Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dean of Faculty attacks legal aid & regulatory reforms as a threat to lawyers independence as prospect of political meddling by legal profession looms

Politics is alive & well in the legal profession it seems, with Roy Martin QC, the Dean of Faculty, using a recent admissions ceremony for new solicitors entering the Scottish legal profession, to attack the reforms of independent regulation brought forward in the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, as well as having a rant at the drying up of the legal aid river of money flowing into his colleagues pockets.

Mr Martin, QC, is, of course,quite upset that the traditional practice of lawyer covering up for lawyer, has been thrown on it's head by the recently passed but long over due LPLA Bill, given that around 5000 plus complaints a year are made against solicitors in Scotland by clients on everything from embezzlement to fraud to theft of property, negligence, inflated accounts, falsified work, and just about every other crooked practice one could think of.

Unlike Mr Martin and his colleagues, those who don't have the convenience of professional self regulation' would normally be facing criminal charges and jail sentences on many of those complaints made by clients to the Law Society & Faculty of Advocates, but the convenience of self regulation by the Faculty & Law Society has certainly been successful over the years in protecting the many crooked lawyers in the profession from justice, while also making sure the client who has lost out at the hands of their legal representatives, gets little or no compensation .

The right to sit in judgement on one's colleagues & friends, to make sure they only get a slap on the wrist when caught with their hands in the till, is of course, why Mr Martin & his colleagues in the legal profession have for so long, fought tooth & nail to protect their self given right of self regulation - which the legal profession sought & gained from governments long ago.

We all saw, in the following examples of previous articles, how the legal profession & it's 'leading lights' attacked the proposed LPLA Bill, to make dealing with legal agents much fairer for the consumer, and we also saw how the Chief Executive of the Law Society, Douglas Mill, went one step further & threatened our Scottish Parliament with a Court challenge should the LPLA Bill not be amended to it's liking (although Mill actually preferred the legislation be killed off completely).

Law Society of Scotland threatens Court challenge against Scottish Executive over LPLA legal reform Bill

Law Society of Scotland & Lord Lester QC challenge new legislation to protect Scottish public against crooked lawyers

Scotsman responds to Peter Cherbi and the Herald with a living eulogy of Douglas Mill

Law Society of Scotland claims success in gagging the press over Herald newspaper revelations of secret case memos

Scottish legal profession campaigns against open debate in Scottish Parliament on independent regulation of complaints against lawyers

Who is a greater threat to the Parliament in that one then ? the public, or the legal profession ? ... seems the lawyers can even get away with threatening court action against our elected representatives, while any such attempt by a member of the public is laughed off ...because of course, the public would never be able to secure legal representation to actually take on such a case against the Parliament & win ...

However, Roy Martin's blast at the LPLA Bill may be more than just the rant of an upset lawyer because he didn't get his way ...

I understand several on-the-side meetings have been held between some members of the legal profession and some of Scotland's Political parties, with ideas being raised regarding limitation of the implementation of the LPLA Bill and scaling back of some of it's provisions - in exchange for possible donations & political support .. and no doubt some favours down the road .. such as those sticky secret mortgages on the side which quite a few ministers of the current Scottish Executive enjoy, paid for by us, the taxpayer, through their Parliamentary expenses allowances.

Two Scottish Executive Ministers revealed to be charging mortgage interest payments to the public

Scottish Labour Politician rents his own son's flat for £7000 a year, charging it up to taxpayers

I wonder if the major political parties involved in the Holyrood elections may wish to comment on that one ?

Could this be a fundamental shifting of the power base perhaps in Scottish politics, where the legal establishment might just be setting out to make sure it's favored candidates get in after the elections, and that indeed ... all those promises contained in the LPLA Bill of independent regulation for lawyers & higher compensation payments to ruined clients, might just go the way of those provisions in the Law Reform (Misc Provisions) Bill 1990, which were to open up the rights of Courtroom representation to the client and break the monopoly of solicitors & advocates - who are still the only authorised representatives of the public in our courts.

