Intervention by Scottish Executive & Parliament seen as the only way to resolve negligence issues with legal profession

04 Oct

I have received some emails from people on my challenge to those lawyers to speak out publicly, who said they would welcome an independent regulator of complaints against lawyers.

Well, as you all noticed, not one lawyer, or Bar Association came forward with a press conference or anything along the lines of a media article coming out in favour of independent regulation.

It’s just not in their interest to do so .. they will be hammered down by the Bosses over at the Law Society of Scotland in any case, and being the gutless bunch of cowards they are in the local Bar Associations .. they haven’t come forward either … rather they have had secret meetings with some msps – even rumours of such meetings with members of the Justice 2 Committee itself .. to try and cap the reforms of independent complaints scrutiny planned in the LPLA Bill.

Of ocurse – that wasn’t the case a few weeks ago, was it now .. over the legal aid payments – when just about every single Bar Association in Scotland came out to boycott certain types of cases in the criminal & civil courts, until they got their way and received increased legal aid fees … so that really shows who stands where in this arguement .. it’s the legal profession against the publoc.. and the lawyers are out to undermine anyone who gets in their way – and will use any dirty trick, including, threats, intimidation & even violence, to achieve their aims.

Anyway, today I’m tackling the question of negligence, so here goes :

One of the hardest things to prove in Scots Law today, is, negligence on the part of a professional, such as a solicitor, architect, doctor, accountant, Police Chief Constable, or any other public sector official.

Why is it so difficult to prove negligence against a ‘professional’ such as a lawyer ?

Well, the law is stacked against proving negligence – to the point that regulatory bodies who protect their own members from negligence, will go all out to stop such claims from reaching the oourts .. and even when ngeligence cases appear in court .. the client will often be obstructed & intimidated to the hilt so much, their case will ultimately fail, or be talked out in a forced upon settlement .. before the spectre of high legal charges kick in.

The Law Society of Scotland, for instance, must have spent millions of pounds of it’s members money over the years, defending negligence claims, which could have probably been settled for much less than the resultant cost to the profession & the public,.

Perish the thought that a laywer, or judge, could be forced to admit they were negligent in their duty to a client, or making a judgement in a case .. so the logic is .. spend £5 million to defend against a claim for £10,000 – because the legal profession can never be seen to be wrong in their actions, and can never admit the dreaded N word of negligence.

As someone who has tried to make a claim of negligence against a crooked lawyer myself, I should know all about this – and there are plenty others like me who have tried the same, and got nowhere. The following is from my own case – but common to many who have tried to claim against a lawyer.

When I even tried to get legal representation to take on a claim of negligence against crooked Borders lawyer Andrew Penman from Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso – no lawyer would take it on … although I ended up with Mr David Reid, or then Alex Morison & Co, which went on to become Morrison Bishop, then simply Mirrosons Solicitors, in Queen Street Edinburgh.

Mr Reid protested he was a great one for weeding out the crooks of the legal profession – what rubbish.

It was difficult enough for me to get a QC – not one advocate at the Faculty would take the case on, but I ended up getting Alistair Dunlop QC – who was made a Sheriff the very same week after our meeting, to get rid of him to the bench .. but after only 1 meeting with Dunlop, his juniour Counsel, and my own lawyers, it was put to me how difficult the ‘other side’ would make life for me, along with all the lies and garbage they would tell in Court to cloud the issue .. to defeat my case.

The ‘other side’ in this case, was of course, the Law Society of Scotland, Marsh Inc Royal & Sun Alliance PLC (Master Insurance Fund indemnity insurers for lawyers) and Simpsons & Marwick – the even more crooked lawyers engaged by the insurers to defend the original crooked lawyer Andrew Penman, with the whole thing ending in me being forced to take a settlement which only covered the legal fees for the whole thing in the first place – and this is the same which happens to anyone else who tries to take on a crooked lawyer – so that’s why we need an end to the Law Society of Scotland’s management of the legal profession, by bringing in the LPLA Bill in it’s entirety.

What an interesting comparison, then, the Shirley McKie case makes, where the Scottish Criminal Records Office ‘mis-identified’ her fingerprint at the scene of a murder .. which then went on to bring Ms McKie some nine plus years of hell at the hands of the most senior figures of the Scottish legal profession & politicss – all grimly determined to keep the ‘error’ of the SCRO’s fingerprint team under wraps … to the point of covering up, what many, and myself, now believe, to be criminal behaviour on the part of some who maintained a lie, and which has now descended into members of the SCRO being bought off with payment offers, after Shirkey McKie was paid by the Executive, who claimed it had all been an “honest minstake”

Funnily enough – isn’t the scenario of the McKie case and it’s cover up, just like what those over at the Law Society of Scotland do when a client of a crooked lawyer tries to make a complaint that they have been ripped off to the point of financial ruin by one of Scotland’s many crooked lawyers ? … one could say almost .. deja vu ?

After making a complaint, the typical route followed by many is to write to their msp, even write to the Scottish Executive .. but for years .. the Executive and politicians have stood around and done nothing … their convenience was to say … it’s all in the hands of the Law Society of Scotland and there’s nothing we could do.

Isn’t that just as bad as covering up the constant abuse of clients by crooked lawyers in what is thousands of cases ? As a victim of this myself, I think so.

If the Scottish Executive & Parliament don’t intervene in the dirty, corrupt way the legal profession is currently regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, where negligent lawyers are allowed to carry on being negligent and also resolve the buried negligence of the past, Scotland’s legal profession, and the Judiciary will carry on acting as negligent as they like – unless there is accountability – just as the SCRO has in the McKie case – and just has many other Executive Agencies & public sector body officials do, day in, day out, towards the Scottish Public.

One who points this out quite convincingly, is Gordon Coutts Thomson, a former lawyer, whom the Law Society of Scotland took out of practice, due to him taking all the legal aid business away from other more favoured legal firms.

I can attest to what Gordon went through, at the hands of the Law Society of Scotland, when they ruined his business, because one of the legal firms who were behind his downfall, was Alex Morison & Co, whom I used in the case against crooked lawyer Andrew Penman … and Alex Morison & Co turned out to be just as big a bunch of crooks as the crooked lawyer I was going after.

Gordon’s letter, which appeared last week in the Herald newspaper, is an accurate portrayal of the sad situation of negligence in Scottish Law .. where as we sees from those members of the legal profession, the judiciary, and other public sector services, people can be as negligent as they like .. and it is extremely difficult for anyone to do anything about it – as I myself found

Link from the Herald, at :

‘Negligence’ would have deprived McKie of compensation
Your letters September 14 2006

ONE of the many sad things about the McKie case is that if the Scottish Executive is right and the misdiagnoses of the fingerprints was as a result of negligence on the part of the experts rather than malice then, as Scots law currently stands, if Cathy Jamieson had not intervened with, in effect, an ex-gratia payment, Shirley McKie would not have received a penny.

This is because “experts” along with officials in charge of public institutions enjoy “legal privileges” that the rest of us don’t. They can be as negligent as they want but will only have to pay compensation if their actions are born from malice which, as this case demonstrates, is hugely difficult to prove.

It would be nice to think the committee investigating this case might recommend the law of privilege be reviewed, but as its members enjoy the fruits of such privilege it’s a bit like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. Frightening to think, however, that private individuals could be treated in the manner of Shirley McKie and have no legal right of recourse.

Gordon Coutts Thomson, Kingussie.

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Posted by on October 4, 2007 in Law


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