Friday, October 21, 2016

AXIS TO JUSTICE: ‘Treat lawyers like Hospitals & Police’, Democracy ‘at risk’ if state refuses to fund litigants - Law Society & Faculty of Advocates attack plans to make secretive, slow Scots courts self funding

Fund lawyers like nurses & public services - say lawyers. DURING TIMES of financial crisis, Brexit woes and growing demands on nurses, doctors, the NHS, Police, education and everything else. public services should be forced to take an equal seat to the spiralling billions of pounds of public cash lavished on lawyers, the courts and legal aid – according to claims from the legal profession.

The demand for equal treatment to public cash comes from the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates – who, along with other legal vested interests - are calling for the state to fund all court actions and treat lawyers in the same ‘deserving of public funds’ category as medical care provided by the National Health Service, education, social care and Police.

The latest call from the Law Society of Scotland to increase - by millions more - the flow of public cash into legal business and struggling lawyers pockets - comes in answer to plans by the Scottish Government to hike court fees by up to 25% and turn the closed shop, secretive, slow and unjustly expensive Scottish courts run by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) into a self funding operation.

However, under the guise of defending ‘access to justice’ – loosely translated to ‘public cash for lawyers’ - the Law Society state in their response: “Plans to introduce the full recovery of civil court costs in Scotland would be damaging to access to justice, particularly for those bringing forward personal injury cases and more vulnerable people.”

The Law Society of Scotland’s response to the Scottish Government's consultation on Court Fees goes on to state “any move towards full cost recovery should be avoided” and “that the state has a duty to help people in achieve ‘equality of arms’ in the courtroom.”

The Law Society also claims that a proposal to introduce a 24% rise in court fees would be ‘unjust and unjustifiable’.

Syd Smith, from the Law Society of Scotland’s Remuneration Committee, representing the views of pursuers’ solicitors, said: “We believe it is essential that the courts should provide an independent and impartial forum for resolving disputes between people or organisations and that the state has a duty to help those involved have equality of arms when their cases go to court.”

The Law Society has said that any new system for court fees would have to ensure they were proportionate, taking into account Lord Gill’s Review of the Scottish Civil Courts, and the findings of Sheriff Taylor in his Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland.

Mr Smith said: “We think the focus of any review of court fees should be on redressing the balance between claimants and defenders in personal injury cases. However if the government’s aim is to have a system where 100% of the cost of the courts are covered by fees paid by those involved in the actions lodged, it will be vital to have proportionate fee levels.

“The consultation option to introduce a 24% rise in court fees would represent an unjust and unjustifiable increase which would create a very real barrier to access to justice for claimants especially vulnerable people who have suffered life changing personal injuries.

“Any change to the current system also needs to recognise that there is not a level playing field between personal injury claimants and the insurance companies who are the defenders in those claims. Any changes which fail to recognise this problem risk widening the existing gap.”

Going a little further, and backing up their legal vested interest colleagues, the Faculty of Advocates response to the Court Fees consultation claims democracy could not function if the state did not pay for litigants to sue everyone under the sun in the same way convicted mass murderers and fraudsters empty hundreds of millions of pounds of Criminal legal aid from the public purse.

A submission from the Faculty of Advocates to the Court Fees consultation states: “The civil justice system should be funded by the state from general taxation…(it) is a cornerstone of a democratic state…(and) is vital to every citizen, whether or not he or she ever becomes a litigant,”

“No part of our democratic society could function without our civil law being maintained by the operation of our courts. There is no warrant to shift the cost of the courts entirely on to litigants when the whole of society benefits from them,”

“As a matter of principle, the civil justice system should be funded by the state, not litigants,” it said.

“The civil justice system is a cornerstone of a democratic state. It is the duty of the state to provide an accessible civil justice system…To the benefit of society at large, the law is made, declared or clarified daily by the civil courts. The civil justice system is vital to every citizen, whether or not he or she ever becomes a litigant. The benefits to society justify it being funded in full from general taxation.

“Many state-provided services are funded from general revenue, on the basis that these services benefit the whole of society, and not just those in immediate need of them. Our society accepts that, without regard to their means to pay, individuals should have access to medical care, and that every sort of person should be served by the police and emergency services.

“The Scottish Government has recognised that charging tuition fees to students limits access to higher education for many and that charging for prescriptions might deter people from seeking medical assistance. The Faculty considers that access to the courts is of equal importance.”

The Faculty believed that the proposed increases would be likely to impede access to justice, and that requiring a person to pay expensive court fees could be a breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects access to a court.

“The funding of the civil justice system by litigants rather than the state does not protect access to justice, it hinders it.

