Friday, December 30, 2011

SLCC board members depart, taking £1/2million for 3 years of anti-consumer chaos, a pocketful of upheld complaints & no prosecutions of dodgy lawyers

SLCC DoorOriginal SLCC board members exit after a disastrous 3 years of complaints handling & not one single prosecution of a crooked lawyer. AFTER raking in over HALF A MILLION POUNDS in expenses claims & remuneration, the seven original remaining board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) comprising two former senior Police Officers, a clutch of lawyers, and quangocrats who were personally appointed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in early 2008 to front what quickly became an anti-client law complaints quango made more famous for booze fuelled anti-consumer rants than prosecuting crooked lawyers, will finally depart their lucrative £212 a day plus expenses appointments tomorrow on the expiry of their controversial term of office, leaving behind little or no evidence of improvement of consumer protection against crooked Scottish lawyers in the past three years.

The departure of former Lothian & Borders Chief Supt Douglas Watson, Dr Linda Pollock BSc, RGN, RMN, Dist Nursing, Diploma (Clinical Nursing), PhD, MBA, ex Deputy Chief Constable Tayside Police Ian Gordon OBE, QPM, LL.B (Hons), Law Professor Alan Paterson OBE, FRSE, David Smith (retired lawyer & husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith), divorce lawyer Margaret Scanlan OBE & retired lawyer David Chaplin leaves a bitter legacy of feuds with the media, cover-ups against Freedom of Information laws, arguments over the SLCC’s mishandling of complaints against the Scottish legal profession and little evidence of any success against crooked lawyers in the past three years, all in stark comparison to the progress of the Legal Ombudsman for England & Wales (LeO) which has seemingly powered ahead on complaints cases, even laying plans to name & shame solicitors & law firms who abuse their clients. No such moves have been made by the SLCC who bitterly refuse to name & shame rogue Scottish lawyers.

During the term of the now departing board members, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has since 2007, raked in an average of £2.5 million a year from the legal profession in complaints levies (funded by hikes in solicitors fees taken from clients), and a whopping £2 million of taxpayers money from the Scottish Government.

However, the dreadful reality of the worst piece of theatre in Scots regulation is that despite the huge intake of money & effort, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has in the past three years, fully upheld only a handful of complaints against solicitors & law firms and has paid out staggeringly small amounts of compensation to victims of ‘crooked lawyers’ compared with how much consumers have lost to their legal representatives. In one case, a client of a rogue lawyer received a meagre £10 compensation award after falling victim to shoddy legal work. The SLCC also blew more than 1/4 million on legal fees to law firms, some of which are linked to its own board members, as reported by Diary of Injustice here : £10 compensation for victims of crooked lawyers while Scottish Legal Complaints Commission spend more than £1/4 MILLION on law firms & ‘legal advice’

To add to the regulation nightmare facing consumers of legal services in Scotland,, not one crooked lawyer has yet been prosecuted on the basis of any work carried out by the SLCC in the entire three years, a fact which even drew criticism from the Chairman of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal as reported HERE.

The SLCC experienced a few of its own nightmares, as covered by Diary of Injustice over the past three years, where in particular, the former Chief Executive Eileen Masterman resigned on grounds of ill health, but not before negotiating via lawyers a payoff, reported here : HUSH & MONEY : Former SLCC law complaints Chief Executive Eileen Masterman received secret Scottish Government approved payoff in deal with lawyers

7&8th April 08 SLCC Meeting Blanked outSecretive & anti-client SLCC became famous for censorship & battles over Freedom of Information requests.The failures of the SLCC over the past three years leaves an inescapable conclusion that over TWELVE MILLION POUNDS of public funds & fees gathered from clients of solicitors have gone down the drain on what is now obviously little more than a joint venture between the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Government to shore up the Law Society’s influence & exclusive control over self-regulation of the legal profession in Scotland, leading to the SLCC’s continuing stitch-up of consumer complaints against rogue solicitors. In short, consumers have not benefited from the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. The Scottish Government, the Law Society of Scotland & the legal establishment have seen to that.

