Wednesday, April 26, 2017

REGULATED REVIEW: Scottish Government panel to look at self regulation of lawyers - Former Cabinet Minister calls for review to include judiciary, and panel membership to strike ‘better balance between lawyers & non-lawyers’

Review panel to consider self-regulation of lawyers. THE Scottish Government has announced an ‘independent’ review into how lawyers regulate their own colleagues – with a remit to report back by the end of 2018.

The move by Scottish Minsters, coming after discussions with the Law Society of Scotland - is intended to answer concerns  amid rising numbers of complaints about poor legal services and the diminishing status of Scotland’s legal services sector,

However, former Cabinet Minister Alex Neil MSP (SNP Airdrie and Shotts) said the review should include judges and the membership of the review team should be expanded to balance up the panel’s current top heavy legal interests membership.

Mr Neil recently branded the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC)  “a toothless waste of time” – after the legal services regulator failed to act in a high profile case involving a senior QC caught up in a cash payments scandal.

The review, led by NHS 24 chair Esther Roberton, is intended to make recommendations to modernise laws underpinning the legal profession’s current regulatory system including how complaints are handled.

This follows concerns that the current legislative framework is not fit for purpose and has not kept up with developments in the legal services market. There are also worries that the current processes for people wishing to make complaints about their solicitor are too slow and too complex.

However, doubts about the impartiality of the panel have been raised after the announcement by Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing revealed a top-heavy compliment of figures from the legal establishment who are keen on protecting solicitors’ self regulation against any move to increase consumer protection by way of independent regulation.

The list of panel members includes:

*Two former Presidents of the Law Society of Scotland;

* The current Chief Executive of the pro-lawyer Scottish Legal Complaints Commission;

* An outgoing Scottish Public Services Ombudsman widely criticised for ineptitude;

* The current chair of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) – who struck off only six solicitors last year;

* The chair of a law firm whose partners have regularly appeared before the SSDT;

* A QC from an advocates stable where colleagues have been linked to a cash payments scandal;

* A former Crown Office Prosecutor & QC linked to events in the David Goodwillie rape case – where the victim was forced to sue her assailant through the civil courts after the Lord Advocate refused to prosecute the footballer.

Announcing the review, Legal Affairs Minister Annabel Ewing said: “Members of the public must be able to have confidence in the service they get from their solicitor. While this happens most of the time, I have been listening carefully to concerns that the current regulatory system in Scotland may leave consumers exposed and does not adequately address complaints.”

Speaking yesterday to journalists, former Cabinet Minister & SNP MSP Alex Neil generally welcomed the review, adding the review remit should also include judges.

Alex Neil said: I hope it produces radical and robust proposals. I also hope it covers the judiciary as well as lawyers.”

Mr Neil also called for greater fairness in the panel’s membership, to include members from outside the legal establishment.

Mr Neil added: I hope the membership of this review panel will be expanded to get a better balance between lawyers and non-lawyers”

The latest move by Scottish Ministers to reform self regulation of solicitors and advocates comes years after a move in England & Wales to more robust independent regulation of legal services - which has left Scots consumers & clients at a clear disadvantage.

And while clients in the rest of the UK have much more of a chance to obtain redress against legal professionals who consistently provide poor legal services – and see their lawyers named and shamed in public by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Legal Ombudsman (LeO),

At pains to point out the ‘independent’ nature of the review, the Legal Affairs Minister said: “This independent review will consider what changes may be needed to the statutory framework for the regulation of legal services to protect consumer interests and promote a flourishing legal sector. This includes ensuring that consumers properly understand the options open to them when something goes wrong and that the regulatory framework is proportionate for legal firms. I look forward to receiving its recommendations in due course.”

Chair of the review - Esther Roberton said: “I am delighted to have been asked to undertake this review. Our legal profession and legal services in Scotland are the envy of many around the world. We should be just as ambitious for our system of regulation of legal services. I would hope we can simplify the current complaints process to maximise consumers’ confidence in the system. I look forward to working with the panel members who bring a broad range of experience across a range of sectors.”

