Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Price of Justice : Scottish Legal Aid Board 'frequent flyers' & Crown Office 'stationery kings' charge millions to taxpayer funded credit cards

legal aid crown officeTaxpayer funded credit cards keep Legal Aid officials flying, Crown Office in stationery heaven. AS impoverished Scots struggle to obtain legal aid for desperately needed legal representation or access to court, and victims of crime struggle to obtain justice for wrongs against them, an ongoing investigation by Diary of Injustice into the use of taxpayer funded credit cards by key organisations connected to Scotland’s legal system has revealed MILLIONS OF POUNDS being charged, collectively, by agencies such as the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) which receives £160million a year from taxpayers and the £100 Million a year Crown Office (COPFS) to TAXPAYER FUNDED CREDIT CARDS, sometimes referred to as “procurement cards” issued by the Scottish Government, for what some critics have branded “almost uncontrolled expenditure”.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation have revealed officials from the Scottish Legal Aid Board are literally being kept in the air by flights charged up to the taxpayer, while at the other end of the scale, the Crown Office has disclosed it has spent nearly TWO MILLION POUNDS in four years on credit cards.

In a sixteen page disclosure from the Scottish Legal Aid Board, which can be viewed online here : SCOTTISH LEGAL AID BOARD CREDIT CARD CHARGES, page after page of charges racked up to taxpayer funded credit cards reveals airline flights for SLAB executives some charged up to nine hundred pounds at a time, along with multiple entries at in some cases, thousands of pounds for accommodation for SLAB officials at most well known hotels in the UK (some charged at over £3K a time) and just about every other imaginable charge ranging from Argos office items to computer software (one ‘mail manager’ software product alone cost £7K) totalling up to tens of thousands of pounds.

There are literally so many charges for items such as flights, hotel stays, & accommodation all across the country, it is impossible to list them all in this article.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board said in a statement accompanying the figures : “The Scottish legal Aid Board currently has 6 credit cards, all of which incur an annual fee. The Board’s use of these is more akin to procurement cards and, in fact, the Board is in the process of replacing these with Government Procurement Cards (GPC) provided under the Scottish Government Collaborative GPC arrangement.”

SLAB’s statement continued : “Credit cards are not provided to any Board members nor are they provided to any employees to cover their own business travel and subsistence. Instead, these cards are primarily used by our Procurement team to purchase in situations where setting up an invoicing arrangement was not possible or practical at the time. This is typically the situation for travel and accommodation costs and some IT and training costs. Credit cards are also held by designated personnel for disaster recovery purposes.”

A solicitor questioned why SLAB officials need to fly all around the country and engage in so much travel, accommodation & road shows.

He said : “The Scottish Legal Aid Board has become somewhat unwieldy, having drifted away from its duty to regulate & award legal aid, ensuring access to justice for those who need it. Clearly there is scope for saving a great deal of money, travel time and effort which could all be put back into giving ordinary members of the public increased access to justice.”

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service was less forthcoming in offering a detailed disclosure of its use of credit cards under the previous Lord Advocate, now Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, however the total expenditure raked up by COPFS staff on taxpayer funded credit cards appears to dwarf even that of the Scottish Legal Aid Board, with the Crown Office admitting its staff have rake up charges of a staggering HALF A MILLION POUNDS on credit cards every year.

In 2007-2008, staff at the Lord Advocate’s Crown Office charged £554,194 to taxpayers via credit cards. In 2008-2009, the figure was £490,232. In 2009-2010 the figure came down to £476,682 and the final figures available for 2010-2011 saw a more significant drop to £409,208. The figures total £1.93 million over 4 years, all paid for by taxpayers.

