Monday, December 05, 2011

£10 compensation for victims of crooked lawyers while Scottish Legal Complaints Commission spend more than £1/4 MILLION on law firms & ‘legal advice’

SLCC montageFOI battle reveals LOADSAMONEY for law firms at the SLCC while little or nothing has been paid to clients ripped off by crooked lawyers. FIGURES DISCLOSED after a Freedom of Information battle with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) over requests to find out how much the SLCC has paid for hospitality, have revealed the anti-client law complaints quango which claims to ‘independently’ regulate Scotland’s legal services market has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on consultants & on law firms, one of which is linked to one of its own Board members. In one year alone, 2010-2011 the legal costs of the SLCC rocketed to a staggering £215,871 on legal advice from Edinburgh law firms Anderson Strathern (£69,675), and Shepherd & Wedderburn (£146,196), linked to one of the SLCC’s own Board members, David Smith, (husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith), who retired from Shepherd & Wedderburn in 2008 to join the SLCC’s Board on a daily renumeration package of £212 A DAY plus other expenses.

However, while the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is apparently keen to throw a significant proportion of its annual income on ‘legal advice’ to battle appeals by the legal profession against its remit to investigate crooked lawyers, the SLCC’s Chief Executive, Rosemary Agnew has angrily REFUSED to disclose any figures on how much money the SLCC has awarded victims of crooked solicitors who have had their finances completely WIPED OUT by corrupt lawyers brought to the attention of the SLCC.

Diary of Injustice has reported on the battle to force the SLCC to release figures on compensation paid to clients ruined by their lawyers in an earlier article here : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission refuse to publish details of ‘loose change’ client compensation as board & staff live it up on YOUR millions and in that report, it was revealed one of the paltry awards of compensation handed out to one client whose life suffered as a result of their solicitor’s actions was a shocking measly £10.

In response to Freedom of Information requests seeking information on the true levels of compensation paid out to clients of rogue solicitors, the SLCC refused to disclose ANY details of the amounts of funds which have been awarded to consumers who made complaints to the regulator about their solicitors, arguing they were not required to disclose the information as it was going to be published within twelve weeks of the Freedom of Information request being made, which was in mid July. The SLCC’s Chief Executive, Rosemary Agnew also branded the requests “vexatious” in an attempt to thwart any release of the sensitive figures, rumoured to be PENNIES compared to the scale of the financial damage done to clients by their legal representatives who turned out to be corrupt.

Scotland’s Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion was asked to look at the SLCC’s refusal to hand over the information. Mr Dunion’s decision stated : Following an investigation, during which the SLCC withdrew its reliance upon section 14(1), the Commissioner found that the SLCC had failed to deal with Mr Cherbi's requests for information in accordance with Part 1 of FOISA, on the basis that Mr Cherbi's requests were not vexatious in terms of section 14(1). The full decision by Mr Dunion can be read here Decision 219/2011, however as the second week of December 2011 approaches, no annual report has been released by the SLCC and neither has any information on how much money it has handed out to people who have had their lives all but ruined by their lawyers after legal cases turned sour.

The only public reference the SLCC has made to compensation paid out to clients of rogue solicitors came in a note in its heavily censored October Board meeting, where the minute of the meeting stated : There was some debate around the levels of compensation recommended at Investigation stage and the levels of compensation awarded at Determination stage. It was agreed that the Investigations Manager would provide a report on compensation/abatement recommended and rewarded. The report should include any comments from the Practitioner and Complainer as to why they are not accepting proposed settlements. The target date of this report being completed is laughably listed in the October board minutes as February 2012.

A source close to the SLCC has admitted to Diary of Injustice the issue of compensation paid to clients is only now being discussed because it has been raised in Freedom of Information requests & investigations. However while it remains the SLCC has steadfastly REFUSED to release any figures on how much compensation it has handed out to clients who fell victim to corrupt solicitors, the battle over the FOI requests did force the early publication of the vast expenditures of the SLCC in other areas such as on consultants, fees for legal advice and hospitality, as part of the requirements of the much welcomed Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, which was introduced on 28 May 2009 by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and voted into law by msps at the Scottish Parliament last year.

