Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Scotsman responds to Peter Cherbi and the Herald with a living eulogy of Scottish Law Society Chief Executive Douglas Mill
If anyone doubted the power of the legal profession to own the media in Scotland, in an attempt to bury the truth, revealed though the power of campaigners such as myself, and groups such as "Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers", the Scotsman newspaper today would make great reading for such an example.
Yesterday, as you know, I covered the Herald Newspaper's 'clarification' of their story of 5 June, which related to Douglas Mill standing in front of the Justice 2 Committee and the Scottish Parliament, denying he had ever became involved in client claims against crooked lawyers.
The article :
In fact, the highly controversial memos were revealed at that same hearing by John Swinney MSP, and myself in this blog previously, that Douglas Mill most certainly was involved in client claims against crooked lawyers .. and not only Douglas Mill .. but a whole swathe of 'office bearers' within the Law Society had involved themeselves in clients cases against crooked lawyers - with the sole intention of defeating such claims for financial compensation.
Taken aback, at the strength of the Herald Newspaper's 5th June article, titled "Would Granny Swear by the Law Society ?" by Paul Rogerson - which you can read in yesterday's blog article, Douglas Mill and his colleagues from the Law Society embarked upon threats to the Herald over the tone of their article, claiming it appeared Douglas Mill had indeed, been involved in such a case where a client had raised claims of negligence, with the Master Insurance Policy (the Scottish solicitors Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme), against several firms of Scottish solicitors.
From the Herald's quoting, verbatim, of the secret memos ... which were written by Mill himself .. on the subject of the Mackenzie's claims of negligence against several firms of Scottish solicitors - Mill took offence to the perception he had become directly involved in a case, and simply could not resist the opportunity to have a go at the Herald newspaper, who, had run a campaign earlier this year to support independent regulation of the legal profession in Scotland, thus taking away the Law Society's prized role as self-regulator, which has allowed the Society to fiddle complaints against crooked lawyers for decades.
The memos are clear in their content. Douglas Mill had become involved in claims of negligence against Scottish solicitors and legal firms, to the extent he had sought to delay and thus hinder such claims, collate information on complainants .. and it seems, a whole lot more.
I'd have to ask, how can one write a memo about a case, asking for delays in the case, seeking meetings on such case, having held previous meetings on said case, and more. Is such a thing possible ? that one cannot be involved in a case, when one makes such comments or participates in the progress of said case ?
Even in one particular sentence, which has, I must say, sinister overtones, quoting Alistair Sim at Marsh inc - the administrators of the Master Insurance Policy scheme, that "Alistair confirms that there is never any question of the Mackenzies sending out hard copy letters".
Why am I troubled by that particular comment in the memo ?
Well, the last time I saw this very same sentence, was in a copy of a confidential 'security' report I was passed - and the sentence followed a discussion about how to gain "hard copy letters" from the 'subject' of the 'security' report, so hard copy signatures could be gained, letters or documents could be falsified and used against the 'subject' in evidence to discredit them.
That is sinister, isn't it ?
Why would Douglas Mill and Alistair Sim be discussing such an issue as trying to obtain "hard copy letters" from a client who has filed several financial claims for negligence against well known crooked lawyers, and is reported in the very same memo to be an "intelligent and well organised individual who could, unlike some of the other thorns in our flesh, come over very well at a JHAC [Justice & Home Affairs Committee] investigation" - in other words - a significant threat to Douglas Mill and the Law Society of Scotland.
Regrettably, I can't publish the comparison from that 'security' report at all, as a trusted source gave it to me on such condition, and I respect my source's conscience to have taken such a risk and given me disclosure.
However, I'm sure, from my writings, you will believe what I say here. I have no axe to grind in lying - I don't need to .. the truth is better to write about, and you can see that I write about the truth - so much so, when I write one thing, the occasional 'bought-off' newspaper has to come out and do a PR spin on the subject of my article ... that is a compliment to me, right ? It actually supports what I have said in the first place, doesn't it ?
So, Douglas Mill enjoys the warm welcome he receives as an ambassador for the legal profession in Scotland when he travels abroad, does he ?
Well, I think we need to motivate our contacts around the world to publish just how big a liar Douglas Mill is .. and he is certainly no model for the legal profession in Scotland .. or is he ?
A reality check on 5000 + complaints a year against a total membership of 10,000 lawyers leaves no lawyer without a complaint - or, as some recent articles in the media I have been invited to comment on, have revealed lawyers with long histories of multiple client complaints.
So, amidst thousands of complaints (many of them proved), of endemic corruption, fraud, trafficing in Class A narcotics to clients in jail, even using Class A drugs within lawyers offices and while at work, embezzlement, overcharging, theft of client property, fraud involving wills and probate, and even lawyers allegedly hiring people to threaten clients, and take out murder hits on colleagues within the legal profession ... maybe Douglas Mill is, a good model for the legal profession in Scotland.
After all, if the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, is a liar, and a liar to Parliamentary Committees, clients, and the public .. then, how are we to expect the rest of the legal profession to behave ?
Jennifer Veitch of the Scotsman can't approach me for an article in response - as the Scotsman are alleged to have an embargo on publishing any articles "which may be beneficial to Peter Cherbi's campaign against the legal profession & the Law Society of Scotland".
Why ? because the Law Society asked them to refrain from covering my story, because it was so damaging to the Law Society.
That is such a shame. I respected the Scotsman newspaper for many years. They gave me great coverage of my case, gave a great boost to the campaign to bring independent regulation to the legal profession, and indeed, in the 1990's ran editorials themselves, seeking an end to the corrupt form of self-regulation of the legal profession which the Law Society have operated for so many years.
