Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Law complaints quango Scottish Legal Complaints Commission 'a failure' as Discipline Tribunal reveals no prosecutions of crooked lawyers in two years

The 4m Crooked Lawyer - Daily Record 1991Disappearing Act : Not one crooked lawyer prosecuted in two years under Holyrood’s legal complaints reforms. THE latest Annual Report of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT), the allegedly 'independent' law complaints tribunal which prosecutes ‘crooked lawyers’ after cases resulting from client complaints are sent to it by the Law Society of Scotland, has revealed NOT ONE SINGLE SOLICITOR has been prosecuted under laws brought in as a result of a hugely expensive year long investigation & debate at the Scottish Parliament during 2006 to introduce legislative reforms covering the regulation of complaints against the legal profession.

The reforms, which the Scottish Executive & Scottish Parliament claimed would end the bias against clients in a regulatory system operated solely by the Law Society of Scotland where lawyers investigate themselves, were passed by msps in December 2006 after a year of bitter debate at the Scottish Parliament’s former Justice 2 Committee.

The Chairman of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, Alistair Cockburn, writing in the SSDT’s 2010 annual report claimed there was no explanation for the lack of cases brought before the tribunal. He said : “The volume of business coming to the Tribunal has significantly reduced in the last 18 months. There seems to be no particular explanation for this. The Tribunal however has been surprised by the fact that it has so far not dealt with any cases governed by the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 (the 2007 Act) which applies to all conduct which occurred after 1 October 2008. The Tribunal would have expected to have been dealing with these cases by now.”

Mr Cockburn did admit two cases had been brought to the SSDT’s attention, apparently from lay complainers directly, but the two appeals had been withdrawn over fears of being hit with expenses bills. He said : “The Tribunal did receive two Appeals under section 42ZA of the 2007 Act from lay complainers in respect of the compensation awarded, or lack of compensation awarded, by the Law Society in making findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct. However both these Appeals were withdrawn once the lay complainers realised their potential liability for expenses.”

The 2010 Annual Report of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal can be downloaded HERE (pdf)

The validity of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, which is now being questioned even by the Chairman of the SSDT, led to the creation of the equally anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which has since been widely discredited by the media. The 2007 Act now appears to have resulted in little or no clean up of rogue elements inside Scotland’s infamously corrupt, solicitor monopolised legal services market.

With the revelations of the SSDT’s 2010 annual report that no cases have been passed to it for prosecution under the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 which many viewed as a solution to the Law Society of Scotland’s self regulation of complaints against Scottish solicitors, consumer organisations & campaigners have heavily criticised the incompetence of the Scottish Parliament to ensure the 2007 Act produced real consumer protection against poor quality legal service providers.

One campaigner branded the legislation which was created after a year of debate on the subject, the Legal Profession & Legal Aid Act (2007), as “a worthless attempt by msps to reform the legal profession’s complaints system.”

Speaking further on the issue, he said : “The Scottish Parliament have not improved the complaints system of the legal profession. Instead they have actually made it worse. Now consumers are forced to deal with an equally one sided Scottish Legal Complaints Commission where complaints against ‘crooked lawyers’ are still sent back to the Law Society instead of being dealt with by any supposedly independent SLCC officials.”

An official from one of Scotland’s consumer organisations who spoke to Diary of Injustice late last week said she was surprised there had been no prosecutions of solicitors under the 2007 Act.

She claimed the SLCC lacked any will to do its job, citing an array of failures over the nearly three years the SLCC has existed, failures which include a refusal by the SLCC to monitor claims to the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Insurance Policy & Guarantee Fund compensation schemes, both of which which appear to victimise clients more than compensate them for losses suffered as a result of poor, negligent or even crooked legal service.

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland sponsored amendments at Holyrood ensured complaints reforming legislation was completely compromised. One msp, who figured in the Scottish Parliament’s discussions over the LPLA Act, admitted the reforms were now wifely viewed as “useless”. He also alleged the Law Society of Scotland were allowed ‘too much leeway’ at the time to suggest or introduce amendments to the legislation which resulted in the LPLA Act being completely compromised in terms of its original aims.

The msp confirmed he currently receives significant correspondence from multiple constituents who have problems dealing with both the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission over complaints against rogue solicitors. He branded both organisations as anti-consumer and accused the SLCC of being as bad as the Law Society over complaints investigations.

