Friday, October 22, 2010

Personal injury client dropped by Perth based solicitors Kippen Campbell ‘being hounded’ by court attempts to recover disputed fees

Perth Sheriff CourtPerth Sheriff court is the latest setting for Scots law firms pursuing clients over fees. PERTH SHERIFF COURT is again at the centre of questions over the progress of a year long case involving a local law firm Kippen Campbell and their attempts to recover fees from a client they were representing in a personal injury claim against Arriva Motor Retailing Ltd & Reg Vardy plc. Partners at Kippen Campbell allege the fees are due, even though the law firm dumped their client, Mr William Gordon, in a move which brought to a halt any progress on Mr Gordon’s personal injury claim as he has since been unable to secure legal representation.

Mr Gordon has now been put in the unenviable position in Scots Law of being an unrepresented party litigant trying to stave off demands from a law firm for disputed fees. Letters sent by Mr Gordon to Perth Sheriff Court in the case of Kippen Campbell v William Gordon A334/09 reveal Mr Gordon, the defender, has offered to settle the law firm’s claims, although it now appears the pursuing law firm Kippen Campbell prefers the case continue in the Sheriff Court.

Kippen Campbell Fee NoteFee note released during SLCC investigation detailed Kippen Campbell attempted to charge dropped client for dealing with Law Society complaints. As I reported in December 2009, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission began an investigation into complaints made late last year against Messrs Kippen Campbell by their former client, Mr William Gordon over issues related to their representation of Mr Gordon in a personal injury claim. The SLCC’s investigation was ‘complicated’ according to legal insiders, although court documents seen by journalists revealed the law firm had, among its now disputed charges to Mr Gordon, charged a fee note to Mr Gordon for a phone call between the Law Society of Scotland and a partner from Kippen Campbell over a complaint Mr Gordon had made regarding service provided by his now former legal representatives.

Sources at the Law Society said such moves by law firms are severely frowned upon by the regulatory body as solicitors are ‘not allowed to charge clients for dealing with complaints’. Suggestions have since been made that a complete audit be carried out of the law firm involved, and a wider investigation be initiated by the Law Society & SLCC into practices of law firms charging clients for dealing with complaints – a secretive practice which may be contributing to similar cases across Scotland of law firms pursuing clients for fees they claim are due, where the coincidence exists the client has been dropped by a law firm who are themselves subject to complaints & investigations by solicitor’s regulators.

Jane IrvineSLCC Chair Jane Irvine may still have to appear as ‘expert witness’ in Perth Sheriff Court over disputed fees & law firm’s conduct. Progress on the case, now more than year on since I last reported on developments, where Jane Irvine, the Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and at least one SLCC investigator faced being called as witnesses to be cross examined on the law firm’s conduct towards Mr Gordon and his personal injury claim, has been painfully slow, with almost no movement other than a succession of postponed hearings at Perth Sheriff Court on the law firm’s own pursuit of fees it claims it is owed.

The fee recovery case being pursued by Kippen Campbell against their former client, has, according to court documents seen by Diary of Injustice, not even been allocated to a Sheriff even after a year of being passed around the local Sheriff court system.

It has recently been revealed by legal insiders close to the case, the constant barrage of court hearings initiated by the law firm who dropped their own client and attempted to charge him for dealing with complaints, has taken its toll on the unrepresented Mr Gordon, whose well being has suffered so extensively his Doctor has been forced to write up to seven times to the court, stating his patient cannot attend proceedings due to failing health.

It has also been alleged that Mr Gordon has been treated with some disdain by local Sheriff court officials, who, appearing not to take Mr Gordon’s predicament as an unrepresented party litigant into account, have failed on numerous occasions to notify Mr Gordon of successive dates of court hearings. The court staff’s failures to notify Mr Gordon of events concerning the case against him have now become so numerous, some claim it is an attempt to ensure his former law firm who are pursuing him for fees they allege are due, obtain a decision in their favour during Mr Gordon’s absence from proceedings he is not being kept up to speed with and may not be aware of.

Details from an investigation carried out by Diary of Injustice into the case can now reveal Mr Gordon, even in his weakened medical state while signed off appearing in court by his Doctor, has been forced on each occasion to ask for access to court interlocutors, detailing motions & events concerning the law firm’s court pursuit of fees they allege are due.

On many occasions interlocutors have apparently been produced to Mr Gordon late, or in what some contend to be a questionable format with some papers provided by court officials appearing to have been adjusted photocopies of earlier postponements. It can also been revealed that curiously, the Sheriff Court wrote to Mr Gordon’s Doctor during his annual leave, and set a date for reply and the next hearing of the case on the same day the Doctor returned to work.

