Thursday, November 16, 2017

EDINBURGH LAW: Law firms who targeted residents over property repairs scandal among list of lawyers paid £15m public cash by Edinburgh Council in 3 years - as Council fights disclosure of extra payments to ex Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini

Edinburgh Council paid lawyers over £15m in 3 years. THE CITY of Edinburgh Council has been forced to reveal a list of law firms and advocates involved in a staggering Council public cash spend of £15 million on lawyers - in only three years.

However, the Council only revealed the list - after initially refusing a request to disclose the identities of lawyers receiving millions in public cash for work which in some cases  insiders allege is being used to keep law firms afloat in ‘difficult times’.

Among the list now disclosed via Freedom of Information legislation are law firms used by Edinburgh Council - who allegedly harassed & intimidated city residents for recovery of fees for dodgy construction work carried out on orders of the Council while staff from the Property Conservation Department took bribes from contractors & construction firms.

Edinburgh City Council was flooded with nearly 1,000 complaints about statutory repairs worth £30bn – yet despite a report saying lessons had been learned, law firms have continued to target residents over dodgy work orders.

The scandal prompted a Police Scotland fraud probe amid claims of bribery and billing for work not done. It was also discovered gifts & hospitality for staff in departments of the council was widespread.

However, Edinburgh Council has bitterly fought any moves to release exact figures for payments to individual law firms, and is now fighting a further Freedom of Information probe on legal fees and other expenses paid to a former Lord Advocate – Elish Angiolini – who was accused of undermining the judiciary by former Lord President Lord Hamilton.

The figures for Edinburgh Council’s spend on lawyers from 2014 to 2017, obtained via Freedom of Information legislation – reveal the Councils’ staggering £5 million a year spend on in-house, external lawyers and Advocates.

From January 2014 to  31 May 2017, the figure revealed by Edinburgh Council  details some £15,265,175 spent on lawyers.

During the five months from 1 January to 31 May 2014, Edinburgh Council spending on lawyers alone was £1,016,252

The totals for each year since reveal: 2014-2015: £4,812,170, from 2015-2016: £4,104,736, from 2016-2017: £4,649,121 and in only two months from 1.4.17 to 31.5.17 a further £682,896.

In the same period Edinburgh Council also paid the sum of £229,107 to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).

Initially, Edinburgh Council attempted to argue that the commercial interests of the Council, the solicitors, advocates and QC listed in the disclosure would be harmed by the disclosure of the withheld information.

However the identities of law firms involved in the payments, but not the exact payments to the actual law firms themselves were eventually disclosed.

The full list of law firms on the payroll of Edinburgh Council includes law firms which have also been subject to PoliceScotland investigations, firms subject to multiple complaints by clients accusing partners of fraud and dishonesty, and a law firm where a stolen £38m Leonardo da vinci painting was ‘found’ in a safe during a Police raid:

Law Firms and Solicitors:

Adams Whyte Solicitors, Aikman Russell Dunlop WS, Aitkens The Family Law Solicitors, Allan McDougall & Co SSC, Allingham & Co (Solicitors) Ltd , Anderson Strathern LLP, Arbuthnott McClanachan, Ashurst LLP, Balfour & Manson, BCKM Solicitors, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Beveridge & Kellas SSC, Brechin Tindal Oatts, Brodies LLP, Burness Paull LLP, Campbell Smith WS, Clan Childlaw, Clyde & Co (Scotland) LLP, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, Community Law Advice Network, Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service LINETS, Digby Brown Solicitors, Drummond Miller LLP, Duncan and Wallace SSC, Dundas & Wilson CS LLP, Edinburgh Law Seminars Limited, Edinburgh Law Solicitors and Notaries, Ennova Law, Eskhill and Company, F M McConnell SsC, Frances McChlery Consulting, Fraser Shepherd, FT & DC Wallace, Garden Stirling Burnet, Gibson Kerr Law and Property, Harper MacLeod LLP, Hay Cassels, HBJ Gateley Wareing Scotland LLP, Hughes Walker Solicitors, Iain Smith & Partners, Innes & Mackay Limited, J K Cameron, Jones Whyte, K W Law, Ledingham Chalmers LLP, Legal Services Agency Ltd, Lindsays W S Solicitor,s MacLay Murray & Spens Solicitors, LLP MacRoberts LLP, McCartney Stewart Limited, McKenzies Solicitors, McMillan Williams Solicitors, McNeill & Cadzow, Millar & Bryce Ltd, Morisons Solicitors, Morton Fraser Solicitors, Odonnells Solicitors Limited, Pinsent Masons LLP, Quinn Garland Associates Ltd, R.A Low & Company, RSC Solicitors, Scottish Child Law Centre, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Scutt Beaumont Solicitors Ltd, Sheehan Kelsey Oswald, Shepherd & Wedderburn LLP, Simpson & Marwick WS, Sinclair Court Solicitors, Somerville & Russell , T C Young, Thorley Stephenson SSC, Thorntons WS Solicitors, Tods Murray LLP in Administration, Trinity Chambers, Warners Solicitors LLP, William Hodge Shorthand Writers Ltd, Wilson Terris & Co SSC,

