Friday, May 27, 2011

FREQUENT SPENDERS : Cash rich Scottish Legal Complaints Commission gives £1million back to lawyers, avoids repaying £2 million owed to public purse

SLCC 2 millionCash rich law quango SLCC gives £1 million gift back to lawyers in latest budget. GREED IS GOOD if you happen to work in the Scottish legal profession as it was revealed today the anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) which received a massive TWO MILLION POUNDS from taxpayers to fund its start up costs which included luxurious offices, financial perks & lavish expenses claims for board members, is yet again giving greedy lawyers a financial boost by releasing £1 million of its near £1.8 million cash stash back to the legal profession to reduce levies on crooked lawyers.

While the SLCC and its extravagantly expenses claiming & quangocrat filled board continue to refuse to repay even one penny of the £2 million of public funds it received in 2007- 2008, money which could prop up a wide range of public services or be put to much better use inside other parts of the justice system, today’s announcement on the SLCC’s 2011-2012 budget shows there appears to be no reluctance to hand millions of pounds back to the very same legal profession the scandal laden law complaints quango is supposedly tasked to regulate.

The figures announced in the SLCC’s budget for 2011-2012 laid before the Scottish Parliament today show a cut in the standard levy applied to all solicitors (and conveyancing and executry practitioners) of £26 to £209 for the year from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. Those in the first three years of practice will pay £105 (also the figure for advocates), and in-house lawyers and those practising outwith Scotland £69. The complaints levy remains unchanged, ranging from no charge where a complaint is resolved at mediation, up to £2,000 for a formal determination upholding a complaint on a third or subsequent occasion, although given the fact the SLCC has only upheld one single complaint since it began ‘regulating’ lawyers in 2008, little in the way of formal determinations have actually been made and certainly not published.

Fergus Ewing Scottish ParliamentFergus Ewing as Minister for Communities & Justice wrote letter praising the SLCC for paying back solicitors a few million, no thought of asking for the £2m to be returned. Given the poor state of public funds throughout the country, one might have thought Scottish Ministers would have pressed for some kind of repayment of taxpayers money from the SLCC yet no such moves were made, and stunningly, the now former Minister for Communities & Justice, Fergus Ewing, wrote a letter to the SLCC’s new Chief Executive, Rosemary Agnew, praising the SLCC for “listening to representations from the Law Society” and handing back millions to the legal profession.

fergus ewing msp response to consultation 2011-2012Fergus Ewing said in his letter of 2 March 2011 : “I am pleased that the SLCC has been able to take account of the representations from the legal profession and plans to keep a tight rein on running costs for 2011/2012, estimated at just under those for the current year. I note this has allowed the top-end annual levy to be reduced by a further 28 and I am sure this will be welcomed by the profession. I am aware that reducing the amount held in reserve, closer to the minimum of three months running costs recommended by your independent auditors, will put pressure on the levy rates for future years. To reduce this risk, I expect the SLCC to continue to look for further efficiency savings, and I am pleased to note that you are exploring options including the provision of shared services with other public bodies. Jill Clark and her sponsorship team in Legal System Division remain available to help in any way they can with this process. Officials hope to continue dialogue with you towards the end of the year when you are considering setting the rate for the levy 2012/2013.”

Rosemary AgnewSLCC’s new Chief executive Rosemary Agnew replaced remarkably short tenured former CEO Eileen Masterman. Speaking for the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, Chief executive Rosemary Agnew announced a whopping one million pounds would be handed back to the legal profession although she avoided any mention or concern for the repayment of millions of pounds of public funds squandered on the SLCC. Ms Agnew said: “The general levy for 2011-12 has been set below the amount required to recover our full expenditure costs, which means £1m will be released from our reserves leaving sufficient funds to cover 3.5 months' running costs. This means the general levy will be cut by £26; however, I must emphasise that this level is unlikely to be sustainable in future years. Importantly, although expenditure is budgeted to remain the same, the SLCC aims to deliver a wider range of functions, particularly in relation to the development of our oversight role.”