SLCCThe Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has concentrated more on expenses claims, a huge bank balance & little action on complaints. Indeed, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been so effective at regulating complaints, the SLCC’s latest annual report admitted it had only managed to uphold one complaint in a year, while enjoying a multi million pound cash rich bank balance many private companies would currently be envious of in today’s bleak financial outlook. I reported on the SLCC’s latest annual report and these revelations in an earlier article, here : ‘One complaint upheld’, 928 more sent back to Law Society & £1.8million spare cash : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's 2010 annual report

The SLCC was asked for comment on the apparent lack of referrals for prosecution and asked for an explanation why no solicitors have been referred to or have been prosecuted before the SSDT.

A spokesperson for the SLCC replied : “The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission does not have the power to refer legal practitioners to the SSDT; referrals would be made by the Law Society of Scotland. You would therefore need to refer your question regarding the “…apparent lack of referrals for prosecution…” to the LSS.”

“Complaint numbers are certainly lower than originally predicted before the opening of the SLCC and this may be due to the economic downturn. You will have seen from the SLCC’s Annual Report that the largest business area for complaints was residential conveyancing and media reports currently indicate the market for the buying and selling of houses is depressed.”

Clearly a problem seems to exist where the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission appears to have no powers to refer cases directly to the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, a matter now causing great concern to many consumers who feel, with significant justification, they cannot trust the one sided biased Law Society of Scotland or the now equally anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

Given the SLCC appears to lack powers to refer cases directly to the tribunal, the organisation was asked by Diary of Injustice whether it would be seek an extension to its powers to enable it to bypass the Law Society and deal with the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal directly.

Their spokesperson replied to this query saying : “With regard to your question regarding the extension of our powers, the SLCC has no comment to make.”

While it is now apparent the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission lacks powers to be a credible regulator what is also apparent is the SLCC has no wish to improve its powers or role as the single gateway for complaints against Scottish solicitors. Can such a regulator be trusted ? I think not.

Here now follows the Sunday Mail’s report on the lack of prosecutions of rogue solicitors in Scotland :

Where did the dodgy briefs go  Sunday Mail 6 March 2011WHERE DID THE DODGY BRIEFS GO ?

No new cases for two years

By Russell Findlay Sunday Mail March 06 2011

Legal watchdogs who strike off crooked lawyers have not received any new cases for the last two years.

The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal has not been sent a single professional misconduct case since a shake-up to legal complaints regulation in 2008.

Puzzled bosses at the Fie-based organisation don’t know why bent lawyers have stopped being reported.

Its 2009/2010 annual report, published this week, states “The tribunal is unaware of the reason why it has not received any professional misconduct cases under the 2007 Act as it would have expected that some conduct issues arising after October 1, 2008 would now have reached the tribunal”

The 2007 shake-up saw the creation of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to oversee all complaints about lawyers but it has been branded an expensive white elephant.

The SLCC sends misconduct complaints to the Law Society of Scotland who decide whether to pass them to the SSDT.

Legal reform campaigner Peter Cherbi called for a rethink of regulation. He added : “There should be a complete break from the Law Society rather than the SLCC halfway house whose board is comprised of ex-police officers, solicitors and quangocrats. I am shocked to learn the SSDT has not had a single case of prosecution referred under the 2007 legislation which created the hugely expensive SLCC, started up with 2 million of taxpayers money.”

SSDT clek Judith Lea said : "We don’t know what’s happened. Since the report we have received some cases but I don't know how many.”

The SLCC said : “We refer misconduct cases to the Law Society and it’s up to them to decide whether to refer them to the SSDT.”

Philip Yelland of the Law Society added : “Where the society considers there may be professional misconduct it does prosecute before the independent SSDT.”

Background to the Scottish Parliament’s consideration of the LPLA (Scotland) Bill (2006):

The bitter battle over the Scottish Parliament’s debate of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill during 2006 saw officials from the Law Society of Scotland argue against the reforms and attempt to counter, even obstruct consumers testimony to msps. Clients who had been victimised by the legal profession were eventually allowed to speak before the Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee, telling msps of their bitter, harrowing experiences with the Law Society of Scotland over complaints against solicitors & law firms.