However, questions have surfaced over the actual intentions of the review after legal insiders revealed today the proposals only came about after long discussions between the Scottish Government and the Law Society of Scotland – the legal profession’s main lobby group in Scotland who enjoy the greatest benefit of self regulation.

Legal insiders have suggested the review is not widely seen as a serious move by Scottish Ministers to reform self regulation.

Rather, this third attempt at addressing failures of regulation and poor legal services provided by increasingly less qualified legal representatives is a reaction to the failure of Scotland’s legal services sector to put it’s own house in order amid diminishing business, a reduced client base, rising numbers of complaints.

The latest Government sponsored shot in the arm of lawyers – which one solicitor said this morning “may end up calling for more public cash and an increase in the legal aid budget” – comes on the back of a complete failure to attract international litigants who are wary of entering Scotland’s famously unreliable, expensive and poor legal services market.

Access to justice and legal services in Scotland are internationally well known as being hampered by slow proceedings in courts dubbed “Victorian” and “out of date” by both of Scotland’s recent top judges.

VESTED INTERESTS - Legal Profession welcome their own review:

The SLCC welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs of a review of how best to reform and modernise the statutory framework for the regulation of legal services and complaints handling in Scotland.

SLCC Chief Executive Neil Stevenson, one of the review panel members, commented “We are pleased that the Scottish Government has announced this review, in line with the manifesto commitment.  We hope our Reimagine Regulation legislative change priorities paper, which we published last year, will be one helpful contribution to the review.  In that paper we looked at some of the innovative thinking in regulation and standards coming from the health professions, so we are especially delighted to see that expertise represented in the review panel alongside huge knowledge of the legal sector.   We look forward to this range of experience and expertise being shared as part of this process, and a collaborative approach to identifying priorities and opportunities for reform.”

SLCC Chair Bill Brackenridge added, “This will be an excellent opportunity for all the key stakeholders involved to come together in supporting the review as it considers the regulatory landscape in order to support growth in the legal services sector and strengthen consumer protection.  Despite many strengths to the current system, the Board of the SLCC believe there are significant opportunities to make regulation more targeted, more effective and more efficient."

The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement today, Tuesday, 25 April, of an independent review of legal services, saying that current legislation governing the legal sector is no longer fit for purpose.

Law Society of Scotland president, Eilidh Wiseman said: “There have been huge changes in the legal market over recent years.  Changing consumer demands and new business structures are transforming the way legal services are being provided.

“This is why we have argued so strongly for reforms to the patchwork of legislation which covers the regulation of legal services in Scotland.  The main Act of Parliament governing solicitors is more than 35 years old and simply no longer fit for purpose.  We know the processes for legal complaints are slow, cumbersome, expensive and failing to deliver for solicitors or clients.  There are gaps in consumer protection, contradictions and loop holes in the law.  This is why change is so desperately needed to allow the legal sector to thrive and ensure robust protections are in place for consumers.

“The Scottish Government’s independent review offers the chance to build a consensus on how reforms should be taken forward.  It is vital for the work of the group to move as quickly as possible so new legislation can be introduced before the Scottish Parliament.”

The Law Society has highlighted its concerns about areas of legal services which remain unregulated in Scotland.

Wiseman said: “One area we will highlight to the review group is the growing level of unregulated legal services where consumers are at risk if something goes wrong. Many people are unaware that some types of legal services are not regulated – for example, receiving employment advice from a non-solicitor.  They may have little or no course of redress if something goes wrong. Consumers deserve the same level of protection whether they choose to go to a solicitor, and are therefore covered by Law Society client protections, or to use another legal services provider.”

Two former Law Society presidents, Christine McLintock and Alistair Morris, will serve on the legal services review panel.

Wiseman said: “I am particularly delighted that Christine McLintock and Alistair Morris will be part of the review group. With their considerable board-level expertise alongside their combined insight and knowledge of the legal sector, they will prove invaluable to the review process. They understand the need for reform and, having both served on regulatory sub-committees, bring a deep commitment to the public interest.”