An official from one of Scotland’s consumer organisations said the SLCC would do better to meet its public expectation of cleaning up the legal profession instead of gifting back most of the money it has accrued to solicitors.

He said : “While I’m sure the Law Society will be very happy to hear the SLCC are reducing levies once again, the fact is that consumers of legal services in Scotland are in just as precarious a position with regard to the regulation of solicitors as they were before the SLCC was created. Perhaps instead of handing out annual gifts to solicitors, the SLCC and its board should concentrate more on its duties mandated in legislation, among them the monitoring of claims against the Master Policy.”

The Law Society of Scotland today said it was happy the SLCC had ‘listened’ to the society’s ‘representations’ over the levy charges, due to solicitors allegedly experiencing a “tough economic situation”.

Philip YellandLaw Society of Scotland’s Philip Yelland, in charge of regulation of crooked Scottish lawyers for over 20 years. Commenting on the reduction in levy fee by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, Philip Yelland, director of regulation at the Law Society of Scotland, said in a press release : "We are glad that the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has listened to our representations about the level of fee solicitors will pay in the coming budgetary year. Many solicitors are still making difficult business decisions as there is still a careful balancing act for many solicitors during this ongoing tough economic situation. The £26 decrease in levy fee, which practicing solicitors pay to fund the Commission, is to be welcomed and the Society will continue to represent the profession's interests to the Commission as it carries out its functions."

Clearly the Law Society representations and the bias of Scottish Ministers won the day to keep the legal profession happy, although the £1 million would have been better returned to public funds, where the money is really needed.

BACKGROUND of Law Society’s Regulation Chief.

Philip Yelland letter to David Reid ordering him not to take client instructionsPhilip Yelland ordered solicitors not to take their clients instructions in cases in Scotland’s Court of Session against crooked & negligent lawyers. Mr Philip Yelland was formerly the head of the Law Society’s “Client Relations Office”, holding the position since 1990 and has been involved or in charge of regulation of “crooked lawyers” in Scotland for over twenty years in a period which coincidentally saw huge numbers of complaints against the legal profession which in one year alone topped 5000 complaints against Scottish solicitors. Mr Yelland was also identified in private correspondence sent to solicitors demanding they refuse to represent or take instructions from clients involved in Court of Session cases against some of Scotland’s worst rogue lawyers, among them the well known crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling solicitors, Kelso, in the Scottish Borders.

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland blacklisted clients from legal representation & legal aid. Unsurprisingly, many solicitors who face complaints handed by Mr Yelland’s office ended up receiving little more than a slap on the wrist while ruined clients were barred from court, blacklisted from obtaining legal representation, were privately investigated and were subject to “information gathering exercises” by senior Law Society officials revealed in 2006 at Holyrood’s Justice 2 Committee’s investigation of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid Bill. It was also revealed most clients who ended up victims of the legal profession had received little or no compensation for millions of pounds of plundered client assets.

Mr Yelland’s name was also allegedly linked to the suicide of an Oban client in a report on the Law Society of Scotland’s notoriously corrupt Master Policy Insurance scheme compiled by Professor Frank Stephen & Dr Angela Melville of the Manchester University of Law School in 2009. Papers studied by the University team yet not released to the public alleged a man from Oban had been sent to a Glasgow law firm to represent him in a court case against a crooked law firm yet the Glasgow law firm did nothing for a period of three years and after it was revealed the same firm also represented the Legal Defence Union, the shady organisation which represents crooked lawyers against complaints, the Oban client committed suicide.

The final report from the University of Manchester Law School on the Master Policy can be viewed or downloaded here : Report on the Master Policy by University of Manchester Law School, Dr Angela Melville & Professor Frank Stephen.