COPFS credit card chargesA statement accompanying the Crown Office disclosure said : “The Government Procurement Card has been in use across Government departments for some 15 years. Cards are allocated to holders of specific posts e.g. office managers. By far the larges use of the cards is for stationery and other office equipment under the relevant contracts. Robust controls are in place. An on-going record of all expenditure against each card is maintained., this is reconciled with the charge shown on the monthly statement from the card supplier and each record is then independently checked and authorised prior to approval of payment of the monthly statement. By using these cards COPFS receive two invoices (one for each card type) each month, compared to numerous individual invoices for each transactions. This obviously helps us to minimise processing costs while at the same time ensuring prompt payment of our suppliers.”

Unlike the more detailed disclosure from the Scottish Legal Aid Board, no detailed account of credit card charges was provided by the Crown Office therefore claims on what public money was actually spent on cannot be verified.

SLCCEager to get in on the action, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) also use credit cards. The SLCC has admitted to having two credit cards, currently, only one, in the name of its ‘current’ Chief Executive Rosemary Agnew. Papers disclosed by the SLCC show their Office Manager & Ms Agnew ran up a bill of £3532.76 on a variety of purchases including airline & train tickets, office stationery & equipment, books & catering. The full disclosure from the SLCC can be viewed online here : CREDIT CARD CHARGES OF SCOTTISH LEGAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION

However, the figures released by the SLCC DO NOT cover the term of its former CEO Eileen Masterman, who resigned after a period of ‘ill health’, being away from her post for six months or so after a confrontation with Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney who quizzed Ms Masterman over secret meetings the SLCC had with convicted insurers Marsh who run the Law Society’s controversial Master Policy insurance scheme designed to protect negligent & crooked solicitors from damages claims.

The SLCC’s credit cards are not funded by taxpayers, instead being funded by annual levies paid by solicitors in Scotland who in turn recover the money (in some cases multiple times) from clients by significantly ramping up legal fees for legal services provided to clients.

SPAT OVER SECRET HOSPITALITY AT SCOTTISH LEGAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION :

Rosemary AgnewSLCC CEO Rosemary Agnew, vexed about media publication of hospitality. While the SLCC were happy to disclose the amounts their officials spent on credit cards ultimately funded by the legal profession & client fees, the SLCC’s ‘current’ Chief Executive Rosemary Agnew, in what appears to be a show of anger for adverse media coverage of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, recently accused journalists of vexatious use of FOI legislation to uncover information relating to secret hospitality the SLCC has been dishing out to other ‘dodgy’ regulators & organisations connected to the legal profession.

Enquiries into hospitality received & offered by the SLCC began after an insider close to the Commission revealed hospitality & clandestine meetings had taken place between SLCC members & outside organisations which some at the law complaints quango felt should have been made public. A resulting investigation on these tip offs revealed instances such as secret meetings between the SLCC’s Chair Jane Irvine and groups such as the Legal Defence Union at plush locations such as Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel.

One legal observer commented the SLCC’s accusations against journalists appeared to be “suspicious and somewhat vindictive”, given previous FOI requests and publication in the media of information on hospitality at the law complaints quango had forced the SLCC to publish a register of hospitality detailing gifts & other items its board members & officials have received from external organisations.

He said : “What’s the big deal refusing to publish what kind of hospitality the SLCC has offered others when they have already published hospitality they received. Is there something to hide?”

CREDIT CARD EXPENSES UPDATE 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 :

Reacting to media reporting of their Credit Card spending, the Scottish Legal Aid Board have today 20 September, provided further information on how they use credit cards to pay for items.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board said : Whilst the fullest information possible was given ... in a spirit of transparency; with hindsight we should have given you some further description around the information we provided to avoid any misinterpretation. This further description is outlined below :

1. Most references to payments to hotels refer to venue hire for training events (“Roadshows”) for the profession, which might involve several hundred solicitor attendees. Board staff do not usually stay overnight at these venues, so the majority of charges do not refer to any overnight accommodation.

2. Flight purchases will be for one or more members of staff.

3. Credit cards are not provided to individual Board members nor to Board employees to cover their own business travel and subsistence or any other costs.

4. The cards are only used by the Board’s purchasing department for payment over the phone or internet in situations where setting up an invoicing arrangement is not possible or practical at the time - typically for travel, venue hire, or some IT purchases. They are procurement cards, they are not for personal use.

5. Staff do not purchase accommodation or flights themselves.

6. The purchases are for Board business or Board premises only, not any personal purchases.

7. There is a robust internal process for the authorisation of credit card transactions.

8. At all times costs are controlled and purchasing protocols adhered to.

9. Credit cards are a common and convenient form of payment, used by the Board for standard and necessary purchases, as in similar organisations.

Taking into account enquiries made by individuals, solicitors and msps to Diary of Injustice on this article, and noting readers comments, the Scottish Legal Aid Board were asked why their officials should be flying outwith Scotland or taking part in events outwith Scotland or outwith the UK as part of their duties to administer the Scottish Legal Aid Budget to persons applying for legal aid in Scottish cases being heard in Scottish courts.

A SLAB spokesperson indicated a response would be provided soon.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm
A lot of money is being wasted by this mob and its OUR money.

Why are they flying around anyway?I thought they were supposed to be Scottish entities only?

Anonymous said...

Why did the legal aid board send you sideways documents instead of the right way up?Cant they even use a scanner properly?
Are they so intent on playing silly buggers to stop all this info getting out?

Anonymous said...

Great report.

Can we rely on the 'frequent flyers' at SLAB to pay back their expenses or are these all too soon 'forgotten'?

Perhaps your contacts in the Press and Parliament can do some digging now you have lifted the lid in this scandal.

Anonymous said...

There's an entry for the Savoy (presumably the hotel in London)NOT SCOTLAND!

Why are SLAB swanning around London on our money?

Anonymous said...

"officials from the Scottish Legal Aid Board are literally being kept in the air by flights charged up to the taxpayer, while at the other end of the scale, the Crown Office has disclosed it has spent nearly TWO MILLION POUNDS in four years on credit cards"

Jesus how many pencils are the fiscals buying on credit?

Why does legal aid have to fly to work?I thought their office was in the middle of Edinburgh?

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! It seems like people need to write things down and go places! Who'd have thought it?

Seriously though, if you're ever familiar with the term "disclosure" you'd realise that the Crown actually need a shed of stationary to produce material. OK, we hope that they've searched for the cheapest suppliers, but hardly major scandal.

Anonymous said...

Just think of all those people being refused legal aid while this lot fly round the country.

I notice Air France are on their expenses claims.Since when did Air France run domestic routes in Scotland?!

Anonymous said...

What you dont know Mr Cherbi is a member of staff of copfs was to be charged with embezzlement (I dont know if it relates to what you are writing about) but the case was quietly dropped before the newspapers got hold of it.Maybe you can do some more digging and find out and you can also try and find out why two Police Officers had their jobs threatened (one left the force since) because of their required attendance on another celebrity copfs employee who was caught with a young male prostitute.

Anonymous said...

Crown Office excuse "By far the larges use of the cards is for stationery and other office equipment under the relevant contracts."

Half a million on stationery & office equip a year?

It must have been even more during the Lockerbie fit-up of Megrahi!

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought the justice system were wasting millions on credit cards like the councils have been doing.You better get this off to the Telegraph and they can have a look into how the Exchequer's money is being wasted in the Scottish justice system!
The Telegraph did a piece on how the Councils run up credit card bills and the Councils came up with the same lying tripe from the Crown Office & SLAB saying it was necessary to avoid red tape and get good deals HAHAHAHA who would believe it !

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/8542909/Councils-spend-100m-on-taxpayer-funded-credit-cards.html

Councils spend £100m on taxpayer-funded credit cards

Councils have spent tens of millions of pounds on taxpayer-funded credit cards with local authority executives and councillors treating themselves to first-class travel to foreign destinations and stays in five-star hotels, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Despite being ordered to cut spending by almost 30 per cent, town hall chiefs have continued to lavish hundreds of thousands of pounds on dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants, leisure trips and expensive gifts including iPads and video games while slashing jobs and scrapping front-line services.

