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Spies, Lies, Hacking & Facebook : Law Society Master Policy snooped on ‘difficult clients’ to undermine damages claims, complaints about ‘crooked lawyers’

11 Jul

logoIf your complaint against a solicitor involves negligence, or the theft of your funds, prepare to be hacked. LET’S BE HONEST. Spying hacking or snooping is endemic in daily life. In the name of cutting crime, the last UK Labour Government even passed legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, with our own Scottish version (RIPSA), which greatly expanded the number of organisations who could spy or even in some cases, hack into your every move where, for example your local authority could & did use snooping powers which were originally meant to sniff out terrorists, to check if you put recyclables in your general waste bin, if you were trying to get your child into a school outwith your home address area or if your dog made a foul & murderous use of a tree in a public park.

So, while many of us may, or may not be so shocked about the lurid headlines of the past two weeks which culminated in the closure this past weekend of the News of the World newspaper, after allegations were made that former journalists hacked into the phone messages of celebrities, politicians & public figures (crooked or otherwise) and allegedly, murder victims, it should come as no surprise to all of us, the same tactics employed by certain sections of the media to dig up dirt on, well, anyone, have been employed by the legal profession for decades to target those consumers who have been put in the unenviable position of being forced to complain about their solicitors poor service, taking in many subjects & actions which, if committed by the ordinary man on the street, would be classed as criminal.

Spot the difference ? Well that’s easy. Headlines about the News of the World have been in the news for months, if not years. The revelations proved too strong for News International to bear, the advertisers pulled their business, there are rumours yet more allegations are to be revealed, and so, the paper closed.

When it comes to the legal profession and its insurers use of snooping practices to follow clients, dig up dirt on their lives, use friendly pubic servants out for financial gain to intimidate the ‘difficult ones’, put clients on blacklists banning them from ever obtaining a lawyer again, harassing clients families, generally making life difficult, well … such things are not talked about in public and hardly ever, if at all, hit the headlines.

Over the years many people who have contacted me over their complaints about solicitors, have spoke of an almost shared experience, numbering well into the hundreds of people, where for instance, individuals have encountered problems with their mail, problems with their bank, problems with the Police, problems with their local council, and so on, and all these problems beginning, strangely enough, only after they had been ripped off by their solicitor and had felt strongly enough about it to register a complaint with the Law Society of Scotland, demanding compensation for negligence, or lost, stolen or embezzled funds.

Coincidence ? Yes, perhaps, if it happened to three or four people in the past twenty years … but as the numbers built up, and even journalists from various newspapers who referred these increasing numbers of clients to me began to say themselves, “Coincidence flies out the window when dealing with crooked lawyers and the Law Society, these people have been targeted”.

Coincidentally, all of those who suffered many of these reported difficulties brought on by their complaint to the Law Society, were those seeking to take legal action against their solicitor, legal action against the Law Society of Scotland, legal action against an advocate or to pursue a damages claim against the Master Policy, the Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme designed to protect crooked lawyers from damages claims for negligence.

I recently reported on the level of intrusion into the lives of consumers by the Law Society of Scotland and persons working for its Master Policy insurance scheme, in an article on the latest SLCC research into the Master Policy, here : Suicides, ill health, financial ruin : Will SLCC’s latest Master Policy report deliver solution to Law Society ‘pro-crooked lawyer’ insurance scheme ?

In the earlier article, I reported on the text of a document sent to a solicitor suggesting ways in which to protect himself from a complaint, and an impending claim against the Master Policy. I also reported how John Swinney, the Scottish Government’s Finance Chief revealed the text of a secret memo where a Director of Marsh UK discussed secret moves with the then Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, Douglas Mill, to spy on members of the public by collating information on clients & their claims against the Master Policy.

Marsh UK were identified in memos released by Cabinet Secretary John Swinney during a Justice Committee meeting at the Scottish Parliament, which revealed the Law Society of Scotland & its insurers were engaged in interference in clients legal representation and were also actively blocking damages claims & court cases against crooked lawyers from entering the Scottish courts.

