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Scottish Parliament debate mentions of crooked lawyers & LPLA Bill to be restricted ?

04 Oct

The heat is certainly on for tomorrow’s debate on future legislation at the Scottish Parliament, with allegations abouncing today that party whips & Parliamentary staff are attempting to restrict msp’s mentions of constituents’s problems with the Scottish legal profession.

Today, I have fielded all sorts of emails, phone calls, meetings & more on this very subject.

What on earth is going on, when some newspaper journalists have to run round to an internet cafe to email me, from pcs outside their own job network .. or email me from their mobile phones .. for fear that the newspaper lawyers will see the email correspondence and threaten their jobs ?

Is the legal profession in Scotland so powerful they are telling journalists – print anything from Peter Cherbi and you are sacked ? – and not just on my case – it seems to be … print anything detrimental to the legal profession – and you are sacked.

I thought we were living in Scotland ? not the old Soviet Union ? Goodness .. it seems journalists might have more freedom in China than Scotland these days … considering the comments & phone calls I have had today .. and it doesn’t stop there either … now, because of fears that emails between myself and some [unnamed] politicians .. the same is happening in such correspondence as with my press associates.

A little bit over the top … but sadly it seems to be a reflection on what is going on with regard to the LPLA Bill .. with the legal profession pulling out all the stops to kill it.

I’m glad to see there has been support for my call for people to ask their msps to speak tomorrrow.

It is a duty – an obligation, for all politicians to speak out on the issue of problems with the legal profession – and with every single msp in the Scottish Parliament having had many letters from constituents who have encountered difficulties and scandals with the likes of the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates, Crown Office, and the rest … there should be no shortage of msps standing up to tell horror stories of constituents – THE ELECTORATE – who have had their lives ruined due to the actions of some crooked lawyer who enrolled the Law Society of Scotland to get them off the hook.

To keep up the pressure on the forthcoming debate, there was an interesting article in Tuesday’s Scotsman, reporting on the ‘fears’ of the Scottish legal profession that they were going to lose their ‘independence’.

The so-called ‘fears’ are being dressed up as lawyers concern of political interference in judicial independence and the interests of the public .. but such concerns are nothing other than the fact the legal profession will probably suffer under independent regulation – yes, they will suffer because they won’t be ab le to rip their clients off and get away with it in the knowledge the Law Society of Scotland will be able to fiddle the thousands of client complaints which come in each year.

Most solicitors think of clients who complain as being vexatious complainers .. but there would be no vexatious complainers if the Law Society of Scotland had done it’s job in the first place. Simple as that.

Peter Cherbi’s message to lawyers :

Want to avoid client complaints running for years ?

Then settle the matter quickly (a month at most) and pay proper & deserving compensation for ALL the ruined lives of clients, ruined businesses, ruined livelihoods,looted possessions of deceased clients .. etc .. and don’t fake up evidence and files to try and get yourself off the hook from complaints, don’t enroll crooked Law Society officials, the likes of James Ness & his friends, to get you off the hook on false claims of stress or personal importance outweighing the client’s right to exist – because that’s what you’ve all been doing over the years.

How long has all this been going on ?

Long enough to the time when Jedburgh Solicitor David Sturrock’s grandfather, who was also a solicitor, went off and killed himself because he was about to face charges for looting a deceased client’s estate .. and he was also the then local Procurator Fiscal ! .. the evidence … being discovered in the rubbish round the back of the offices of Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock in Jedburgh, in the mid 1930’s.

So that’s how long it has been going on for … think about that … lawyers have always been crooked – it’s just that they have got a little more inventive over the years … and when the Law Society of Scotland came along a few years later – they made sure complaints against lawyers was one of the most least talked about issues in Scottish political life .. and that continues to today .. where we now even have the spectacle of newspaper being used against newspaper by elements of the legal profession to debunk reports on the antics of senior Law Society officials.