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has uncovered details of apparently questionable spending decisions by councillors and local government officials, with more than £2 million spent on travel over the last three years, including flights to Thailand, Kenya and Bermuda.

Documents obtained by this newspaper show that the councils also spent £2m on hotel bills, including stays at the famous Four Seasons in New York, the five-star Pan Pacific in Singapore, and the Athens Hilton.

Hospitality bills totalling £2.6m were paid on the cards, including dinners at Claridges, one of Britain’s most expensive hotels, hog roasts and champagne receptions, as well as tens of thousands of pounds spent booking tables at award ceremonies.

A total of another £500,000 was spent on gifts such as Tiffany jewellery, Gucci products and pure silk ties, while online shopping sprees racked up bills of more than £300,000 at Argos and £150,000 at Amazon.

One council even bought llamas on its credit card.

This newspaper has obtained details of credit card spending at 186 councils across Britain using Freedom of Information laws.

Over the past three years, documents show these councils have spent more than £40 million using the taxpayer-funded cards, which suggests total council spending of about £100 million at all local authorities.

All of the councils only agreed to release information disclosing expenditure over £500 – potentially meaning there are tens of millions of pounds in additional spending on lower value items or services.

Last night, Whitehall officials were shocked when shown details of the credit card bills with senior Government sources claiming that another MPs-expenses style scandal may be emerging. It is not clear whether rules or laws have been broken and any public money can be reclaimed.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, charged with overseeing local authorities and cutting waste described the spending as “wild”.

He said: “It appears that for years, some councils have been enjoying the high life paid for by you and me.

“Now that we are forcing councils to release details of their expenditure, the culture of wild overspends and excess which became the norm under Labour, will hopefully become a thing of the past.”

Anonymous said...

Telegraph story continued
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/8542909/Councils-spend-100m-on-taxpayer-funded-credit-cards.html

The documents show that Cornwall Council was responsible for the most excessive spending, with a total credit card bill of almost £9 million including £1,145,160 on hotels alone since 2008.

The council used its cards to fund travel to Goa, India, Bangkok, Thailand and Kyoto, Japan and spent £81,000 on hospitality and restaurant meals.

Council staff refused to explain their expenditure further when contacted by The Daily Telegraph earlier last week.

In contrast, 48 councils did not issue the credit cards while several others only incurred bills running into thousands of pounds.

The rules on the cards are not clear with each council thought to have drawn up its own guidelines. Whitehall officials are understood to be increasingly concerned that there was little oversight on the expenditure with few checks made on the use of taxpayers’ money.

The revelations are likely to spark public fury at a time when councils are axing more than 170,000 jobs, closing libraries and cutting spending on care for the elderly. Council tax has more than doubled over the past decade as local authorities have insisted they are cash-strapped.

However, the documents show that officials used the council cards to treat themselves to iPads, Macbooks and iPhones, with more than £100,000 spent on Apple products alone.

Thousands more went on shopping sprees at John Lewis, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer.

The cards were used to fund leisure activities totalling more than £600,000 including theatre trips, paint-balling excursions and visits to theme parks such as Alton Towers and Flamingoland.

Tens of thousands of pounds were spent across several councils on games consoles including Nintendo Wiis and Xboxes as well as video games such as Guitar Hero.

The documents also disclose how the credit cards were used to buy a bizarre array of miscellaneous items including beer mats, leather passport covers, dog food, breast examination kits, snow machines and jacket potato ovens.

Lewisham Council in south London paid £6,000 to Swedish Body Armour, a Scandinavian company that sells protective clothing including bomb-proof trousers and stab vests.

Horsham Council in West Sussex spent £1150 on two llamas to graze on communal land along with a small flock of sheep. They also spent £575 on live fish for a council pond.

Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland spent more than £3,500 on cheerleading pom poms and more than £4,000 on professional hair and beauty products for a “hairdressing classroom” at a local school.