John SwinneyJohn Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth introduced a new law bringing some much needed transparency to public bodies who are seemingly on the take. The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 implements wide-ranging reforms to the public bodies landscape in Scotland. It abolishes a number of bodies which are no longer necessary; provides order-making powers which enable Scottish Ministers to bring forward further proposals to improve public function and remove or reduce burdens; imposes new duties of openness and transparency on the Scottish Government and public bodies; establishes Creative Scotland as the new single national body for the arts, culture and creative industries; reforms and streamlines the bodies responsible for health, social work and social care scrutiny; and puts in place improvements to the arrangements for scrutiny and complaints handling.

Details of the SLCC’s expenditure to comply with the new law brought in by the Scottish Government are listed below, published ONLY AFTER Freedom of Information requests were made for the information this year by this journalist : CLIENT MONEY FUNDS LUXURIES, PR, CONSULTANTS & LEGAL ADVICE FOR SCOTLAND’S WHITE ELEPHANT LAW REGULATOR THE SCOTTISH LEGAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION :

psra disclosure 2010-11_Page1Annual Expenditure 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 disclosed under the Public Services Reform (Scotland ) Act Public Relations CAB Exhibition Costs £836, SCVO Exhibition Costs £1,020, Meltwater News UK Media Monitoring Service £9,392, Newspaper Licensing Agency Media Monitoring Service £315, McCallum Media Monitoring Media Monitoring Service £719, George Nicol Graphics Annual Report £8,718, Minuteman Press Annual Report £601, Holyrood Communications Advertising £969, Devlin Photography Photography £319, Yell Advertising £9,602 ,Total £32,491 Overseas Travel NIL Hospitality and Entertainment Marks and Spencer Catering for Meetings and Events £969, One World Shop Supply of Fairtrade Tea/Coffee £742, Other Local Suppliers Catering for Meetings and Events etc £1,759, Total £3,470 External Consultancy Wildcat One HR Consultancy £16,816, CA Consulting Production of Employee Handbook £15,677, Scott Moncrieff Internal Audit Services £12,516, Audit Scotland External Audit Fees £13,034, RSM Tenon VAT Advice £9,400, Julie Murphy Accountancy Service £5,103, Insight Training Database Development £3,868, University of Manchester Legal Research £5,464, Progressive Partnership Legal Research £5,155, Survey Monkey Survey Costs £200, Total £87,233 Payments in excess of £25,000 Threadneedle Property Unit Trust Rent and Service Charges (paid quarterly) £248,214, Shepherd and Wedderburn Legal Advice June 2011 (also included below) £25,277 Suppliers paid in excess of £25,000 City of Edinburgh Council Business Rates (paid monthly) £55,476, Scottish Government SCOTS Lite IT Support and Maintenance (paid quarterly) £58,453, Hays Specialist Recruitment Recruitment Costs 2010/11 £26,535, Anderson Strathern Various Expert Advice £69,675, Shepherd and Wedderburn Various Expert Advice £146,196.

It should be noted the SLCC’s annual accounts of 2010 reported the SLCC claimed to have spent £57K in 2009 and £87K in 2010 on legal fees so adding in the latest figures available shows the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has spent at least £359,871 on lawyers, and those figures do not include its formation year of 2008 where the SCLC received TWO MILLION POUNDS of taxpayers money to establish itself as Scotland’s worst regulator of legal services ever, even perhaps worse than the Law Society of Scotland, but then again, as many have now found out, the SLCC is simply the Law Society of Scotland in all but name.

So, the question remains, how much compensation has been paid out by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to clients who have been financially ruined by their lawyers and what do those clients feel about what they received in return for what their lawyers did to them?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet again the SLCC is exposed as a front company for the Law Society of Scotland.