The 2006 Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament's consideration of the LPLA Bill revealed many suspicious dealings over complaints against the legal profession, even implicating senior Law Society officials interference in complaints & financial claims made against ‘crooked lawyers.

The bitter, acrimonious debate at Holyrood reached such a point, the then Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, Douglas Mill issued legal threats against the authority of msps & the Scottish Government to pass any legislation stripping the Law Society of its powers which allow lawyers to investigate themselves. The Law Society’s threat of a legal challenge was backed by a legal opinion from a Liberal Democrat English QC Lord Lester of Herne Hill. The opinion provided by Lord Lester claimed it was a lawyer’s human right to investigate their own colleagues.

While it had appeared at the time the Law Society’s threat of a legal challenge against the Scottish Government & Scottish Parliament’s attempt to pass the reforms had failed, several quiet changes to the wording of the LPLA Bill took place behind the scenes and further amendments were drafted which eventually resulted in the Law Society supporting the changes, which clearly amounted to the vested interests of the legal profession getting their way with msps over the interests of consumers.

Reference : The Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal :

The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal claims to be an independent Tribunal constituted under the provisions of sections 50–54 of and Schedule 4 to the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (the 1980 Act) as amended in particular by the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 (the 2007 Act). The Tribunal sits with two solicitor members and two lay members. The Tribunal claims independence of the Law Society of Scotland with none of the solicitor members being on the Council of the Law Society.

The lay members are drawn from a ‘wide variety’ of backgrounds, similar to the wide variety of backgrounds of those who sit on the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. All of the allegedly ‘independent’ Tribunal members are appointed by the Lord President. The Tribunal presently has 11 solicitor members and 12 lay members. The Tribunal operates under the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal Procedure Rules 2005 and the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal Procedure Rules 2008. All very independent, if of course, you think this is ‘independent’. You can find out more about the members of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal HERE

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

The SSDT does not sound very independent.How can a tribunal be independent of the legal profession if its members are appointed by Scotland's Lord Justice General.

As for the rest of the slcc/Holyrood/lpla affair perhaps you should consider whether the 2007 Act was deliberately compromised by msps.I feel this is a reasonable conclusion after reading your thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...

“The Scottish Parliament have not improved the complaints system of the legal profession. Instead they have actually made it worse. Now consumers are forced to deal with an equally one sided Scottish Legal Complaints Commission where complaints against ‘crooked lawyers’ are still sent back to the Law Society instead of being dealt with by any supposedly independent SLCC officials.”

Couldnt have put it better myself.I've been writing to the SLCC for months to find out if they have bothered to investigate my complaint they said they were going to look into last year.They are a useless bunch but as you say yourself Peter what else can we expect from a bunch of lawyers ex cops and quangocrats ?

Anonymous said...

And still Lord Gill and his Committee members stay silent.

Anonymous said...

WHERE DID THE DODGY BRIEFS GO ?

ASK THE LAW SOCIETY - THEY COVER THEM UP FROM PUBLIC VIEW !

Anonymous said...

I WONDER HOW THE SLCC BOSS WEARS ALL THESE DODGY BRIEFS AT THE SAME TIME ?

Anonymous said...

This seems a very dodgy arrangement where lay complainers are liable for expenses to the SSDT.

I take it this is done to discourage people dealing with the tribunal on their own and forcing them to go through the Law Society.

Very corrupt.Get something done about this one Peter!

Anonymous said...

Listen guys it is the same old story going round and round and its simple, if it is their law let them keep it.
I had a problem a few years back and toyed with going to a lawyer again because I had a bad experience a few years before and what happened I got done again.

When will the penny drop "DONT GO NEAR THE BASTARDS"

Anonymous said...

Listen guys it is the same old story going round and round and its simple, if it is their law let them keep it.
I had a problem a few years back and toyed with going to a lawyer again because I had a bad experience a few years before and what happened I got done again.

When will the penny drop "DONT GO NEAR THE BASTARDS"

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment about the 2007 Act being sabotaged by the Law Society.Lets face it if they didnt agree it would never have been passed and they werent going to agree to something which put them at a disadvantage.

The msps were either too dumb or too crooked not to notice.I'b betting on crooked!

Anonymous said...