A legal insider speaking to Diary of Injustice some weeks ago alleged several firms of Private Investigators in Edinburgh & Glasgow have been routinely used by law firms working on behalf of the Master Policy to “dig up dirt on difficult clients”. He named several firms and provided information still being looked into.

He said : “If someone becomes publicly involved with the Law Society of Scotland to the degree a solicitor may end up in court or the society faces severe criticism for its actions, that person is checked out. Its been this way for years.”

He continued : “Its common knowledge if a client manages to obtain legal representation to pursue a negligence claim against their former solicitors, their lives will be put under the microscope using any means possible. This has involved using Private Investigators and other bodies to engather information. I’d like to think this is used for honest purposes but I know its not. Put it this way, if there’s no dirt there, it will be put there and used to make someone’s life very very difficult.”

One of the firms of Private Investigators named by the insider initially denied allegations their role “entails surveillance on difficult clients of solicitors”, however in an email received prior to publication of this article this afternoon, they have since admitted working for a key law firm acting for the Master Policy.

Their admission may have been influenced by the fact copies of mobile phone text messages and a dummy letter sent upon my advice from a client who was suspicious about the security of his mail to his new solicitor, ended up in the wrong hands, with the information therein being made available to certain people at the law firm who are defenders in an ongoing legal action. It also transpires Facebook profiles of the client’s son & daughter were also found among papers of the defending law firm, who are fighting allegations with significant proof that they deliberately lost their client’s case against a leading insurance firm.

The firm of Private Investigators, who claim to use former Police officers in their work, have requested a meeting with Diary of Injustice to discuss the matter further and I will report any developments to readers as the story unfolds.

In a recent report on Scottish Law Reporter, it is worth noting the subject of “Police involvement” on the side of an advocate who had been the subject of complaints to the Faculty of Advocates by builders chasing sums allegedly owed to them. Scottish Law Reporter reported the builders had been threatened by a Police Office from Strathclyde Police after a Sheriff and former Law Society Fiscal’s law firm had become involved in the dispute.

The details in the above story as reported by Scottish Law Reporter reads almost the same for tens of clients, who, after making a complaint to the Law Society of Scotland, and in some cases going onto make a claim against the Master Policy, encountered growing problems with their local Police forces, information on which unexplainably ended up with law firms representing & defending ”crooked lawyers” in court.

Recently, the case of Ian Puddick, a plumber who exposed a love affair between his wife and an insurance executive was debated in the Westminster Parliament, where MPs were told actions resulting from the involvement of a “private security firm”  (Kroll) who were hired by the insurance executive “to bury” Mr Puddick led to Mr Puddick being raided by several units from the City of London Police including its Anti-Terror branch with claims over a million pounds of public money were spent on investigating Mr Puddick, whose life was made a misery. It is a fact Kroll were owned by MMC (Marsh McLennan Companies) during these incidents in 2009. In June 2010, Marsh & McLennan Co Inc agreed to sell investigations unit Kroll to a firm led by former Marsh CEO Michael Cherkasky for $1.13 billion.

MMC (Marsh McLennan Companies) is currently chaired by Conservative Peer Lord Ian Lang. MMC is the parent of Marsh UK, who operate the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy, and who also provide insurance services for the Scottish Government, much of Scotland’s local authorities & public services, many bodies within the Scottish legal system including the Police.

Today, anyone in Scotland who has perhaps at some stage, felt there was someone looking over their shoulder because they complained about their solicitor, or took the matter to court, can take a little heart from the fact the Scottish legal profession are now spying on their own, with the revelation that two ‘representative bodies’ of Scotland’s legal profession are snooping on the lives of staff at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, (SLCC), according to documents shown by a legal insider to Diary of Injustice which include printouts of Facebook pages, a list of names and other information gathered on individuals who work at the SLCC.

One has to wonder, if the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has managed to close down record numbers of complaints yet has only managed to uphold one single complaint against a solicitor, why would information on those working at the SLCC be of such importance to the likes of the Law Society of Scotland and other ‘representative bodies’ of Scottish solicitors ?

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