East Lothian Council, near Edinburgh, spent thousands of pounds on mountain biking accessories, which it was unable to explain, and wetsuits as well as a £500 payment for “beekeeping”.

Essex Council spent around £4,000 on “birds for a pet barn”, a chicken run and an “incubator for the new hatchery” at Marsh Farm Country Park in 2010 and 2011.

Despite being ordered by Mr Pickles to publish all spending over £500 by January, 252 of the councils contacted claimed to be unable to disclose their credit card bills when contacted by The Daily Telegraph.

The 186 councils that replied were unable to account for more than £20,000 that had been spent on their cards, where receipts were not provided.

Cllr David Sparks, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “The use by councils of purchase cards for legitimate purposes is entirely appropriate and transparent. It helps reduce red tape by removing the need to invoice businesses and helps the cash-flow of regular suppliers who receive payment more promptly.

“Councils are the most transparent part of the public sector, publishing details of all spending in excess of £500. We would like to see that matched in all central government departments which, with a few exceptions, currently only publish spending in excess of £25,000.”

Anonymous said...

£160million on legal aid and £100million for the Crown Office is a waste of 1/4 billion if you ask me

both of them are geared up to deny us justice not give us justice

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

£160million on legal aid and £100million for the Crown Office is a waste of 1/4 billion if you ask me

both of them are geared up to deny us justice not give us justice

15 September 2011 16:39

SPOT ON!!!

Anonymous said...

Whats up with Agnew not wanting to let out what the SLCC have been getting up to in hospitality?
Have they been offering boxes of chocolates to serial crooks?

Anonymous said...

I doubt the Crown Office spend 1/2 million on stationery a year.This is why they couldnt give you a detailed breakdown as the Legal Aid Board did.

They couldnt come up with a believable list of items charged for - very suspicious,even the shamed SLCC provided the info

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! It seems like people need to write things down and go places! Who'd have thought it?

Seriously though, if you're ever familiar with the term "disclosure" you'd realise that the Crown actually need a shed of stationary to produce material. OK, we hope that they've searched for the cheapest suppliers, but hardly major scandal.

15 September 2011 13:12

Oh dear.A Crown Office supporter.What type of person defends the institutionally racist institutionally corrupt Crown Office?!

Dear oh dear.Are you afraid Peter's report may give Mr Swinney some ideas about cutting the credit card budgets of these wasters in the justice sector?

Good work Peter keep exposing these hoodlums in the legal establishment.Its about time we stopped throwing public money at people who have never been able to provide anyone in this country with justice when its needed!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Councils have been throwing our money away on credit cards too!

How come the Crown Office & lawyers keep getting an easy ride in the press from all these expenses exposes?

Its getting very suspicious!

Anonymous said...

How many excuses do you think the Crown Office wrote down for this mess
http://www.heraldscotland.com/crown-office-in-the-dock-after-sinclair-cleared-1.864994

Scotland's official prosecutors were last night facing accusations of deep incompetence after the collapse of the World's End trial resulted in the acquittal of a serial sex killer.

Scotland's official prosecutors were last night facing accusations of deep incompetence after the collapse of the World's End trial resulted in the acquittal of a serial sex killer.

Angus Sinclair, 62, who has already been convicted of two killings and a string of serious indecent offences, was yesterday cleared of murdering Helen Scott and Christine Eadie, both 17, after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence against him.

But as politicians lined up to question the Crown Office's handling of the World's End case, particularly its decisions to lead so little available evidence, there were also allegations from senior police figures in Strathclyde that a tactical decision meant four families in Glasgow had also been denied full justice.

and THIS

Concern about the Crown's tactics was heightened by the mysterious disappearance yesterday morning of the man presenting the case against Sinclair.

Advocate-depute Alan Mackay was not in court when Lord Clarke threw out the charges, upholding a defence motion after just eight days of evidence in a case scheduled to last six weeks.

HAHA the Crown Office lawyer ran away from the court rather than face the judge HAHA

Is this what is meant by "writing things down" and "going places" ? LOL!

