repetitive grants of advice and assistance”. Curiously however, the Press Release from the Scottish Legal Aid Board contained no figures of how much money in terms of claims to the Legal Aid Board Mr Anderson had received, now revealed by the Sunday Mail to stand at a staggering £560,330.

SLAB_logoScottish Legal Aid Board also identified other ‘non complying’ solicitors. One can only wonder why Mr Anderson’s staggering legal aid claims figure was omitted from SLAB’s earlier Press Release, which also named Iain Robertson, director of Roberston and Ross Limited & solicitor, Alistair Gibb, stating they had overcharged the Board for travel to various prisons, which resulted in a massive £221,847 repayment to SLAB, yet no prosecution by the Crown Office. You can read more about the SLAB announcement in my earlier report on the matter, here : Justice for all ? Scotland’s Crown Office refuse to prosecute ‘crooked lawyers’ who 'wrongly' claimed £221K in Legal Aid funds

While the Law Society has this week been engaged in a force feeding of ‘good press’ to some newspapers over the ‘achievements’ (rolling in the cash) of some solicitors in the legal profession to paper over the weekend’s reporting of the latest slew of ‘crooked lawyers’ operating in ‘regulatory anonymity’ I thought I would close the month of Augusts' coverage with a reminder of the true face of Scotland’s legal fraternity, along with a reminder of exactly what the Law Society did with regard to Mr Anderson’s apparently unnecessary legal aid claims. Nothing. The same nothing the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission do time & again when faced with thousands of complaints from Scots against their solicitors, and the question of what to do about ‘crooked lawyers’.

For solicitors who feel like fiddling the taxpayer, there should be an automatic striking off of any solicitor who falsely claims legal aid, as well as automatic prosecution in the criminal courts. Read on for the Sunday Mail’s excellent investigation :

Disgraced lawyer returns at a new firm after bagging 560K in legal aid claims - Sunday Mail  29 August 2010Disgraced lawyer returns at a new firm after bagging £560k a year in legal aid claims

Aug 29 2010 Exclusive by Derek Alexander and Russell Findlay

A LAWYER banned from claiming legal aid after raking in more taxpayers’ cash than Scotland’s top QCs is back in business.

Legal aid investigators probed Steven Anderson after he pocketed £560,330 of public money in one year – eclipsing high-profile QC Donald Findlay’s £370,900 annual fees.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board found Anderson guilty of making unjustified claims and blocked £500,000 of pending payments. They also banned all future claims by the 52-year-old and his firm, Andersons Solicitors, in Springburn, Glasgow. The inquiry concluded that Anderson held unnecessary meetings with clients and made “inappropriate, multiple and repetitive” claims.

Anderson – whose ex-legal partner was jailed for storing guns for the McGovern crime clan – has been forced to close down his former firm. But Sunday Mail investigators have found it is business as usual for Anderson. Last week, he was working in the office of Lanigan Meechan & Co – where his old company were based. The firm even have the same phone number used by his old company.

Because of the legal aid ban, Anderson is only allowed to work for private clients who pay their own fees. Anderson, from Knightswood, Glasgow, said: “Every penny I claimed in legal aid can be justified and I have not obtained any payment by fraud. “I’d often work 16 hours a day and had two other solicitors working for me to spread the load. “I would regularly argue with SLAB about payments and I believe I’ve been deregistered because I was too much trouble. “They still owe me around £300,000 but they have offered to pay me less than 80 per cent of my submitted fees.”

Taxpayers last year forked out £150.4million in fees for those who couldn’t afford legal representation in Scotland.

In 2008-09, Anderson’s firm raked in £560,330 of legal aid. In that same year the top-earning firm in Scotland – Livingstone Brown, with around 20 lawyers and six offices – received £1.98million. The highest-earning QC was Donald Findlay, with £370,900 of legal aid, while Gordon Jackson QC got £314,100.

A SLAB spokesman said: “Where claims are inappropriate, these are not being paid. The outstanding sums claimed amount to around £500,000. “Mr Anderson has consistently failed to provide information necessary to support his claims and we await his response on a large number of cases. “The amount of staff resource required to deal with Mr Anderson’s accounts has been excessive.”

