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.