Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Solicitor Advocate upset over access to justice claims, attacks consumers & clients over free market proposals

Trouble & strife in the legal profession again over the proposals to open up the legal services market, as Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire launches a hostile attack against the public, the OFT, and consumer organisations over calls for Scots to have the right of free choice of their legal representatives.

Writing in the current issue of "The Firm" magazine, as reported by the Herald newspaper, Mr Maguire claims that legal services should not be governed by consumer law, despite the obvious fact the public fund the legal profession through a fee based service for work done.

Perhaps Mr Maguire wants the legal profession to become a free service ?

In an almost laughable quote from the article, Mr Maguire refers to a string of disasters, scandals & accidents all worthy of legal representation - all of which have or will take years to settle in the courts and claims the right of justice is comparable to that of education & health.

However, access to education and health are not at the discretion of those respective professions, or Government, unlike legal services, access to which is controlled by the legal profession itself.

"Try telling families of the Stockline disaster, the recent tugboat tragedy on the Clyde, the husband of the family wiped out in a car accident from diesel spillage or someone dying from an industrial disease or infected with blood products that they are consuming justice.

"They are consuming nothing," he said.

"Their right to justice is the same as their right to education and health and it is the duty of society to uphold that right."

How can one claim the interests of justice, or clients interests who may been represented by solicitors for years, decades even, had ever been served ?

Let's not string people along for years while they pay big fees or claim the legal aid, on the pretext of settlements which will never come ...

The Herald reports :

Lawyer defends access to justice

MARTIN WILLIAMS

A consumer watchdog's complaint which claims Scots are not getting sufficient access to affordable justice and legal representation has been condemned by a top solicitor.

Solicitor advocate Frank Maguire rejected claims by Which? that the current regulation of Scottish legal firms is hindering competition in the market, restricting choice and pushing up the price.

Writing in the latest edition of legal magazine The Firm, Mr Maguire, senior partner at Thompsons Solicitors, said the provision of legal services should not be governed by consumer law.

"Try telling families of the Stockline disaster, the recent tugboat tragedy on the Clyde, the husband of the family wiped out in a car accident from diesel spillage or someone dying from an industrial disease or infected with blood products that they are consuming justice.

"They are consuming nothing," he said.

"Their right to justice is the same as their right to education and health and it is the duty of society to uphold that right."

Under changes proposed south of the border, banks and supermarkets will soon be able to join forces with law firms to provide legal services.

But Which? says there has been little impetus for exploring, let alone implementing, alternative ways of doing business from the legal profession in Scotland.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has upheld calls by Which? for a reform of the legal services market in Scotland, saying that the current regulatory regime is "restrictive" and harmful to consumers.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frank is another one suffering from foot in mouth disease.

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