Anderson was previously cleared of a legal aid fiddle along with his ex-partner James McIntyre. The pair – along with a third partner – appeared before the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal in 1999 following a SLAB raid on their office. At the time, McIntyre was serving three years in prison for storing guns at his home in Linlithgow, West Lothian, for the Springburn-based McGovern family. He was later struck off.

Anderson is still registered at his old office address with the Law Society of Scotland. John Lanigan, a partner in Lanigan Meechan & Co said: “Steven Anderson has no connection with my firm but he’s based there.”

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Law Society are as crooked as he is so its no wonder they did nothing.

Why haven't the Police picked him up for fiddling legal aid if SLAB are so sure he did it ?

Anonymous said...

Big house AND Range Rover from legal aid !
Where do I apply ???

Anonymous said...

dont worry Mr Yelland will get him an OBE

Anonymous said...

Self regulation in action Peter, what can I say?

This Law Society of Scotland is not as Mr MacAskill would have us believe a "professional organisation" it is a criminal organisation above the law. In my opinion the Law Society of Scotland is ruining the Scottish Legal Profession because the honest lawyer (if their is such a thing) is invisible in the club of criminals.

How the Law Society can turn a blind eye when he has been banned by the Legal Aid Board demonstrates all are criminals. Nothing has changed since Mr Mill's disgraced exit from the Society.

I am unemployed so he cannot harm my financial status but this just proves there is NO POINT in complaining about a lawyer in Scotland. An outrage.

I have been reading your blog for over two years now Peter and you can no longer shock me with what this profession get away with. Good on the Sunday Mail, perhaps they can do a story on the dangers of self regulation? Mr MacAskill's legal system is rotten.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the legal aid board have some questions to answer too like why was he able to claim £560k without someone asking questions ?

Its not pocket money !

Anonymous said...

"While the Law Society has this week been engaged in a force feeding of ‘good press’ to some newspapers over the ‘achievements’ (rolling in the cash) of some solicitors in the legal profession to paper over the weekend’s reporting of the latest slew of ‘crooked lawyers’ operating in ‘regulatory anonymity’"

You are probably referring to the BS about Dickson Minto across the hootsmon yesterday.I thought there was some other motive behind that story as I couldnt see any news relevance to his £1.9m earnings.

Anyone with any complaints in against Dickson Minto we should be made aware of ?

Anonymous said...

Why is this lawyer not in jail??
If his client had lied to claim the legal aid SLAB would be all over them with the cops.JAIL FOR LEGAL AID CROOKED LAWYERS

Anonymous said...

Where are Fergus Ewing & Kenny MacAskill to promote & protect their precious legal profession ?
Will they be hosting a Legal Aid banquet for Mr Anderson and chums ??

Anonymous said...

The only thing the Law Society are good for is protecting their own criminals

Anonymous said...

We see the way the Law Society treat this lawyer. Just like Lockerbie Protect the profession Mr MacAskill, you went to the prison to see Mr al-Megrahi to get him to drop his appeal, so you could save the Lockerbie Trial Judges reputations, two men working as a terrorist cell are charged as a team and one is freed and the other is jailed. If there is evidence against them as a unit how can different verdicts be applied. Hans Kochler's findings are fascinating reading on the Scottish Justice system.

Anonymous said...

Didnt see this as I dont get the Sunday Mail so thanks for publicising it again.

You are correct about self regulation not being worth a toss when things like this happen - Anderson should be struck off as so should any solicitor fiddling legal aid.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Sunday Mail for exposing this crook

Anonymous said...

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission they are so independent all of their minutes are redacted, just like the criminals we have for MP's on the expenses issue.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anderson's hanging baskets should be searched in case they are stuffed with public money!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like Fraud, plain and simple, with SLAB, the Crown Office and the Law Society of Scotland all seen to be wiling accomplices after the fact.

Like the rest of the Scottish Justice System, this stinks.

Anonymous said...

In reply to the earlier comment concerning Dickson Minto - it was also splattered across the pages of the Herald.

Me thinks Peter is correct this was the story to cover any further publication of Mr Anderson's shenanigans as who the hell cares about a high earning lawyer who claims to hate the press when one of this chums just bagged over half a million on the taxpayer!

Anonymous said...