Just how much of this are people who have been ruined by their lawyers prepared to take?

Anyone reading this comment :Would you take a tenner for being ruined by a lawyer?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to John Swinney and his Public Services Reform Act (yawn) it cant be much good if it took your foi to force the SLCC to finally publsh details supposedly required in the 2010 act!
This is 2011!

Anonymous said...

So, the question remains, how much compensation has been paid out by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to clients who have been financially ruined by their lawyers and what do those clients feel about what they received in return for what their lawyers did to them?

NOW I WOULD LOVE TO SEE SOME RESPONSES TO THE SLCC ABOUT THIS!

Anonymous said...

hehe Peter these people must hate your guts for exposing all their expenses and money going to their pals!

Anonymous said...

It appears the Law Society's complaints about the complaints levy are just a diversion from the fact the money collected to run the SLCC is going back to the legal profession through legal fees etc

Anonymous said...

The SLCC is nothing short of a trap for victims of crooked lawyers to fall into.About time it was scrapped and made to pay back the £2 million to taxpayers which is a shocking use of public funds on a bunch of greedy lawyers!

Anonymous said...

How can it be a law firm gets this kind of work from the SLCC when one of the board members retired from the same law firm to join it?

Is this not conflict of interest at least?

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter missing from the report are the toilet seats at sixty-thousand pounds each and paper clips at eighty-thousand a box. I would imagine printer ink and A4 paper would be their highest expense when you consider the pages of pish they produce when robustly avoiding investigating clients complaints.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Mr Swinney would have to say about this - no doubt he would tow the party line and stay quiet.

Some 'democracy' we have in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Jane Irvine and the SLCC must have a lot to hide if they dont want to tell you how much they paid out to all these poor people who have their lives ruined by their lawyers

Anonymous said...

So if a lawyer ruins your life what are the options?Do we have to go to this SLCC and let them f*ck our lives up even more by allowing the lawyer to get away with it?
WAKE UP PEOPLE AND SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL!!!

Anonymous said...

Clearly you are onto something because that decision from Dunion tells its own story.Anyway why didnt he force the SLCC to publish the info?

Anonymous said...

Threadneedle Property Unit Trust Rent and Service Charges (paid quarterly) £248,214

Do I read this right the SLCC are paying £248,214 a quarter in rent & service charges ??

Why have such expensive offices if the SLCC has only backed 1 complaint and paid out a few £10 notes to complainers?

Anonymous said...

Swinney may have created a new law but it doesnt seem to be working when the SLCC hide the info everyone wants to know ie how much money people end up getting after their lives have been ruined by some bloody lawyer who gloats with all his pals about how he gets away with it etc

Its a bit like Salmond blubbering away on the tv tonight about Human Rights in China.You could just see the pound signs in his eyes and he didnt give a sh*t about Human Rights just as he doesnt give a Sh*t about Human Rights in Scotland

Anonymous said...

UNBELIEVABLE!

Anonymous said...

This is theft. Where are the Police?

LAW SOCIETY FROM HELL said...

Rick Kordowski said: “Up until recently it was perceived by the public that the Law Society were there to protect us all from rogue solicitors. (CORRECT RICK THEY ARE CALCULATING RUTHLESS RIFF RAF, COVER UP SPECIALISTS) This is clearly not the case and the penny has now dropped. “There will be dozens more [sites] popping (GREAT NEWS RICK AS WE PREDICTED) up in reaction to Mr Justice Tugendhat’s injunctions against me.” Meanwhile, Tugendhat J has not yet handed down a written judgment following his verbal judgment last week.

THE LAW SOCIETY ARE FULL OF LIKE MINDED INDIVIDUALS WHO CANNOT BEAR PUBLIC SCRUTINY OF THEIR MEMBERSHIP. THE TRUTH IS THE LAW SOCIETY ARE SOLICITORS FROM HELL. TRUST NO MENDACIOUS LAWYER.