Diary of Injustice featured in an earlier article what it took to be a member of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s board : More ‘jobs for the boys’ than action on ‘crooked lawyers’ : What it takes to be a Board Member at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. As far as new appointments to the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission are concerned, reported by Diary of Injustice HERE, HERE & HERE no improvement in the hapless anti-client law complaints quango should be expected.

Read all about it : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission - The story so far


WATSON 2 Douglas Watson

• Former lay member of a Law Society of Scotland Committee dealing with Access to Legal Information. The role was unpaid.
• A cousin, Bruce Minto, is a partner in Dickson Minto, Solicitors.
• Formerly a Chief Superintendent with Lothian and Borders Police.

Dr Linda Pollock Dr Linda Pollock

• Executive Nursing Director (1989 -2006).
• Interim Board Nurse Director (2002-2003).
• Chief Nursing Officer’s Professional Advisor on nurse prescribing (2005-6).
• Past External Examiner with Robert Gordon’s University and Queen Margaret University.
• Research Honorary Fellow in the Social Science Faculty of Edinburgh University.
• Formerly, a part time nurse member of the Mental Welfare Commission (1997- 2005).
• Currently, working as a Primary Care Consultant, undertaking research work commissioned by the Queen’s Nursing Institute in Scotland.
• Registrant member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Appointments Board.
• Member of the Royal College of Nursing.
• Dr Pollock has a track record of authorship and chapter contributions in professional books, and continues to write articles in nursing journals.
• Board Member of the Accounts Commission (from 1st October for three years).
• Chair to a UK-wide Advisory Board with Pain Concern (from Jan 2010).

Ian Gordon Ian Gordon OBE, QPM, LL.B (Hons)

• Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland (from 1 February 2010 for four years).

• Member of the Registration and Conduct Sub Committees of the Scottish Social Services Council. Appointed by the Council on 29 April 2010 for 3 years.
Payment from Scottish Social Services Council.
• Associate Professor in Policing for Charles Sturt University (Australia)
• Director (Trustee) of Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration Company (BARRC) Registered Charity – Not remunerated.
• Member of Rotary International
• Retired Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Police.
• Formerly Chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS)
Professional Standards Business Area.
• Formerly Vice-Chair of ACPOS General Policing Business Area.

Margaret Scanlan - Called to the Bars - Sunday Mail  15 March 2009 email Margaret Scanlan

• Consultant, Russells Gibson McCaffrey, Solicitors.

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland and holder of current practising certificate.
• Husband is a senior partner Russells Gibson McCaffrey.
• Husband is a member of the Law Society of Scotland and holder of current practising certificate.
• Past Chair of the Family Law Association.
• Former member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

David Smith SLCC David Smith

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.

• Former member/partner of Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Solicitors. Retired on 30/04/08.
• Non-Executive Director, Value and Income Trust Plc.
• Wife is a Senator of the College of Justice and a non practising member of the Faculty of Advocates.

David Chaplin SLCC David Chaplin

• Former member of Anderson Fyfe LLP, Solicitors. Retired on 30/04/08.

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.
• Director and shareholder in Baliol Properties Limited.

AlanPaterson Alan Paterson

• Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at Strathclyde University.

• Research adviser to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.
• Professional contact with Guild & Guild, Solicitors and McCash & Hunter, LLP.


Anonymous said...

Doubtless they will expect knighthoods & medals all round for a job well done!

Disgusting amount of money for a bunch for doing bugger all for the rest of us while doing plenty for their pals in the legal profession.

Strangely enough the word verification for my comment reads "crookEd" so even the internet agrees with you,Peter!

Anonymous said...

Only in Scotland could lawyers get away with a scandal like this.Makes you really wonder who elects the FM - the people or the lawyers and their pals who always seem to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

As they say a quango is only as good as who they stuffed on it hahaha and the stuffing on this one has been rotten egged from the start

Anonymous said...

