Scottish lawyers are shocking and disgraceful … and should be ashamed of themselves … words from Jack McConnell .. the Scottish First Minister.
Well, Mr McConnell is of course, correct …, and Peter Cherbi and the thousands of clients of Scottish lawyers who have known this and much more, for decades would agree too – so my message to Jack McConnel would be something like – put on the steam and get the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill through it`s stages with some more thought for the public rather than this gang of lawyers who have controlled reform of the legal system for so long in Scotland and have now sunk to virtual terrorist tactics to try and gain more loot for their merriement .. by threatening to allow the likes of sex offenders to go unpunished to get their wicked way with more of the taxpayers legal aid money to prop up their personal offices and spending habits .. which are still heavily subsidised by either embezzling client`s finds or ripping off and overcharging clients all over Scotland for shoddy work.
Of course, this current boycott of sex cases by Scottish lawyers has to be viewed as part of the overall plan by the legal profession to resist ANY reform to their activities and business markets which lawyers have enjoyed for far too long in Scotland – unfettered by any form of proper independent regulation … and with the upcoming planned reforms of the legal profession in the new “Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill” .. which will introduce much higher fines for crooked lawyers, and independent complaints procedures … the legal profession, managed by the Law Society of Scotland, feels that it could be getting too tough for it`s members to defraud clients and steal their money – just as they have been doing for decades.
It is therefore not much of a surprise, we now have a slippery slope of planned action taking place by the legal profession – to blackmail the Government into stalling or abandoning pro-consumer reforms … and this latest tactic by the various Bar Associations .. is little more than that … of course – the Bar Associations would deny this .. and of course, the Law Society of Scotland would stay out of any blame of organising such a devious and despicable campaign of terror against pro-consumer reforms … but those of us in the know – like me, are well aware of the lengths the legal profession will go to protect their established business practices … – remember people, we are talking about business markets worth hundreds of millions of pounds and more, annually .. so who would want to give this up ? and who would want to let go of taxpayers money which is also provided for legal work (except suing a crooked lawyer of course).
Just think of it .. if the Scottish Executive were to announce that legal aid for clients trying to sue negligent lawyers was to be cut to a few pounds … do you think that all the Bar Associations would stop representing clients in other cases with public threats in pet newspapers ?, or jam up the courts system with delaying tactics, no shows, protests to the Scottish Legal Aid Board, Scottish Executive, and Scottish Parliament ? no, they surely wouldn`t … instead .. it would all go off with a whisper .. because of course, it`s not in any lawyers interest to sue another lawyer just because they have ripped off a client .. and as is often the case .. the lawyers who do take on clients who are suing crooked lawyers .. often rip off the poor client again, because they know the Law Society of Scotland wont do a damn thing against them.
Of course, I would admit – I know of a few lawyers in Scotland who do a lot of good work to represent their clients … about 5 .. . perhaps there are a few more、. but not many more by the looks of the complaints statistics of 5000 + complaints per year against less than 10,000 Scottish lawyers !
So, reforms of the legal aid system are good – because the truth is – thousands of lawyers in Scotland have been milking the legal aid system for years .. as well as milking their clients funds at the same time … so we shouldn`t really have any sympathy at all for this lot – and if they don`t think they are getting enough money .. well .. they can always go and do something else .. but then again .. what other job or profession has so many benefits where they can steal and rip off clients funds to their hearts content and nothing is done about it ? … think about that !
Read on for the articles, from “The Scotsman”. link at :http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=850322006
McConnell raises the stakes with furious attack on solicitors
JACK McConnell yesterday launched an astonishing attack on the “shocking and disgraceful” stance of lawyers who have voted to boycott sex crime cases – accusing them of risking public safety and saying they “should be ashamed of themselves”.
The First Minister spoke out in the Scottish Parliament as the pledge by lawyers to refuse to take sex cases in a row over legal aid payments threatened to spread across the country.
Bar associations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Hamilton and Dumbarton, representing more than half of Scotland’s legal aid lawyers, will boycott cases from 1 August unless a settlement can be reached with the Scottish Executive over payments.
Lawyers spearheading the move angrily rejected the First Minister’s criticism and accused the Executive of “arrogance” by ignoring requests to meet to discuss their concerns.
Last night, The Scotsman learned several other bar associations, including Paisley, Elgin, Dumfries, Falkirk and Greenock, are expected to back the boycott, which is targeting sex offence cases because those accused of such crimes are not allowed to cross-examine witnesses in court; without a defence agent, trials cannot go ahead.
Mr McConnell told MSPs an interim pay rise of 8 per cent for court work and 5 per cent for other work was on the table and ministers were ready to discuss the “considerable” offer with the Law Society of Scotland.
He said fees for solemn criminal work – the most serious cases which go before a jury – were increased in 2004 by 15 per cent for advocacy and by above-inflation rates for other areas of work.
“With such substantial increases already delivered and on offer, I think it is shocking and disgraceful that, in order to heighten public concern and scare the public into putting pressure on us, the lawyers in the Glasgow Bar Association have particularly threatened to create chaos in the prosecution of sex offences,” Mr McConnell said.
“They should be ashamed of themselves. They should call this off and they should get round the table and discuss this with the justice department officials and then with the justice ministers to reach a solution.”
If sufficient lawyers join the boycott, it raises the possibility that those accused of serious sex crimes may not be able to appear in court within the legal time- frame and so could walk free without a trial. Mr McConnell said contingency plans involving public-sector lawyers would be put in place if the “irresponsible threat” were carried out.
“I can see no justifiable reason for legal professionals to put public safety at risk,” he said.
Lawyers say the pay offer is derisory, given there has been almost no increase in criminal legal aid since 1992. Solicitors receive ￡66.40 an hour for court appearances and ￡44.20 for preparation and for waiting in court for cases to be called.
But they say they are left with only a fraction of this once overheads are covered, and they are demanding that the Executive delivers on a pledge made four years ago for a revised pay structure for the most serious cases.
Gerry McClay, the president of the Glasgow Bar Association, said: “Mr McConnell says the offer on the table is considerable. But that offer amounts to ￡2 an hour to deal with murders, rapes and other sexual offences. That’s not acceptable.”
Vincent McGovern, of the Hamilton association,claimed the deputy justice minister, Hugh Henry, had ignored repeated requests for a meeting.