Thursday, May 19, 2011

HUSH & MONEY : Former SLCC law complaints Chief Executive Eileen Masterman received secret Scottish Government approved payoff in deal with lawyers

SLCC Chief Executive Eileen Masterman (foreground) received Scottish Government approved pay off after lawyers intervened says auditor report. RUMOURS that Eileen Masterman, the former Chief Executive of the much derided Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), received a SUBSTANTIAL PAY OFF after she resigned on grounds of “ill health”, after serving less than SEVEN MONTHS in the £80,000 a year, £1,350 plus, a week job have now been confirmed with the publication of a “Key Memorandum Issues” document prepared for the SLCC by the Edinburgh offices of auditors Grant Thornton. Grant Thornton were called in to replace the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) as the SLCC’s auditors, after SLAB were abruptly sacked from their auditing role by the SLCC’s board in 2009 after much bickering over the Legal Aid Board’s scrutiny of the failed law complaints quango.

However, the report now published by Grant Thornon FAILS to mention any references to official claims Ms Masterman resigned due to “ill health”. The report instead documents a battle negotiations between lawyers, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and even the Scottish Government over what is referred to as an unspecified “Ex-Gratia payment”, which one legal insider this morning said may have been made to head off any legal proceedings against the SLCC by Ms Masterman. The figure, which Grant Thornton, the SLCC and the Scottish Government have so far failed to disclose, is rumoured to be substantial.

Grant Thornton’s audit of the SLCC’s problems revealed Scottish Government approved payoff to former CEO. Referring to Ms Masterman’s payoff while managing to omit the figures, page eight of the report from Grant Thornton states : “Ex gratia payment to former CEO : Rosemary Agnew was appointed the role of Acting CEO in November 2009 and the former CEO, Eileen Masterman departed from the post in February 2010, with Rosemary Agnew continuing in her role. We understand that an ex-gratia payment was paid to the former CEO. The amount of this payment was determined through consultation between the former CEO, the Board and the respective lawyers. The payment was then authorised and approved by the Board and the payment approved by the Scottish Government.”

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission - Eileen Masterman steps down  as Chief  Executive 19 April 2010SLCC release on Masterman resignation claimed illness, omitting details of Scottish Government approved pay-off. The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission issued a public press release regarding Ms Masterman’s resignation, stating : “The SLCC has now informed its staff and stakeholders that after a period of illness, Eileen Masterman, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has left the organisation. The Commission wishes her well for the future. Jane Irvine, SLCC Chair, confirmed that Rosemary Agnew, the SLCC Head of Investigations, will continue in her role as Accountable Officer and Acting Chief Executive until further notice. The position of Chief Executive is filled through the Public Appointments process run by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland (OCPAS). The recruitment process will commence in due course.”

Following the ‘recruitment process’, Ms Masterman was eventually replaced by Rosemary Agnew as Chief Executive in 2010. The SLCC have since removed any references to Ms Masterman’s resignation from their website.

Sources in late 2009 had informed Diary of Injustice that Ms Masterman had failed to respond to correspondence from consumers & msps, however it was not until early 2010, firm evidence was made available Ms Masterman had been missing from her role as the SLCC’s Chief Executive for some time, as I revealed in an article on April 13 2010, here : £70K Chief Executive ‘missing for 6 months’ at Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as Justice Secretary dodges questions on scandal-hit law quango

The day after my initial article on Ms Masterman’s disappearance from work, April 4, 2010, the SLCC were forced to announce the resignation of Ms Masterman from her post on grounds of “ill health”, which I reported on, here : SLCC’s Eileen Masterman resigns, questions remain on attempt to mislead Cabinet Finance Chief John Swinney over secret meetings with insurers Marsh

John SwinneyCabinet Finance Chief John Swinney revealed he felt Ms Masterman had mislead him over accounts of meetings. However, Eileen Masterman’s resignation leaves questions over increasingly bitter exchanges between the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission & the Scottish Government’s Finance Chief, John Swinney, on a matter which I have previously reported where further documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation revealed the SLCC had clearly mislead Mr Swinney over secret meetings between its officials including Ms Masterman and officials from Marsh, the Law Society’s Master Policy insurers.

John Swinney 09032009 to SLCC 1Cabinet Secretary Swinney demanded explanations of SLCC's minutes contradictions. Letters written by Cabinet Secretary John Swinney dated March 2009 to the SLCC's Chief Executive Eileen Masterman brand her explanation 'contradictory' to details in the Commission's own minutes : "In your response on the 12th of December to *** subsequent letter on the 2nd of December in which *** had stated 'clearly you are saying that no date has yet been arranged for the Marsh presentation'. You indicated that a meeting took place with RSA (Royal Sun Alliance) in July 2008 but that no meeting had occurred with Marsh."

