Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Justice Secretary ordered by Law Society not to allow review of complaints on crooked lawyers

More From A Diary of Injustice in Scotland as the Justice Secretary apparently kills off any possibility of a review against corruption in the Law Society of Scotland for now ...

Truth & reconciliation fails as MacAskill follows Law Society orders to Parliament on attempt to heal public confidence in legal profession

There will be no 'truth & reconciliation" between the public and the legal profession under Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, according to replies received from the Scottish Government on this issue.

While some within the SNP are floating the idea of 'truth & reconciliation' as a way of resolving long standing cases of injustice, it is just one step too far for the public to be allowed any accountability against injustice caused not only by the legal system, but also by the very legal profession which has caused so much trouble & pain in Scotland.

Kenny MacAskill : lawyers money making will take priority over the public interest no matter what ...

Justice Directorate PE1033 final

I am not too surprised that Mr MacAskill, a lawyer himself who has publicly stated it will be his mission to defend his lawyer colleagues from any criticism or 'misrepresentation', over it seems, anything to do with the public interest, has ruled out a move to resolve the legal profession's sins of the past against clients, where poor or corrupt regulation of crooked lawyers has allowed so many solicitors to remain in practice while many clients have been financially ruined.

I am surprised however, the Justice Secretary so blatantly protects the legal profession from any possible reforms which would damage its monopolistic business model, as well as impugning its controlled regulatory model, the latter of which Mr MacAskill has felt so strongly to protect that he selected a group of lawyers and ex Law Society Committee members to ensure the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission continues the Law Society's valuable work of letting crooked lawyers off the hook.

You can read some of those reports on the demise of the SLCC before it has even begun its work here :

Call for MacAskill appointments 'sleaze investigation' as revelations show Legal Complaints Commission member was subject of Police inquiry

Law Society staff secretly migrating into 'independent' complaints commission will ensure continuing problems of regulating Scottish lawyers

Calls for full disclosure on legal complaints commission members as Justice Department 'covers up' conflicts of interest in appointments scandal

So, who thinks the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will do any different from the Law Society of Scotland after those revelations ?

The proposals for 'truth & reconciliation' were made in Petition PE1033, which called for the Scottish Parliament to form an independent commission to resolve the legal profession's long list of poorly handled cases of complaints against crooked lawyers, which have caused so much harm to clients over the years.

Petition PE1033 : a call to resolve lawyers 'sins of the past' against clients, and a chance to do something for Scots before lawyers ...

PE1033 Page 1PE1033 Page 2PE1033 Page 3

The Law Society of Scotland however, had other ideas, and ordered the Petitions Committee to close consideration of the petition, implying the SLCC may be able to deal with such issues, when we now see from how the SLCC will be staffed, it certainly won't be dealing with any cases of the past, with the revelation the same Law Society staff who have caused such terrible injustice against the public, are transferring to the SLCC themselves ...

Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform - Law Society of Scotland demands no truth & reconciliation for ruined clients of crooked lawyers

Law Society of Scotland PE1033 Page 1Law Society of Scotland PE1033 Page 2

Michael Clancy, who is the Director of Law Reform at the Law Society of Scotland, but doesn't want the law reformed against lawyers themselves, certainly gives the orders as you can see from the above letter, and the Parliament are only too willing, save the odd note of dissent, to comply and ensure that any call to bring solicitors to account for their injustice against clients does not get heard.

Not only do we have justice denied by the legal profession in Scotland, we also have democracy & accountability denied when it comes to politicians being asked to do something extra to heal injustice, which they should have done a long time ago, and so obviously left out of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, which was brought in to heal some of the problems of biased complaints regulation by lawyers against lawyers.

It appears that Mr MacAskill shares the same chip on his shoulder against me which a few at the Law Society have, therefore I doubt I will revisit this issue with them again for now, as cutting through Mr MacAskill's 'I will support lawyers over people" bias is just impossible and I can't & wont offer the kind of incentives that the other Justice Secretary Michael Clancy along with his colleagues at the Law Society can offer the Scottish Government to keep such 'truth & reconciliation' proposals off the table.

Helping Scots victims of injustice is what being a Scot is all about ...

To Kenny MacAskill PE1033 final

Of course, it is open to others to raise the same issue ... and perhaps you may be more successful than me, so give it a try please - it's an effort to help all Scots who use lawyers and legal services.

So, little wonder that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill supports his colleagues in the legal profession, when they are capable of ripping off earning so much from the taxpayer, as the following story on how much money lawyers took from the taxpayer for themselves in the miners compensation deal demonstrates.

Before anyone says, 'oh the miners compensation rip off happened mostly in England & Wales, and it couldn't happen in Scotland', well, the Law Society of Scotland and it's member legal firms have been doing the very same to Scots for decades, on a wide range of cases, and so far have got away with it because the politicians have sat back for so long and done nothing ...

The Herald reports :

10-year wait for ex-miners as lawyers earn £1.3bn


Former miners have been forced to wait more than 10 years for government compensation for pit-related illnesses, a powerful committee of MPs said yesterday.

Some even died while their claims were being processed because ministers underestimated the size and complexity of the project, the Public Accounts Committee found.

Solicitors have earned more than £1.3bn in fees for handling the claims, with one firm alone collecting nearly £124m.

Average administration costs amounted to more than the claim itself in more than two-thirds of the cases.

In a highly-critical report the committee said the government had expected about 218,000 claims for lung disease and vibration white finger, with payouts totalling £614m.

There have now been about 762,000 claims which it is thought will cost about £4.1bn once they are all settled, as well as another £2.3bn in administration.

But tens of thousands of ex-miners are still waiting for an offer. Last September there were about 128,500 claims still awaiting settlement.

Some miners had waited more than 11 years between their medical assessment and receiving an offer.

Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, accused the Department of Business and Enterprise of having "seriously mismanaged" the schemes in their early stages.

Far too much money went into the solicitors’ pockets

"Its attempt to implement the schemes swiftly, combined with its underestimation of how many claims would be made and how complex some would be, resulted in many claimants having to wait a very long time for the compensation they were owed," Mr Leigh said.

"Some of these were elderly and ill and in no position to wait for years for compensation - in some cases 10 years or more. Some claimants even died while waiting. The taxpayer has also taken a big hit, with the cost of just administering the schemes expected to total nearly £2.3bn."

The restitution packages were arranged after British Coal was found to have been negligent in the cases of ex-workers who had developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from dust and vibration white finger from equipment in the pits.

But the government failed to get its own actuarial assessment of the likely number of claims and liabilities under the Coal Health Compensation Scheme, instead relying on British Coal's forecasts.

Ministers did not initially realise that deceased miners' claims would be payable to their widows and families.

The cross-party committee also criticised the government's dealings with solicitors, accusing it of "weak" negotiations on their fees which led to higher administration costs.

Of the £2.3bn administration expenses, solicitors' bills accounted for £1.3bn.

The average cost of processing each claim was £3100, more than what two-thirds of miners received in compensation.

Just 10 law firms collected between them £635.8m in fees. The highest earner was Thompsons, which received £123.6m.

The government is chasing up to £100m in repayments from solicitors after a court ruling that certain cases should have incurred a smaller fee.

Some solicitors also effectively double-charged for their services by taking a cut from their clients' compensation packages on top of their government-paid fees.

The Legal Complaints Service believes lawyers owe millions of pounds to tens of thousands of miners.

It is currently contacting every miner covered by the scheme urging them to check whether they had money wrongly deducted.

Mr Leigh said: "There are lessons aplenty here for other parts of government planning and implementing new compensation schemes.

"Far too much money went into the solicitors' pockets."

No comments: