Thursday, June 20, 2013

When “Sorry” won’t do : Criminal law should be used to protect the public from the 'off the hook' style self-regulation empires of banking, finance, legal and key public services

Broken regulation applies to many more services than just banks. During a week in which England’s NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was forced to admit (in response to a review) it had covered up information relating to the deaths of babies at a hospital in Cumbria, and at Westminster, the Cross-party Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards report recommended bankers found guilty of a yet to be created criminal offence of “reckless misconduct” be jailed, it is not too difficult to put forward the point once more that regulation as we know it is ineffective and does not pose any deterrent to those it purports to regulate.

Let’s face it, if regulators are happy enough to cover up the deaths of babies in hospitals, and profit from such a cover up, what chance does any of us have in getting justice against any complaint lodged with any of the current regulators of any profession or public service ?

Diary of Injustice has previously reported on cases in Scottish hospitals where in one particularly case of the death of baby McKenzie Wallace at an NHS Forth Valley hospital reported HERE, regulation in the form of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) ‘Complaints Reviewer’, Eileen Masterman, did nothing to explain the tragic events, other than to produce a ‘whitewash report’ which only contributed further to the hospital’s cover up.

Time and again, we are promised change, told “lessons will be learned” and what happened will never happen again, but it does, whether it’s another avoidable death in a hospital, or an avoidable rip off of consumers and those who should face a court and be found guilty escape with a big fat pension while their victims are left to pick up the pieces.

The recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards tell a story many consumers have known for years when it comes to regulation. With particular regard to the creation of a criminal offence of reckless misconduct, such a move should not only be limited to bankers, rather also it should be applied to all those professions where the long standing cosy clubs of self regulation have seen the public are let down time & again.

The key recommendations of the report on Banking standards could well be applied to the legal system, where client’s lives are regularly ruined by legal ‘professionals’ who rely on their system of self regulation to get them off the hook just as the bankers have so far escaped punishment for their actions :

* A new Senior Persons Regime, replacing the Approved Persons Regime, to ensure that the most important responsibilities within banks are assigned to specific, senior individuals so they can be held fully accountable for their decisions and the standards of their banks in these areas

* A new licensing regime underpinned by Banking Standards Rules to ensure those who can do serious harm are subject to the full range of enforcement powers;

* A new criminal offence for Senior Persons of reckless misconduct in the management of a bank, carrying a custodial sentence;

* A new remuneration code better to align risks taken and rewards received in remuneration, with much more remuneration to be deferred and for much longer;

* A new power for the regulator to cancel all outstanding deferred remuneration, along with unvested pension rights and loss of office or change of control payments, for senior bank employees in the event of their banks needing taxpayer support, creating a major new incentive on bankers to avoid such risks.

Just imagine if the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission called for the same powers, and demanded the added protection of criminal law for clients whose finances are regularly wiped out by solicitors free to do it again and again …

Similarly, the key points of the report on Banking standards also tell the same story of problems in the legal profession, and those others in the justice system who work in, manage, and rule over our “Victorian” courts system.

* Given the misalignment of incentives in banking, it should be no surprise that deep lapses in standards have been commonplace. The Commission’s Final Report, ‘Changing banking for good’, contains a package of recommendations to raise standards.

* The recommendations cover several main areas including: making senior bankers personally responsible, reforming bank governance, creating better functioning and more diverse markets, reinforcing the powers of regulators and making sure they do their job.

Just as in banking, when there is no incentive to be honest in our justice system, whether you are a member of the judiciary, a court clerk, a solicitor or even a member of a self regulator of solicitors, the same deep lapses in standards have also become commonplace because there is no deterrent in current regulation and no fear of being caught.

The full report on banking standards by the cross party Committee on Banking Standards can be found at the following links :

If we are going to charge the bankers with reckless misconduct for ruining the banks, we may as well also charge the lawyers who ruin countless clients, and get away with it in the same way the bankers have done up to now.

If this were to happen, and the likes of the John O'Donnell's and countless other reckless lawyers in Scotland face a custodial term for their wholesale thieving, attitudes within the prosecution service would also have to change, particularly in Scotland where our own Lord Advocate’s Crown Office refused to prosecute FOURTEEN lawyers for legal aid fraud.