Mr Swinney went on to state in his letter : "*** has drawn to my attention the fact that the minutes of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission dated 11th of March 2008 and 7th July 2007 indicated firstly in March 2008 that 'Jane Irvine confirmed she had arranged an introductory session from Marsh' and the minutes in July said that a meeting had taken place with RSA. I have to say that I feel there is a contradiction between the correspondence you have sent to *** dated 1st and 12th of December and the minutes of the SLCC meetings of March and July."

John Swinney 03062009 to SLCCSLCC's answers to Cabinet Secretary Swinney were far from clear. Ms Masterman’s responses to Mr Swinney's allegations of contradictions in correspondence between himself, a constituent and the SLCC, to keep secret any meetings with the insurers, fell through after details of the secret meetings emerged in board minutes of meetings of the Commission, leading to further correspondence between the SLCC & Mr Swinney, who went onto brand Ms Masterman’s explanations as "far from clear" after Ms Masterman informed Mr Swinney in letters dated 15 January 2009 "The SLCC has not consulted with Marsh or the Royal Sun Alliance about the operation of the Master Policy" which was contradicted by emails from November 2008 between Ms Masterman & the then Head of Investigations Rosemary Agnew, which read : "We received our tutorial yesterday on the Master Policy from Marsh".

Eileen Masterman then wrote to John Swinney in a letter dated March 2009 claiming "I have not met with Marsh", clearly contradicting the course of events revealed in documents released under FOI legislation where SLCC officials including Ms Masterman had in fact met Marsh.

Frequent Flyers SLCCFrequent Flyers : SLCC’s David Smith expressed anti-client jibes to Eileen Masterman in emails around the anti-consumer law complaints quango. Among the papers ordered to be disclosed in a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, emails containing anti-client jibes were revealed to have been sent by SLCC board member David Smith to Ms Masterman in July 2009. Mr Smith, husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith, was personally appointed to the SLCC by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Mr Smith, a lawyer who served much of his career at law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn, who themselves often act for the Master Policy in protection of questionable solicitors against negligence claims, referred to participants in the Master Policy survey & deceased clients who had committed suicide as a direct result of involvement with the Master Policy, as “Frequent flyers”.

Margaret Scanlan - Called to the Bars - Sunday Mail  15 March 2009 emailCalled to the Bars : Evidence from earlier FOI releases featured in newspapers point to SLCC’s anti client culture among board members & senior officials. The emails from David Smith to SLCC staff including the SLCC’s then Chief Executive Eileen Masterman, support evidence from earlier FOI releases which featured in the national media of a bitter, hate fuelled anti-client culture operating at the highest levels of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which has seen other board members such as Glasgow divorce lawyer Margaret Scanlan who rubbished victims of crooked lawyers as “complete chancers”. In additional emails, other board members chastised consumer organisations, and sought to exclude them from the inevitable results of the SLCC’s Master Policy investigation, which the deaths of clients to the Law Society of Scotland, its insurers and the Master Policy itself.

A client who has been waiting months for the SLCC to take action on his complaint about his solicitor, condemned the organisation for its inaction over complaints and internal secrecy. He said : “I’ve been waiting nine months for a result on my complaint which has been back and forth from the Law Society to the SLCC yet neither can work out who should investigate my case. They seem to be more able to pay off their staff in the snap of a finger and make sure the dirt is kept secret rather do their job which is supposed to be investigating complaints about solicitors.”

Scottish GovernmentSomething to hide : Scottish Government Ministers refuse to comment on audit report’s claims they approved a payoff to the former SLCC Chief Executive Eileen Masterman. The Scottish Government were asked for comment on their role in approving the pay off to Ms Masterman amid claims that a series of leters from Mr Swinney & a law reform campaigner over the Master Policy meetings led to her downfall. The Scottish Government refused any comment, their spokesperson briefly stating : "This is a private personnel matter for the SLCC and its former employee."

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission also refused to comment on the matter or release any details of the payoff and how it was negotiated. It was also noted the SLCC’s media response was emailed at exactly the same time as the response received from the Scottish Government.

Ian GordonFrequent Fryers of FOI requests : SLCC Board Member former Deputy Chief Constable Ian Gordon is also the Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland for the next four years. Given the many questions raised over the resignation of Ms Masterman, and the lack of progress the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission had made on key issues including scrutiny of the Master Policy, Freedom of Information requests were made to the SLCC asking for details surrounding the resignation. They were refused. Upon a request for a review of the SLCC’s refusal to disclose information through Freedom of Information legislation, one of its board members, former Tayside Deputy Chief Constable Ian Gordon, who is also, amazingly, the Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland, abruptly refused the Freedom of Information review, as did the SLCC’s new Chief Executive, Rosemary Agnew, who considered and again abruptly refused a second request for an FOI review.

The Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion is now investigating the SLCC’s refusal to release any information on Ms Masterman’s absence and resignation from the SLCC.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would lock all of these bastards up and throw the key away.

Keep up the good work Peter, what a bunch of criminals and reprobates.

Anonymous said...

First time I've seen a report from auditors that doesnt mention a figure!
Are they on the level of what?

Anonymous said...

COVER UP COVER UP!
THIS LOT GOT 2MILLION FROM TAXPAYERS AND WE ARENT ALLOWED TO KNOW HOW MUCH THE PAYOFF IS!

CROOKED THE LOT OF THEM INCLUDING MACASKILL AND HIS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT

Mister Tibbs said...

Interesting (as always)

Perhaps this secret payoff arrangement happens on a grander scale (i.e. not just at the SLCC)

Remember there are a lot of ndpbs Mr Cherbi.You might want to do an FOI asking how many other secret payments the Scottish Executive have approved for quango staff and presumably board members exiting on the sly.

Anonymous said...

"Frequent flyers" what a cheek.How many people have gone to this SLCC and been let down I wonder?
Disgusting people only seeking to cover their own backs and insult victims of these crooked lawyers.

Anonymous said...

so she was ill but not too ill to instruct lawyers and where did the money come from to pay her anyway ? from the SLCC budget I presume which is paid for by a levy on solicitors which they recoup from clients

Anonymous said...

Upon a request for a review of the SLCC’s refusal to disclose information through Freedom of Information legislation, one of its board members, former Tayside Deputy Chief Constable Ian Gordon, who is also, amazingly, the Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland, abruptly refused the Freedom of Information review, as did the SLCC’s new Chief Executive, Rosemary Agnew, who considered and again abruptly refused a second request for an FOI review.

Hopeless !

What will Dunion do against that crowd ?

How the hell can some ex Police Chief now a Convener of a Standards Committee also be a member of an organisation investigating dodgy lawyers ?

Does no one in Scotland think this is wrong at all or is there mass ignorance of all these slushy links between people sitting on each other's quangos and what have you ?

Anonymous said...

"It was also noted the SLCC’s media response was emailed at exactly the same time as the response received from the Scottish Government."

As BT says "its good to talk".Trust me when I say they did.

Anonymous said...

Good one Pete.I wonder why Jane forgot to mention the payoff in her press release?

Anonymous said...

Little wonder the Scottish Govt refused comment with John Swinney being involved.The SNP will want this one swept under the carpet pronto and if Mr Swinney is ever asked about Masterman he will simply reply "Who is that now?" haha

Anonymous said...

Good thing your not one of those always asleep on the newsdesk

Anonymous said...

"Hush & Money" - That'll be Eileen & Jane right ? lol

Anonymous said...

What a joke and the Scottish 'Government' true to form are saying nothing.It only goes to prove the SNP are no different from the rest in politics and justice.They are just as crooked and keep it all for themselves and bollocks to anyone who says otherwise as the evidence already proves me correct.

Anonymous said...

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/law-society-records-large-rise-in-complaints-against-solicitors-1.117984

Law society records large rise in complaints against solicitors
Paul Rogerson
22 May 2003

A HEFTY increase in the number of complaints against Scottish solicitors will be disclosed today, including a fresh batch of grievances alleging lawyers have mis-sold endowment policies. The surge in client discontent is reported in the Law Society of Scotland's annual report, due to be approved at the annual meeting of the regulator in Cumbernauld. In 2002, the society fielded 1606 letters of complaint which it decided should be dealt with through conciliation or investigation - a 27.2% rise on 2001. The disclosure will embarrass the society at a time when its right to investigate complaints is under close scrutiny. Only last week the regulator was found to have failed to properly investigate a complaint against Biggart Baillie, one of Scotland's best- known legal firms, even after intervention by the legal services ombudsman. Last year there were 778 complaints to the society alleging misconduct or inadequate professional service, an increase of 140 on 2001. Complaints alleging both infractions rose from 125 to 183, while some 598 grievances were dealt through conciliation, up from 467. Complaints alleging outright negligence increased from 32 to 47. The most common category of complaint was litigation (642), followed by conveyancing (447), and trust and executry (190). All three categories saw sharp increases on 2001. Last year the society's client relations office fielded a ''significant number'' of grievances alleging solicitors mis-sold endowment policies in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The report makes plain the society's view the phenomenon is not necessarily caused by an increase in malpractice. It stresses: ''There may well be a number of reasons, including heightened awareness of the public of their right to complain, increased awareness [of] what might be reasonably expected of a solicitor, the Justice 1 inquiry and the attendant publicity relating to complaints against various professionals.'' The Justice 1 committee of MSPs, which held an enquiry into regulation of the legal profession, broadly endorsed the society's regulatory work.

