Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Guarantee Fund payments to clients caught in ‘£300K client account looting’ at defunct law firm Ross Harper ‘may take years, or never’ say experts

Glasgow based Ross Harper shut down on Law Society orders as huge losses probed. CLIENTS of the now defunct law firm Ross Harper, shut down yesterday on instructions from the Law Society of Scotland after society insiders privately briefed selected media outlets claiming “.. it had become clear massive amounts of money have been plundered from the firm’s client accounts” now face an uncertain wait which may end up spanning FIVE OR MORE YEARS to find out if they are going to be compensated by the Law Society for spectacular disappearances of client cash at Ross Harper, now claimed by legal insiders to exceed THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS, reported earlier by Scottish Law Reporter HERE.

While Law Society officials have been at pains to point out all day the Society operates a “Guarantee Fund” which is ‘supposed’ to compensate clients for losses incurred as a result of dishonesty, several solicitors and legal observers have pointed out the average time span of a claim to the Guarantee Fund is around FIVE YEARS at present with around 60% of claims failing, while the average payout can be a remarkable “less than TEN PERCENT of the original loss”

Earlier today, a legal insider backed up claims the Guarantee Fund was operating on a lengthy claim basis by revealing to Scottish Law Reporter the details of a claim to the Guarantee Fund made by a client in 2005 for a sum of £125K embezzled from his solicitor’s client account. Papers shown to journalists documented a vast file of correspondence with the client containing many delays on the part of the Law Society to advance matters and claims from the client his legal representation “had been interfered with by Law Society officials”. Papers within the file indicate three law firms ceased to represent the client and he ended up unable to secure any further legal representation to assist his claim to the Guarantee Fund.

A perusal of the large file of papers reveals the 2005 claim has only recently been settled with the victim receiving much less than 10% resulting in a payout of £9,000 compared to the amount actually embezzled by the solicitor which came to around £125K.

Speaking to Scottish Law Reporter earlier today, a senior solicitor alleged clients of Ross Harper who have lost money “…may end up whistling in the wind for ever and a day while they wait on the Guarantee Fund making a payout.”

A legal expert who specialises in dealings with Guarantee Fund payments has told Scottish Law Reporter : “Any clients who have suffered losses in connection with the Ross Harper collapse should prepare themselves for years of letter writing and a final Guarantee Fund pay-off falling far short of their original loss.”

A former employee of an Edinburgh law firm where client accounts were looted to the time of HALF A MILLION POUNDS, much of which remains to be repaid to victims after bitter years of wrangling with the Law Society, has today described the Guarantee Fund as “corrupt” and “aggressively anti-client”. The employee, who lost her job after blowing the whistle on wholesale theft of funds from client accounts said she doubted anyone would receive what they were owed in the Ross Harper debacle.


Anonymous said...

aye and I saw Mike Dailly in the Scotsman before saying the clients would be left in limbo about Guarantee Fund compensation so we can take it there's nothing in the kitty!

Anonymous said...

Great news!

One thing the world needs is a lot less lawyers especially those rat divorce types who appear in the papers bragging about all the families they split up!

I hope those stupid idiots who entrusted their money to Ross Harper lose the lot!

Anonymous said...

You seem to be setting the pace of news if you read the following in today's Herald (although I disbelieve the part about clients being paid their money in the end) http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/thousands-of-ex-ross-harper-clients-owed-money.17469874

Ian Mitchell, the interim judicial factor appointed to probe the state of the company, said that thousands of clients were now due money that had been held in company accounts.

However, the exact number of those affected is not yet known as the investigation has not finalised the amount of money owned by the firm, he said. Client accounts may contain funds for a property sale, from a will or payments from the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Mr Mitchell said money belonging to client account holders would be protected by the Solicitors' Guarantee Fund, which is run by the Law Society, but said it would take some time for money to be paid out.

He said: "These clients are guaranteed to some extent and it may take some time, but they will get paid in the end.

"I am aware they (The Law Society) are able to handle emergency claims, for example, where a house transaction was caught by the date of my appointment. I believe there have been some claims made to that effect."

Mr Mitchell said he had every reason to think client account holders would get their money.

Anonymous said...

"A former employee of an Edinburgh law firm....has today described the Guarantee Fund as “corrupt” and “aggressively anti-client”.

Which is just the way the Law Society of Scotland and it's notorious insurance provider Marsh will be allowed to keep it if we have to rely on the 10th rate politicians in Scotland to demand any meaningful change.

Marsh have to date been fined $1.2 BILLION dollars for its policy of bid rigging and defrauding clients, which included refusing insurance claims it knew were valid.

Despite this disgraceful history the Law Society of Scotland insists that every solicitor in Scotland must obtain their Professional Indemnity Insurance via Marsh and none other - and without which they can not practise law

Nice company your 'justice' system keeps over there. More info can be found throughout the web and at;


Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that the Guarantee Fund is a fraudulent 'sick-joke' amongst lawyers and the Law Society of Scotland?

Everyone should write to their MSP to ask them for a written reply to the question whether they protect the Law Society of Scotland's interests or if they support the Public Interest?

These are two diametrically opposing sitations?

If they say that they support the Public Interest then ask them to protect the public from the criminal gang that is the Law Society of Scotland?


Alexander the Meerkat

Anonymous said...

What's the betting a few 'high profile' cases - courtesy of the Law Society's free PR machine 'the hootsmon' - will see clients receive the full amount of money owed, while the vast majority are kept dangling on a string for several years and get 10p in the pound at the end of it.