Scottish Executive thought to be blameworthy for allowing restrictive practices in legal services

Scottish Executive fails to block FOI disclosure on records of restricted access to Courts

We therefore have an example of that already in the above case ... so, no one can say it hasn't happened before ...

In an interesting development though, Roy Martin's tenure as Dean of Faculty proves yet again that nothing changes ... with only just last week, a complaints hearing against one of Scotland's most famous Advocates rigged so that the client wouldn't be able to attend ... certainly a sad indictment of regulatory practices as they stand .. and yet again more evidence, if required these people need to be left to educate their colleagues in the ways of honesty, transparency & competency, while someone else, outside the legal profession, handles the regulatory side of things.

A reminder to you all ... If you have experienced poor treatment from the Law Society of Scotland in a complaint or lost money to a crooked lawyer and nothing was done about it, Please sign Petition PE1033 and begin the campaign for redress and resolution to the way clients have been discriminated against by crooked lawyers & the Law Society of Scotland under their decades old prejudiced self regulatory complaints system.

Related article from the Herald newspaper with link :


Lawyers’ independence 'undermined by politicians'
DAVID LEASK March 19 2007

Scotland's top advocate has accused politicians of undermining the independence of his profession.

Roy Martin, QC, the dean of the Faculty of Advocates, warned of a creeping threat to lawyer's freedoms - just as they are needed most.

Mr Martin, in a hard-hitting message to Scotland's latest crop of young lawyers, fired a broadside against new regulation and legal aid funding problems eroding their time-honoured and cherished independence from the state.

He told an admission ceremony for newly-qualified solicitors at Edinburgh's Parliament House: "There is a danger that interests which do not properly recognise the importance in a civilised society of an independent legal profession are taking steps which have already undermined, and will continue to undermine, that independence. In a society where the individual citizen is increasingly subject to regulation and control by the state, what the lawyer does is unique because it is he or she who has the responsibility of standing between the citizen and the state in all its guises - and it is essential that the lawyer can do so, and be seen to do so, independently."

Mr Martin's speech, said to be the most controversial delivered at the event in a generation, summed up simmering discontent on what some lawyers see as interference from Holyrood, Westminster, and even Brussels.

The dean has already joined with other senior law figures in warning of what they see as a threat to the independence of the justiciary and attacking the executive's Scottish Legal Complaints Commission which, widely welcomed by lay people, will effectively end centuries of self-regulation.

However, a spokesman for the Scottish Executive last night dismissed any suggestion recent reforms would do anything to take away lawyers' freedoms.

He said: "The last four years have been a time of unprecedented reform in the justice system.

"New laws and procedures have laid the platform for a more efficient, more effective justice system that treats victims, witnesses and consumers with increasing care and respect."


Anonymous said...

Can't say I'm surprised. It's been well known that Mill wants your campaigners bill killed off in the next parliament so what you say makes sense.

Dont think the snp are beyond dealing with the devil either Mr Cherbi.you would be surprised at what some may do to win power dot dot dot

Anonymous said...

Have you passed this to a newspaper yet Peter ?

Donald Anderson, Edinburgh said...

You are spot on about this in the Herald comments section Peter.
The Dean is trying to protect his colleagues and what you said about this being political meddling is probably true.Lord Lester will be making the deal for the libdems ?

Poirot said...

The Dean will not be amused reading your write up on his rant, Peter

Anonymous said...

Yes, I could see the SNP biting at this one if a deal is on offer from the Law Society but don't rule out switch back to McConnell if your point about delaying parts of LPLA is true.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers want to milk the system even more than before is what the Dean is saying but having read your links I believe the timing of his attack is meant as a political signal to the elections.Well spotted !

Anonymous said...

You must have good sources on this one Peter, its almost a done deal you know,All down to the public now mate, hope they have the intelligence (LAUGH) to see this and not vote in the lawyers friends.