My coverage of the report’s release & conclusions is here : 'Ground-breaking' investigation into Law Society's Master Policy insurance reveals realities of corrupt claims process against crooked lawyers & here : Suicides, illness, broken families and ruined clients reveal true cost of Law Society's Master Policy which 'allows solicitors to sleep at night'

The Law Society of Scotland & others linked to the Oban case have never commented on their role in events which some allege drove the unnamed client to suicide and readers may recall from recent news the Legal Defence Union played a significant part in negotiating a secret deal with the Scottish Legal Aid Board to secure no action against solicitor Niels S Lockhart for alleged legal aid irregularities.

All this trouble, expense, political interference from Scottish Ministers, clients intimidated & suicides just so lawyers can sleep soundly at night, as the report on the Master Policy from Dr Melville & Professor Stephen so accurately stated.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good title says it all really.You should be a headline writer Mr C.

How about paying back the £2 million Jane?
We need nurses & doctors a lot more than fancy offices & expenses claims!

Anonymous said...

Good old Fergus - hand the money over to the lawyers son and dont worry about it its a bloody good job your not the Finance Secretary or we'd all be up sh*t creek and owned by the Law Soc

Anonymous said...

but Alex Salmond said only yesterday the Scottish legal system was perfect and should be its own final arbiter

maybe he means final executioner instead?

Anonymous said...

Another FSA in the making here or possibly worse already

Anonymous said...

Not "suicide" more like "murder" and since it was carried out by lawyers that is perfectly fine with the Scottish Govt & Law Society etc

Did they also manage to steal from the dead man's estate too by any chance?I bet they would be up for it just the same!

Anonymous said...

Hint hint - If the SG Legal System Division is still helping out the SLCC the public expenditure on them will have risen past the original two million.

Anonymous said...

robbers plain & simple

Anonymous said...

Fergus Ewing is clearly out of touch with reality because the SLCC has just taken on another 4 board members and is recruiting staff like mad so how can they be looking for savings?
No wonder he was replaced by Roseanna Cunningham.

Anonymous said...

If they pay it back they wont be able to leech off the expenses chitty!

Anonymous said...

Richard Smith was wise to get out of the SLCC before it turned nasty

Anonymous said...

And just why should the legal profession pay back anything to taxpayers?You want a complaints service so you have to pay for it and we make sure clients cover the costs of this burden forced on us by msps I think I will jack my fees up to bring in a few more pounds for my 4 cars/3 houses you client scum helped me to own

Anonymous said...

I noticed George Irving from the SCCRC left the SLCC's board.Kind of unusual not to take another term at least.Is he being replaced or did he have enough?

Keep up the good work Peter.

Anonymous said...

Good thing this lot are not investigating Ratko Mladic they would probably slap him on the wrist or give him a board seat!

Anonymous said...

If £2 million has been wasted on this crooked SLCC the money should be paid back NOW

Anonymous said...

£2 MILLION PAY IT BACK AND WITH INTEREST

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority some people with the SLCC have been leaving nasty comments on Peter's blog to try and get him in trouble.Do you know anything about this Peter?If you dont please be careful because they are out to get you at any cost!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like theft of public funds!

Anonymous said...

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

The SRA received over 15,000 complaints in 2010.
How many solicitors were 'suspended'?

34 (Yes, just 34 and most will practice AGAIN after a few months).
Source: NCN: [2011] EWHC 740. Case No: CO/12515/2010.

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter for exposing these crooks skimming off taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

Christ Peter, people do not have a clue what is going on here, we have a dictator called the Law Society and bent MSP's especially MacAskill's lot. He will be delighted with the taxpayer rewarding his goons at the SLCC while law firms get their money back.

No right minded individual can say we have a justice system in Scotland when these criminals can do whatever they want.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of 2mil and why the greasy ar*e kissing letter from Ewing congratulating them on giving the money back?What a tosser!He should have been telling them to pay back the money to the Government although they would have wasted it somewhere else anyway.Disgusting the whole thing and the people in it!

Anonymous said...

what everyone else says except the solitary clown at 18:51 who must be a lawyer by the sounds of it
bad day at the office you thief?

Anonymous said...

That is one NASTY letter Yelland sent your lawyer and it only goes to prove to me even more the Scottish justice system is thoroughly corrupt.
He knew he could get away with what he was saying because no one will do anything against him and its probably not the first time.
There is a word for people like that but I wont add it here!