SLCC LAW SOCIETYLaw Society & SLCC failures over regulation of complaints against solicitors are impacting on clients health. The numerous Doctor’s letters required by Perth Sheriff Court in the Kippen Campbell v William Gordon A334/09 case are now causing concern in terms of their frequency & detail required by the court, to the point some are now questioning just how many times a Doctor should be harangued over the fitness of his client to attend proceedings in cases where the client has a long term medical condition, and when the likelihood is the stressful nature of such a case as it is continuing, against a background of serious allegations of complaints made against a law firm, and allegations of significant regulatory failures by the Law Society of Scotland & the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, are only likely to make matters worse for Mr Gordon’s health.

The Scottish Court Service were asked for comment on what guidance exists to sheriffs & judges on how to handle "Soul & Conscience" style letters from doctors relating to parties in civil law cases.

A response from the Judicial Studies Committee, a division of the Scottish Court Service established for the purpose of supporting the judiciary in the carrying out of their non-judicial functions stated : “No specific guidance is issued to judges in relation to soul and conscience certificates. These tend to appear in support of an absence of a litigant or witness before or during court proceedings. They are tendered ex parte. If an issue arises about the authenticity or content of the certificate it is open to the judge to continue the case for clarification of the issue. The certificate is one factor to be taken into account in determining an application to adjourn or delay a case.”

“Medical certificates, according to Practice Note of 6 June 1968 (found in the Parliament House Book at p. C2002, which is available to all judges), no longer need to bear the words 'on soul and conscience' in relation to an action pending before the Court of Session. They are mainly used when a witness is unable to attend court and they will remove a witness from the court list for up to 30 days.”

“In an opinion of the Court delivered by the Lord Justice Clerk in The Scottish Ministers v Claire Rennison or Smith [2010] CSIH 44, it was observed that 'although certification on soul and conscience is no longer an indispensable requirement (cf Practice Note, 6 June 1968), the absence of it is a factor that we are entitled to take into account' when the second respondent failed to appear.”

“Consideration is being given by the judiciary to whether further procedural guidance on medical certificates would be desirable in light of the Rennison case.”

Taking into account cases such as the one reported on here today, there is clearly a need for further procedural guidance on medical certificates & doctor’s letters are now required for Scottish courts, and it seems, retraining for court staff in how to deal with party litigants. After all, just how many times can someone be asked if they are ill or liable to recover in time to pay off fees their solicitors claim are due, even when complaints against the solicitor’s service have been made and the fees themselves are in significant dispute …

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

In other words local sheriff court bends over backwards to help out local law firm get their money.

That's what we are all thinking,right? because that's the way it looks to me.

Anonymous said...

They dropped him and expect to be paid ??!!

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure there are more firms than Kippen Campbell charging for complaints so yes I also support calls for a wider investigation although given the lack of public confidence in the Law Society someone else will have to do it.

Anonymous said...

Very good investigation Peter!

Best wishes for Mr Gordon to overcome our thuggish justice system

Anonymous said...

Disgusting really although nothing you write about lawyers surprises me now.What happens if the guy dies because of this ?
Will that make them happy or will they just go and mince up whatever he leaves to get their blood money.

Anonymous said...

agree with the 1st comment

Anonymous said...

If the man has offered to settle as you say then why is this dragging on for over a year and doubtless court costs being piled onto the amounts demanded ?

Is this a case of solicitors being bloody minded just because their client complained ?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting report as always Peter.

I'm not going to speculate on what is going on here although I do feel at the very least Mr Gordon deserves legal representation to resolve his personal injury claim one way or the other.

Incidentally how did you manage to unearth the Judicial Studies Office ?

Clever chap !

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the GP charge the Court £150 for every reminder required after their initial letter - a lawyer would.

Anonymous said...

Must be a nasty business dealing with any Scots lawyer after reading this I will make sure I stay the hell away from them

Anonymous said...

I know what this man is being put through, I have been there and I have an intense hatred of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

I think the first comment is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Arriva Motor Retailing Ltd & Reg Vardy plc.

Is Mr Gordon trying to sue Royal Sun Alliance. If so this law firm will cover up his injuries as their insurers will be paying the damages, bastards that is what lawyers are.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Disgusting really although nothing you write about lawyers surprises me now.What happens if the guy dies because of this ?
Will that make them happy or will they just go and mince up whatever he leaves to get their blood money.

