THE Law Society of Scotland have today confirmed the complete closure of Glasgow law firm Ross Harper after reports were featured in the media of politics at play and sizeable financial inconsistencies in client accounts at the Glasgow based law firm, who were raided by the Law Society earlier this month over “accounting irregularities” which saw a Law Society controlled Judicial Factor appointed to take charge of the now defunct firm. Coincidentally, just prior to the Law Society's raid, Ross Harper had decided to join the Glasgow Bar Association, who are known to heavily oppose the dictates & policies of what many non Edinburgh solicitors brand the “East coast mafia” of the Law Society’s Edinburgh based Drumsheugh Gardens HQ.
A short announcement from the Law Society of Scotland today reports :
The Judicial Factor appointed to Ross Harper has today announced that the legal firm will cease trading today (Monday 30 April). Any affected clients with questions can contact the Judicial Factor, Henderson Loggie directly on 01382 200 055.
Any solicitors impacted by today's announcement and wishing support or advice can contact the Law Society of Scotland professional practice and support team on 0131 226 7411.
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "Ross Harper has been operating for some 50 years and is one of Scotland’s best known legal firms. The decision by the judicial factor to cease the firm’s trading therefore marks the end of an era within the Scottish legal profession.
"It is however an important part of our role to protect client interests and seek the appointment of a judicial factor whenever we have concerns that client money is missing or, because the accounting records are so poor, we cannot tell if client funds are missing. This was why was applied to the Court of Session for the appointment of a factor in the case of Ross Harper."
The Scottish Legal Aid Board’s statistics for 2010-2011 reveal that Ross Harper Solicitors had been paid the sixth highest amount of taxpayer funded legal aid criminal fees at a whopping £1.3m. Two years before, Ross Harper were paid around £1.5m and £1.7m in legal aid fees.
Media reports suggest all employees of Ross Harper have lost their jobs, and all partners practising certificates remain suspended. A discussion of the scandal and accusations relating to goings on at the firm featured in the comments section of Scottish Law Reporter’s previous report of the Ross Harper closure, which can be viewed HERE
A legal source tonight accused the Law Society of “playing a game of dirty tricks against law firms who disobey the society’s demands”. The source identified another law firm based in Glasgow who are also now under investigation for alleged “accounting irregularities”, again by coincidence, a law firm which also appears to have disagreements with policy from the Law Society’s Edinburgh Drumsheugh Gardens HQ.
Earlier this month a Law Society insider told journalists for Scottish Law Reporter there were rumours of a THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUND deficit in the Ross Harper client accounts, however no one from the Law Society would officially confirm or deny the figures.