Christine McLintock, as former general counsel for Pinsent Masons, was responsible for the firm’s in-house legal service, professional risk management and compliance. Christine joined the Law Society’s Council in 2005 and has served on the Society's Board since its inception in 2009. Prior to that, she was a member of the Strategy and Governance Group and was Convener of the Education and Training Committee, before to serving as President in 2015-16. She is currently part of the team working on the regulation of licensed legal services providers and is Convener of the Law Society’s Public Policy Committee.

Alistair Morris was appointed CEO of Pagan Osborne in 2005, having built extensive expertise in private client work at the firm. He was elected to join the Law Society Council in 1992, becoming one of its longest serving members at 24 years. Alistair also served as a board member between 2009 and 2016, and was Convener of the Guarantee Fund Sub-committee (now Client Protection Fund Sub-committee) prior to his election as President in 2014. Alistair currently sits on the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.

The Dean of Faculty, Gordon Jackson, QC, has responded to an announcement by the Scottish Government of an Independent Review of the Regulation of Legal Services.

Mr Jackson said: “I welcome that this review is taking place. It is very important that the legal profession retains the confidence of the public. I know that the Faculty of Advocates has earned that confidence, and that this thorough review will demonstrate that an independent referral bar has been, and will continue to be vital in maintaining an effective and fair justice system.

“The Faculty will willingly co-operate fully with the inquiry and I am confident that the considerable experience of the Faculty’s representatives, Laura Dunlop, QC, and Derek Ogg, QC, will be of great value.”

Review should include judiciary:

Scotland’s judges have earned themselves widespread criticism and condemnation at Holyrood and from the Judicial Complaints Reviewer (JCR) – after top judges failed to address complaints and become more transparent and accountable like other branches of Government.

Ongoing efforts by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee to create a register of judges’ interests have been flustered by two Lord Presidents – Lord Gill & current top judge Lord Carloway.

The proposal to bring greater transparency to Scotland’s judiciary - Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary - first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

The current review could include the judiciary in terms of how judges regulate themselves, however the Scottish Parliament should be left to get on with the task of creating a register of judges’ interests – given the five years of work already undertaken by MSPs on the thorny question of judicial declarations.

REVIEW THE REVIEW: Third attempt at reforming biased system of solicitors self regulation.

The latest review of the way lawyers regulate themselves marks the third attempt at addressing problems created by Scotland’s pro-lawyer system of self regulation, where lawyers write the rules, and look after their own.

In 2001, the Scottish Parliament’s Justice 1 Committee, under the Convenership of Christine Grahame MSP, met to consider evidence in relation to calls to reform regulation of the legal profession.

The inquiry, gained by the late, widely respected MSP, Phil Gallie, heard evidence in relation to how complaints were investigated by the legal profession.

However, Mr Gallie was replaced by Lord James Douglas Hamilton, and the Committee eventually concluded not to amend how the Law Society regulated Scottish solicitors.

A second, more substantive attempt to reform regulation of the legal profession came about in 2006, with the Scottish Parliament’s then Justice 2 Committee taking on consideration of the proposed Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act, which received Royal Assent in 2007.

The LPLA Act led to the creation of the now widely derided Scottish Legal Complaints Commission – once touted as an ‘independent’ solution to handing complaints against solicitors and advocates.

A mere nine years after the creation of the SLCC in 2008, the badly run legal quango, often itself the subject of scandal, charges of incompetence and downright bias – has become as much a threat to consumer protection as the Law Society itself was in the days when complaints were handled at the Law Society’s former HQ in Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh.

Regulating the legal profession: Usual suspects selected by legal profession to carry out independent review on regulation of solicitors:

The independent review of the regulation of legal services in Scotland is expected to consult widely with stakeholders and report to Scottish ministers by the end of 2018.

The independent chair of the review is Esther Roberton, current chair of NHS 24. Ms Roberton has extensive senior leadership experience in the NHS and other areas of public life.  She is also currently a board member of the Scottish Ambulance Service (2014-18).  She was chair of SACRO (2010-2014) and until recently also sat on the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Audit and Risk Committee (COPFS ARC).