Anonymous said...

Is it just my imagination but every time I see this spooky picture of the Legal Ombudsman/woman Jane Irvine it makes me think of a cross between Frank Spencer and Russ Abbott and think she is going to start speaking...

Scottish Lawyers are gggreat. They never do anything wrong that I have seen...

My god, Scotland must have a small talent pool....or is that precisely the point

Anonymous said...

Can these people on the slcc be surcharged for this enormous waste of money?

It sounds just as bad as the Edinburgh trams project!

Anonymous said...

The Law Society of Scotland is the professional governing body for Scottish solicitors, based in Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. The legislative responsibilities of the Society are set out in the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980, specifying the Society's duty to promote both the interests of the Solicitors' profession in Scotland and also protect the interests of the public (THEY DRIVE CLIENTS TO SUICIDE) in relation to the profession. This system of legal self-regulation means that when a misconduct complaint is levelled against a Scottish lawyer, it is one of his fellows who investigates. (CRIMINAL COVER UPS ARE THE RESULT) SACL contend that such a system is open to abuse,(EXACTLY) as the legal profession is a village where the majority of practitioners are closely connected in one way or another. (A BROTHERHOOD LIKE THE HELLS ANGELS, THEY DO NOT GO AGAINST EACH OTHER) But the tentacles of the Law Society reach much further than just the perversion of professional justice. (THE ARE PROTECTED BY SALMOND'S SNP) They extend to bodies such as the Scottish Solicitors Guarantee Fund which purports to compensate citizens who suffer pecuniary loss as a result of a solicitor's dishonesty. The Law Society is also staffed by some of the most crooked lawyers in Scotland - who blatantly ignore clearly-defined legal principles to protect fellow lawyers from the consequences of serious professional misconduct. The Law Society also wields massive influence over both parliaments,(YOU ELECT A POLITICIAN AND THE BASTARD WORKS TO PROTECT ROGUE LAWYERS) the media and does everything in its power to make Scots Law unduly complex - hence why there are thousands more lawyers today than there were 30 years ago. SACL feel that no country and people can function properly, let alone realise its potential, unless it has an ethical Legal Justice System at its heart. A complete end to legal self-regulation would be a great starting point...

Anonymous said...

Peter,

I notice in your fantastic article, that Rosemary Agnew, the Chief Executive of the SLCC getting paid C. £75,000 of the Queen's pounds, whilst pretending to act impartially for Scotland's people, has made a huge mistake that will surely lead to her sacking forthwith?

She has sought to defame the good character of one of Scotland's Sons by reporting you to the Information Commissioner for being Vexatious.

Not only was this outragous slur rebutted outright but you would be perfectly within your rights to pursue her for many thousands of pounds and her employer for contributory negligence also for many thousands of pounds were we living in a free society where the Legal System is not stitched-up by the Law Society of Scotland, which precludes you from doing this.

Further, describing you as vexatious has a Scots Law connotation (and I am sure she will have spent many thousands of pounds of the public's money lining scottish lawyers pockets to establish this, before cat-calling you this), which could have led to deleterious legal sanctions against you. Even although she is only following the Law Society of Scotland's Directives, this is conduct unbefitting anyone in such an organisation and you should ask for her resignation (notwithstanding that she should already have resigned out of embarrassment)

Anonymous said...

If criminals in the street could steal and other criminals investigated the thefts we would have the same set up lawyers have today.

These lawyers are simply allowed to steal and clients are harassed when they complain. It is legal theft, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Who the HELL does Rosemary Agnew think she represents, stuck deep inside her bunker, stuffing her hamster chowsers with Marks and Spencers Finest sandwiches and nervously gulping down slurps of java. With the all the freebies wheeling through her head it is a wonder she has time to read the blog.