I bet there are plenty people dead because of lawyers maybe we should start our own inquiry and reveal the KILLERS licensed to practice DEATH by the Law Society

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for Mr Gordon to overcome our thuggish justice system.

I agree, and if Mr Gordon's employers were insure by Royal Sun Alliance, Kippen. Campbell are also insured by Royal Sun Alliance, the Sheriffs at Perth Sheriff court are also Insured by Royal Sun Alliance. Ross Harper dropped me too Mr Gordon, Scotland's lawyers are all the same, they have no one to answer to other than their own. These people have despotic power it is Mr Gordon V The Scottish Legal Profession. Mr Gordon will find it, impossible to get a law firm to help him.

I know victims of litigation and the lawyers are bad bastards who bury evidence to save Insurance companies. You are fighting a system you cannot beat Mr Gordon, these people would murder you before they would get damages for you. Your lawyers are part of your employers defence team, litigation provides income for doctors and lawyers, never damages for the client. I write from personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gordon has now been put in the unenviable position in Scots Law of being an unrepresented party litigant trying to stave off demands from a law firm for disputed fees. Letters sent by Mr Gordon to Perth Sheriff Court in the case of Kippen Campbell v William Gordon A334/09 reveal Mr Gordon, the defender, has offered to settle the law firm’s claims, although it now appears the pursuing law firm Kippen Campbell prefers the case continue in the Sheriff Court.
----------------------------------
Mr Gordon you have learned the hard way that lawyers are above the law. I believe Perth sheriff court will do everything they can to protect this law firm. Most people do not understand the dangers of litigation, the lawyers, sheriffs, insurance companies and employers control everything. Lawyers regulating their own amounts to, charge the client whatever you want because the Law Society will protect the law firm. I would rather be shot dead than ever deal with another lawyer, they are evil bastards.

How would you lawyers like it if you were treated the this? Pure bastards, that is what you are.

Anonymous said...

More exposes like this one please!

All these people stuck in the courts because of lawyers deserve to be heard instead of being swept under the carpet by the legal profession!

Anonymous said...

Yet another horror story from the vaults of Drumsheugh Gardens.I can well imagine the Law Society will be making sure Mr Gordon doesn't get a lawyer ever again like anyone else who stands up for themselves against these horrible characters.

Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting Peter, that is what I like about your blog, exposing these graduate criminals.

You people out there, do not sue your employer, you will get £0.00 damages and a £3000.00 legal bill, perhaps more. Mr Gordon has been repudiated by the Scottish legal profession, after he has been tortured by those who are above the law. He is not alone.

All the best Mr Gordon, a member of my family has been treated the same as you. Lawyers victims have no rights.

Mr Gordon put your case on

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

Anonymous said...

A cover up ideology dominates legal thinking. Just like Douglas Mill who resigned from the law Society.

Yes Mr Mill how would you like to be in Mr Gordon's shoes, because Perth Sheriff court are protecting their own, just like you Mr Mill.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gordon has now been put in the unenviable position in Scots Law of being an unrepresented party litigant trying to stave off demands from a law firm for disputed fees.
===================================
There is no balance of power here. A justice system? No a legal dictatorship. This will keep happening until some lawyer meets a Mr Moat.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you still do investigations Peter.I bet the court peeps in Perth are hopping mad over this one!

Anonymous said...

Well its shocking really people treated this way in Scotland by the justice system

Anonymous said...

Again we see a member of the public stripped of legal rights, and tortured by lawyers.

Reminds me what the political philosopher Hannah Arendt said about the control bureaucracy has over people" Bureaucracy or the rule of an intricate system of bureaus, In which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called rule by nobody: legal decision by nobody, distortion of evidence cannot be challenge because the bureacracy crush innocent victims like Mr Gordon.

This state of affairs Lord Hamilton makes it impossible to localise responsibility and prosecute individuals. The Law Society refusal to prosecute corrupt lawyers, is proof that bureaucracy, self regulation protects the crook.

As Hand Arendt states" this is amongst the most potent causes of the current world wide social unrest, its chaotic nature, and its dangerous tendency to get out of control and run amok.

Legal dictatorship, by bureaucracy is the reality In Scotland.

No lawyers are guilty, when the Commission or Law Society deal with a complaint as I am sure Mr Mill will agree.

Anonymous said...

If Lord Hamilton and his colleagues are so furious over £1m fees coming from legal aid he should also be furious over people being denied legal representation while being chased by lawyers FOR FEES !