“If even a few people are deterred from litigating a good claim or defence, that is seriously damaging justice. There may be many more than a few who are so deterred, of course,” said the Faculty.

“The system of court fees exemptions is inadequate to protect access to justice…the thresholds for exemptions are set very low.”

So, the next time you need emergency medical care, the Police, education for your children, help with homelessness or any other public service - remember not to call the well trained and dedicated people who staff these vital arteries of life.

Instead, call a lawyer and insist your taxes, your hard earned savings (if any) and dwindling assets are handed over to fund a solicitor, court clerks, a struggling Sheriff on £160K a year or a £230K a year Court of Session judge – just like the Law Society of Scotland said – because you know – lawyers have your interests and ‘access to justice’ as their priority.


In a second take on the more public cash for lawyers approach, earlier this week the Law Society of Scotland also demanded more public cash be given to the struggling Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – who are forced to eek out an existence on a staggering £112 million a year.

In written evidence to a Scottish Parliament Justice Committee inquiry into the workings of Scotland’s “Institutionally corrupt” Crown Office, the Law Society of Scotland has said that consideration will be needed to ensure that the service provided by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and others is accessible and inclusive for all members of society.

In its response to an Inquiry on the role and purpose of the COPFS, the Society also stated that all participants involved in the criminal justice system have responded to a number of reforms during a time of significant financial pressure.

Ian Cruickshank, convener of the Law Society of Scotland Criminal Law Committee, said: “It’s important that the criminal justice system evolves and makes use of new technology which can help improve the service particularly when there continues to be financial pressures alongside increasing numbers of serious crime reported to the COPFS and legislative developments.

“However it is important to be aware of the potential impact on core services at a local level and on access to justice. There will need to be careful consideration on how best to ensure the service provided by the COPFS and others within the criminal justice system is accessible and inclusive to all member of society.

“Lack of resources has had an impact on the preparation and the time available for presenting criminal prosecutions in our courts. The number of prosecutions resulting in court disposals has decreased in the past five years, however the complexity of the impact of recent legislation, and the complexity of certain types of cases reported, means more preparation and court time is required.”

Previous reports on how much the Law Society of Scotland values your ‘access to justice’ and their vested interests, can be found in the archive of reports, here: Law Society of Scotland


Anonymous said...

unlikely leaches and scum of the legal world deserve any public cash coz already ripped off everybody

Anonymous said...

I never once fell for the phrase "access to justice" as anything out of the LSoS is nothing more than lawyers lining their pockets at our or their clients expense.

Anonymous said...

I realise you write these technical legal articles for our benefit and all thanks to you for doing so however I liked the other one about Lady Dorrian magically showing up on Lord Carloway's junket to the Republic of Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Treat lawyers like hospitals and police?I DONT THINK SO!
Only a deluded mindset of most corrupt gang would ever put forward such a statement.Oh wait.The Faculty of Advocates said it.So I am correct!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that!

Anonymous said...

The Lawless Society of Scotland up to their old tricks of protecting their membership.

Anonymous said...

likely all discussed and agreed before they even sent in their evidence.Whoever replaced John Swinney and those horrible coke junkie civil serpents will cook the books to give lawyers extra cash so it doesnt show up in the budget.They should rename Scotland Banana land truly a banana republic with accounts to match!

Anonymous said...

Is this in addition to the bungs and bribes insisted on by Advocates before they enter pleas on behalf of their clients?haha We all know what really goes on when you need an advocate to butter up and bung some judge a hefty packet!

Anonymous said...

Law Society of Scotland and Faculty of Advocates a true axis of evil

Anonymous said...

If you substitute the word "like" with "to" in the title this is what people really feel about the legal profession after having their lives annihilated by miserable lawyers

Anonymous said...

As I recall from an earlier report by you Scottish solicitors already take a disproportionately high amount from the public purse, and considerably more than other countries with larger populations.

So now they not only want more but want their 'right' to it to be unqualified and established in law?

You couldn't make it up.

Anonymous said...

"There is no warrant to shift the cost of the courts entirely on to litigants....".

This is precisely what has been happening for decades - ask any party litigant.

If a person is, through no fault of their own, unrepresented they are consequently denied access to legal aid. They are left with no option but to fund the case themselves - a disadvantage recognized by Lord Gill in 2009 - as well as pay any and all Court fees and not least pay the other sides often exorbitant costs should they lose.

What this latest hijack attempt by the Law Society reveals is simply that its members are feeling the pinch - the more bankruptcies the better I say.

Anonymous said...

