Testimony continued this past week at the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament with the appearance of “Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers” to give their view on the problems with the Law Society of Scotland and a widely corrupt legal profession.
However, while the Law Society of Scotland and their related organisations were given the conspicuous red carpet treatment before the Justice 2 Committee – basically being allowed to say what they wanted in the time they wished, `SACL` were not allowed to read out their opening statements and had to answer questions only from members of the J2 Committee – neatly arranged of course,by the Parliament`s own legal team and phrased in ways to avoid any revealing answers being given on just how corrupt the Scottish legal profession really is. SACL however, were able to get some of their points across on how the Law Society of Scotland has corruptly handled complaints over the years.
Indeed, while the legal profession has been able to produce as many people as it wanted before the J2 Committee (with more to come) … the actual victims of the legal profession, such as myself, other campaign groups, and the thousands of others over the years the Law Society of Scotland and it`s members have ruined, are to be limited to – 3 MINUTES EACH ….. in an overall deal of 30 minutes in which all of those who want to appear, will have to make do with ….
3 minutes … to tell the Justice 2 Committee and the rest of Scotland about a lifetime of problems with the Law Society of Scotland and it`s membership of crooked lawyers …
How can a person explain 14 + years of problems, hostility, prejudice, dirty tricks, harrassement, ruined lives, ruined finances, stolen property, embezzled money, hijacked family members wills .. and much more .. in 3 minutes to a Scottish Parliament Committee ? … the answer is of course, we can`t.
Lobbying of course, by the legal profession, and the many people around the Justice 2 Committee who have various interests in killing independent regulation of the legal profession, have seen to this … we can`t have a queue of victims of the legal profession appearing before the Parliament, can we now … so let`s limit the public to 30 minutes in total, with 3 minutes each … and tell them they can take it or leave it (which is what people have been told by J2 Committee Clerks)
What a sin it is that the professions and vested interests have so much influence at our Scottish Parliament in issues like this … where the MSPs always seem to side with the professions against the public .. always giving them a let out when it comes to legislation designed to protect the consumer, and make it as difficult as possible for anyone to put their case at the Parliament when it doesn`t suit .. and in this case, it certainly doesn`t suit !.
Why then, doesn`t it suit the Parliament or the Executive to see the victims of the legal profession air their cases at the Parliament ?
Well, of course, the victims of the legal profession can`t take out ministers & politicians to steak & wine dinners, or give financial donations to political parties, or fund foreign trips on `fact finding` pretences .. or even see that politicians and unelected officials get preferential deals on house purchases and other legal & financial related business …. in return for political favours .. so that`s why, among other reasons, the legal profession has so much influence when it comes to lobbying Parliamentary Committees .. and us poor victims of the legal profession can`t hope to better those sweet deals the legal profession can offer our legislators … yes folks, this is sadly true … money and influence buys power … and looking through the movements of certain people in Scotland recently, that is all too evident…
Another reason of course, would be that these problems with the legal profession date back well over 20 years … so it would beg the question .. why have the politicians stood back so long and done nothing ? despite thousands of letters every year from constituents to their elected officials.
For instance, John Swinney MSP (SNP) took issue with the Law Society of Scotland officials claims that they weren`t involved in matters relating to the Master Insurance Policy .. which then saw Douglas Mill stand up to defend his intervention in a particular case involving Mr Stewart MacKenzie .. which the Law Society were determined to undermine at all costs .. and, from the terms of the memo Mr Swinney revealed, `prevent Mr MacKenzie appearing before any Parliamentary Committee`…. but Mr Swinney is among a very few politicans in Scotland who have stood up to the legal profession .. and is the only one to my knowledge who has turned up at these J2 hearings as an observer each time and actually challenged comments made on the floor by the legal profession.
However, as I have said before, the Scottish Executive itself have received thousands of complaints and representations by politicians and members of the public on dealings with crooked lawyers and the Law Society of Scotland fiddling complaints .. so, why don`t all those msps and mps come forward ? Are they too shy to not say anything ? too shy to not even write a submission to the J2 Committee on behalf of all their constituents with problems with lawyers ? too shy to even deny they have plenty of constituents with problems with lawyers ? or is it that they are worried that if they speak, they will lose perks and financial benefits that aren`t declared … or that their political party will miss out on funding or become victimised by the legal profession ? or a plethora of other reasons … none of them setting a very honest example for those we elect to defend our interests.
I`d say the legal profession is having a good attempt to water down the terms of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill .. and that the Justice 2 Committee certainly appear to be in favour of just that .. at least for now … but this week, we do have the appearance on Tuesday of Linda Costelloe Baker, the former Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, who resigned amidst protest that her department wasn`t receiving adequate funding or priority from the Scottish Executive … so Ms Costelloe Baker`s appearance and testimony will be an interesting barometer on how things are swinging in this inquiry.
more to come in the next few days ….