Even the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates has been wheeled out to defend the legal profession’s right to self-regulate it’s members, since as many who have tried to make complaints against Advocates & QCs know – this is one of the most corrupt parts of the legal profession when it comes to fiddling complaints …

Roy Martin QC’s letter in the Scotsman the day after the article, tags on all manners of excuses as to his concerns of the proposals surrounding the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission … but really, Mr Martin – it really comes down to stifling complaints against your Faculty members for poor or negligent service, and to make sure clients are never compensated for wrongdoings which can never be admitted to, doesn’t it ?

Why don’t you just be honest about that ? instead of dusting off old chestnuts of concern for the taxpayer’s wealth ?

Your Advocate colleagues have no concern for the taxpayer’s pocket, other than to fill their own from it’s trough of legal aid, exhorbitant client fees, and the rest.. and to make sure their colleagues in the legal profession are protected from any threatening legal action.

Read on for the following article from the Scotsman, and the Dean’s letter, links following :

This article: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=1314662006

Opinion – Letters
Wed 6 Sep 2006
Fears of independent law

In your report, “Scots law fears for its independence” (5 September), there is a reference to my having branded the proposed new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission a waste of money. I am certainly concerned about the cost to the taxpayer and the increase in bureaucracy and complexity that will inevitably result from the setting up of the commission.

However, my primary concern is that a body appointed by and accountable to the Scottish Executive for the regulation of the legal profession will undermine its independence. That independence is recognised throughout the democratic world as vital for the protection of the citizen, and is one of the hallmarks of a free society.

ROY MARTIN, QC
Dean of the Faculty of Advocates
Parliament Square
Edinburgh

.. and the article which provoked the Dean’s comments .. along with plenty interesting comments from readers .. and lawyers alike …

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1307922006

Scots law fears for its independence
MICHAEL HOWIE HOME AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT

MORE than one-third of lawyers believe the Scottish Executive has no respect for the independence of the legal system, according to a survey which reveals widespread disapproval of the political elite among solicitors.

The survey, conducted by the Law Society of Scotland, also reveals that only one-quarter of lawyers believe legislation passed by MSPs has been of much benefit to the public.

More than one third of those asked (36 per cent) felt that ministers had no respect for the independence of the legal system, with 44 per cent believing independence was only “slightly” respected.

An overwhelming majority of solicitors – 77 per cent – said the independence of the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will be compromised if appointments are made by ministers, as is proposed under a bill going through parliament.

The survey of more than 500 lawyers found that only 22 per cent thought the Scottish Parliament had been a great benefit to the legal system. Some 38 per cent thought it had been of “slight” benefit, with 39 per cent responding “not at all” to the question.

Of those asked , 27 per cent regarded the parliament as having been of great benefit to the public generally, with 22 per cent believing it had been of no benefit to the public.

Concern has been mounting over ministerial reforms of the legal system and judiciary, which have prompted accusations of political interference and threatening democracy.

Roy Martin QC, the dean of the Faculty of Advocates, has branded the proposed new complaints commission a waste of money.

Meanwhile, advocates and senior judges have voiced alarm at proposals to place the control of all Scotland’s courts under one person, the Lord President. Critics claim such a burden would force him to employ vast numbers of civil servants, exposing the judiciary to the risk of Executive interference.

Concern over legal independence has prompted the society to stage a one-day conference tomorrow in Edinburgh on the issue.

The conference comes on the eve of a parliamentary debate on the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, which controversially proposes to strip the legal profession of much of its powers of self-regulation by creating a separate legal complaints body.

Ruthven Gemmell, the president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Democracy sits balanced between the law and politics and that balance can be fragile. That is why the society and its members have raised strong concerns about aspects of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill.

“The concern is that there is inadequate regard paid by the Scottish Executive to the independence of the law in Scotland. That means that we must all be aware that what may seem like a good idea does not in fact diminish Scotland’s democracy and why we must work to ensure that independence is safeguarded.”

A spokeswoman for the Executive insisted: “The proposed legislation has been informed by an open and thorough consultation that allowed all interested parties to contribute.”

She said the Executive had worked “ceaselessly” to create a more efficient criminal justice system. “It is the duty of government to remain independent from the legal process, but also to ensure that the structures within which those processes operate are effective, fair and transparent,” she said.

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Posted by on October 4, 2007 in Law

 

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