The review panel have confirmed their participation as follows:

•      Christine McLintock - immediate past president Law Society of Scotland
•      Alistair Morris - chief executive of the management board, Pagan Osborne (Law Society of Scotland)
•      Laura Dunlop QC - Hastie Stables (Faculty of Advocates)
•      Derek Ogg QC - MacKinnon Advocates (Faculty of Advocates)
•      Neil Stevenson – chief executive of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
•      Nicholas Whyte – chair of Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal
•      Ray Macfarlane –  chair of the Scottish Legal Aid Board
•      Jim Martin – outgoing Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
•      Dr Dame Denise Coia – chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland
•      Prof Lorne Crerar - chairman, Harper Macleod LLP
•      Prof Russel Griggs - chair of the Scottish Government’s Independent Regulatory Review Group
•      Trisha McAuley OBE - independent consumer expert


Anonymous said...

Ewing may as well set a date for 2035 for the cough cough panel to report back with recommendations.

In any event as you point out England and Wales already have independent regulation so why bother setting up an 12 member panel of vested interests pocketing large sums of public cash on a mission to hold back the tide of independent regulation.

Anonymous said...

may as well appoint footballers to a rape inquiry its the same thing going on time and again who the hell are these people anyway you have been writing about this for years and all they do is hold review and review and do nothing at the end of it shocking!

Anonymous said...

Legal profession welcome their own review!

Kind of sums up the charade on offer here.Two years to conclude nothing will be done and another waste of time forcing victims of these thugs to go through endless letters and sitting in front of people who are laughing in their heads at victims as they speak about what their lawyer did to them.

This is NO DIFFERENT from the abuse inquiry and all the other inquiries before it these professionals must get a big kick out of sitting there smiling away with a Hello how are you we are here to help you and listen to you then go away and laugh at victims behind their backs or in some of the people you mention just laugh away to their faces.Just horrible the whole thing how anyone can think this will do any good for anyone other than lawyers is as shameful as the people who dreamed up the review in the first place.

Also as we all learned last week from the news if you want to get something done get Alex Neil's committee to drag the legal mafia in front of them and face proper questions instead of here is the tea and cakes lets have a quiet meeting and hope no one says anything we dont want to hear.The cops got it last week and the lawyers shoud get it this week instead of two years later and a pat on the back!

Help us Alex Neil please!

Anonymous said...

and this bunch qualify as an "independent" panel review in Scotland????!!

The list of panel members includes:

*Two former Presidents of the Law Society of Scotland;

* The current Chief Executive of the pro-lawyer Scottish Legal Complaints Commission;

* An outgoing Scottish Public Services Ombudsman widely criticised for ineptitude;

* The current chair of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) – who struck off only six solicitors last year;

* The chair of a law firm whose partners have regular appeared before the SSDT;

* A QC from an advocates stable where colleagues have been linked to a cash payments scandal;

* A former Crown Office Prosecutor & QC linked to events in the David Goodwillie rape case – where the victim was forced to sue her assailant through the civil courts after the Lord Advocate refused to prosecute the footballer.

Anonymous said...

Keep this dangerous time wasting review exercise away from your petition

Anonymous said...

Where in all of this mess of new SG panel are the representatives for the Public, the very people who have to pay for this legal quagmire that has existed since the creation of four most protected organisations in Scotland, that is the Judiciary, The Faculty of Inadequates, the Flaw Society of Scotland and the 'Independent' SLCC which is staffed by ex-Flaw Society employees.

Given the present and past status of the NHS in Scotland, and no resolution thereof, no Chair from a defunct NHS should be allowed near a review of the self-regulation of lawyers, and neither should all those seemingly appointed and by whom were the appointments made by and on what basis.

The entire legal system in Scotland costs the public close to £2 billion per annum and for which the Public has zero say or zero representation in these costly and critical matters. The new SG panel consists of tired, failed, and expensive egotists who self-represent their own greed, their own creed and their own wealth by robbing the public purse, be it via SLAB funding, Legal Indemnity Insurance or daylight robbery by charging clients excessively and preferring cash payments which is a form of money laundering as it evades HMRC and others.

