I do seem to upset crooked lawyers and their supporters from time to time.
Well, we all know the motives of crooked lawyers - they are crooks of course ! .. they worm their way through life lying, cheating (on clients & their own families), stealing, embezzling, maiming, ruining, plundering, bribing, blackmailing & looting .. together with an occasional hired murder or bodilly harm contract against anyone who cases them problems. These crooked lawyers want to derail & defeat the LPLA Bill, and the planned reforms to bring an independent complaints system to the legal profession, along with scrutiny of negligence claims against lawyers, which I and many others have campaigned for over the years.
You can see thecurrent progress of the LPLA Bill at the Scottish Parliament's website here : Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill
So what about the definition of a supporter of crooked lawyers ?
Well .. usually they too, are crooks or criminals, who have benefited from their crooked lawyer by way of a bit on the side from various frauds against clients or businesses ... some of them are politicians who have secret dealings with lawyers .. such as .. getting property on the cheap in exchange for political support .. or even being bumped up to first position on bids for properties .. getting their personal legal affairs taken care of for free (dummy bill issued .. money returned via the back pocket .. etc ..) .. then we have, well .. other members of the legal profession who are official supporters of the swathes of crooked lawyers .. the likes of these are a few unnamed but well known members of the judiciary who get their legal affairs taken care of on the cheap by some of Edinburgh's biggest legal firms .. in return for well .. you know what ... Also, of course .. crooked lawyers support crooked lawyers ... and these types .. are the natural enemies of reform to both the judiciary and the legal profession in Scotland.
The supporters of crooked lawyers usually have even more to hide than the crooked lawyers themselves ... sometimes, for instance, they are supporters, because they did crooked dealings with the crooked lawyers they support .. and those crooked lawyers can rat out the crooked supporters if they don't do their public bidding ... you get what I'm saying, right ? easy enough ? .. any recent media stories come to mind on this one where the occasional wig has turned up saying the legal profession are gods gift ?
I had a bit of a nasty attack recently from an anti LPLA Bill lawyer ... it took the form of a few phone calls to journalists about me ... the usual stuff .. blah blah .. word in the ear .. don't publish stuff from Cherbi ... he's a ****** etc ... all the nice stuff .. oh and how they love to drop names of others to verify it .. for instance, a crooked ICAS legal guru who himself is tarred with an ex business partner who embezzled client funds ... and fiddles investigations himself against colleagues where dead people's signatures appeared on cheques ... naughty naughty !
The good thing is though .. these journalists usually call me up and tell me the whole story .. all the nasty bits ... and even some of the dirt they have on the one trying to throw the dirt in the first place ... nasty stuff indeed ! .. and I get to share some things like .. oh, how's that [very famous, leading Edinburgh lawyer] who likes to groom boys on the internet by pretending to be a 12 year old boy ... is that one coming out yet ? what a perv indeed ! .. be nice to see that one in print .. and what his own family thinks of it .. you know .. stuff like that .. along with of course .. .the usual crop of lawyer frauds, embezzlements .. fiddled client bills .. etc.
It's a good thing I have credibility then .. but well .. I would thank both the Scotsman and Herald Newspapers for that .. because of course, the story of what happened to me was covered extensively in the Scotsman .. and the lads & lassies there really did a fine job exposing the dirty depraved tricks the Law Society of Scotland employed against me .. really nasty stuff .. and I can understand why that kind of coverage really got under the scalp of the likes of twisted Douglas Mill & his merry band of henchmen over at Drumsheugh Gardens.
Failings on two cases ? how about failings on 10,000 cases ? 50,000 cases ?
I think this shows the limitations of the office of Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman .. which really, was created just to keep a cap on complaints in the first place.
Remember, the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman is a non-departmental public body in Scotland appointed by the Scottish Ministers responsible for overseeing the internal complaints procedures of the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland. The office of SLSO came about in the early 1990s ... at the behest of the then Conservative administration, with a brief of keeping everything nicey nicey.
Think of it like this .. one feeds off the other ... the Law Society of Scotland needed someone whom they could refer to as 'independent' to write a report each year and say ... what a great job they were doing .. there could be a few small changes here and there, suggest a few improvements ... otherwise .. good job, lads .. keep 'em coming" - and that is EXACTLY what most Scottish Legal Services Ombudsmen has been doing since the office was founded.
The first Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman was, Garry S Watson - a nightmare to deal with, a bit of a cheat and a fraud (sometimes changed the terms of his opinions after a wee backdoor chat with Law Society officials, a confirmed supporter of self-regulation of lawyers (he hated any arguement against self regulation so much, he would often write in his annual reports that self-regulation MUST remain), and really, just a man who was there to suit the needs of the Law Society of Scotland - to congratulate them each year for doing a bang up job of fiddling thousands of client complaints against solicitors.
I must confess - I personally found Garry S Watson to be a nasty piece of work. At first, he seemed pleasant enough in a meeting (don't they all) .. but when he did his report on the Andrew Penman complaint and backtracked on certain information on orders from the Law Society itself ... I knew what he was all about - an apologist for criminal elements such as Penman, James Ness (who defended Penman before a Complaints Committee and faked up information to sway a prosecution verdict) and the rest of them. Watson had also wormed his way over to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland - to be on their own complaints investigation committees .. what a joke ! - he must have been selected for his ability to cover things up .. no wonder ICAS continually tell us there are no complaints against their 16,000 members in Scotland ! .. and then he went off to be the temporary Standards Adviser to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood .. where he duly fiddled complaint after complaint against MSPs ... just as he had done for crooked lawyers & crooked accountants.