If I remember correctly this was Christine Grahame's Committee who endorsed the Law Society.Ha! What a laugh here we are 2011 and its just as bad probably worse and the buggers are all paying each other off in secret deals to keep quiet about it and funnily enough its happening under Europe's latest Enver Hoxha.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful, your report shows just how much we 'owe' the SNP.

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way Peter - If Scotland wasnt as rotten & corrupt in the justice system as it is you'd have nothing to write about!
Seriously though your blog is fantastic and kicks the sh*t out of the legal profession.Much admiration for you standing up to these thugs!

Anonymous said...

Surely this is a big scandal story for a newspaper?

Anonymous said...

How ill was she really if they were discussing a payoff with lawyers and then its all kept secret?
Just goes to show no one stands a chance with the crooked SLCC who pay their own off more than they investigate complaints!

Anonymous said...

Hush & Money the complaints fighting duo of Eileen Masterman & Jane Irvine.STARSKY & HUTCH THEY ARE NOT!MORE LIKE KEYSTONE COPS!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should explore the reasons why SLAB were replaced by Grant Thornton.
Could it be SLAB wanted to do a more thorough audit of the SLCC and were going to report on the payoff deal for Masterman.

Anonymous said...

Not only are the lawyers crooked their regulators are just as crooked.Save yourselves a lot of hurt and avoid using a lawyer if you can help it.

Anonymous said...

Very good exposure of something we obviously were not supposed to know about like Fred the Shred's super injunction!
I think we need to get you into the House of Lords asap Mr C!

Anonymous said...

That background to the photo of the two stooges on Calton Hill,they wouldnt dare go up there in the dark because its full of lawyers and judges and their little rent boy chums.
They tell me one judge got a lift home from the boys in blue before he managed to get himself into trouble maybe you should look into this too or your newspaper friends if they are brave enough

Anonymous said...

“I’ve been waiting nine months for a result on my complaint which has been back and forth from the Law Society to the SLCC yet neither can work out who should investigate my case.
==================================
You will wait 90 years my friend before these bastards will take action against any lawyer. Clients like you and I and money fodder, to be abused and exploited for the Scottish Judiciary.

This is the prejudicial culture of the Scottish Legal establishment, just like two doctors who abandoned their kids and blame everyone but themselves, the police, investigators are not doing enough, Christ if they had not left them in the first place this tragedy would never have happened. If it was a joiner and his wife they would have faced the wrath of the courts for neglect, but doctors, well like lawyers they walk on water dont they.


A manifestation of self regulation is that the professions are NEVER WRONG. I see it all the time when things go wrong it is never a lawyer or doctor to blame.

The legal system is biased and corrupt and not just in Scotland. Whether you face a prison cell or not depends on who you are not what you have done.

Anonymous said...

Well if the Scottish Government were involved approving the payment there must be some taxpayer interest or money involved in it so we do bloody well have a right to know what went on here and why.

Keep up the good work Peter Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

What everyone else says same here!

Anonymous said...

This "spokesman" for the Scottish Government.Who is it?
Why dont we get a Ministerial statement anymore on policy and just some rubbish from a gopher or spin doctor?

PAYMENTS PROTECTION INSURANCE, THE LAWYERS KNEW THE POLICIES WERE WORTHLESS WHEN THEY WERE SOLD said...

Blessed are those who fight against legal tyranny, injustice and legal oppression.

Lawyers should be exposed for the Satanic demons they are, greedy, ruthless, and self protecting.

This scum taught me about humanity at its worst, all you people out there learn from lawyer victims, do not become victims. We owe lawyers nothing, Scotland's lawyer victims have a self created duty of care to potential victims, to save all you people out there from this evil scourge. Please, please I beg of you never trust a lawyer, HERE IS A FACT, they knew banks and financiers were selling Payment Protection Insurance schemes that were worthless. WHY DID THEY NOT WARN THE PUBLIC THEN?

DO NOT TRUST THESE CROOKED LOW LIFE SCUMBAGS.

Anonymous said...