Anonymous said...

This SG Panel will achieve nothing and will change nothing, but it will cost the Public immensely and will add nothing of value to the Pubic.
It should be made clear to all legal fraternities that the Public are the ultimate stake-holder in all of this so called 'review'. Nota Bene: It is titled a 'Regulated Review', which means the existing 'regulators' can regulate and control the panel and have apriori selected their representatives without public consultation which demonstrates 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose' shall remain the order of the day.
As a follow on to the above.
At the very minimum the SG Panel should include:
A Human Rights Advocate and not the EHRC or other quangos
Moi Ali, a person who seemingly has more integrity than the motley crew thus gathered so far. This pre-selected gathering is more like a muttley crew from a wacky races with numerous Dick Dastardly playing against the Public Interest.

The Public are required to get rid of this farcical SG 'regulated review' wheelie bin mentality of selective grooming of the same flawed and failed 'legal' personnel from the has been or never was monopolistic mind-set and same same same organisations, Ad infinitum.

Anonymous said...

2nd follow on:
I hereby call for Mr Peter Cherbi and other concerned legal journalists and other concerned members of the Public to be included and so as to ‘better balance between lawyers & non-lawyers’ as to the abhorrent and untenable state of self-regulation of the 4 Big Brother organisations as named above, that is the Judiciary, The Faculty of Inadequates, the Flaw Society of Scotland and the 'Independent' SLCC which is staffed by ex-Flaw Society employees.

The SG and this panel could and should be held in contempt of ECHR in that the Public as primary stake-holder in all legal matters that affect the Public has been discriminated against and treated as a minority without any rights of association.

The more that things change in Scotland, the more they stay the same. I recall Cathy Jamieson (who is she now compared to then) preaching reform of the Scottish legal system and the complaints process, and that created the SLCC with half of the Flaw Society of Scotland complaints staff and also more recently the flawed and non-transparent appointment of the present SLCC CEO, picked directly from same Flaw Society that manipulates the SG reminiscent of Orwellian Animal Farm and 1984 with double think and speak by the Napoleonic stance taken by the selector of this panel.

Anonymous said...

3rd and final follow up
If this SG 'regulated review' panel were put into room 101, the common dominator and dominatrix resulting opinion and outcome would be against the primary Public stakeholder and in preference to their own selective kith and kin.

For this SG 'regulated review' panel to be formed without Public involvement and Public consultation is an abomination that is absurd, perverse and irrational and should be aborted forthwith and without excuses.

The Scottish Public are called upon to rid this quango review ASAP until the Public are adequately represented and also consider that the 'regulated review ‘panel excludes the Public, the Number One stakeholder, and epitomises the very essence of Dictatorial Reform that Kim Jong-un believes is democratic.

Peter Cherbi, I would nominate you for a knighthood in a second; however it would be against my very principles in that an unelected and unaccountable person would be doing the dishonour, such as is in this case of an unelected and unaccountable quango body staffed by the very same who have failed legal reform.

Peter, continue in subjugated perseverance and against the odds of state.

Anonymous said...

In reference to the comment above stating this review is as bad as the abuse inquiry I wholeheartedly concur.
Except in this particular case representatives and lobbying groups for the abusers are there in person sitting as part of the review.

We really must stop the likes of lawyers and other vested interests having their way with reviews inquiries investigations and so called judicial inquiries because at the end of the day nothing ever results or emerges from whatever the subject they are looking into.

Time for a clean break from the inquiry and review habit.No more lessons will be learned.The lessons are there for everyone to see.

Now,Ms Sturgeon and Ms Ewing go do something to put a stop to this tomorrow or next week, at least in a couple of months.Not at the end of 2018 just to allow the legal profession to rip off some more unsuspecting clients.

Anonymous said...

Heavy on detail.Just as I like it MrC.If only some put as much effort into their features as you do the public will be much better informed.

Anonymous said...

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman you refer to in this article is a another waste of space.Their main mission is to find against everyone who makes a complaint about some kind of public service and they always carefully word their reports so no one can do anything about it.