The second Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman was Linda Costelloe Baker. Well - as far as my own experiences of LCB go ... she started out a bit similar to Watson .. but then .. she came into the game at a time when my campaign and that of Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers was starting to have an effect on the debate against self regulation. Linda Costelloe Baker also started out as a supporter of self-regulation - but over the years - she turned against it .. and testified before the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament in the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill inquiry ... that self regulation must go. She was, and is, correct on that one .. but it took her long enough to realise it.
The third, and I'm pleased to say, final Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, is Jane Irvine. I'm pleased to say she is the final SLSO, because the office is to be abolished - due to the reforms proposed in the LPLA Bill where there will be a completely independent regulator of the legal profession - in the form of the proposed Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. I think the office of SLSO - which has no powers of enforcement - and was just set up in the early 1990's to keep a lid on complaints in the first place .. is out of touch .. and needs to go .. but, granted .. at least again, Ms Irvine does realise that the legal profession simply cannot be trusted to regulate themselves ... and that is a good thing.
There are a couple of stories from the Herald newspaper this week reporting Ms Irvine's condemnation of the Law Society on Monday - which I was initially going to write about on Monday but was told to wait for Tuesday's edition - as the lawyers were insisting on a right of response ... both articles follow .. I'm sure you can read between the lines in what I have just said above, and what appears in print below.
Peter Cherbi's message to the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive :
Please end this crooked farce of self regulation of the legal profession - and bring forth the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill.
Please ensure the entire complaints procedure system against lawyers is independent from the crooked, deceitful, dangerous and malignant bunch of twisters who run the Law Society of Scotland.
Finally, remember - you have a duty to ensure that the sins of the past are reviewed & investigated properly - and that all the people who have suffered at the hands of this crooked mob at the Law Society, who have had their lives ruined, finances ruined, years wasted - soley over the fact they, like me, caught their lawyers fiddling the books, or being negligent, or whatever - as you all full well know, that we all be properly and fully compensated for a suffering which was sanctioned by the lack of actions of those in Scottish political life who stood back and did nothing for decades while all this took place.
You can't just sit back watching an abuse happen and wash it off with soap - do something to fix and put right the wrongs which have happened to many ordinary people at the hands of the legal profession.
Links to the articles follow :
Watchdog gives Law Society a rare rebuke
DAVID LEASK November 13 2006
Scotland's legal watchdog today issued a new and rare formal rebuke to the Law Society for failing to accept her findings on the way it handled complaints from two clients.
In a public notice published in The Herald, Jane Irvine, the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, lambasted the self-regulatory body over the way it handled two cases.
Ms Irvine's attacks come ahead of expected legislation to strip the society of its powers to adjudicate over complaints against its members – and abolish her own office.
She has no power to force the society to do what she says but can, as she does today, chastise the body publicly.
"The Law Society must recognise that the consumer age has dawned," she said. "It should provide means of redress for small consumer complaints if it wants to act in the public interest, as well as that of the solicitor.
"In these two cases the Law Society has not accepted my recommendations to reconsider. I am publicising them because they are both cases where…complainers needs have not been fully met.
"These types of failures mean the Law Society is not providing a proper form of complaint service to consumers. In any modern complaint system, it is essential that, even if complaints do not succeed, those complaining feel they have been listened to. In these cases complainers came to me as they did not feel the Law Society had listened to them, and I agree.
"In the majority of the cases …I find the Law Society has handled complaints satisfactorily, or they comply with recommendations to review or reconsider and pay compensation.
"Sometimes the Law Society agrees to review policies or practice notes. Unfortunately, in these two cases, there has been no agreement between us."
Ms Irvine is also responsible for overseeing the work of the Faculty of Advocates and the way it handles complaints.
The Law Society has already argued that an independent complaints body favoured by MSPs will undermine the legal profession.
Its chief executive, Douglas Mill, recently argued that the proposed Scottish Legal Complaints Commission would be slow, rule-based, bureaucratic and expensive.
Mr Mill's biggest fear is that it will not be properly independent, as appointments to it will be made by ministers.
Tuesday's article follows, giving the Law Society's view on the Ombudsman's comments .... (yawn) .. showing we really need to be free of this gang of crooks who regulate complaints against lawyers ...
Legal watchdog defends its record
DAVID LEASK November 14 2006
The Law Society of Scotland last night defended its record on handling complaints after Scotland's legal watchdog rebuked it in a public notice in The Herald.
Jane Irvine, the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, lambasted the self-regulatory body in the notice, saying it had failed to heed her concerns over two cases.
Ms Irvine said: "The Law Society must recognise that the consumer age has dawned."
The society yesterday said it took complaints against solicitors seriously and fully implemented its statutory duty to investigate them. It signalled it was not always going to agree with the ombudsman, sometimes known by the abbreviation SLSO, just to avoid negative headlines.
Its president, Ruthven Gemmell, said: "In her last annual report, the SLSO recognised the continuing improvement in the society's handling of complaints. If the SLSO recommends that we review and reconsider our handling of individual cases we may do so, but we are not bound to accept her decision.
"It is within the SLSO's powers, and has been since 1997, to publish a notice of her views and we accept that.
"However, we are not prepared to simply agree with the SLSO to avoid potentially unfavourable press comment and will continue to consider recommendations solely on their merits in each case."
Complaints, the society stressed, still accounted for less than 1% of all business carried out by Scottish solicitors.