WHERE DID THE DODGY BRIEFS GO ?

No new cases for two years

By Russell Findlay Sunday Mail March 06 2011

Legal watchdogs who strike off crooked lawyers have not received any new cases for the last two years.

The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal has not been sent a single professional misconduct case since a shake-up to legal complaints regulation in 2008.

Puzzled bosses at the Fie-based organisation don’t know why bent lawyers have stopped being reported.

THAT IS SIMPLE, WE HAVE A BENT PARLIAMENT, BENT MSP's BENT LAW SOCIETY AND BENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION. PROTECTIVE IDEOLOGY WILL NEVER CEASE BECAUSE WE NEED A SEPARATION OF POWERS. LAWYERS CONDUCT AND INVESTIGATION OF THEIR CONDUCT MUST BE BROKEN.

THESE LAWYERS KNOW THEY WILL BE PROTECTED, RESULT, CORRUPTION AND POOR LEGAL SERVICE IS THE NORM. THE LPLA ACT IS A JOKE, OUR MSP's ARE ALL DOUGLAS MILL'S HELL BENT ON PROTECTING LAWYERS.

Anonymous said...

and to think MacAskill recently said in one of your other postings we have robust regulation of lawyers?

What a lot of crap! Not even the regulators think there is robust regulation if you read the SSDT Chairman's comments!

Anonymous said...

TO THINK THIS IS THE RIFF RAFF THAT EXPECT RESPECT IN THEIR COURTS, NOT SCOTLANDS COURTS LAWYERS COURTS BECAUSE THEY BLOCK ACCESS TO JUSTICE.

Anonymous said...

Law complaints quango Scottish Legal Complaints Commission 'a failure' as Discipline Tribunal reveals no prosecutions of crooked lawyers in two years.
----------------------------------
Mr MacAskill will be delighted.

Anonymous said...

Chairman of the SSDT claims "The volume of business coming to the Tribunal has significantly reduced in the last 18 months. There seems to be no particular explanation for this."

Rubbish.They should go looking for a new Chairman if this the best he can come up with.The lack of referrals to the SSDT is clearly the blame of the LSoS not the SLCC although as you rightly point out the SLCC could have asked for further powers with some involvement of the SSDT in their investigations.

Keep up the good work Peter!

Anonymous said...

People who become cops stop mixing with their old non police friends. Once they are into the structures of the state their loyalties are with state actors, that is why they are in the SLCC.

Anonymous said...

Hi time the Scottish Legal Establishment was required to list online those rogue solicitors found wanting, as is done in England and Wales.

In fact why not just scrap the Scottish Legal System altogether, it is clearly no longer fit for purpose..........and has been found wanting for decades already.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting Peter I always thought the Law Society prosecuted crooked solicitors but now I find out it is some arms length organisation which claims itself independent (anything but if you ask me)

Your comment in the newspaper story is spot on.We do need to get away from the system where lawyers are looking after their own and allowed to by laws they probably wrote themselves.

Good work as always

Anonymous said...

I liked your question to the SLCC about an extension of their powers.You might have Irvine over a barrel on that one.

Anonymous said...

A network of criminals.

Anonymous said...

So, let's break this down, more solicitors were prosecuted by the Law Society, which you want to get rid off, fewer solicitors were prosecuted by the SLCC which is what you campaigned for. Look back folks over Cherbi's old posts and he was a driving force behind the reforms that introduced the SLCC along with MacKenzie. Thanks guys, both of you have made things worse for the consumer! The Law Society may not have been perfect but it was more effective than the SLCC which you both fought for and helped shape. Thanks for nothing!

Anonymous said...

More window dressing from the miserable excuse for a Parliament in Edinburgh.

If there is one lesson to be learned it is this - do NOT vote SNP

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 16 March 2011 22:47

Alas the honour for creating the SLCC was awarded by John Swinney to Mr MacKenzie, no one else ...

As for what I campaigned for, well I campaigned for fully independent regulation of the legal profession, which the SLCC is not.

I can assure you if I personally had helped shape the SLCC it would not now be full of people from the Law Society of Scotland or individuals with multiple jobs paid for by the taxpayer.

I will continue to campaign for fully independent regulation of the legal profession and not some front company stuffed with former Law Society staff & former Law Society Committee members on the say so of the Law Society.