So there she is reading through Peter's blog, cursing that most elequent of Scotland's Sons and preying the phone doesn't ring from Castle GreySkull, telling her that there is another 'dangerous case' about to come through the system that she has to wave her magic wand upon and sprinkle fairy dust upon, so that when it's Booted-oot with the words, 'totally without merit' again and again and again and again and again and..you get the picture, that us plebs will breathe in the fairy dust and will not even notice......~~


What-a-load-of BULLSHIT

That's what they bought the monkey for (to see if we would notice- on the explanation that if the monkey notices then we would notice too!)

C'mon, don't believe me? Look at the article again under heading External Consultants. (Told You!)

Anonymous said...

Mr Swinney, you have a hold of the reins. You will have no objections from the electorate.

Pull the plug on this illegal entity and bring them to their knees.

Cold hard Cash is the only thing that can control these mongrels.

The previous Government were duped by the Law Society.

Ask for the £2Million of public money back immediately. If they do not have it in cash, take their offices as asset in lieu and make them beholding to you.

Make Scottish Lawyers pay into SLCC. Make every case appearing before the SLCC so costly that they clean up there lazy act and lets get rid of the gravy dribbling corrupt mob at the Law Society.

The only difference between them and Al Capone and the Moonshine gangs of prohibition USA is that the Law Society are getting away with murder (or attempted murder in Cummings case)

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 6 December 2011 23:03

I imagine the staff at the SLCC including Ms Agnew are into vexation in a big way ... after all they seem to annoy consumers and even some members of the legal profession itself much more than I could ever hope to achieve.

I doubt Ms Agnew will be sacked for anything ... as we saw with Ms Masterman's 'resignation' on grounds of 'ill health' from the SLCC, lawyers are usually called in to negotiate a large and secret pay-off which in turn is then backed by the Scottish Government ...

Suffice to say the SLCC is itself a vexatious entity, thoroughly anti consumer and of little use to anyone other than a crooked lawyer ... of which there are many.

No wonder the Law Society of Scotland love the idea of the SLCC so much ...

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 6 December 2011 21:50

Good point about the SLCC's expensive offices. For all the use they are to consumers, the SLCC could make do with a tent or a caravan somewhere along the M8.

# Anonymous @ 6 December 2011 22:11

Actually, Mr Salmond is proving to be one of my major assets recently ... as his trips abroad often generate enquiries from companies & officials over which law firms & businesses are honest enough to deal with in Scotland.The wool is not pulled over the eyes so easily in 2011 and bluster doesn't work on the international circuit.

For instance, Mr Salmond's trip to the Gulf States recently and some well placed enquiries drew in all kinds of intel for future articles ...

Anonymous said...

Grasping Michael Karus, 50 — who was jailed for embezzling £400,000 — claims his mother owes him cash from the sale of a home.

But lawyers for Mary Karus, who is believed to be in her late 70s and is suffering from dementia, said her share of the £725,000 proceeds is her retirement fund.

Karus alleges that his parents agreed to having joint title deeds with him for the home in Edinburgh to minimise tax. But the lawyer claims he spent £200,000 upgrading it and paid the £1,900-a-month mortgage.

His mum's solicitor said she "deliberately retained a proprietorial interest" as her son was "not trusted in relation to financial matters".

The Court of Session heard how the pad's mortgage defaulted when Karus was jailed in October 2009 for embezzling £413,000 while acting as an executor of an 89-year-old woman's estate.

It was sold for £725,246 last July, leaving £578,781 in cash to be split between mother and son as joint title holders. David Wilson, from Warners solicitors, which is representing Mrs Karus, said she was "quite unwell" and would not be commenting on the case, which was continued.

Karus is suing his sister Anielka McElvogue, 52, over ownership of the property empire he handed over to her in 2004 when he was banned from acting as a company director.

Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/3911299/Crook-lawyer-sues-sick-mum-for-350k.html#ixzz1foK1kSb3

Anonymous said...

Good to know the FM is of some use and equally good to know the countries he visits doesn't take his line on Scots law firms as gospel!