The psyche of the self regulator is that I do not need to try for clients because I will be exonerated, if I murder patients you cannot question me, "I am a medical practitioner". Self regulation and a belief in invincibility and vanity go hand in hand.

Self regulators never see they are wrong, only those humans below the professions are wrong. A complaints system based on prejudice manifests itself in biased judgements. This exonerates the lawyer or doctor so the belief in invincibility is based on logic and common sense. It is for these reasons that the so called legitimate complaints channels get blocked. Bias crushes evidence and you end up with a complaints system which covers criminality up.

Screw the Law society and SLCC, the websites they hate show them for the ruthless trash they are.

Anonymous said...

Its certainly very interesting to me the Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland who is also on the SLCC set out to deny someone an FOI request when there has been some kind of secret Government backed deal to pay a member of staff.I think this is wholly incompatible with his job and he should resign or be sacked.

Anonymous said...

Law society records large rise in complaints against solicitors.


There is a surprise. But they will all be cleared of any wrongdoing wont they.

Anonymous said...

Would you want a man operating on your heart who abandons his children for a meal? Would you trust a legal system that did not prosecute him for neglect?

Judgement and common sense evade some people who are meant to know better. These criterion cannot be taught at any university.

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm sure if Masterman has been paid off this way there are others and all with the backing of Salmond & Co.Look into it please as this is very wrong.

Anonymous said...

The Scottish Government refused any comment, their spokesperson briefly stating : "This is a private personnel matter for the SLCC and its former employee."

Rubbish.How can it be a private personnel matter for the SLCC and its former employee if the Scottish Government had to approve the payment?

Who is this "spokesperson" anyway?

Anonymous said...

They made a big mistake when they ruined your family Peter. Your tenacity known no bounds and we thank you for warning the public about these ruthless criminals who probably think they are honest but evidence proves otherwise.

Lawyers are the enemies of all clients. With respect to regulation it is an us and them situation and the so called regulator has proved only one side is important.

Trust no lawyer or the rats at the Law society and SLCC.

Anonymous said...

This is an utter disgrace.

For all the shouting the SNP did about quangos in the past they have become the very essence of what they attacked.

Who backed these payments? Ministers or some civil servant in an office we never get to know about ?

This is all unaccountable secret Government and must be exposed

Whatever the result you have to keep on at this one Peter and get to the truth.

Anonymous said...

Interesting timing in Grant Thornton's report - I presume the SLCC were trying to outfox your foi request by coming up with these bare references to what happened yet as I read through the comments there are probably many more of these "EX GRATIA" payments on the go we should be hearing more about.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Very good exposure of something we obviously were not supposed to know about like Fred the Shred's super injunction!
I think we need to get you into the House of Lords asap Mr C!

19 May 2011 22:07

AGREED!
How about Holyrood for Mr C?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there's no superinjunction on you yet!
Go get 'em Peter!

Anonymous said...

Yes I wonder what the Legal Aid Board had uncovered at the SLCC that merited them being thrown off the job and then we had Mr Dailly proposing they should be merged?
All very odd and worthy of more investigation.

Anonymous said...

Clearly something to hide with the secret payoff going to someone who served a few weeks of a public body job everyone said was going to be great for us then the slcc turned out to be as rotten as the Law Society

Anonymous said...

http://latestnews.virginmedia.com/news/uk/2011/05/20/ex_minister_jailed_over_expenses_1

Elliot Morley has become the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses
20 May 2011 12:21pm


Morley, who was an environment minister when Labour was in power, pleaded guilty last month to claiming more than £30,000 in bogus mortgage payments.
=============================
Yes Mr Morley if the expenses had not been leaked to the press you would all still be screwing us for every penny you can get. This is what goes on behind the veil of self regulation, where corruption is endemic. If a lawyer steals a clients assets the Law Society and SLCC will cover it all up.

Enjoy your stay where the bars are a little different from those in the House of Commons.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for your comments & emails on this article ...

# Mister Tibbs @ 19 May 2011 16:22

Yes, this could be worth checking out and may be more than just a Scottish problem ... I have already begun enquiries and will report back when the work is complete ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 16:32

Lots, and believe me "frequent flyers" is a fairly mild example of what some of the SLCC Board have been calling complainants, journalists and even some solicitors in public & behind their backs ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 16:38

Yes, exactly ... now that the SLCC is funded by clients who pay extortionate fees for inadequate legal services which their solicitors have increased to pay the SLCC levy, its clients money and probably some of the two million pounds of public money the SLCC received from taxpayers which has gone into this pay off ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 16:43

I think its very wrong, considering the state of the SLCC and its outright hostility towards the public ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 16:59