Regarding your claim the Law Society prosecuted more solicitors than the SLCC ..

Well if you know anything about regulation of the legal profession, you will know the SLCC has no powers to prosecute or recommend solicitors be prosecuted before the SSDT .. that right was retained by the Law Society of Scotland so perhaps you should go ask the Law Society why no solicitors have been prosecuted from the thousands of complaints the SLCC has sent back to the Law Society since 1st October 2008.

Anonymous said...

Good answer Peter.This proves to me yet again you should be on or even in charge of the SLCC!

Every cat has its own litter tray said...

hah! sharp as ever Mr Cherbi and you are right about Mr Mackenzie because I've already seen his work in the hootsmon http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Stewart-Mackenzie-is-named-consumer.6314196.jp

"Before he lodged his petition, Mr Mackenzie was part of the campaign that eventually led to the establishment of the independent Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in 2008, and praise from finance secretary John Swinney, who commended his achievement."

So now we know who to blame since the hootsmon failed to mention yourself!

Anonymous said...

Legal reform campaigner Peter Cherbi called for a rethink of regulation. He added : “There should be a complete break from the Law Society rather than the SLCC halfway house whose board is comprised of ex-police officers, solicitors and quangocrats. I am shocked to learn the SSDT has not had a single case of prosecution referred under the 2007 legislation which created the hugely expensive SLCC, started up with 2 million of taxpayers money.”

To the person trying to blame Peter for creating the SLCC Mr Cherbi seems to have proved his reply in the newspaper story.

Getting your facts straight before pointing fingers might be advisable.

Also thanks for telling us this SLCC is full of ex-coppers.This would be reason enough for me not to trust it!

Carry on canny lad!

Anonymous said...

Your critic may be interested in the following links found on the web relating to Mr Mackenzie and the SLCC

http://heritage.scotsman.com/scotland/Stewart-Mackenzie-is-named-consumer.6314196.jp

and perhaps more importantly

http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/press/press-releases/product-press-releases/which-magazine/2010/05/scottish-legal-campaigner-scoops-which--consumer-champion-award/

"For over a decade, Mackenzie has campaigned to improve legal services for consumers in Scotland and played a significant role in the establishment of the independent Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in 2008."

so it would appear Which? also had a hand in creating this SLCC monstrosity.Not very good of them to leave the scene unattended while prosecutions go down in record numbers,is it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting Peter I always thought the Law Society prosecuted crooked solicitors but now I find out it is some arms length organisation which claims itself independent (anything but if you ask me)

Your comment in the newspaper story is spot on.We do need to get away from the system where lawyers are looking after their own and allowed to by laws they probably wrote themselves.

Good work as always

16 March 2011 20:34

Yes very true this arms length SSDT must be the lot who give the lawyers a slap on the wrist like in John O'Donnell's case so a fat lot of use they are !

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

So, let's break this down, more solicitors were prosecuted by the Law Society, which you want to get rid off, fewer solicitors were prosecuted by the SLCC which is what you campaigned for. Look back folks over Cherbi's old posts and he was a driving force behind the reforms that introduced the SLCC along with MacKenzie. Thanks guys, both of you have made things worse for the consumer! The Law Society may not have been perfect but it was more effective than the SLCC which you both fought for and helped shape. Thanks for nothing!

GET REAL, THE LAW SOCIETY EFFECTIVE, AT WHAT CLIENT SUICIDES. OPEN YOUR EYES, THEY HAVE NEVER DENIED THIS OR ANY OTHER ACCUSATIONS THROWN AT THEM.

HOW CAN ANYONE MAKE THINKS WORSE THAN CLIENTS TAKING THEIR OWN LIVES. GO TO MR YELLAND ON THAT ONE PLEASE. ALL LAWYERS ARE SCUMBAGS, PERHAPS YOU ARE ONE.

Anonymous said...

Injustice is the only possible outcome of self regulation. It is a consequence of legal evolution where the legal establishment believe they should be above the law. Any member of the public can be prosecuted and the lawyer exonerated of the same crime in the same circumstances.

What we have here is artificial selection because if all were treated equally before the law lawyers who take £221K fraudulently would be prosecuted. A benefit cheat would go to prison but of course they are not privilidged and protected.