If the state refuses to fund litigants I will rejoice. Why, because then the Lawless Society of Scotland cannot torture people like it's stinking SLCC because they will have no corrupt lawyer to complain about. I tell you potential litigants your lawyer will ruin your case and then they will do what they do so brilliantly stick together and refuse to help you. Civil cases cannot be won in most cases in Scotland so don't try it or you will really learn what the Lawless gangsters that are the Scottish judiciary are. They are ruthless calculating cunning people who would drive you to your death before they would wreck your corrupt lawyers career. They are Wolves in Sheep's clothing all of them.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society state in their response: “Plans to introduce the full recovery of civil court costs in Scotland would be damaging to access to justice, particularly for those bringing forward personal injury cases and more vulnerable people.”.................

Oh state give we lawyers limitless funds from the public purse. Public money gives a person access to a lawyer not access to justice. Get real anything involving the Law Society and it's membership concerns only one kind of justice, limitless taxpayers money for lawyers. It's like the Tories, they don't care if an unemployed person gets a job, they just want the unemployed person to stop claiming benefits. Whereas the Law Society want benefits yes Legal Aid is a benefit to line lawyers pockets, they don't care if the litigant loses, that is what they want. It's all a smokescreen this access to justice only access to public money do lawyers care about.

Anonymous said...

“Plans to introduce the full recovery of civil court costs in Scotland would be damaging to access to justice, particularly for those bringing forward personal injury cases and more vulnerable people.”
Lawyers hold the keys to access to justice and that is the reason people never win their cases, it's all a fraud they will dump those with personal injury cases as soon as they have milked the Legal Aid, which is why they want more public money so they can cover up injuries with their doctors bent so called medical evidence that always clears the employed of any responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is no warrant to shift the cost of the courts entirely on to litigants....".

This is precisely what has been happening for decades - ask any party litigant.
Yes exactly the wise among us stay away from the legal profession the self protecting crooked schemers who are anything but honest.

Anonymous said...

Forget access to justice folks, forget litigation wise up all you will do is access a place called hell (robbed of any legal rights) where you will be blacklisted by the Law Society. The public are just things for lawyers to make money, lawyers don't care if you die (as long as they are paid first) all they care about is self protection and money that is the only justice they care about. If the statistics were available you would fine that no one wins their litigation case. It is all a con to make them money.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers strategy.

Take on a litigation case, milk the Legal Aid. Dump the litigant who was never getting their day in court. Litigant complains to the Law Society who protect the lawyer. Then take on another victim that is what they do and that is one of the multiple reasons the Judges don't want a register. It is a cycle a con trick it has nothing to do with justice for the litigant it is one big lie.

Anonymous said...

Scottish justice in the dock while lawyers and their friends up the chain on the bench loot public coffers.And no one does anything about it instead the rags run headlines of low level cheats lost cats clapped out hospitals and food banks while bankers and lawyers make off with billions.You couldn't make it up.

Anonymous said...

Yes lawyers are feeling the pinch and they want the taxpayer to keep them afloat. I tell you Lawless Society you are an obnoxious power mad group using that hidden weapon called bureaucracy to cover up ruined lives after some poor sod has the misfortune to trust a Scottish lawyer. I call lawyers going out of business poetic justice and I worship the ground that awaits you all. Democracy is a hotly contested word. If it means anything it must be equal rights and the hedonistic Lawless Society controls everything. What you mean is protecting a skewed form of democracy where the lawyers have all the rights, nothing democratic about that.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society and Faculty of Advocates are basically saying lawyers should be put on the public payroll and by the sounds of that rant from the faculty they want lawyers at the front of the queue for cash before hospitals and everything else.

Is this disgusting or what?

Anonymous said...

Anyone other than lawyers and leeches who feed off them support Nicola Sturgeon's More money for lawyers less money for schools and hospitals policy?

A vote winner?

I don't think so.

Rest assured the Law Society and Faculty of Advocates did not put this down in writing before obtaining guarantees the Scottish Government will line their pockets up front or via the delayed dodgy Scottish budget.

Why does the Lord Advocate need more resources than £112 million a year and why is the Law Society stepping in to demand extra money for another disreputable organ of the legal mafia?

Staggering if you think about it given the weekly drivel coming out of the Crown Office and the not unnoticeable carefully timed weekend drugs raids by Police where 10 pounds of heroin becomes 10 ounces if the case ever reaches court.

Anonymous said...

If anything the state should be clawing back money from lawyers including everything they have ripped off and stolen from their clients

Anonymous said...

Not so long ago I remember firm after firm refusing to do legal aid work now all these struggling lawyers now want to join the public purse?They already steal enough from clients so no thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is all to do with the word getting out there about what they are really like and I personally have thwarted many of there crooked deals by advising people of my own experiences, so now they want public money to fund them for doing nothing.

Conscript the useless bastards into the army and let them get their wigs blown off elsewhere.