MSP's Hate Clients too said...

I did not vote in the Scottish elections and I will never vote again, where law is concerned all the parties are Law Society and SLCC lovers, crooked bastards all of them.

I bet the SLCC and Law Society and MacAskill hate clients more than football supporters hate each other, they just do not say so publicly.

Stop lawyers closing dissident websites said...

The Law Society are using the copurts to try and shut down solicitorsfromhell.co.uk

Here again we see lawyers protecting lawyers, but can a client take the Law Society to court to end self regulation and legal dictatorship. No chance.

This is due to difference, lawyers are important to the state and citizens are not.

Anonymous said...

It is a pity we do not have an MSP who will stand up and say the Scottish Judiciary are corrupt and not fit for purpose. This Law Society will never lose its power which is why web sites must not be closed down.

The Law Society are not IN the Scottish Parliament, they are the Scottish Parliament. All of the voters in the recent Scottish elections voted for maintaining Law society power, but many of them do not realise this fact.

Anonymous said...

No one in their right mind can argue this money should be given back to the legal profession with the kind of financial cuts we have now and Salmond/Swinney trying to blame London for it all yet their SNP colleagues are busy writing letters praising the giving of millions back to lawyers! and they claim they are the best party to represent Scotland what a joke

Anonymous said...

Fergus Ewing said "“I am pleased that the SLCC has been able to take account of the representations from the legal profession and plans to keep a tight rein on running costs for 2011/2012, estimated at just under those for the current year. I note this has allowed the top-end annual levy to be reduced by a further 28 and I am sure this will be welcomed by the profession."

He would do because he's a lawyer (claims to be former except there's no such thing as a former lawyer) and yes I'm sure the legal profession do welcome a £1 million bonus!

Its so sick you couldnt even make it up.Disgusting and just shows the contempt these msps all of them including the rubbish SNP hierarchy feel for the rest of us.

How many more million bonuses did the Scottish Government give lawyers we dont know about?

Mk said...

How many lawyers would you say have been let off the hook from serious complaints/charges stuff like that in the past 20 years under Philip Yelland?

Anonymous said...

And just why should the legal profession pay back anything to taxpayers? You want a complaints service (WE DO NOT HAVE A COMPLAINTS SERVICE HOW MANY LAWYERS HAS THE SLCC DEALT WITH) so you have to pay for it (WE WARN OTHERS LAWYERS ARE ABOVE THE LAW SO) and we make sure clients cover the costs of this burden (THE COST IS NOT THE BURDEN IT IS SELF REGULATING LAWYERS THAT ARE A BURDEN) forced on us by msps (YOU ARE KIDDING NO ONE THE MSP's LOVE YOU) I think I will jack my fees up to bring in a few more pounds for my 4 cars/3 houses you client scum helped me to own. YES YOU ARE CLEARLY AN INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING. THIS LAST STATEMENT OF YOURS IS A REFLECTION OF YOUR WARPED INTELLECT. YOU ARE ANTIJUSTICE ALL OF YOU. THAT IS WHY YOU WANT TO MAINTAIN A MONOPOLY ON LEGAL SERVICES. YOU ARE ALSO A COWARD BECAUSE YOU FAIL TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF BECAUSE IF YOU DID CLIENTS WOULD AVOID YOU, PERSONALLY I AVOID ALL LAWYERS, IF I HAD TO GO TO COURT I WOULD RATHER DEFEND MYSELF THAN TRUST ANY LAWYER.

HANNAH ARENDT A BRILLIANT POLITICAL THEORIST WAS RIGHT ABOUT BUREACRACY, COMPLAIN ABOUT A MEMBER OF A CLUB THE IDENTIFICATION OF CULPRITS IS IMPOSSIBLE. THE MSP's YOU MOAN ABOUT ARE ALL DOUGLAS MILL'S SO YOU REALLY SHOULD BE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAINTAIN COVERUPS AS MUCH AS YOU DO.