I heard this morning they did ... and this also accounts for old man Clancy finding himself in a school just because someone was making foi enquiries about a project for an upcoming feature ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 17:36

Dont expect honesty from the SLCC ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 17:57

Indeed, yes ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 18:54

Yes ... 2011 and the situation remains the same, albeit with the SLCC now acting as a "Front Company" for the Law Society ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 19:37

Thanks .. and its not just about writing ... With analysis & knowledge comes the ability to steer large corporate legal contracts & litigation away from law firms known to be less than honest to their clients ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 21:00

I already know as of this morning ... and yes it may well be SLAB were bound to report more than a firm of private auditors given a set of instructions ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 00:53

From what I have seen of the SLCC, the two jobs are incompatible ... as is rebuffing FOI reviews for the sake of keeping Government approved back door payments to staff secret from the public ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 10:24

I think the idea is Ministers can get away with saying nothing while anonymous "spokespersons" can say what they want .. this way, if something goes wrong or is discovered later, the Minister involved is not to blame ...

# Anonymous @ 19 May 2011 22:19

I've heard similar ... if you want to contact me via scottishlawreporters@gmail.com I can pass any details onto my colleagues in the media if you like ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 11:32

Possibly ...I am looking into it further ...

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen of the SLCC, the two jobs are incompatible ... as is rebuffing FOI reviews for the sake of keeping Government approved back door payments to staff secret from the public ...

Spot on Peter

Anonymous said...

What crooks the lot of them

Anonymous said...

Probably the first comment says it all for me although I would add the money should be paid back to public funds and these people banned from any public office forever.

Anonymous said...

You are not the only one having trouble with these non-existent spokespersons for the Scottish Government
http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/2389/MacAskill_blanks_Pan_Am_103_relative%2C_but_spin_doctors_come_out_swinging_.html

Anonymous said...

Managed to have a look through the SLCC's accounts so far and no mention of this payout.Where do you think they buried it?

Anonymous said...

Called to the bars,chancers and frequent flyers describes the SLCC very well Mr Cherbi!

Anonymous said...

btw dont be fooled by request for a meeting as Irvine hates your guts

Anonymous said...

I hadn't realised Smith was emailing Masterman with those comments.Did the email make her ill too or did that come from Swinney and his letters?

Anonymous said...

and another 5 years of this coming up with the SNP in charge!

Anonymous said...

Spending cuts do not apply to those rewarded for protecting crooked lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter thats one of the best things I've ever read here that you are able to impact on these lawyers where it hurts most in the pocket.

Keep up the good work mate what a fantastic blog and service you do for the public!

Anonymous said...

Like the title Peter, Hush and Money sums up what the Scottish Legal Establishment are about. Stealing clients money and Law Society and SLCC silence.

You owe a great debt to the legal profession MacAskill, we do not owe them anything just spreading the word and holding you in the contempt you deserve.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mr Smith called his clients frequent fliers to their faces?

His comment is a reflection of his intellect.

Anonymous said...

The assumption of invincibility comes from past successes. Hitler had power but failed in his objectives.

Lawyer cover ups are the same. They are a group and power lies in numbers, but the numbers of ruined clients are increasing all of the time. So anti lawyer power is increasing so get out there and tell all of your families and friends never to trust lawyers.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 21 May 2011 11:21

Most likely behind their backs ...

# Anonymous @ 21 May 2011 10:34

Thanks ...

Law firms who fail to serve their clients honestly deserve to lose business ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 21:12

No .. it appears participating in the insults did not contribute to her ill health ... however there are allegations the involvement of John Swinney and "a constituent" over issues relating to the master policy did ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 19:25

Dont worry, I know ... I've already been briefed with 'information' showing exactly what has been said & discussed about me by Ms Irvine and the SLCC (staff & board members).

The more they insult or discuss me, the more people are willing to come forward & disclose it ...

# Anonymous @ 20 May 2011 16:19

Thanks for letting me know .. it seems we have a case of anonymous spokespersons for the Scottish Government ... hardly what one could call good,open or accountable government ...

Anonymous said...

"Law firms who fail to serve their clients honestly deserve to lose business ..."

Well said Peter!
We should all start boycotting these crooked lawyer firms and hitting their profits from stealing off their poor clients

Anonymous said...

This problem of anonymous spokespersons for the Scottish Government sounds as bad as the non existent staff replying to letters at Downing Street.Are they creating any false identities to deal with msps at Holyrood do you know?

WE RINGFENCE THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES TO STEAL FROM CLIENTS said...

Self regulation is simply a form of self interest where theft is legal and poor service the norm.

