Monday, September 11, 2006

Journalists lack impartiality in debate on complaints against crooked lawyers & LPLA Bill

Journalists now joining the fight against pro consumer reforms of the legal profession - an analysis, from A Diary of Injustice in Scotland

Scottish media opinion being manipulated by legal profession against LPLA Bill reforms ?

I wondered if Scotland on Sunday might be doing a piece on this week's battle at the Scottish Parliament over the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill .. so I emailed Murdo McLeod of Scotland on Sunday on Friday afternoon posing the question. I got a response back from another reporter, on Saturday, telling me they were, but after a lot of arm twisting that week, their article would be in support of the legal profession (which made the reporter who contacted me, "sick").

Sad isn't it ... Scotland on Sunday was quick enough to seek me out for a comment on the Leslie Cumming attack story, after they had been briefed by Law Society officials that websites critisising the legal profession should be 'taken out' .. along with their authors .. goodness knows, there are a few in the legal profession who have even offered money to 'take me out' .. as one person who-should-know... put it recently but SOS was warned against printing anything else from me critisising the state of the legal profession with regard to regulatory matters ... so even though there are those who are consciencious enough to keep me informed of events on their staff .. the paper just can't let me have my say .. oh well .. bit sad for democracy there I suppose .. let the lawyers have their say but don't interview their victims...

Magnus Linklater as you can see from his "Wikipedia" entry (for all that's worth, as Wikipedia has been mostly in the news for fiddled entries by either special interests, politicians secretaries, companies, or lawyers with sex offence convictions) .. has had a long career in journalism, even being the editor of the Scotsman from 1988 - 1994.

So, it's a good thing, the frauds of the well known crooked Borders solicitor Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors Kelso came after 1994 ... otherwise, in the light of Linklater's opinion in today's Scotland on Sunday .. my problems with the legal profession would never have been so extensively reported as they were.

Maybe Linklater's opinion would be different if he had been ruined by some crooked lawyers .. after all, one writes best, from experience .. so maybe he should write about the turmoil of house fires, as I read from his wikipedia entry .. pity ... wonder if he has a lawyer helping him with the house fire & insurance claim he sufferend.

Linklater's wife is a libdem peer, according to the Wikipedia entry on Mr Linklater. We all know the LibDems support the legal profession & particularly, the Law Society of Scotland, as a party. They have stated so, as a party, many times in the past.

The Liberal Democrats have a collective party policy of denying assistance to constituents who report difficulties with the Law Society of Scotland & legal profession.. so judging by Linklater's article today, his isn't a friendly house to any proposed reforms intended to bring transparency, honesty and independence to complaints against crooked lawyers.

In fact, reading the article, and taking it's contents along with everything else we have read from the legal profession lately .. one could be forgiven for thinking Linklater is yet another one, dragged out on behalf of Scotland's desperate legal profession, who are out at any costs to thward the progress of the LPLA Bill.

After all, he does go on to mention the Law Society of Scotland dusting off Lord Lester of Herne Hill to give an opinion that "it infringed Article 6 of the convention because the complaints commission would not be "an independent and impartial tribunal".

Lord Lester of Herne Hill is a LibDem peer ... anyone made a connection yet ? .. What was that I was saying earlier about the LibDems supporting the legal profession AGAINST the public in these reforms ?

How many times have I read 'f*ck off' letters from LibDem politicians to constituents who have been ripped off and ruined by their lawyers, and the Law Society hasn't done anything about it ? .. some of those letters from very senior members of the LibDem party ..

To futher justify Linklater's article, he adds insult to injury of the people of Zimbabwe .. in referring to Sternford Moyo, former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe's words of support for the Law Society of Scotland earlier this week .. where he claimed Scotland could be heading for a Zimbabwe style dictatorship if complaints against lawyers were made independent.

My my .. that's more than a little bit over the top, Mr Linklater .. it's a BIG bit over the top ... comparing the Law Society of Scotland's loss of control of complaints to the suffering of Zimbabwe and it's people under Robert Mugabe.

Indicentally .. I see there are people being deported back to Zimbabwe from the UK ... even though Moyo claims it's a dangerous dictatorship .. what's up with these poor people's lawyers then ? aren't they doing their job well enough to prevent them being deported back to face possible torture & death, because they dissented from Mugabe's party line ? Why isn't the Law Society fighting for these people's rights to stay in the UK if it is conveniently using the suffering of one of it's colleagues in the same country, earmarked as a dangerous dictatorship ? ... bit one sided, yes ? or perhaps .. Human Rights don't matter to those in the legal profession, unless of course, the situation can be twisted to support the power players of the Law Society's own ends ...

Linklater goes on to bring out a host of others to defend the Law Society of Scotland quoting every major figure who has appeared in defence of the legal profession in the past few weeks .. even, ludicrously, dragging Sir Walter Scott into the debate .. but nowhere does there appear, the opinion of the public in his article .. and certainly nowhere, does there appear any opinions from the actual victims of the legal profession.

Linklater saves the last words of his opinion, to continue the attack of the legal profession on the alleged competency of the Scottish Parliament - for taking up the complaints of clients & the public against the Law Society .. with his reference to those in the legal profession who "... argued forcibly that the way the Scottish Parliament was handling the matter was inadequate, incompetent and possibly even unconstitutional. Those are harsh charges, but they deserve a serious response. At the heart of this debate lies not just the good name of the Scottish legal system, but the nature of Scottish democracy."

