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SLCC board members depart, taking £1/2million for 3 years of anti-consumer chaos, a pocketful of upheld complaints & no prosecutions of crooked lawyers

30 Dec

SLCC DoorOriginal SLCC board members exit after a disastrous 3 years of complaints handling & not one single prosecution of a crooked lawyer. AFTER raking in over HALF A MILLION POUNDS in expenses claims & remuneration, the seven original remaining board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) comprising two former senior Police Officers, a clutch of lawyers, and quangocrats who were personally appointed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in early 2008 to front what quickly became an anti-client law complaints quango made more famous for booze fuelled anti-consumer rants than prosecuting crooked lawyers, will finally depart their lucrative £212 a day plus expenses appointments tomorrow on the expiry of their controversial term of office, leaving behind little or no evidence of improvement of consumer protection against crooked Scottish lawyers in the past three years.

The departure of former Lothian & Borders Chief Supt Douglas Watson, Dr Linda Pollock BSc, RGN, RMN, Dist Nursing, Diploma (Clinical Nursing), PhD, MBA, ex Deputy Chief Constable Tayside Police Ian Gordon OBE, QPM, LL.B (Hons), Law Professor Alan Paterson OBE, FRSE, David Smith (retired lawyer & husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith), divorce lawyer Margaret Scanlan OBE & retired lawyer David Chaplin leaves a bitter legacy of feuds with the media, cover-ups against Freedom of Information laws, arguments over the SLCC’s mishandling of complaints against the Scottish legal profession and little evidence of any success against crooked lawyers in the past three years, all in stark comparison to the progress of the Legal Ombudsman for England & Wales (LeO) which has seemingly powered ahead on complaints cases, even laying plans to name & shame solicitors & law firms who abuse their clients. No such moves have been made by the SLCC who bitterly refuse to name & shame rogue Scottish lawyers.

During the term of the now departing board members, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has since 2007, raked in an average of £2.5 million a year from the legal profession in complaints levies (funded by hikes in solicitors fees taken from clients), and a whopping £2 million of taxpayers money from the Scottish Government.

However, the dreadful reality of the worst piece of theatre in Scots regulation is that despite the huge intake of money & effort, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has in the past three years, fully upheld only a handful of complaints against solicitors & law firms and has paid out staggeringly small amounts of compensation to victims of ‘crooked lawyers’ compared with how much consumers have lost to their legal representatives. In one case, a client of a rogue lawyer received a meagre £10 compensation award after falling victim to shoddy legal work. The SLCC also blew more than 1/4 million on legal fees to law firms, some of which are linked to its own board members, as reported by Diary of Injustice here : £10 compensation for victims of crooked lawyers while Scottish Legal Complaints Commission spend more than £1/4 MILLION on law firms & ‘legal advice’

To add to the regulation nightmare facing consumers of legal services in Scotland,, not one crooked lawyer has yet been prosecuted on the basis of any work carried out by the SLCC in the entire three years, a fact which even drew criticism from the Chairman of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal as reported HERE.

The SLCC experienced a few of its own nightmares, as covered by Diary of Injustice over the past three years, where in particular, the former Chief Executive Eileen Masterman resigned on grounds of ill health, but not before negotiating via lawyers a payoff, reported here : HUSH & MONEY : Former SLCC law complaints Chief Executive Eileen Masterman received secret Scottish Government approved payoff in deal with lawyers

7&8th April 08 SLCC Meeting Blanked outSecretive & anti-client SLCC became famous for censorship & battles over Freedom of Information requests.The failures of the SLCC over the past three years leaves an inescapable conclusion that over TWELVE MILLION POUNDS of public funds & fees gathered from clients of solicitors have gone down the drain on what is now obviously little more than a joint venture between the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Government to shore up the Law Society’s influence & exclusive control over self-regulation of the legal profession in Scotland, leading to the SLCC’s continuing stitch-up of consumer complaints against rogue solicitors. In short, consumers have not benefited from the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. The Scottish Government, the Law Society of Scotland & the legal establishment have seen to that.

Diary of Injustice featured in an earlier article what it took to be a member of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s board : More ‘jobs for the boys’ than action on ‘crooked lawyers’ : What it takes to be a Board Member at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. As far as new appointments to the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission are concerned, reported by Diary of Injustice HERE, HERE & HERE no improvement in the hapless anti-client law complaints quango should be expected.

Read all about it : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission – The story so far

AND ITS GOODBYE FROM THEM (for now) :

WATSON 2 Douglas Watson

• Former lay member of a Law Society of Scotland Committee dealing with Access to Legal Information. The role was unpaid.
• A cousin, Bruce Minto, is a partner in Dickson Minto, Solicitors.
• Formerly a Chief Superintendent with Lothian and Borders Police.

Dr Linda Pollock Dr Linda Pollock

• Executive Nursing Director (1989 -2006).
• Interim Board Nurse Director (2002-2003).
• Chief Nursing Officer’s Professional Advisor on nurse prescribing (2005-6).
• Past External Examiner with Robert Gordon’s University and Queen Margaret University.
• Research Honorary Fellow in the Social Science Faculty of Edinburgh University.
• Formerly, a part time nurse member of the Mental Welfare Commission (1997- 2005).
• Currently, working as a Primary Care Consultant, undertaking research work commissioned by the Queen’s Nursing Institute in Scotland.
• Registrant member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Appointments Board.
• Member of the Royal College of Nursing.
• Dr Pollock has a track record of authorship and chapter contributions in professional books, and continues to write articles in nursing journals.
• Board Member of the Accounts Commission (from 1st October for three years).
• Chair to a UK-wide Advisory Board with Pain Concern (from Jan 2010).

Ian Gordon Ian Gordon OBE, QPM, LL.B (Hons)

• Convener of the Standards Commission for Scotland (from 1 February 2010 for four years).

• Member of the Registration and Conduct Sub Committees of the Scottish Social Services Council. Appointed by the Council on 29 April 2010 for 3 years.
Payment from Scottish Social Services Council.
• Associate Professor in Policing for Charles Sturt University (Australia)
• Director (Trustee) of Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration Company (BARRC) Registered Charity – Not remunerated.
• Member of Rotary International
• Retired Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Police.
• Formerly Chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS)
Professional Standards Business Area.
• Formerly Vice-Chair of ACPOS General Policing Business Area.

Margaret Scanlan - Called to the Bars - Sunday Mail  15 March 2009 email Margaret Scanlan

• Consultant, Russells Gibson McCaffrey, Solicitors.

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland and holder of current practising certificate.
• Husband is a senior partner Russells Gibson McCaffrey.
• Husband is a member of the Law Society of Scotland and holder of current practising certificate.
• Past Chair of the Family Law Association.
• Former member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

David Smith SLCC David Smith

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.

• Former member/partner of Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Solicitors. Retired on 30/04/08.
• Non-Executive Director, Value and Income Trust Plc.
• Wife is a Senator of the College of Justice and a non practising member of the Faculty of Advocates.

David Chaplin SLCC David Chaplin

• Former member of Anderson Fyfe LLP, Solicitors. Retired on 30/04/08.

• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.
• Director and shareholder in Baliol Properties Limited.

AlanPaterson Alan Paterson

• Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at Strathclyde University.

• Research adviser to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
• Member of the Law Society of Scotland.
• Professional contact with Guild & Guild, Solicitors and McCash & Hunter, LLP.

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