Difference is what occurs because the crooked lawyer reported to the SLCC ot Law Society, is more important than the client. Difference is less of an issue if the consequences do not matter but it is mad to trust a profession like lawyers with your life and assets.

Lawyers ringfence their monopoly on providing legal services for one reason only, so they can screw clients. Trust none of these ruthless vermin.

Anonymous said...

LAW SOCIETY LAUNCHING LEGAL ACTION TO SHUT DOWN SOLICITORS FROM HELL

http://www.solicitorsfromhell.co.uk/
Society set to launch legal action against Solicitors from Hell

Thursday 12 May 2011

The Law Society is organising court action with a view to securing an injunction against the Solicitors from Hell website. The solicitors acting for the Law Society, Brett Wilson, will be writing to all firms on the website very shortly to explain in more detail.

SO MUCH FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION, WHO WILL BE NEXT FOR THIS DISCRIMINATION?

Anonymous said...

Law firms who fail to serve their clients honestly deserve to lose business ...

Exactly that is why naming and shaming must become the norm, because the Law Society and SLCC hate clients who complain about lawyers. There is something wrong with their attitudes not ours.

Anonymous said...

Swinney doesnt come out of this looking very good.

Anonymous said...

Great expose of all this behind closed doors stuff with Masterman Swinney and the rest.God knows how much money is going down the drain in these payoffs its probably in the millions because if they've done it for her they've done it for others..

Anonymous said...

As a solicitor I find it strange the SLCC is using its funds in this way to pay off its members of staff and,as Mr Cherbi quite properly highlights,maintains a level of secrecy after the act.

Any payment to Ms Masterman and the reasons for it must be disclosed in full otherwise how can anyone have confidence in such an organisation?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 22 May 2011 20:44

I agree .. and if you feel strongly enough about it, speak out and raise the issue in the media or with the SLCC & Scottish Government and publish the responses you receive ...

Anonymous said...

If some solicitor is angry about it lets see some action!

Oh and by the way Peter these quango payoffs produce huge sums for those leaving their jobs just look at this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11399545

Former VisitScotland boss given £240,000 payoff

The former chief executive of tourism body VisitScotland has been given a £240,000 payoff.

He has been replaced by the organisation's marketing director Malcolm Roughead on a salary of £140,000 per annum.

VisitScotland is making savings of more than £1m over the next four years, including cutting the number of directors from six to four.

The publicly-funded body confirmed it had reached a "mutual agreement" with 58-year-old Mr Riddle resulting in him receiving a gross settlement of £127,000 with an additional payment to his pension of £113,000.

In a statement, VisitScotland said: "This is in line with agreed government guidelines and conditions of chief executive's employment contract.

"This will be entirely funded from salary savings in this financial year and VisitScotland is keen to reassure the tourism industry that this package will not be funded from current marketing activity spend."

Scottish Labour's George Foulkes said the settlement raised "very serious questions" for Scottish ministers about the organisation's accountability.

The MSP added: "Most people will regard a settlement of this size as astonishing in the current economic climate."

The Lib Dem's Iain Smith echoed Mr Foulkes' comments saying it was "extraordinary" that such an amount of money could be spent on the deal.

Tourism Minister Jim Mather said the new chief executive appointment represented a substantial saving for taxpayers.

He added: "By streamlining its new senior management structure, VisitScotland will save some £1.3m over the course of the next four-year spending review.

"Mr Roughead brings a wealth of expertise to his new role and is ideally placed to lead VisitScotland in our shared drive for greater performance and efficiency."
Malcolm Roughead Malcolm Roughead is the new chief executive of VisitScotland

The new chief executive Mr Roughead is now managing the 700 people who work for VisitScotland in tourism information centres across the country.

He said: "VisitScotland has transformed itself over the last decade and I am looking forward to leading the organisation as it continues to change and develop.

"In the current climate it's crucial we work together to grow tourism. VisitScotland generated more than £400m for the Scottish economy last year - representing a return of more than £20 for every £1 invested.

"I want to work closely with the tourism industry to achieve even greater growth in the years to come as I believe that tourism is vital to economic growth and creating new jobs."

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said 51-year-old Mr Roughead, who joined the body in 2001 from Diageo, was regarded as one of the "top tourism marketeers in the world".

Anonymous said...

HOORAY FOR STEERING CONTRACTS AWAY FROM THE LEGAL PROFESSION!!

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Legal-firms-shed-500-workers.6772705.jp

Legal firms shed 500 workers in two years as recession hits hard

Published Date: 23 May 2011
By Tristan Stewart-Robertson

HUNDREDS of jobs have been lost in the Scottish legal profession in the past two years, a survey by The Scotsman has revealed.