Eric said...

Good blog and good to see there are people in Scotland who tackle the plans of these bastards.

Don't let them get away with it.

Anonymous said...

This will never appear in the Scotsman will it ?

Anonymous said...

A friend told me to read this and I'm quite shocked at what you and all those people went through with the law Society
Hope you win and clearly you are a thorn in their side.Make it more than that and do some damage!

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like you have the entire legal profession angry over independent regulation, and goow work too Mr Cherbi

I hope you take on other profession s who also look after their own in complaints.Good luck in what you are doing and hope the dean of faculty gets over his bad temper soon !

MCD said...

These people must have a hell of a lot to hide if they are constantly attacking you and the independence of complaints.

Peter Cherbi said...

This certainly prompted a few journalists to contact me - anyway, my source on the story actually comes from a journalist, and a lawyer who are both working on it. Suffice to say I won't spoil their expose of this for now, although my friend in the press is slightly worred his newspaper will be threatened if it's published, because of the personalities involved from the legal side of things.

Mr Anderson - I wouldn't put it past Lord Lester to be involved in a campaign of undermining the LPLA Bill further. HE is a FibDem after all - and we know what they are like.

I think, & hope, the SNP won't be attracted to such a deal. Blocking benefits to the Scottish consumer just to get the support & money from lawyers, shouldn't be one of their tactics, only time will tell on that one though.

Someone asked for my email - it's petercherbi@hotmail.co.uk - which you can see in my profile.

Thank you to those people who sent me some case histories this week for Petition PE1033. I may do an article on that.

Yes, the Dean hates me - but I'm not the one going round rigging tribunal hearings so that complainers & clients can't attend to see the advocates get off the hook on serious charges now, am I, Mr Martin.

Lianne said...

Very impressed with what I read here, Peter.You have done a good job for everyone so keep at it.

I was so sorry to read of the case of your mother.Must have been a distressing experience for you which I'm sure you will never forget.Glad you seem to have put it to some good too and hope there have been some changes at that Borders hospital after what happened.

Keep the faith Peter.You have friends.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, you did score a mention at the Faculty this week, Peter.

I don't think they like you very much !

Bert said...

How about an honourary law degree for Peter Cherbi !

Anonymous said...

I read your comments on the MRI story in Friday's Scotsman and fully agree with you.my mother was taken to the Western General after a stroke and the same as what happened to you as I read in the Evening News story happened to us.mum died after the doctors refused to scan her or do anything, even though she was coming in and out of consciousness and when I complained, you can imagine what happened.also no lawyer would take on the case on legal aid as we have no money for court cases and nothing has ever been done about it.I see your dailyrecord story in the photo site and wonder if you are interested in helping or are able to do anything for me because its been very hard on me to keep complaining for so long because nothing gets donw and it wears you down.do you have an address or email i can write to please

Anonymous said...

I had problems with Mr Yelland at the law society also.
He corrupted a complaint I made against my solicitor who stole the ontents of my wifes building society account for himself then their complaints committee said it wasnt their concern.
The amount stolen was ₤42 thousand fro the account and we reported the matter to the Police who were to charge him then the fiscal ordered them not to.
Corruption at all levels and our lives made a misery after I complained

Anonymous said...

just for your info mate
a lawyer you know has tried to hire one of his exjailbird clients to come pay you a visit
if I say Kelso you can take an educated guess as to who Im referring to

spectator said...

I dont think you need too many signatures on that petition Peter, how about getting some cases together so you are well armed for meeting the Petitions Committee.

Good effort on your part though and good luck with your work.

Anonymous said...

Quite enjoyable seeing you torment the lawyers like this.
Martin & his colleagues must be having nightmares over what you have done for them to get to this stage !

Anonymous said...

If you could work in court Id take you on in a second peter.
would you like to do that if the rules allow it ?