Anonymous said...

Simply put we are in a recession therefore these people & organisations should not be allowed to run up millions of pounds more on taxpayers just for a few bloody notepads & airline tickets.

Anonymous said...

These people at Crown Office write to victims of crime telling them noting will happen to the monsters who commit crimes.This is where they get their millions from for the writing and believe me they enjoy sending out letters.They are masters of deception and incompetence just to keep their jobs with a big salary.

Anonymous said...

Again why are the SLCC flying when their business is supposed to be investigating complaints about the Scottish legal profession?
Have these people not been told we are in a recession?

Anonymous said...

The Audit Scotland report on Criminal justice in Scotland seems to back up the notion the Crown Office et all are inefficient and too expensive to say the least.
http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/central/2011/nr_110906_justice_overview.pdf

£56m wasted in Scottish court system – Audit Scotland, probably a lot of it by the Crown Office itself.

Anonymous said...

@13:12

You mean like writing up sectarian & racist jokes in emails & little post-its to each other while their boss Mulholland drones on about prosecuting hate crime offences when there's no reasonable chance of conviction?

Fuck if people knew what really goes on in the criminal justice system MacAskill would be forced to shut down the Chambers Street gang for good.And about bloody time too.

Anonymous said...

Good posting & good comments.

Had not realised a copfs had been caught with a rent boy,will check that one out as I'm sure Peter will too.

Dont forget Fiscal Depute Stuart MacFarlane was arrested along with a [female] prostitute in 2005 and they dropped the charges against him.PF's are untouchable so if they've been fiddling the books at the Crown Office I wouldnt expect much to be done about it.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for your comments & emails on this article.

Regretfully some comments have not been published due to their strength or what appear to be double comments.

It is of course important that taxpayers money is spent wisely in the legal system, however as another comment this evening has already stated, a recent report into the Criminal Justice system in Scotland shows it to be lacking in sound financial management, and much of the responsibility for that must rest with the Crown Office who are responsible for prosecutions of criminal offences in Scotland.

Saving the taxpayer a few million pounds is what this article is about, and if John Swinney does get "some ideas about cutting the credit card budgets of these wasters in the justice sector" as suggested in a comment at 15 September 2011 17:30, I'm sure other sectors of public life, including patients waiting for medical treatment will be more grateful for the money being spent on them instead of, as suggested in later comments, the money going on what appear to be Crown Office office staff writing up memos to themselves not to prosecute their colleagues for criminal offences ...

Anonymous said...

MacFarlane was arrested after he had come out of Strathclyde Police HQ
Herald
http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/crown-lawyer-and-prostitute-arrested-1.38380

Crown lawyer and prostitute arrested

WILLIAM TINNING

3 Nov 2005

A SENIOR prosecutor has been arrested over an alleged sex act with a prostitute, it was reported last night.

Stuart MacFarlane, 37, a principal procurator-fiscal depute in Glasgow, was arrested in the early hours of Saturday in the city's red light district as the vice girl allegedly performed a sex act on him.

It is understood Mr MacFarlane, a father-of-two, had attended a function a short time earlier at the Pitt Street headquarters of Strathclyde Police in Glasgow.

Last night, Strathclyde police said: "We can confirm that a 37-year-old man and a 27-yearold woman were arrested at about 1.05am on Saturday in Glasgow city centre.

"Both are the subject of a report to the procurator-fiscal in connection with alleged indecencies."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "A report was submitted to the procurator-fiscal at Glasgow on Monday in relation to an incident involving a member of staff.

"In accordance with clearly established procedure the report will be considered by Crown counsel at the Crown Office in Edinburgh in order to ensure absolute impartiality and independence.

"We do not comment on personnel issues as these are clearly confidential. However, the member of staff in question is not presently at work."

Earlier this week, the Scottish Executive announced a new crackdown on prostitution, with police given the power to charge kerb crawlers.

Anonymous said...