GROW UP.

Anonymous said...

The letter from Mr Yelland is dynamite evidence Peter how did you get it?No wonder they never have a go at you with stuff like this they must want you dead or probrably tried already?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 27 May 2011 20:19

Yes, I am aware of it thanks ...

# Anonymous @ 28 May 2011 12:23

Well you see what happens is ... an msp begins to ask questions in the Scottish Parliament about the legal profession and then he is 'called in' for a meeting with one of the Law Society top brass and then the questions stop.

One of those msps whom I shall not name alleged he "had been threatened in not so many words" by an old man who seems to get into many areas if you take my meaning ...

# Anonymous @ 28 May 2011 13:09

Such is the influence of the Law Society ...

# Anonymous @ 28 May 2011 14:35

Well in the 90's and well into last decade, complaints against the Scottish legal profession were running up to 5000 a year, and those were just the ones 'accepted' by the Law Society as complaints ... so it might be fair to say at least half the profession has got away with a slap on the wrist over serious client complaints and there are around 10,000 solicitors in Scotland ...

# Anonymous @ 29 May 2011 19:55

There are more letters yet to be published, and I have also been approached by another individual who suffered the same fate after a letter from Mr Yelland to his solicitors (his lawyers dropped him the next day and his client file was accidentally shredded)

I can assure you the Law Society of Scotland and its officials have made my life, and many more people's lives a misery over complaints made against solicitors ... and as far as this blog goes, well after only two weeks of writing in 2006, Douglas Mill (then Law Society Chief Exec) used a Sunday broadsheet to launch a personal attack demanding I be shut down ... good thing journalists at the paper alerted me to it first and let me hear for myself what was said ...

Anonymous said...

You should have sued this guy or reported him to the Police for interfering with your lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Little surprise what Mr Yelland wants Mr Yelland and the Law Society's Council gets and the SLCC drop the levy as if by magic.
I take it Yelland's letter to this David Reid was not meant for your eyes.What did Reid do after he received it?
I've checked this morning Reid is not listed as a partner at MorisonsLLP which I recall was formerly Alex Morison & Co.What happened to him?

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh a little at the earlier comment which is so obviously left by some bitter idiot of a lawyer.
I suppose this is exactly what they all think of us which means this is what we should think of them!

Anonymous said...

"I can assure you the Law Society of Scotland and its officials have made my life, and many more people's lives a misery over complaints made against solicitors"

I can well imagine.

Anonymous said...

Why did they need the 2m in the first place?If they were getting the money from the legal profession why did the public have to stump up again?It should have been refunded straight away and why has no politician called for it to be paid back?All bought off or too cowardly to step forward?

Anonymous said...

I doubt the Police,Crown Office or anyone would have done anything for Mr Cherbi even with that evil letter from the Law Society to his lawyer because they are all in it up to their necks a friend of mine asked if he could report his lawyer to the Police and he ended up being hounded by them and couldnt get a lawyer after it all.You are dealing with true evil when you walk through a lawyers office and bollocks to all that rubbish about them fighting for people's rights because its all nonsense all they are in it for is the money and what they can get out of it and if that happens to be blood its ok for them to do it and no one stands in their way I'm sure Mr Cherbi and anyone who has been a victim of lawyers will agree with this statement.

Anonymous said...

"All bought off or too cowardly to step forward?"

Yes and Yes.

Anonymous said...

And not so much as a whisper about this in the maintream media..why I wonder is no-one surprised.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had known of your blog earlier as I have been writing to the SLCC for 9 months about my complaint and have had nothing but trouble and insults and even my msp says they are very unfriendly towards clients.There has to be a better way to deal with complaints than going through the SLCC and I like your idea about publishing all complaints and naming crooked lawyers so when they finish dealing with my case I will send it to you to do with what you like.

Anonymous said...

NEWSPAPERS ARE AFRAID OF THE LAW SOCIETY.

Anonymous said...

Richard Smith apparently left early because he disagreed with Jane Irvine about almost everything.