Indeed, Magnus, at the heart of this debate, lies not just the crooked name of the Scottish legal system - from McKie's faked fingerprint reports, to the 100 year secrets of a child murdering Politician friendly freemason, to a possibly faked up Lockerbie Trial verdict to suit political ends at the time, to many members of the legal fraternity whose names appeared in Operation Ore, but whose prosecutions were obstructed or dropped, to the conduct in both public & private life by members of the judificary & legal profession, who have used & abused their position for decades.

At the heart of this debate, Magnus, lies the effectiveness of the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament, our Scottish Democracy, to stand up to the dirty tricks and intimidation tactics of the legal profession & the judiciary, who are, a law unto themselves, and who use the law against anyone who would challenge their dictatorship.

That is why the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, must come into law, and there must be a completely independent system of regulating ALL complaints against Scotlands legal profession.

Whenever we see reforms of other laws called for by the media or politicians, or cases where a criminal doesn't get a deserving sentence, we see opinions from the family of a murdered victim, a grieving spouse over the death of a partner in medical care, or a victims support group or charity or even known victims of the same thing, give their thoughts & opinion printed ..

Not when it comes to the question of dealing with lawyers though .. oh no, ... only the opinion of the legal profession & those who have the most to lose from the new LPLA Bill, and reforms to the handling of complaints against lawyers, finds it's way into the press .

Magnus - Just ask any of those clients & members of the public whom the legal profession have tried to wipe out, just because they have filed complaints against a crooked lawyer - these victims, will tell you a very different opinion from that which you force upon others as 'fact'.

Link from Scotland on Sunday, at :

Sun 10 Sep 2006
Law reforms threaten to shake foundations of our democracy

THERE seems no good reason for the Scottish Parliament to be at loggerheads with the legal profession in Scotland. The parliament is pledged to uphold the integrity, independence, customs and traditions of Scots law. The Scotland Act of 1998 enshrined the separate status of the legal system. Strengthening that independence is meant to be at the heart of legislation currently being considered by the parliament, which debated it last week. Yet it all seems to be going horribly wrong.

Far from shoring up the system, the new reforms will, in the view of a majority of lawyers, fatally undermine it. From the appointment of judges to the setting up of a complaints procedure which will ultimately be controlled by politicians, there is a mounting impression that English reforms are being incorporated into the Scottish system, eroding the very values on which it is founded.

The anger of the lawyers boiled over at a remarkable conference convened last week by the Law Society of Scotland. It heard from some of Scotland's top legal minds. They did not mince their words.

Sir David Edward, one of the country's most respected lawyers, and formerly the sole British judge at the European Court of Justice, spoke of his "profound depression" at the provisions of the new Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, which will set up a new complaints commission, giving power to Scottish ministers for the first time to pass judgment on the performance of the legal profession.

Far from strengthening independence, he said, "it has every intention of doing exactly the opposite". He said it represented "a slavish imitation of English innovations" and he quoted Sir Walter Scott, who had campaigned passionately against the Whig reforms of 1806, and had warned: "Little by little, whatever your wishes may be, you will destroy and undermine, until nothing of what makes Scotland Scotland shall remain."

Lord McCluskey, now retired as a judge, but as forthright as ever, said the appointment of a civil servant as solicitor-general, and the complicity of the Lord Advocate in allowing the steady erosion of judicial independence, was leading to "a lazy tendency to adopt English solutions", that the parliament's consultancy process was "a mockery", and that the reforms being introduced threatened "an unprecedented degree of government control".

To rub in the message, the society heard from Sternford Moyo, former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, who had served time in prison for attempting to defend judicial independence under Robert Mugabe, and who warned Scotland might be heading the same way.

Most outsiders might conclude that all this was a trifle over the top, and that lawyers are not necessarily the most objective critics when it comes to defending their own profession. But as the discussion became more detailed, some worrying aspects of the debate began to emerge. Perhaps the most disturbing concerns the competence of the Scottish Parliament's committee system to absorb, consider and refine complex legal reforms without a revising chamber. Both the Justice 1 Committee and the Justice 2 Committee have been involved, over the past few years, in considering reforms, and have heard evidence about serious concerns from lawyers. But thus far the central provisions of the Bill are unchanged.

The law society argues that the new commission, which will have the power to hear complaints against the legal profession, is not independent of government; that it will be a quango controlled by the Executive; that ministers will have the power to appoint and remove its members, and that it poses a direct threat to the rule of law. Those arguments have been ignored.

More damningly, when the society called in one of the UK's top experts on the European Convention of Human Rights to examine whether the Bill was fully compatible, he concluded it was not. Lord Lester of Herne Hill said it infringed Article 6 of the convention because the complaints commission would not be "an independent and impartial tribunal", and there was no external appeal process. This suggests that civil servants who drafted the Bill had simply not taken on board its wider implications.

Most of those speaking at the conference, representing both sides of the profession - solicitors and advocates - conceded that parliament had every right to consider legal reforms. They accepted, too, that there were legitimate concerns about the rights of the public when it came to challenging the competence or performance of lawyers.

But they argued forcibly that the way the Scottish Parliament was handling the matter was inadequate, incompetent and possibly even unconstitutional. Those are harsh charges, but they deserve a serious response. At the heart of this debate lies not just the good name of the Scottish legal system, but the nature of Scottish democracy.

Magnus Linklater
Legal Issues
Last updated: 10-Sep-06 10:10 BST

No comments: