Ex Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill, now Director of Legal Practice, University of Glasgow. DOUGLAS MILL, the controversial former Law Society of Scotland Chief Executive who once ‘swore on his granny’s grave' he had not intervened in damages claims made by ruined clients against crooked lawyers, to the Law Society’s Master Policy and who effectively resigned in disgrace after a bitter, much publicised confrontation with John Swinney MSP during a Justice 2 Committee meeting in 2006, has, in his position as Director of Legal Practice at the University of Glasgow, wined & dined a significant number of Sheriffs, judges, lawyers, tutors & even the media, all at the taxpayer’s expense.
Mr Mill’s expenses claims figures obtained through Freedom of Information legislation show the well known former Law Society Chief Executive who now has his own business “Douglas Mill Consulting” and has occupied a number of consulting posts in other roles, raked up thousands of pounds of expenses claims to taxpayers for at least sixteen lunches with judges, lawyers & ‘fellow’ tutors.
Readers, especially those who may already have been affected by the worst public service sector cuts in the entire history of the country, can view the details of Mr Mill expenses claims, published today by Scottish Law Reporter, here : Ex-Law Society Chief, now Glasgow University Legal Practice Director Douglas Mill soaks broke public coffers for ‘lunch with judges’ expense claims
Granny pays for the Law Society : Douglas Mill bills taxpayers for his annual Law Society membership fee. Staggeringly, Mr Mill also makes the public pick up the cost of his ‘annual retainer fee’ for the Law Society of Scotland, this despite the fact the entire country is facing the worst public service cuts in its entire history, with even the University of Glasgow recently announcing it is facing a £35m budget shortfall unless it takes action to cut costs.
While Mr Mill’s luxurious expenses claims figures make stark reading in recession hit Scotland, Glasgow University refused to disclose details of Mr Mill’s salary (thought to be £80,000 or more), and even threatened “Diary of Injustice” with legal action if any of the disclosures of Mr Mill’s expenses claims released by the University were published.
Glasgow University refuses to release details of ex Law Society Chief’s taxpayer funded ‘teaching’ salary. Glasgow University said : “The information on Douglas Mill’s annual salary has been withheld as: (a) the individual salary information is considered as personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”); and (b) the release of such salary information would be in breach of the data protection principles as set-out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Therefore the exemption from release of such information applies as specified under section 38(1) (b) and 38(2) (a) (i) of FOISA.”
Glasgow University took the view that disclosure of such personal data would breach Data Protection Principles of the DPA where it claimed “The release of the salary information on an individual basis will undermine the expectation of the individual that his/her personal data would not be released.” – this despite Mr Mill’s salary being paid for by UK taxpayers. Glasgow University founded upon their refusal to disclose Mr Mill’s publicly funded salary by referring to an English FOI case involving the University of Cambridge (30 July 2007).
Cash strapped Glasgow University then went onto claim the details of Mr Mill’s salary & expenses “shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects. The release of personal data may result in a real risk of his/her personal data being displayed on the internet and thus viewable outside the European Economic Area.”
The University ended its terse response to the FOI request threatening legal action under copyright legislation if publication took place : “Breach of copyright law is an actionable offence and the University expressly reserves its rights and remedies available to it pursuant to the CDPA and common law.”
Sir Fred Goodwin, brought the RBS & UK Treasury to near collapse, was defended by Douglas Mill. It is also worth noting while Douglas Mill’s expenses on dinners put First Minister’s Alex Salmond’s food allowance claims to shame, the cuts which are affecting every facet of public life in the UK, from health to employment, from life to death, are principally caused by the massive multi billion pound taxpayer bailouts of banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, whose former Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin was personally defended by Mr Mill several times despite Goodwin leading the RBS and the entire country to near financial collapse.
You can read more of my report on Douglas Mill’s defence of Sir Fred Goodwin, here : Royal Bank failure blamed on lack of regulation by ex Law Society Boss who campaigned against stronger regulation of solicitors
For those who may wish to refresh their memories over Douglas Mill’s confrontation with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, read this : Law Society boss Mill lied to Swinney, Parliament as secret memos reveal policy of intervention & obstruction on claims, complaints.
Holyrood 2006 : John Swinney MSP exposed corruption at the very heart of the Law Society with a secret memo from Douglas Mill (click image below to watch video)
Douglas Mill’s own memo depicted interference in claims against crooked lawyers. While Douglas Mill famously said “I will go on oath and on record, and I will swear on my granny's grave, that never once have I, any member of my staff or any office-bearer dabbled in a claim”, a claim Mr Mill came to regret after Mr Swinney presented the Justice 2 Committee with a copy of one of Mr Mill’s own memos showing Mill & the Law Society clearly did dabble in claims, it turns out that not only could granny not swear by the Law Society, everyone’s taxes and their grannies are now helping to pay for Mr Mill’s lunches with judges … tough times indeed, and little wonder that Glasgow University who themselves are having to make cuts, don't want the details of Mr Mill’s expenses claims leaking out to the public.
Glasgow University’s refusal to disclose Douglas Mill’s publicly funded salary, and the terms of their legal threat against publication of their disclosure of Mr Mill’s expenses claims has been passed to Kevin Dunion, Scotland’s Information Commissioner for further investigation.