At a conservative estimate, up to 500 posts have gone, including almost 200 solicitors.

Senior lawyers said the market in Scotland had become "casual" towards costs before the recession and was still bloated, concluding that further cuts are inevitable.

The Scotsman contacted about 40 of Scotland's largest legal firms to assess the effect of the recession on the sector.

The survey showed almost 400 job losses at the biggest 30 firms, including nearly 150 solicitors. However, a number of mid-ranking firms refused to provide figures and it is known there have been job losses at many small firms too.

Sources suggested that the total number of jobs lost could be as high as 500 if all these firms are taken into account.

As well as a drop in the number of lawyers and partners, traineeships fell by more than a quarter, further straining the future of the profession.

Douglas Connell, joint senior partner with Turcan Connell in Edinburgh, said: "There's quite a lot of trouble within the Scottish legal profession and over-capacity.

"Change is necessary. Some firms may downsize or some consolidate - I think it would be better if for structural or long-term reasons rather than pressure from banks.

"There will be firms slow to change or averse to change that will not survive."

Of the firms who provided numbers, turnover across legal firms in Scotland fell more than £20 million between 2009 and 2010. Profit per equity partner - a well-established measure of the health of the sector - fell from more than £100,000 in 2008 to £72,000 in 2009 and £64,000 in 2010.

Profits tell a different story with a total rise across those firms giving details of £7.2m between 2009 and 2010.

Malcolm McPherson, a senior partner at HBJ Gateley Wareing, said that in its 200 years of existence, the firm had never made redundancies, until the recession.

He said: "We have tightened up. We had got casual with our approach to costs. I don't think that was unusual but I don't think it will ever happen again."

Legal areas such as employment law, litigation and energy have seen growth during the recession, even as the property market collapsed, hurting law firms badly.

Of the three firms providing early numbers for 2011, two have turned the corner and increased turnover.

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said overall numbers showed profits collapsed by 40 per cent into 2009, before showing a bounce back last year.

Anonymous said...

Another scandal caused by their involvement with the toxic master policy and the SLCC's fence sitting which has been going on for over 3 years now

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

As a solicitor I find it strange the SLCC is using its funds in this way to pay off its members of staff and,as Mr Cherbi quite properly highlights,maintains a level of secrecy after the act.

Any payment to Ms Masterman and the reasons for it must be disclosed in full otherwise how can anyone have confidence in such an organisation?

22 May 2011 20:44

So do something about it then!

Anonymous said...

You make a very good point about secrecy at the SLCC Mr Cherbi and like the other comment says it should all be out in the open.
After all if they can name footballers having affairs they ought to tell us how much this person got from the SLCC for her lasting a matter of weeks in her high flying job!

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many others at the SLCC have had these negotiated pay-offs?

Anonymous said...

Heavily discussed at the LSoS as usual..

Anonymous said...

Like anything to do with the legal system its all hushed up covered up and battened down so no one gets to find out what really happened.Anyway after reading your story on it I have no doubt at all there should be an investigation into the SLCC and why they have done nothing for anyone in spite of the millions spent on it although even if there is one single honest msp willing to propose such an investigation you can bet MacBuckfast will slap it down in an instant.

Anonymous said...

"Legal firms shed 500 workers in two years as recession hits hard"

Brilliant news that's 500 less leaches to rob their clients!

Anonymous said...

Impressive investigation as always

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article.

There are some comments which have not been published, some due to their strong content, others due to matters which will be covered in upcoming articles.

I note what has been said about the "Solicitors from Hell" website and possible legal action being taken by the Law Society of England & Wales.

Thanks for the information and I will look into this further.

Anonymous said...

There is a very old saying BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. Unfortunately it started out as a rogue that got together with another rogue who in turn employed other rogues and the result is what we have today a corrupt legal system. But these people are a minority who are ignorant and cowardly and fear the good. My experiences by way of fighting them is that they are not to clever. Knowledge is power and being the majority we know what they are about now. I am genuinely worried because when you strip a person of everything including their dignity they have nothing left to loose and there is thousands in scotland with nothing left to loose and it only takes one person to kickoff a chain reaction. It is not difficult Mr Lord President just simply address all the wrongs and start doing the right thing instead of consistently doing the wrong.

Anonymous said...

My experiences by way of fighting them is that they are not to clever.
=================================
Spot on in fact some of them are plain stupid. I found that fact out about my GP and his colleagues. But they do think they are clever in an arrogant way.

Anonymous said...

Equally disgusting this has been kept from us and how can it be kept secret when the Scottish Government approved the payoff?

COVER UP GOING ON HERE AGAIN