Dealt with a rogue lawyer, the Law Society or Master Policy ? You have been hacked. Oh yes you have. HACKING IN PUBLIC LIFE in the UK is much more commonly practised and goes far wider than one rashly closed down newspaper, as anyone who has become a figure of public interest, a celebrity, a politician, a critic of industry or vested interests, a campaigner of any kind, and yes, anyone who has made some kind of court claim against big business, the professions or even public services should know. I even know journalists who have been hacked, because they were investigating some kind of scandal which vested interests, some political, some commercial, and some public, did not want their names, companies or organisations dragged through the media in entirely justifiable headlines exposing scandal upon scandal.
Hacking, or as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown referred to earlier this week as “Law breaking on an industrial scale” as he spoke in Parliament about rather unnecessary news reports relating to his son’s medical condition, is most definitely not limited to certain sections of the media. Even if we don't particularly want to admit it, I think most of us and accept that hacking in UK public life and all that illegal information sharing by professions, vested interests, big business and even public servants, exists, happens with alarming frequency, involves substantial amounts of money and personal gain for those involved, and is completely out of control. In short, it wasn't just the News of the World now, was it.
The area of journalism I cover, is of course, the justice system and all its ills. Believe me, there are many and I don't need to go far to find examples.
However, after my article on 3 July 2011 in which I wrote : “SUICIDES, ill health, death, family break-ups, personal threats, repossessed homes, unsolved burglaries, tampered mail, spurious Police visits or raids on your home with following arrests & charges withdrawn, benefits cheat investigations, Inland Revenue investigations, losing your job, DVLA inquiries, TV license inquiries, even RIPSA surveillance by local authorities, actions all apparently instigated by aggrieved lawyers out to discredit troublesome clients, are now known to form a catalogue of common experiences in varying combinations which keep cropping up with clients who attempt to pursue ‘rogue Scottish solicitors’ through the courts by claiming against the Law Society of Scotland controlled Master Policy, the Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme which protects solicitors from damages claims from clients for negligence and other rip-offs”, little did I realise my coverage would bring some individuals out of the woodwork who are now admitting to practising the ‘dark arts’ against disgruntled clients of Scotland’s less than honest legal profession.
Was I surprised. Well, no. However I was surprised at the number of contacts from clients caught in the loop of hiring yet another lawyer to repair the damage a previous lawyer had done to their case, or those clients now trying to pursue their former lawyers through the courts.
Strangely enough, all of these individuals now caught in the system appear to have suffered a string of multiple problems in their life which were not present before they had become involved with the legal system, and had clearly suffered some kind of information sharing exercise between professions & in some cases even the Police who had turned against them on all counts.
In short, the Scottish justice system had clearly turned from an allegedly well respected system of dispute resolution, to that of a finely tuned, well oiled weapon used against anyone who disagreed with it or sought to recover from damages inflicted by it.
After careful consideration of material presented to Diary of Injustice, material which portrays an oh-so-obvious favour-&-trade-for-information policy involving agents working for the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy, I wrote a further article on 11 July 2011, reporting admissions from a legal insider that Private Investigators were routinely used to hack the details of clients who were pursuing negligence claims against their crooked lawyers, claims which involve the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy, an insurance protection scheme for the legal profession which is brokered by a UK subsidiary (Marsh UK) of a US company called Marsh McLennan Companies (MMC) who were found guilty of bid rigging in the US.
One firm of Private Investigators admitted to working for law firms connected to the Master Policy after being challenged with information. Since I wrote the article on Monday of this week, another firm has also acknowledged its part in monitoring and seeking, on behalf of law firms who in some cases have links to the Scottish Government, details of clients private lives.
Even better, a now retired Private Investigator who has gone on to confirm much of what has been said this week and provide further insight into highly questionable surveillance on clients and even some of the legal profession’s critics, has informed Diary of Injustice that law firms who represent the Master Policy “are now engaged in an effort to find out who talked”.
One particular incident is certainly much more clearer to me after this week.
I am now in a much better position to understand why, for instance, Board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) felt they were able, with impunity to brand claimants to the Master Policy & Guarantee Fund as “chancers” and “frequent flyers”.
Simply, it was all down to the level of information on those individuals these particular SLCC Board members had access to, although how & why that information was compiled, what ‘questionable methods & relationships’ were used to compile it, and who was involved in compiling it, is, anyone’s guess for now, as is whether there is even one shred of truth to the information which was generated, and perhaps in some instances, fabricated by the legal profession itself.
However one thing can be clear. This particular information obtained on clients which allowed some people at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to feel good enough to hurl a few insults at those attempting to recover financial losses incurred by their solicitors, certainly did not come willingly from any client.
Any organisations, particularly a statutory regulator which benefits in any way from such acts of spying on clients denied justice, or whose who are caught up in trying to prove an injustice, acts clearly many of which are illegal, is not a fit or proper organisation to represent the public interest in legal matters, or protect clients interests in dealings with the legal profession.
Similarly, an insurance company which has already been convicted of bid rigging in the United States and has, in conjunction with the most senior officials of a statutory regulator, coordinated a series of acts against consumers to prevent them getting to court to settle negligence claims against crooked lawyers, or crooked anyone for that, is not a fit or proper organisation to offer insurance policies which are held up by equally crooked regulators as client protection schemes, which are nothing of the sort.
So this takes us back to one now very clear fact. If you have dealt with the legal profession on the basis you have tried to take legal action against a solicitor, or if you have raised what could be classified as serious or controversial complaints against members of the legal profession, particularly high profile members of the legal profession, you, like many others caught in the same position you have never met in your life, may well have been hacked. Hacked to an unimaginable degree. If anyone wants to do something about it, you know where I am.
Readers may also wish to note the fine article in today’s Guardian by Heather Brooke, which goes far in explaining some of the information sharing cartels existing in UK public life, here : Phone hacking: let's break up this information cartel
And finally … to the scandal which catapulted hacking in public life into the media headlines, the story of the News of the World, which met its untimely end because, as Rupert Murdoch said today in his apology printed in several newspapers, “The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself.”
Need I remind you all, the same relationships between former journalists and corrupt Police Officers which ultimately brought down the News of the World, still exist in the same quantities, perhaps even more so, in many walks of life, in big business, in public services, and in the legal profession and indeed right at the very top of its regulatory bodies.
Do you ever think the legal profession and its regulators will ever apologise for, and attempt to put right the wrongs they have committed against members of the public. No they wont. Never.
This is exactly why we need newspapers & journalists with integrity, bloggers, campaigners and victims of injustice who can turn the tables on those in power, do the investigative work which needs to be done, and hold the vested interests, the crooked professions, big business, crooked politicians, the justice system, and those in public life who put on a double face, to account.