But of course, when these events happen around the fringes of a stone age legal system where our top judge would rather listen to organ music and play ‘fly me to the moon’ than show up to answer questions in our sovereign Parliament about transparency in the judiciary, and perhaps give an indication as to why judges seem to think they are above the law, then what can we expect ?


Anonymous said...

I completely agree, if it's good enough for bankers it's good enough for lawyers - many are hand in glove anyway.

End self regulation NOW Lord Gill.

Anonymous said...

I agree BUT the lawyers will all go on strike and threaten to clog up the courts if they end up getting charged like the common thieves they really are!

Anonymous said...

I remember when Fred Goodwin was asked what qualifications he had to run a bank he held up his LLB for doing the necessary - almost as if it was some god given power to do as you please and get away with it (which we now know it is)

So yes I agree with you Peter if bankers are to be charged with reckless misconduct there should be a wide range of criminal offences brought in to take over regulating what the regulators obviously cannot regulate.

And enough of lawyers bankers accountants doctors civil servants covering up for each other it is time to bring in the law against these people who do us harm,have them in court and jail them properly for what they do to us.

If anyone forgot what Goodwin said at the Parliament in response to questions about qualifications here it is

Q779 Nick Ainger: Let us start with you, Sir Tom: what banking qualifications have you got?

Sir Tom McKillop: I do not have any formal banking qualifications. I was five years in (?).

Sir Fred Goodwin: Whether you would call them banking qualifications or not, but I have a degree in law; I qualified as a chartered accountant; I was in public practice, including auditing banks for a number of years; I was involved in winding-up banks and then looking at providing advice for banks; I was Chief Executive of Clydesdale Bank; and I was a Chief Executive of Yorkshire Bank before I joined the Royal Bank of Scotland group in 1998 as Deputy Chief Executive.

Mr Hornby: I do not have any formal banking qualifications. I have an MBA from Harvard where I specialised in all the finance courses, including financial services; and before I took over as Chief Executive two years ago I was a Director of HBOS for seven years.

Lord Stevenson of Coddenham: Like Andy, I have no formal banking qualifications. I have of course been Chairman of the Bank for ten years; and before that I was initially, for about 20 years, an entrepreneurial businessman and I have run large businesses since then.

Anonymous said...

Banks dominated the world read Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism ISBN 978-0141-19256-7.

Jail those responsible.

Anonymous said...

Superb journalism as usual?

However, there is an important aspect of this that requires to be brought to the Scottish Public's attention?

There are members of staff of the Law Society of Scotland who are protected from being prosecuted under the law, whereby they and the Law Society's lawyer are happy to commit crimes against the Scottish Public in their protection of known crooked lawyers to keep them out of jail and to allow them to continue to break the law and cause havoc?

This extends to receiving favours from the Crown Office staff who get rid of bona fide cases against crooked Scottish lawyers to allow them to continue to break the law with impunity?

The Crown Office 'cutting deals' with the Law Society so that the crooked Scottish lawyer is not prosecuted and sent to jail as normal, instead allowing the Law Society to 'prosecute' their member through the SSDT (another criminal wing of the Law Society)?

You will remember the numerous occasions where the DOI journalists report on serial crooked lawyers, whereby the Law Society's lawyer suddenly appears and jams herself in there and 'somehow' the police are not mentioned? Odd?

Yes odd and completely unlawful?

The Law Society have what is called a 'memorandum of understanding' that they will report all criminal acts by their members to the police (as is normal)?

However, they do not do this. Instead they trot of to their pals at the Crown Office (completely usurping the police and the rule of law) where they can 'cut-a-deal' in favour of their member and in favour of themselves and 100% against the Scottish People?

Then there is the SSDT & SLCC, who dance to the Law Society's every tune, to the effect that these two organisations can easily be investigated and criminally charged for their part in interfering with justice and making it appear that the Law Society are not involved in their decisions (read any case from the SSDT's website)?

It also involves favours from Judges to make awards that 'protect' the Law Society from prosecution or claims against their Guarantee Fund or who make a legal judgement over the Law Society's enemies (ordinary former clients of a crooked Scottish lawyers) to fit with the outcome the Law Society require?