Advocates and QC's:

Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, Ruth Innes, David Jack, Morag Jack.

The Scottish Information Commissioner has now been approached to investigate the case and seek disclosure of the amounts of secret legal fees paid to former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini – after Edinburgh Council claimed the payments of substantial sums of public cash amounted to ‘personal data’.

A separate approach to the SIC is to be made over exact payments to law firms, given the sheer size of payments of public cash – which some legal insiders contend are an indication of law firms generating work for themselves to keep them afloat.

Do you have an experience with Edinburgh Council and any of the law firms listed in the Freedom of Information disclosure? If so, DOI would like to hear from you by contacting us at scottishlawreporters@gmailcom


Anonymous said...

Nice one Peter happy to help out!

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of rotten crooks no wonder Council tax is so high and they moan about a freeze because they are keeping all these crooks in work

Anonymous said...

As per your comment rules I will not post the name of the solicitor and law firm in this comment which you may publish.I will contact you via other means with the names.

There is a law firm on this list the Council employed to threaten us with decree bankruptcy and eviction from our own fully owned home if we did not pay up for a statutory repair notice issued by one of the Council crooks who was bribed by the builders.

The law firm is still chasing us slowly draining our savings away with an obvious motive to gaining our home if there is anything you can do we would be most grateful Peter

Anonymous said...

ehhh how did it get to be our dodgy cooncil started subbing the legal mafia?
btw love ur blog!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the fake and useless Police investigation on Edinburgh Council that missed out all the bribes bungs holidays free work on employees houses discounted cars and lots of other bungs to staff still employed at EC and bragging about how well they did out of it and how they got away with it

Now we see why - the army of lawyers employed to kill off the investigation and the fake convictions of the most minor of all the bribe recipients

over to you Kev and thanks for pointing out Cherbi's well deserved inspection of our corrupt council hope to see more soon on your local authority with the power to shame even Glasgow City for bribes!

Anonymous said...

Dirty rotten b***ds wanted to pocket over 300 grand from people I know and trying to take their flats so this must be a thing they issued the notices with a motive to strip people of their properties a real bunch of rats running Edinburgh I can tell you

Anonymous said...

May I ask does anyone in Scotland actually have a real job not dependent on the public sector? because the more I read of how things run up there Scotland sounds like the old Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

Why bother having the in house legal brigade when the council is keeping most of the Edinburgh legal establishment afloat with OUR MONEY!


Anonymous said...

Welcome to corrupt Edinburgh a lot of those firms are well known monsters

Anonymous said...

Quite an eye opening report, how does one explain the line we are often fed by vested interests that the legal profession adds hundreds of millions of pounds annually to the Scottish economy?

Perhaps they haven't read DOI's earlier report on the 1 BILLION pounds siphoned off by Scottish lawyers in legal aid payments or the EU report also linked on the blog, and both found at;

Keep up the great work DOI.

Anonymous said...

This is in the National this morning, very good Peter and nice to see you doing 'local' stories on Edinburgh!
I can imagine those law firms rather angry at you for exposing their public subsidies and good on the insider who spoke up!

Anonymous said...

The scum council lawyers tried to take a property belonging to a friend and they put her through a living hell with a law firm named in the first few lines of that list you published some nights she was so terrified to live in her own house she was round at ours while all those fat corrupt councillors and staff partied on expenses and bribes.This is the real Edinburgh people dont listen to all that mush in the tourist advertisements!

Anonymous said...

My apologies for being off topic but worth a read anyway DOI.