Another day another crook the legal profession are filled with them.Trust no lawyer and question your own to see if he might be as bad as Anderson,Penman and the rest of the crooked gang who get away with it courtesy of the Law Society of Criminals

Anonymous said...

How can a justice system be legitimate if the law is not applied equally? This issue is political because difference demonstrates the authorities protect their own. As long as the culprit is in the right profession, the authorities will take no action to protect the public.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting insight into the Scottish legal world.
Clearly most if not all in it are either crooked or too cowardly to do something about their crooked colleagues.Same goes for your Legal Aid Department who are obviously playing with public information by not releasing all the facts.

If any of your readers have anything to do with this Steven Anderson or the legal aid people I hope they write in with their experiences for you to continue your investigations.

Anonymous said...

Anyone managing to claim more than Findlay from legal aid needs looking into At least we know what Donald is doing in court,How many cases did Anderson win for his clients?

Anonymous said...

Why are the legal aid board not lambasting the Law Society for sitting around doing nothing ?

Too many cosy arrangements between the two allowing crooked lawyers to keep on charging clients work to legal aid and getting away with it ?

Anonymous said...

On Dickson Minto I was thinking much the same.

Its one of those "lets push this pish out to cover our arses on bad publicity" stories.

We get them all the time but you'll have to blame the editors & owners,not the journalists who have to put their names to this garbage!

Anonymous said...

This blog puts the so-called 'free press' to shame.

Anonymous said...

Notice no equivalent Press Release from MacAskill bragging about how the law supposedly applies to lawyers too so we can conclude from this its fine with MacAskill if lawyers steal legal aid and continue working!

Anonymous said...

No point complaining about a lawyer then.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society provide the strongest evidence that self regulation does not and will never work.

Anonymous said...

The Scottish Legal Aid Board is obviously not fit for purpose.

Could it be there are too many lawyers working for it hence why there are no prosecutions of the likes of Anderson ?

Anonymous said...

Have sent your blog link to a friend of mine who used this lawyer and ended up with lots of probs

Anonymous said...

Stop Legal Aid for injuries that are invisible for the following reasons


A LETTER TO PROFESSOR ROSS HARPER:

Dear Professor Harper,

Like many law firms you have a litigation department.

Are you a crooked lawyer?

The reason I ask is that I know about the litigation scam Scotland's lawyers are using.

You represent clients who have occupational injury and their employers insurers are Royal Sun Alliance.

Why do you not tell clients that you cannot win their litigation cases?

The reason is simple, your insurers under the infamous Law Society of Scotland's Master policy is also Royal Sun Alliance.

So ladies and gentlemen, Ross Harper solicitors and all Scottish solicitors will take your case on, and their doctors (Yes you will need medical reports are also insured by Royal Sun Alliance).

That is why your family doctor, consultants professor Harpers and all other law firms are crooks.

THEY CANNOT SUE THEIR OWN INSURERS, BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY WOULD BE DOING IF YOU THE CLIENT WAS AWARDED DAMAGES FOR BEING INJURED AT WORK.

YOU GET LEGAL AID MONEY PROFESSOR HARPER AND YOU KNOW BEFORE THE CLIENT SIGNS THE LEGAL AID FORMS THEIR EMPLOYER WILL NEVER BE FOUND GUILTY IF INJURING THEIR EMPLOYEE.

PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND THESE PROFESSIONS ARE CRIMINALS WHO ABUSE THE INJURED TO MAKE MONEY.

PROFESSOR HARPERS LAW FIRM HAVE MADE A LOT OF MONEY THIS WAY AND I GUARANTEE NO EMPLOYEE HAS EVER RECEIVED DAMAGES.

PERHAPS THE NEXT TIME YOUR LITIGATION TEAM HAVE A CLIENT WANTING TO SUE THEIR EMPLOYER YOU SHOULD SHOW THEM THIS LETTER PROFESSOR HARPER, YOU ARE CORRUPT BECAUSE NO EMPLOYEE CAN WIN DAMAGES WHEN YOUR INSURERS WILL BE PAYING THOSE DAMAGES.


CAN YOU PUT THIS ON YOUR SCOTTISH LEGAL CONSUMER COMPLAINTS MR CHERBI SINCE THE INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS ARE ACCURATE?

Anonymous said...