The new lot will be just as bad as the old and nothing will get done.they are PATHETIC at OUR expense!

Anonymous said...

Who dreamed up the appointment to the Standards Commission for the Deputy Chief Constable?

A Policeman is the last person I would ever trust in such a position after all we've learned about the cops this year.

Such positions should be made open to election and public debate not some in house back of the couch type job offer like what we all know goes on.

Anonymous said...

So this is where Watson ended up hmm read this please Mr Cherbi and there's more to tell if you like.

Nov 3, 2002
Sunday Mail

A POLICE chief in charge of a pounds 1million task force is having an affair with a pretty woman officer on his team.

Chief Superintendent Douglas Watson hand-picked Allison Strachan to join his special unit after she was promoted to inspector.

But the pair, who are both married, are now an item after ditching their partners.

Their affair started after Watson was put in charge of a massive review of the way Lothian and Borders Police works.

Watson plucked Strachan from her admin job at the force's Fettes HQ.

She joined the task force that is leading to a city-wide super-division.

He was set to take charge of the new division but insiders say revelations of his love- life may scupper his chances of the top job. He was allowed to hand-pick a team of 22 officers for the Capital Project, who have been based at Dalkeith, Midlothian, for the past eight months.

More than pounds 1million has been spent on the project by the Edinburgh-based force, including wages, computer equipment, cars and travel.

But fellow officers are furious after it emerged Watson is having the affair with one of his team.

He has left his wife of four years and Strachan has left her police constable partner.

Officers have criticised Watson's new relationship, saying it damages the image of the force and the reputation of the task force.

One senior officer said: "This affair brings the force into disrepute.

"He is one of our highest ranking officers and is messing around with an officer on the team. It throws up questions about his judgment.

"He personally selected every officer for this project and that includes Strachan."

Watson was expected to take over as commander of the new 1000-strong super division next year.

It is the second time he has walked out of a marriage.

He ditched his first wife 11 years ago when he began an affair with his present wife, Anne, who was then a 19-year-old secretary at police HQ.

In October 2000, the Sunday Mail revealed how Watson, who was then head of the CID, called off a surveillance operation on a dangerous paedophile who was prowling a busy beach. Watson claimed the operation on notorious James Clark was too costly.

Watson and Strachan exchanged regular e-mails to each other before they started working together.

They would also meet at Greens gym in west Edinburgh, where they are both members.

Strachan's partner, John Donoghue, is shattered by the news but refused to comment. A friend said: "John has been suspicious for a long time but, when he confronted Allison, she totally denied anything was going on.

"All the signs were there - she'd hide her mobile phone bills, was always sending e-mails and became secretive.

"She has been away on trips to England. Watson was also away but she would never tell John which hotel she was staying at and he could never get her on the phone.

"John bumped into Watson the other week at the gym and he was all smiles. He even had the brass neck to ask John how things were going." On Thursday, Watson was briefing the Chief Constable Paddy Tomkins and other senior officers at a special conference held at the Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel but he left early to meet his lover.

Strachan was attending a seminar at the city's Western General Hospital but left sharp to meet up with Watson.

When she arrived at her parents' home in Kingsknowe, Edinburgh, his Mercedes car was already parked there.

He and Strachan have refused to make any comment about their affair and Lothian and Borders Police sayit is a "private matter."

Anonymous said...

and we would have been none the wiser if it were not for one single journalist Peter Cherbi's reporting.

Good work Peter and all the best for 2012.Keep them on their toes and keep hammering away at all the bs thrown at us by the Law Society.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget Watson's ex bird is now up before the courts!

Insp Allison Strachan data breach case trial set

A senior police officer in Edinburgh will stand trial on charges she illegally accessed police computers to obtain private information.

Insp Allison Strachan, 49, will appear on four charges alleging she breached the Data Protection Act at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in March 2012.

Ms Strachan's lawyer entered not guilty pleas to the allegations after a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The hearing was called to debate legal issues surrounding the case.