Take this example (one of many) where the brave fantastic SPSO recommends a Hospital apologise for sending someone home to die.Good work SPSO the entire investigation will have cost the earth along with their workers filling up their pockets on expenses to come up with make the hospital apologise.Disgusting isn't it and now they have been put on the job of protecting horrible corrupt lawyers!

Watchdog orders NHS Tayside apology after woman was sent home with brain aneurysm and died

A health board has been told to apologise for sending a patient with a suspected brain aneurysm home, telling her she had muscle pain, after which she collapsed and died.

The case was investigated by a public services watchdog which concluded NHS Tayside had failed to provide reasonable treatment.

A report by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) said: "While we could not say that the woman's life would definitely have been saved if the relevant tests had been carried out, independent advice that we obtained said that it was probable that her condition was treatable."

The investigation was sparked after the woman's husband took his complaint to the SPSO following his wife's death.

Her GP referred her to Perth Royal Infirmary on January 7 last year with a suspected brain aneurysm after she reported sudden headache and neck pain.

After hospital assessment by a specialist trainee doctor and consultant physician, she was told the problem was likely muscular and discharged.

The woman, known only as Mrs C in the report, went back to her GP three times in the next 15 days before collapsing at home on January 24 with signs of acute bleeding on the brain.

Medical staff deemed further treatment inappropriate and the woman died two days later.

The SPSO sought an independent opinion on the woman's treatment from a consultant physician, who said she should have had a brain scan when she first attended hospital as well as a possible lumbar puncture to check for bleeding on the brain.

The watchdog found Mrs C's diagnosis of muscoskeletal neck pain "unreasonable" and asked the health board to apologise in writing to her husband for this and for failing to deal with his complaints in a "timely and professional manner".

NHS Tayside was also asked to provide evidence to ensure patients are monitored properly, that adults presenting with headaches are investigated in line with national guidelines and that discharge notes also comply with the same guidelines where required.

Anonymous said...

well well Peter.I like your version of the Scotgov review story but you want to see the absolute p*sh written about it in the papers yesterday.I mean why bother buying a rag if all they are going to do is rehash the Gov Press Release and a cream bun from the Law Society.Thankfully your brilliant take on this along with your reference to previous at the Scottish Parliament going back to 2001 is by far the winning version.

Keep up the good work mister and forget about those knighthood suggestions.As you said before gongs and titles are only given to people to shut them up.Once they have all that crap you never hear a peep out of them nor a tear shed for some innocent victim ever again.The list in your story of who is on that panel proves my point.

Anonymous said...

Peter, despite my earlier just warbling’s about it being the 3rd and final follow up, I am minded to include the following 'Forewords' from 'Law, practice & conduct for SOLICITORS’, both 1st (2006) and 2nd editions (2014). I trust you and your readers should find this insightful.
Lord Bonomy August 2014, although retired in 2012 (Wikipedia), it still begs the question as to what relevance this foreword has in 2017 (Or 2014 publication date), but it says:
'...I represented a client before the SSDT, assisting a leading silk,.............of the tradition of charging no fee for representing a colleague in distress.......' No mention of the Public complainant distress, expense, volume of work and associated anxiety and in a context totally alien from the Public complainant who has dared (the audacity) to raise a complaint against The Profession.
It continues, ' the collaboration (inserted: should that be corroboration?) of the academic (inserted by me as the academic being of minor significance) with the Scottish profession’s recently retired agony uncle...' This agony uncle being only available to those in the profession and not to the Public. Note the absence of the word legal as in the legal profession and as such one must conclude that lobotomy was suggesting that there exists only one profession, and the rest of us are merely lacking the required 'advanced knowledge or training in some branch of learning or science specifically law, theology or medicine' as espoused by Robert Rennie in July 2006 as in the foreword of the 2006 edition.
This is the same Robert Rennie of Glasgow University and also Harper Macleod (HM). HM have won many SG contracts and are so in with the SG that the appointment of a HM founder and partner to the 'regulated review' beggars belief that such nepotism, cronyism and patronage is still abhorrently apparent in SG circles in 2017 and there are no victims of a flawed legal system being represented.