If the SNP have any real intention of cleaning up the mess of Scotland's criminal justice system one of the first things they should do is axe this discredited Crown Office.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

£160million on legal aid and £100million for the Crown Office is a waste of 1/4 billion if you ask me

both of them are geared up to deny us justice not give us justice

15 September 2011 16:39

EXACTLY

Anonymous said...

http://www.slab.org.uk/documents/annualreview20102011newsreleaseFINALWEB.pdf

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

http://www.slab.org.uk/documents/annualreview20102011newsreleaseFINALWEB.pdf
16 September 2011 15:26

And your point is?

I dont see any mention in their report of all this flying around their staff are doing at our expense.

Why exactly is the Scottish Legal Aid Board flying all round the planet when they should be dealing with legal aid claims in Scotland?

Can anyone other than Peter actually give an honest answer to this?

Anonymous said...

@ Update (today)

Well I tell you Peter this just gets worse!

SLAB You have GOT to be kidding us.

Where are all these flights going to for starters and why are you flying when you are supposed to be working in Scotland only? and all these roadshows are in Scotland only or what?

Last time I checked the posties in my town dont fly down to London or Paris to see how mail collecting is done there or hold roadshows rallies or pantos on how to pick up the mail,they do their job in Scotland because this is where they are supposed to be working.

So back to the question everyone's been asking.Why are the Scottish Legal Aid Board flying around the country when they are supposed to be handing out or policing (haha bad word these days) legal aid in Scotland and while you lot are at it why are all those lawyers getting away with stealing legal aid while the Law Society covers up for them?

Anonymous said...

If your pal Mr Swinney is serious about saving us 260million a year he will scrap the Crown Office & SLAB and the SLCC while he's at it and put the whole thing off on you.Bloody good idea me thinks the country could do with more crooks behind bars for less (this lot at the CO never get convictions anyway or drop the cases half way through) and those legal eagles at SLAB can do with having their flight wings clipped big time!We know we dont need the SLCC because we have you so that saves their millions too!

Carry on Peter you are doing a fine job much better than the papers and looking like you are going to save us money not burn it on bloody lawyers again!

Anonymous said...

Get them to tell you what happens to all the air miles they are clocking up with those flights and any other perks!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear sounds like some jobs may be on the line shortly!

Anonymous said...

You just need to read the papers one day to see this is 260 million not well spent.

The criminals they bother to catch do half their sentences at most while the real crooks and the corrupt in high places are never touched.How about all those cases which fall apart when the Crown Office or cops screw up?Must be thousands of those cases a year the charges prosecution and legal aid all paid for by us this is a huge racket keeping too many people in jobs.

Now they are sweating because its out in the open and money is going to have to be saved because this feast on taxpayers CANNOT GO ON FOREVER THANKS TO THE BANKERS RUINING THE COUNTRY

Anonymous said...

Legal Aid is not about giving people access to justice its nothing more than a subsidy to keep lawyers in business.

Scrap it now and save the country a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter you got this out before they got their Annual Report out saying how great they are which they damn well are not.
I see you experienced yourself how difficult it is to get legal aid and no doubt there was a lot of bias and prejudice against you when Douglas Mill sent that awful letter stopping your legal aid.

Did you know Margaret Scanlan was also on the Legal Aid Board.With all that stuff in the newspapers about how she feels about robbed clients of crooked lawyers the mind boggles what went on at SLAB during her time there.

I'll be happy to see the SNP scrap the Scottish Legal Aid Board when the time comes hopefully sooner than later!

Anonymous said...

Legal Aid is nothing less than a money making racket for lawyers not all this BS about "giving people access to justice" that's just RUBBISH its about putting money into the pockets of lawyers and now we see the true costs of lining the pockets of the legal profession.A BLOODY DISGRACE.

Anonymous said...

You must have upset slab with this one because they've had a Dec10 release on their front page for weeks about lowering the costs of the board.This must have made a few people think about the cost of running that overstuffed quango.

Good work Peter.