THE Law Society of Scotland has been forced to seek the appointment of a FIFTH Judicial Factor to yet another Scottish Law firm in the past six months after an audit of Falkirk law firm A & JC Allan revealed “accounting concerns”, a term normally referring to fraud involving client funds. Eileen Blackburn from Chartered Accountants French Duncan, was appointed as interim factor by the Court of Session on Friday, 22 June 2012. The firm has a sole principal, Alastair MacRae.
Previously in the past six months at least four law firms have effectively been taken over or closed down by the Law Society of Scotland in raids due to massive increases in frauds involving client funds and partners fleecing their law firms’ accounts. The most high profile of the Judicial Factor appointments was that of the Glasgow based former law firm of Ross Harper, seen by some as a move aimed at curtailing the power of the Glasgow Bar Association, while others pointed to allegations of partners ‘helping themselves’ to Ross Harper’s client accounts.
A private briefing given over the weekend to a journalist by one senior Law Society official over the latest JF appointment contained a bizarre claim that “West coast law firms are generally considered to be more dishonest than firms located closer to the Law Society’s operations base in Edinburgh”.
The controversial claim which has as-yet gone unreported, is sure to draw criticism from law firms in the west of Scotland who some at the Law Society’s HQ in Edinburgh see as being ‘out to undermine the Law Society’s power base’.
However, independent sources have told Scottish Law Reporter that one ‘long running’ case not yet acted upon by the Law Society involves a weel-kent Edinburgh law firm which is alleged to have taken “several hundred thousand pounds from accounts in a deceased client’s estate”. This comes on top of another case already known to involve an Edinburgh based firm which appears to be caught up in tax dodging allegations over a Channel Islands based venture.
Legal insiders have also let it be known the Law Society of Scotland is under pressure to act over the increasing numbers of irregularities concerning law firms client accounts which have been reported in the mainstream media and via certain specialist law journalists.
Have your money in a Scottish law firm’s client accounts? The advice from the consumer lobby is, take it out before someone from the law firm takes it out for you. (After all, SLAB Chief Exec Lindsay Montgomery did say lawyers cant count ! – Ed)
The Law Society of Scotland has made the following announcement :
The Law Society of Scotland, as part of its regulatory function, has asked the Court of Session to appoint a Judicial Factor to Falkirk law firm A+JC Allan.
The interim factor, Eileen Blackburn from Chartered Accountants French Duncan, was appointed by the court on Friday, 22 June 2012
The application was made to the court to protect clients' interests after a Law Society inspection raised concerns about the accounting records.
Any clients of the firm who have concerns can contact the Judicial Factor's office on 0131 243 0199