We have a network of criminals on Scotland, lawyers, their unions, MacAskill and his MPS cronies (he is always on about justice in TV interviews) why the silence now Macaskill when it is one of your own?

The establishment like and care about the establishment, and bring the legal hammer down when a non self regulator breaks their laws.

Justice system my ass.

Anonymous said...

The Legal Aid sign with the lawyer and client on either side of the desk represents an invisible boundary.

The client with or without legal rights as the lawyer sees fit.

The omnipotent lawyer protected by a preverted self regulatory complaints system on the other side.

As soon as you create a boundary, it has to be policed. Lawyers are their owm police, because if the client asks the lawyer to sue another lawyer, hostility manifests itself instantly.

The legal aid sign represents a boundary where the client can be ruined and the lawyers crimes are covered up.

Anonymous said...

How much off the £221K are staff at the Crown Office getting?

Anonymous said...

For the record the SLCC was created by the Law Society,not Mr Cherbi and certainly not Mr Mackenzie.

The SLCC was suggested by the Scottish Executive working group which led to the LPLA Act.You will find the working group had several Law Society members including a very argumentative former Law Society CEO.I should know,I used to work at the SE until 2007 and I came into contact with this wg many times.

We joked at the time the Law Society were grooming us for a new quango.I think Mr Cherbi has proved this to be correct in his coverage of what has gone on at the SLCC to-date.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 16 March 2011 22:47

Perhaps, before you next rush to grant others access to your opinion, you might have the courtesy to first go away and do your homework.

Anonymous said...

Disappearing Act : Not one crooked lawyer prosecuted in two years under Holyrood’s legal complaints reforms.
----------------------------------
Where none are guilty Peter all are guilty. I struggle to understand this mentality where such a powerful group of people want to cover corruption in their ranks. This attitude tarnishes all of them, and undermines trust further, if that is possible.

The Scottish Legal profession need independent monitoring and that will be impossible with the present incumbents of Hollyrood.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 00:34

Thanks for your vote of confidence ... however I will never serve on the SLCC or any organisation which is little more than front for the Law Society of Scotland.

# Every cat has its own litter tray @ 17 March 2011 00:50

Thanks for letting me know .. anyway I dont think the Scotsman like to mention me much after the Leslie Cumming story which will soon surface at the trial of Mr X in Australia if the Crown Office manage to extradite him back to Scotland.

That's going to be a messy one ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 01:15

Thanks. Good to see it in print about the two million pounds of taxpayers money wasted on the SLCC ... I've also called on them to pay that money back although so far they have refused to do so ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 01:19

The Scottish Consumer Council now known as Consumer Focus Scotland were also involved in the debate on the LPLA Bill ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 02:16

Yes .. you could say its just another front company for the Law Society ... an arms length institution so the Law Society can claim innocence when prosecutions of their own colleagues fail ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 11:42

I agree entirely ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 12:04

Probably nothing .. it seems they were kept out of the picture by yet another arms length body although this will be exposed in an upcoming investigation ... and there may be more developments on the Crown Office side of things ...

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 12:11

Thanks for your input ... can you contact me please via scottishlawreporters@gmail.com

# Anonymous @ 17 March 2011 14:11

Yes I agree ... the current crop of politicians at Holyrood are not likely to change the system of self regulation of the legal profession ...

Anonymous said...

sounds like this will run & run

keep us informed Peter..

Anonymous said...

Yes .. you could say its just another front company for the Law Society ... an arms length institution so the Law Society can claim innocence when prosecutions of their own colleagues fail ...

I take it you are referring to the SSDT ?

If you are I agree ENTIRELY !!!

Anonymous said...

NEVER TRUST A LAWYER

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/search/label/Lawyer%20bashing


"We should not condone naked lawyer-bashing" - the title of the article says ... so, what should we do when we find out that a lawyer has stolen an inheritance, or interfered in a case to deny a client legal aid funding, or lied to a client, overcharged them, ripped them off, destroyed their life, stolen their home - should we. give them the Victoria Cross ? or a Lordship title & a big house
We are left, therefore, to ponder the words of Douglas Mill - the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland ... remember him ?? this is the guy who sneaked a letter into the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and fiddled my civil legal aid funding so that I couldn't challenge his pals at the Law Society for their fiddled investigation of crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso .....