Imagine all that money being spent by the ScotGov on promoting lawyers abroad while their targets turn around and search online to find out how bad Scots lawyers really are!

What a great thing the internet really is!

Anonymous said...

Why does the SLCC need to fork out nearly £1Million in Legal Fees for advice?

They have got ex judges and former high ranking Scottish lawyers on the Board of Directors being paid handsomely for their professional expertise.

Either they are competent or they are not?

The real reason for outsourcing legal advice, is because the SLCC is a completely unlawful organisation and by outsourcing all of their legal advice for contentious decisions (which appears to have been almost every single one), when the police are finally brought in to investigate, the SLCC's thinking is that it will be difficult to identify who to apportion blame to.

WRONG.

It is always the Chief Executive who carries the ultimate responsibility.

Arrest that woman Mr Policeman.

Anonymous said...

Scotland must be the MOST CORRUPT COUNTRY ON THE PLANET per head of population?

Robin Hodess

Anonymous said...

Why are our Police doing nothing about this?

The SLCC are clearly OUT OF CONTROL, at the Law Society's beck and call.

I thought the Police were supposed to be independent of the State?

This goes way beyond white-collar crime.

This is institutional anarchy!

Anonymous said...

Peter,

With the revelations over recent weeks on your website now thankfully raising awareness of the SLCC to society. Since there will be an ineveitable time delay with other information advice agencies (who are not so well informed) like for instance the CAB in being able to warn members of society, does it not place them in a legally awkward position?

For instance, A Scottish lawyer steals from his unsuspecting Client. That Client goes to the CAB to ask for advice and they still mistakenly refer him to the SLCC!

Well, based on factual evidence, the CAB would be doing this Client a dis-service by potentially further damaging their health and wealth, which could lead to the unhappy Client taking Court action against the CAB for damages for sending them to a body (SLCC) that they should have known (from the evidence available) that is counterproductive if not harmful, that is the Law Society of Scotland in disguise?

It would be interesting to see if they would change their advice policy on this subject, as their Insurers must have already flagged this up nervously already due to the increasing risk, which could shut the organisation down!!

Anonymous said...

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In addition, Drummond Miller has one of the largest and most experienced litigation teams in Scotland. We are proud to have 3 Law Society of Scotland Accredited Specialists - Miranda Becher in Personal Injury Law, Jacqueline Stroud in Family Law; and Liesa Spiller in Clinical Negligence.

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Do not bother they are insured by the same company as your employer Royal Sun Alliance.

Anonymous said...

Drummond Miller are specialist personal injury lawyers, insured through the Law Society Master Policy) We help thousands of people, from all over the United Kingdom, to win compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses caused by their accident.
==================================
What do their medical specialists,(you will need medical reports) their lawyers and your employer have in common.

Royal Sun Alliance. They pay into the insurers you could be claiming damages from. Ask them if they are insured by the same company as your employer before they represent you.

If your injury is like RSI you can feel it but not see it. Check out the potential conflict of interest first. Your GP will be insured by Royal Sun Alliance too. Beware.

Anonymous said...

Cameron qualified in 1977 and was Head of Litigation at his previous firm before joining Drummond Miller as a Consultant in May 2011. He specialises in Personal Injury law (with a particular specialisation in medical negligence), human rights and education law. He is one of Scotland's best known solicitors, dealing with many high profile cases including the first Court action in Scotland for annulment of an arranged marriage, the first successful claim for compensation under Scots Law under the Human Rights Act for a client who was unlawfully imprisoned. Other cases include acting for over 1000 clients where children were abused in various children's homes and orphanages, most receiving Criminal Injuries compensation. He continues to lead the way in Scotland for many different "class actions".
================================
At Ross Harper he has represented people who were claiming damages for occupational injury but he is insured by Royal Sun Alliance, just like his clients employers. I am not saying he is corrupt only that he pays into the same insurance company you will be claiming damages from. A serious conflict of interest Cameron.