What was it Mr Pritchard said "The Law Master Policy offers the best consumer protection."

Would Ronnie Biggs get a job as the financial director of the Bank of Scotland? The Law Society of Scotland offers the best in lawyer protection, no doubt about that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.solicitorsfromhell.co.uk

Ian S Smart and Co. Solicitors - Cumbernauld

3 Annan House
Town Centre
Cumbernauld
G67 1DP

Solicitor :
Ian Smart (IS THIS THE MAN WHO WAS AT THE LAW SOCIETY)

01236 731027

I was assured by Ian Smart that an interdict was in place to stop my ex wife from taking my children out the country only to find out 18 months later that he never applied for it.

Spent 2,1/2 years sending letters and very little else.

The day before it finally came to court he demanded I pay the bill he sent me weeks before, which sounds fair, until you understand he sent it to the wrong address.

This twat left me in the lurch the night before my child custody case.

He got his money and I got a proper lawyer.

I won my custody case but Ian Smart cost me my house, savings, 3 years of worry then nearly 6k in costs.

Anonymous said...

Everyone talks about crooked lawyers, the latter are crooked because the Law Society are more crooked.

It is a bit like someone getting a builder to build a house, the job is a disaster and Building Control protect the builder. Business is all about redress because companies who fail customers lose customers. The root of the lawyer problem is no competition and people receiving compliants and shredding them. The legal profession are not policed at all, that is why poor standards are the norm.

Anonymous said...

http://www.solicitorsfromhell.co.uk/index.php

Quotes:

“In case the profession has not noticed people have no faith in Solicitors. Self regulation does not work, one reason probably being because if it were done diligently and properly the amount of wrong doing it would uncover would be so vast it would damage people's faith even more. But sweeping a problem under the carpet hardly improves things. Hence this website is providing a service”.
Andrew M.

"I gave up practising because I realised that the majority of solicitors I dealt with are dishonest. Even if they are negligent you never win. They will forge attendance notes and cover their backs. My firm's senior partner cracked open a bottle of champagne when his best client died, knowing he could make a fortune from the probate work"
Retired solicitor from Cambridge

“With more and more use of social media and people being able to post comments on a variety of websites, from legal ones to Twitter or personal blogs, we are likely to see more and more postings about solicitors”.
Nick J.

“Many solicitors are good and honest but many are lying useless crooks. Complaining to the Law Society is a total waste of time: your site is a far better bet!”
Anthony T.
===================================
YES COMPLAINING TO THE LAW SOCIETY IS A WASTE OF TIME, AS ABOVE THE LEGAL AID BOARD BAN A LAWYER AND OUR OLD CHUMS IN EDINBURGH TAKE NO ACTION AGAINST THE LAWYER.

SCOTTISH JUDICIAL JUSTICE FOR YOU.

IMAGINE A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC OBTAINING LEGAL AID LET US SAY £5,600.00 BY FRAUD. THEY WOULD END UP IN COURT LORD GILL. YOU ARE RIGHT LORD GILL VICTORIAN JUSTICE. LEGAL PROTECTION FOR THE LAWYER, JAIL FOR THE LAYPERSON.

Anonymous said...

Legal services are about inequality, injustice and lawyers business interest. When lawyers have an infamous collective reputation for creating injustice the system is rotten to the core. And this will only get worse as long as they self regulate, just like the useless Scottish Legal Complaints Commission another expensive layer of protection for lawyers.

anne bagan said...

Are there any decent honest lawyers left in scotland

Anonymous said...

I actually know steven anderson,as a lawyer who represented me many times,in court and as a friend.
He appeared for me when i was a struggling alcoholic,this was way back in 1995 onwards.

The things he helped me with as regards court cases went way and above the call of duty for any lawyer.


An honest,reliable,decent man,whom many have taken for a soft touch.
16 hour days!,yes indeed,he travelled to every jail in scotland to see me.
Hes not a thief,he never has been,i know he made a few quid out of my court cases many years ago,but he did put the legwork in everytime.

Maybe not the best record keeper,maybe a bit soft,but hes not dishonest.


you guys have got this wrong,i wish steven well,ps i dont drink anymore!

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 7 June 2011 19:46

You should have spoken up for him when the Legal Aid Board investigated ... or there's still time if you want to try a newspaper ...