Anyway, as the article suggests, the good ol' boys over at the Law Society of Scotland, and the great & the crooked of the Scottish legal profession, are worried that with the publication of the new bill later this week which will attempt to reform the legal profession and the way it is regulated ... they are going to be at the sharp end, with clients having much greater rights when using the services of a Scottish lawyer ... but, as we all have come to expect over the years .. there will certainly be the usual catch & slip outs for crooked lawyers ...
For instance, would we, the client, be able to see a full regulatory history of the lawyer we would like to use, before we use them ? just as, for instance, you can see the ingredients on a can of baked beans ? .. well, probably not .. because if we knew about all the client complaints and fiddles most Scottish lawyers had been up to prior to us using them .. we wouldn't touch them with a barge pole ...
Oh, then ..who will administer prosecutions and punishments against crooked lawyers we have complained against to a new independent regulatory body ?.. well, the Law Society of Scotland want to keep that for themselves too ...
Maybe ... there should be a review of the dirty despicable way in which the Law Society of Scotland have fiddled cases in the past against people like me .. and lot of others ??? .. well, if that ever happened, there would be thousands of cases to be reviewed .. such has been the deceit of the Law Society and its merry band of crooked lawyers over the years ...

The following article was sent to me by a reader ... reporting on the concerns of ... Douglas Mill ... .who got himself on to the working group at the Scottish Executive, along with some other pals at the Law Society ... to ensure of course, the profession has its own say on the future of regulation .. can't have the consumer given all those rights, can we ???

I have to admit - by way of propaganda from the professions, this article ranks as one of the best ... just look at the lack of any challenge to the remarks of Douglas Mill and other lawyers quoted ... it's amazing ... especially the part where Douglas Mill says "The Law Society in England and Wales has admitted a failure to handle complaints. We do not have the record of failure that they do." ...isn't that amazing ?? coming from the man who fiddled my own case at the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and has brought down so many other complaints against lawyers to sweep everything under the carpet ??? and .. no evidence to the contrary further on in the article, from a newspaper which at least once, used to print the victims side of the story ?? wow ... what a turn around !

YOU CANNOT BE PROSECUTED MR MILL, YOU INTERFERE WITH LEGAL PROCESS BUT YOUR KIND ARE ONE OF THE CLUB OF CRIMINALS THE LAW DOES NOT TOUCH. IF I TURNED UP AT YOUR HOUSE WITH AN ARMY, THREW YOU ONTO THE STREET AND TOOK ALL YOU WORKED FOR, YOU WOULD NO WANT TO BASH ME, OH NO MURDER WOULD BE ON YOUR MIND. GROW UP, IMMATURE PEOPLE ARE BLIND TO THE INJUSTICE THEY HEAP ON OTHERS.

Anonymous said...

Jane Irvine has been an ombudsman long enough to realise she can ask for more powers if she wants them.Obviously the SLCC dont want increased powers so they can blame the Law Society for their own failings.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

So, let's break this down, more solicitors were prosecuted by the Law Society, which you want to get rid off, fewer solicitors were prosecuted by the SLCC which is what you campaigned for. Look back folks over Cherbi's old posts and he was a driving force behind the reforms that introduced the SLCC along with MacKenzie. Thanks guys, both of you have made things worse for the consumer! The Law Society may not have been perfect but it was more effective than the SLCC which you both fought for and helped shape. Thanks for nothing!


If the SAS did as much homework as you they would be cadavars. Get your facts right man.

Anonymous said...

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.

I BET HE DID NOT GET PROSECUTED EITHER PETER, WHAT A SHAM OF A JUSTICE SYSTEM WE HAVE IN SCOTLAND.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi

I note your two questions regarding the Justice 2 Committee's call for evidence on the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill and can respond as follows:-

The Committee will decide from whom it wishes to take oral evidence and will review all written evidence received, before deciding whether it wishes to hear from individuals.

The decision on whether any submission contains defamatory statements is one for the Convener.

I trust this answers your questions.