It is all changed now .. what a shame for transparency. What a shame for the public interest. What a shame, for truth.
I do this not only for myself, I do it for everyone who has come to me over the years, with their problems of how they have been ripped off by crooked lawyers, and other crooked professionals, had their lives ruined, been thrown out of their homes, had their funds embezzled and stolen from them, had no compensation for what happend, have lost their loved ones over the antics of crooked lawyers, and have been messed around by the likes of Douglas Mill and the Law Society .. for years.
What, therefore, is the media's motive for supporting such people who do these things ? must be money ... it certainly can't be pursuit of the truth, can it ?
Link from the Scotsman, at :
A lawyer's never loved in his own home land
WHENEVER Douglas Mill travels abroad on business, the warm welcome he receives as an ambassador for the legal profession in Scotland means a lot more to him than a polite token of respect. For Mill, the Law Society's chief executive, it also throws into sharp relief just how negatively the legal profession is perceived on his home turf.
"The Scottish legal profession is held in phenomenally high esteem - everywhere except Scotland," says Mill. "It's not just the profession that's held in high esteem but Scots Law, the Scottish legal system and the Scottish legal profession.
"These are three slightly different things but all closely related, and we are still looked at, for historical and other reasons, as a jurisdiction that deserves profound respect. Sadly - and it is a lack of understanding thing - in Scotland, at the moment, that respect is not there.
"But you go abroad and you get the feel-good factor, and you come back to what I have to deal with five days a week - and you feel like opening your wrists and lying in a warm bath."
Such an exaggeration could be dismissed as characteristic of Mill's ebullient manner, but it is also a measure of the frustration he feels about the way the profession is regarded in Scotland. It remains to be seen whether any of the society's well-documented concerns about impending regulatory changes - specifically, the ramifications of setting up the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, as proposed in the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill - will be taken on board.
The changes could not only alter the role of the society, but the future direction of the profession.
Perhaps Mill can console himself that he is not alone. As acting president of the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives (IILACE), he is in regular contact with bar associations around the world, and he has noted that all are facing two common challenges, one internal and one external.
"The big internal issue is one that every law society has - of democratic legitimacy of the organisation through elected council members and representatives. Because they are busier people, the greater burden falls on those of us for whom this is the day job.
"The outward-looking issue is the whole question of the independence of the profession and the interface between government and profession. That is not just a UK issue with Clementi and the Scottish Bill, that is a global thing. There are jurisdictions such as Australia and Canada that are actually further ahead than we are, developmentally."
Delegates at the IILACE annual conference in New York this week will get the chance to debate these and other issues facing the legal profession around the world. Now in its eighth year, IILACE was founded in Edinburgh in 1999, as a fringe event at the Law Society's 50th anniversary conference.
"The first meeting took place in our council room," recalls Mill. "I don't take the credit for the initiative - it was a guy called Barry Fitzgerald from the Law Society of South Australia, who took the opportunity of piggybacking on our conference.
"It was the third biggest legal conference in the world that year - we had about 1,300 delegates from about 40 different countries - and Barry saw the opportunity to get CEOs to engage."
The concept of an international association is far from new, adds Mill, but it has taken the cooperation between law societies to a global level. "The Chief Executives of European Bar Associations is now into something like its 48th year, but IILACE was invented on the basis that there were other jurisdictions that felt the need for networking at a CEO level, in particular the Australians, Canadians and so on.
"It started off as an English-speaking, Commonwealth-type thing, but it's gone beyond that. We have been to every continent, except South America. We can't tune into South America at all, which is very unfortunate. Beyond that we are starting to get pretty worldwide coverage."
He adds: "It is an annual conference and also a virtual organisation in terms of having a website and regular e-mail contact. We try to balance it between the work of a CEO, issues involved in running a law society, and so on, and some of the big geopolitical issues about independence.
"The main benefit is that it saves you reinventing other people's wheels - it's a good information-sharing network. Canada and Australia are the two relevant jurisdictions for me. They may seem much bigger countries, but they are not really - the Canadian provinces and Australian states are very comparable to Scotland in terms of population and numbers of lawyers."
For the first time, ILLACE is holding a conference independently of a host law society or bar association, and Mill says this is a sign of its growing international reputation.
"We always picked another conference to piggyback on. It is the first time we have not gone to a home law society - this is a make-or-break year for IILACE. We have 29 delegates and 15 guest speakers, which is easily our best ever."
The agenda includes debates about the role of the lawyers in contemporary society, the reform of the legal profession, and the relationship between the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Bush administration.
The two keynote speakers are Dennis Archer, the former mayor of Detroit and a past president of the ABA, and Robert Grey, its immediate past president.
"To get these two very significant international legal figures again I think is an indication that this is the year that IILACE came of age," says Mill, who will mark ten years as chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland in January.
But while IILACE appears to be growing in stature, Mill says the future standing of the Law Society and the Scottish legal profession and legal system remains less certain during a period of unprecedented change.
"The system was never perfect, but it has probably been unduly knocked," he says.
"The profession, the law and the system are all up for change. But I think there is a concern that it is change for the sake of change, change without holistic understanding, without breadth, depth, and vision.
"That is what concerns us at the moment because, quite honestly, the respect that the Scottish legal system has attained around the world historically will be eroded and is eroding at the moment. There is no doubt in my mind about that."
But he adds: "It is a mark of the respect in which the Law Society of Scotland is held and that the Scottish legal system is held that I am chairing this conference. Our stock is still high internationally. I would hope we would continue to maintain the share value we have internationally - but we have got to fight to do so."
Posted by Legal Beagle at 3:24 am