After proceedings, depute fiscal Ruth Ross-Davie agreed to withdraw a charge alleging Ms Strachan attempted to pervert the course of justice on various occasions at a number of police stations between October 2006 and September 2009.

Ms Strachan, from Edinburgh, now faces charges which allege that she illegally accessed top secret databases at various police stations in the Lothian and Borders force area between November 2006 and May 2010.

She was not present in court on Monday.

Sheriff Fiona Reith QC fixed Ms Strachan's trial for March 2012. A preliminary hearing will be held at the court in February 2012.

Anonymous said...

Irvine still hanging around is she?
She'll also be wanting an honour or damehood for upholding the 2.5 complaints about lawyers failing to water their window plants.


Anonymous said...

Money for old rope?

Anonymous said...

I dont need a crystal ball to predict some of this lot will end up back at the Law Society or in other well paid jobs doing their bit for lawyers and stuffing people under the carpet if needed.

Enough to make you sick isn't it.

Anonymous said...

How can a legal code have any legitimacy when the legal practitioners are assessed in the confines of a closed office system, and those within the profession reject naming and shaming outside the office system? The reason is simply, to save reputations and money.

Lawyers are against naming and shaming. This is done in cyberspace in the international office of human relations and as those in charge of Law Society offices, such as Douglas Mill was and Hudson is they clearly reject the basic principle of universality. They are terrified of feedback and will go to any lengths to silence their critics. They believe clients must be silenced because their lawyer’s careers are of paramount importance, and ruined clients are not.

If it is right for Mill and Hudson to deal with complaints in the offices private realm, it is right for us to post our experiences in cyberspace. How can these too men have a shred of credibility when they reject the principle of universality? How can they possibly argue they stand for honesty, integrity and justice? Tugendhat you are the same, against naming and shaming in cyberspace. None of you can stand for justice when you want to break up dissent against your profession. What you do stand for is the rejection of the principle of universality, it is right for these three men and their colleagues to investigate complaints from the public, but wrong for clients to post their experiences on the internet. They make a living from and are protected by the justice system but reject the principle of justice being applied to lawyer’s clients. How vile are they?

Yes long live the web sites, that vital international cyberspace where clients can tell how it is (bypassing corrupt office structures propaganda) forcing Mill, Tugendhat and Hudson to realise that their minds need adjusting to the fact that clients will not take this treatment any more. If these three men are able, I ask them to step into Peter Cherbi’s shoes and hundreds of thousands of other victims of legal dictatorship around the globe and accept the principle of universality by asking themselves, “What would we do in the ruined clients position”? If you can answer this question honestly and come to the conclusion you would fight for justice, now you are beginning to apply the principle of universality.

The engineering of outcomes in the office must be challenged, long live dissent in cyberspace. If these three men and the profession as a whole cannot accept this they do not stand for justice.

Office based regulation is no regulation and covers up criminality in the private professional realm. This what the web sites are exposing.

What lawyer said “Clients were stupid”? Peter Cherbi is making a mockery of you all. Good man Peter.

Anonymous said...

I think its obvious they were picked and given the jobs so it failed which was the intention all along.

Anonymous said...

A complete and utter travesity is the only way to describe appointments which were supposed to include a majority of lay members with no connection to the legal profession.

No doubt these professional quango members will re-appear and claim similarly renumerative expenses on other well paid, do nothing, committees - courtesy of their friends in the SNP and the Law Society of Scotland.

Corrupt from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

Such a ludicrous waste of money on lawyers

Anonymous said...

Good one Peter and thanks for the warning about the SLCC.I've been writing to them for months about my complaint and they still have not done anything about the lawyer AND I've heard he has many complaints made against him before I did.

Have a good 2012 and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

You see crime in the guise of the SLCC does pay.

Anonymous said...

My 2012 T Shirt logo.

"The UK Law Societies cover up Lawyer corruption".

Become a walking advert, Perfect.