Anne Peat
Senior Assistant Clerk
Justice 2 Committee
The Scottish Parliament
Direct Dial Telephone 0131 34 85220
Fax 0131 34 85252
RNID Typetalk 1800 1 0131 34 85047

-----Original Message-----
From: PC
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 6:13 PM
To: Justice 2
Subject: Bill on reform of the legal profession
Importance: High

Dear Clerk to the Justice 2 Committee,

I noted the call for evidence in the LEGAL PROFESSION AND LEGAL AID (SCOTLAND) BILL.

There are 2 questions i would like to raise.

It is said on your site that the Committee is taking oral testimony on this inquiry.

Exactly who can give oral testimony in this inquiry ? are those who submit papers to the committee eligible to give oral evidence, such as ordinary members of the public ? or is it just those who are invited to do so by the Committee ?

Secondly, it states that any defamatory material in a submission - the papers will be handed back to the author for editing or wont be considered by the committee.

Who exactly will decide what is defamatory in such an instance ?

I look forward to hear from you

Peter Cherbi

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 19 March 2011 10:15

Regarding your two questions, I would answer them as follows ...

In response to question one, the petitioner is eligible to give oral evidence to the Petitions Committee in support of his petition.

Additionally, the Petitions Committee may call for oral evidence from other parties the petition is likely to affect, and as in the case of the Justice 2 Committee's consideration of the LPLA Bill during 2006, can also call for members of the public to give their experiences with regards to issues which the petition raises.

In response to your second question, lawyers for the Scottish Parliament who are seconded to Holyrood from the Government Legal Service for Scotland (GLSS) would probably have the final opinion or say on whether a submission is defamatory or not.

However, while the GLSS have the say so on whether or not there is any defamatory content in a submission I understand from sources within the Parliament not all submissions are passed to their office for opinion, which appears to indicate some of the Committee Clerks take it upon themselves to claim a submission is defamatory or not ...

Clearly a defamation would have to be proved in court before it is established as a defamation, otherwise it is simply someone's assertion whatever the accusation is, is a defamation or not ...

If you are seeking information on whether the GLSS became involved in a particular petition, you may wish to consider making a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Parliament "for information contained in documents & discussions relating to Petition XXX" adding the corresponding number of the petition.

I hope I have been of some help.

In response to the comments on this article, thanks to everyone for your input and those who have contacted me with further information over the past week.

Anonymous said...

Law complaints quango Scottish Legal Complaints Commission 'a failure' as Discipline Tribunal reveals no prosecutions of crooked lawyers in two years.

For MacAskill this is success.

Anonymous said...

http://www.intmensorg.info/legalaid.htm


Women in doomed abuse case sue lawyer on £444,000 in legal aid

Women whose claims of rape and sexual abuse by a disgraced gynaecologist were thrown out of court in a legal debacle are to sue their former solicitor with cash help from the Law Society.

The women were represented by Jane Loveday, a solicitor who did nothing else for two years but pursue, in vain, the sexual assault claims. In the process, she picked up £444,000 in legal aid fees. Now, more than a dozen of her clients are saddled with unexpected legal bills of up to £15,000. In the wake of the collapse of the case and scathing criticism from a High Court judge, Miss Loveday's practice has been put into liquidation. Miss Loveday faces being struck off while Richard Vosper, her husband and business partner, is being investigated on suspicion of impersonating a solicitor, a criminal offence.

In an unprecedented move, the Law Society - which became involved when it received reports of papers being burnt in the garden of Miss Loveday's office-cum-home on the day of the collapse of the case in February - is making funds available so former clients can receive independent legal advice on whether they can recover from Miss Loveday the costs they claim they believed they would never have to pay.

The society's initiative was praised this week by Mrs Justice Hallett. The High Court judge had earlier expressed "enormous concern" over Miss Loveday's conduct in pursuing a case in which, it was claimed, clients' statements were "sexed up" and even fundamentally altered - in one case turning an allegation of sexual assault into one of rape. "Plainly," said the judge, "on the evidence, she's not fit to be conducting any kind of litigation."

All the women were patients who claimed to have suffered at the hands of Rodney Ledward, an arrogant and notoriously incompetent gynaecologist, who performed a host of botched operations over 15 years in Kent hospitals before being struck off by the General Medical Council.

He died four years ago and, nine months later, Miss Loveday launched a class action against three health authorities claiming between £100,000 and £600,000 for each of the 59 alleged sexual assault victims on the basis of the NHS trusts' supposed negligence.