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/judge-s-fury-as-lawyers-pocket-1m-in-case-fees-1.1063288

Judge’s fury as lawyers pocket £1m in case fees

Carolyn Churchill

23 Oct 2010

Scotland’s most senior judge has criticised lawyers for allowing a “straightforward” case to turn into “protracted” proceedings, with 52 days of evidence earning lawyers £1 million in fees.

Lord President Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lord Carloway and Lord Hardie, spoke out in an appeal judgment following a case at Stirling Sheriff Court involving a father’s wish for access to his 10-year-old son. Sheriff Wyllie Robertson had denied the request for contact and the father appealed to the Court of Session.

In their opinion upholding the sheriff’s decision, the judges said the boy’s mother had given evidence lasting 17 days, while her former partner had been questioned and cross-examined for seven days.

Lord Hamilton said the judges had been told the length of time was not uncommon in family law cases and he described it as a “highly unsatisfactory state of affairs”, adding that the proceedings, not including judicial costs, had cost about £1m – most of which would be paid for by the public purse through legal aid.

He said: “Cases of this kind are often difficult but their objective must be, in the interests of the child or children, an expeditious disposal. The primary responsibility for achieving such a disposal lies with the parties’ professional advisers, solicitors and counsel.”

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article.

For those who have expressed an interest in the case, I will continue to follow developments in this case and report further, given the issues at hand of a law firm pursuing a client for fees against a background of complaints & regulatory failure are increasingly common occurrences in terms of other similar cases going through the Scottish courts system.

Taking into account several unpublished comments and suggestions already made, I am certain in such cases there should be audits of the firms involved.

Given there are a number of similar cases in the courts system,it may now be appropriate for an inspection team of lay persons, consumer advocates & court staff to be assembled to patrol the courts, making publicly available reports on these kinds of cases which are clogging up the justice system for no reason at all other than what in some cases, appear to be personal vendettas by law firms against clients who have made justifiable complaints against poor legal service, which by coincidence on each occasion, ruins the client's chances of ever attaining a measure of justice in whatever type of civil action they are pursuing.

Anonymous said...

Lord Hamilton how can lawyers argue the civil justice system is about justice when crooked lawyers can use the courts to chase clients for fees even when the lawyers are wrong? In politics there is always an argument for the balance of power. There is no balance of power when Mr Gordon cannot get legal representation. It is legalised extortion: You are all Criminals, and you The day is coming fast when lawyers will be regarded with contempt.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the sheriffs or court staff will like outsiders looking over their shoulders but your point is well made,especially with some of the horror headlines pertaining to what goes on in our courts lately.

Keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

Spent 1/2 hour trying to find out more about this from SCS who seem to know nothing about it also not even a mention in the Sheriff Court rolls.Any hints on who to approach for more info ?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 26 October 2010 13:49

Apparently it was briefly posted on the Sheriff Court Rolls then taken down again for unexplained reasons ...

I will be reporting on developments connected with the case soon ...

Anonymous said...

Confirmed: No Kippen Cambpell v W Gordon in the sheriff court rolls and I have saved the pages

are they messing with this guy just to make him settle ?

WHERE ARE THE USELESS NEWSPAPERS WHEN WE NEED THEM ?

Anonymous said...

Kippen Campbell will never tell the public this but they never had any intention to got compensation for their client. Lawyers only take personal injury clients to court for fees. All lawyers are money grabbing bastards.

Lawyers are only interested In justice for lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gordon when I checked the file at my local Sheriff Court there was little evidence my lawyer of three years represented me. I know what these bastards Kippen Campbell are up to, clients need to unite the same way these 10,000 criminals do. We must warn the public about our bent legal system and Parliament, I would like you to get justice but you cannot. You have been abused for profit.

I would like to talk to you, I am convinced our cases would mirror each other.

Anonymous said...

Sources at the Law Society said such moves by law firms are severely frowned upon by the regulatory body as solicitors are ‘not allowed to charge clients for dealing with complaints’.

Law Society Spin, this statement is nonsense. Well prosecute, why don't you?

The only thing the Law Society frowns on is clients.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers - - robbers in suits. Their fee scales are set ludicrously high by - - lawyers. They are regulated by - - lawyers. You could ultimately appeal to the courts, where the judge is - an ex - lawyer. You could get your MP to take your case to the House of Commons, where the most common profession is..... law.
About time someone pointed out this Empirical profession is wearing no clothes.