Then, possibly the most insidious criminal conduct of all by the Law Society and their lawyer Agent, where they interfere with the justice process by submitting a letter to the SLAB to tell them to refuse a former client's Legal Aid Application, so that they do not get access to justice, with the intention of abusing this wronged client further by making them penniless and powerless. Then they interfere with the client's own legal team, threatening them with retaliatory action if they do not comply with the Law Society's sinister aims and where ultimately the Law Society will actually forbid the legal team from representing their client any further, so that the Law Society remain totally unchallenged and rabidly and manically out of control and above the law?

This has to come out now into the Public Domain in the Public Interest?

These people at the Law Society of Scotland and their dark actor associates in crime need exposed for what they are - Protected Criminals

Anonymous said...

The Law Society of Scotland do RECKLESS MISCONDUCT before breakfast?

Anonymous said...

FYI the SPSO is nothing short of a den of corrupt regulation put in place to make sure no one gets anywhere with a complaint and as far as their investigators go well what I would like to say is unprintable.

Criminalise the lot and while you are at it arrest some of these regulators too.

Anonymous said...

A degree in law - something the human race will look back on in a thousand years and say how barbaric because the law and justice as we know it is a total fraud!

Anonymous said...

Well here in Scotland lawyers dont even need to say sorry for ruining someone because they have the Law Society to go after any client who makes a complaint and abuse them at will for a second time after the lawyer has finished abusing them.This is exactly how it works folks trust me I have been through it and dont listen to the SLCC false promises of hope they are just as bad as the Law Society even worse really.

Anonymous said...

yep jail the lot and also the patient killers too - its murder just like any other

Anonymous said...

The SLCC is a sham organisation which was brought into power through the LALP Act 2007, where the Law Society and Scottish Government lawyers hijacked the democratic process and forced 130 changes to the act to be made on the day of the vote in Parliament, so that the MSP's did not have a chance to scrutinise these changes and were bullied into voting the legislation in which has allowed the Law Society of Scotland to strengthen their monopoly grip on the regulation of their members to the degree that this legislation is now doing the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be doing and has effectively analogous armed the wrong side with weapons of mass destruction?

What can we expect when the deputy Justice Minister responsible for the LALP Bill said in an evidence session to the Justice 2 Committee that, the intention was to change the perception of the public to make them think things were changing for the better rather than actually changing anything?

So there you have it people, Lord Gill and his cronies are all about changing your perception to make you believe what they want you to believe, while they continue on with the status quo vested interests, behind the veil of secrecy?

Anonymous said...

If Scotland was a normal country which had a valid rule of law, surely some Law Society of Scotland Office Bearers past & present would be doing a long stretch in jail for their criminal conduct?

You know who you are?

Anonymous said...

Cant see judges sending lawyers to jail because they are their kinfolk etc and up to no good so this will never happen.Anyway people on the street should wise up and stop using lawyers because they are as bad as the bankers I know it you know it and everyone reading this probably knows it too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

A degree in law - something the human race will look back on in a thousand years and say how barbaric because the law and justice as we know it is a total fraud!
The degree is not the problem, the problem is the secret complaints system. A top Judge in England has said secret courts are against justice, a secret complaints system like the Law Society is the same, anti justice. The difference is that the Law Society are not all over the media for the criminal gangsters they actually are. Their weapon against their lawyers clients is secrecy.

Anonymous said...

In this rebalancing of power mood of change sweeping the country, we must make sure that we catch the crooks and send them to jail now so that justice is served.

Making rules now, to only prosecute those guilty in the future will not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Is the SLCC still going?

I thought it had been shut because it's decisions were so bad against the Public Interest?

Anonymous said...

The Law Society of Scotland are the most discredited and distrusted organisation in the land, even by their own member lawyers?

Anonymous said...

This seems to be the year of getting to the root of the cover-ups around the country?

Isn't it ironic that the Law Society of Scotland have so far dodged the silver bullet, when they have made cover-ups and defeating the ends of justice so commonplace it is like an art form?

Although any numbskull could do the same if they too were above the law and were assisted by their Crown Office?