Board Members of the do-little Scottish Legal Complaints Commission have record numbers of ‘other jobs’. IT MAY COME as no surprise the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) and the Law Society of Scotland have been busy priming their well-oiled media spin machines for the imminent publication of the SLCC’s latest annual report, which is expected to show the number of complaints have dropped against solicitors in Scotland with the SLCC apparently being left with almost little to do by way of regulating anything past a dog biscuit.
Yet while complaints have dropped, and thumbs are twiddled at the SLCC’s lavish Stamp Office Edinburgh HQ, the SLCC is, as I reported in November 2010 about to attempt to hype itself as being more effective in dealing with complaints against crooked lawyers, than it actually is in reality, adding four new Board Members to its already over-the-top line of quangocrats & lawyers who, in some cases, are currently holding down more than 10 jobs each.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will soon announce new additions to SLCC’s expensive expense claiming board. While the new appointments are yet to be officially announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in the usual fanfare, according to information seen by Diary of Injustice, the SLCC's now overdue annual report attempts to spin around the real reasons for the fall in complaints against solicitors & law firms, reasons which appear to be mostly due to the financial downturn, with clients being unable to afford to use solicitors, along with a general downturn in property sales, and perhaps a slightly increased willingness on the part of some law firms to discuss & resolve client difficulties before the matter develops into complaint and attracts unwanted media attention, rather than any sudden increase in the standards of legal services offered to consumers in Scotland by legal practitioners.
Whopping expenses claims by SLCC’s Board Members expected to increase with additional appointments. With the further imminent announcements of the latest appointments to the SLCC’s Board of three ‘non-lawyer’ board members with legal & ‘consumer’ backgrounds at £209+ a day along with one extra lawyer board member to ensure the legal profession continues to have its way against client complaints, it is perhaps fitting to reflect on exactly what it takes to be a Board Member at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, along with all that
lolly money one can expect by way of expenses claims for ensuring the vast majority of complaints made by members of the public or clients against solicitors & law firms which operate in Scotland’s notoriously hugely expensive yet poor quality legal services market succumb to the same whitewash treatment typical of the Law Society of Scotland’s tenure as self regulator of lawyers in Scotland, a tenure which has led to thousands of financially ruined clients while even the most negligent solicitors (in some cases with criminal records) remaining in practice, unbeknown to their clients …
• Immediate past Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman.
• Professional contact with solicitors' firms Burness, Leslie Deans & Co and Allan McDougal.
• Professional contact with advocates Derek O'Carrol and John Campbell QC.
• Director, Daleway LTD.
• Deputy UK Pensions Ombudsman.
• Chair of the Disciplinary Board of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries (from January 2010).
• 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
• 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).
George L Irving CBE
• Director of Social Work North Ayrshire Council 1999-2000. • Chair of Ayrshire Council on Alcohol.
• Ex-President of the Association of Directors of Social Work (Scotland).
• Chair of NHS Ayrshire and Arran from 2001-2006.
• Led the National Support Team, Management of Offenders 2005-2007.
• Visiting Professor to Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health.
• Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.
• Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
• Member of the Rotary Club of Alloway.
• Member of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
SLCC report on Master Policy revealed clients had committed suicide at the hands of crooked lawyers but still nothing has been done after two years. Having all these second, third & forth jobs appears to have got in the way of the SLCC doing its job, particularly when it comes to monitoring the Law Society of Scotland's Master Policy (the Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme run by the infamous insurers Marsh to cover solicitors negligence), which was revealed by an independent report carried out by Manchester University of Law School to have caused the deaths of clients, simply to ensure lawyers could sleep at night. More on the Master Policy report can be read here : Suicides, illness, broken families and ruined clients reveal true cost of Law Society's Master Policy which 'allows solicitors to sleep at night' and the latest attempt by the SLCC to fulfil its ‘monitoring role’ over the Master Policy adds to its long running failure to attend to its legislated duties, reported here : Law Society's ‘Killer Insurance’ in the dock as solicitor says only way ‘adversarial’ Master Policy will be revealed is if it ends up on Wikileaks
Going on the above evidence, it clearly would take more than 9 people at the SLCC to change a light bulb, never mind attending to consumer expectations of independent regulation of legal services in Scotland and all the safeguards which come with independent regulation, which at least, the English seem to be enjoying via their own Legal Ombudsman, as I reported last October, here : Scots consumers stuck with 'crooked' self-regulation of lawyers as England & Wales go fully independent with new Legal Ombudsman