Anonymous said...

Rennie continues in 2014 foreword with 'It is clear now that there was a duty to disclose the existence of the fraud both to the solicitor on the other side.....'; however the ex-professor of conveyancing pontificates further in posing a question as to whether a solicitor would be taking an unfair, unprofessional advantage and leaves the question in doubt as opposed to answering the question. That is, raise the question, implant the seed of doubt and then request a substantial fee from the Public for answering the conundrum the solicitor has hijacked you to in the first place.
How many private clients of solicitors have received calls from their ‘solicitors’ and answered those calls or called back and only later discovered that they are being called on trivial or non-urgent matters but are being billed and charged by the very unwarranted solicitor calls. There is a somewhat recourse of action available against cold callers and associated costs of call-back thereof; but what about any recourse against LLP agent racking up their bill due to greed or lack of other business. An LLP agent not in court has to drum up some business somehow, and as usual at the Public expense and without the Client/Public being made aware.
The ‘regulated review’ as proposed is being regulated to the tune of the Flaw society, the somewhat lacking Faculty who are dependent upon the Flaws for their own engagement, the judiciary for their business in court which derives from both organisations, the SLCC which is paymaster dependent upon levies from ‘the profession’ and/or the other cohort, the SLAB, to the tune of £150 Million per annum.
Which other industry or business is being subsidised to the tune of £150 Million per annum in Scotland other than that of the legal profession? Which other Public sector body squanders more than a £1billion per annum and in which there are well known problems in the control and regulation thereof and that supervisory and regulatory bodies are knowingly deficient in the exercise of such functions.

Anonymous said...

This committee should be chaired by members of the public not the list of self interest people approved.why should Neil Stevenson even be considered to play any part in this committee after the mess he has left in being the CEO of SLCC media exposure to follow confirming my

Anonymous said...

Time for those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, to organize a crowdfunding petition to raise funds to allow independent Counsel (i.e. not Scottish) to submit a case to the European Court of Justice listing the many failings of what masquerades daily as a justice system in Edinburgh - and in so doing take it beyond the reach of domestic vested interests and bring these matters before a far wider audience - which is what they deserve.

Anonymous said...


It did not work for politicians, it did not work for the financial 'services', and it has NEVER WORKED FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION.

Anonymous said...

Why I wonder did the SNP not invite any of the distinguished legal experts who appeared on the BBC programme discussing the conspicuous shortcomings of the Scottish legal profession - a very rare event - entitled 'Lawyers Behaving Badly'?

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 28 April 2017 at 08:16

The members of the review panel were mainly selected and approved by the Law Society of Scotland.

The Scottish Government only played a token role in discussions and the announcement as the proposal of the review came from the Law Society of Scotland.

This review is clearly an attempt to control the debate on reforming self regulation of the legal profession while consumers in England & Wales have the advantage of a more independent form of regulation of solicitors & barristers.

Readers may remember a former CEO of the Law Society of Scotland - Douglas Mill, sought and obtained a legal opinion from Lord Lester of Herne Hill in relation to a proposed legal challenge against the Scottish Parliament.

Lord Lester's opinion claimed lawyers human rights would be violated if someone other than a lawyer regulated lawyers.

Douglas Mill then threatened to launch a legal challenge against the Scottish Parliament's consideration of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007.

Douglas Mill's legal challenge did not happen, because the LPLA Bill was so watered down, and the SLCC weakened from the very outset, the 'reforms' to regulation of solicitors which emerged from the 2006 Justice 2 Committee sessions amounted to nothing.

It should therefore be no surprise we have the exact same problems today with self regulation as existed in the 1990s where lawyers can do what they like and get away with it, unless for reasons of PR and spin, the Law Society throw an occasional solicitor on the scrapheap.

The review as currently announced will not enhance any protection for Scots consumers as none currently exists and it is not the intention of this panel to change the status quo in any way when so many members of the panel have advocated and financially benefited from self regulation all of their professional careers.