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Accountant in Bankruptcy unfreezes benefits payments of client caught up in sequestration battle with Perth law firm Kippen Campbell

27 Jul

aibAccountant in Bankruptcy seized disability benefits to pay law firm’s disputed fees MEDIA REPORTING of a case in which a sequestrated client’s Disability Benefits payments were illegally seized for nearly FOUR MONTHS by the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) over a wrangle involving debts which a Perth based law firm, Kippen Campbell claim are owed to them over a collapsed court case, appears to have helped the client, Mr William Gordon (also of Perth) finally gain access to money desperately needed for living expenses.

Mr Gordon apparently discovered his accounts had been unfrozen last weekend, but no one from the AIB has contacted him over the matter or offered explanations as to why they had seized his benefits payments.

Diary of Injustice reported last week that Mr Gordon was apparently sequestrated by his former law firm after a series of bitter, ‘one sided’ court actions held in Perth Sheriff Court, where agents acting for Kippen Campbell demanded Mr Gordon be sequestrated to pay fees they claimed were due to them for legal services provided for a medical damages claim being heard in the Court of Session.

Even though it transpired Mr Gordon was too ill to attend court for any of the hearings, and his doctor had written to the court informing them of his patient’s medical circumstances, it appears Sheriffs at Perth Sheriff Court ignored the doctor’s medial opinions and sided with the local law firm who were demanding fees for representing Mr Gordon in the now collapsed medical damages claim. More on the story can be found here : Personal injury client dropped by Perth based solicitors Kippen Campbell ‘being hounded’ by court attempts to recover disputed fees

Earlier last week, the Herald newspaper & Scottish Law Reporter reported that attempts had been made to seize Mr Gordon’s home by Glasgow based accountants Wylie & Bisset who are acting on behalf of the Accountant in Bankruptcy. Wylie & Bisset were apparently convinced Mr Gordon owned his property. Apparently not content with seizing Mr Gordon’s home, the agents acting for the AIB attempted to seize another property owned by an unconnected family who live in Rattray, Blairgowrie, whose surname is also Gordon.

Jane Irvine SLCC ChairJane Irvine, SLCC Chair : £300 a day for some, benefits seized to pay lawyers for others as regulator accused of failure to clip disputed fees. It is clear from persistent failures & a reluctance on the part of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) to use their powers to abate or nullify disputed legal fees, that had the SLCC chose to exercise its powers in Mr Gordon’s case, he would not have been facing the wrath of courts, the Accountant in Bankruptcy & attempts to throw him onto the street over fees a law firm are claiming for walking away from his case. Diary of Injustice tackled these issues in last week’s report here : Solicitors regulator blamed for failure to use powers on fees as accountants seize Disability benefits to pay Perth law firm for collapsed court case,

In the article, it was also pointed out by a senior official from one of Scotland’s Consumer organisations that it was against the law to seize state benefits under section 187 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 which clearly states “On the bankruptcy of a beneficiary, such benefit shall not pass to any trustee or other person acting on behalf of his creditors.”

The official went onto tell Diary of Injustice that her organisation had received numerous reports of law firms threatening clients with bankruptcy if they did not pay what appear to be dubious demands for fees. In other cases, law firms have simply gone ahead and made their clients bankrupt without even giving them a chance to question the legitimacy of the fees claimed to be owed.

The Accountant in Bankruptcy was asked to explain why Mr Gordon’s bank accounts & benefits payments had now been unfrozen after the media coverage. The AIB refused to issue any comment.

It has also been revealed the Financial Ombudsman is investigating why Mr Gordon’s bank accounts were seized and why benefits payments were also frozen by the AIB. While the Financial Ombudsman has declined to comment on the case, documents provided to them appear to raise serious questions over the validity of court documents coming out of Perth Sheriff Court which were used to ‘sequestrate’ Mr Gordon and put him through months of torture.

Since last week’s report, a number of individuals have contacted Diary of Injustice with regard to problems with the Accountant in Bankruptcy, and their agents apparently seizing benefits payments on multiple occasions. Coincidentally or not, some of these cases also relate to dubious fee demands by law firms who have left their clients with ruined legal cases.

Indeed, the trend of law firms using threats of bankruptcy against clients appears not to have gone unnoticed by the Scottish Government, reported in last week’s article where a senior source in the Government acknowledged there was a growing problem with law firms threatening clients over legal fees. He went on to say he believed law firms were using their influence in local courts to easily obtain bankruptcy orders against clients who have little or no chance of obtaining legal representation to challenge the law firms demands.

Diary of Injustice would like to hear from any reader who has endured difficulties with the Accountant in Bankruptcy and law firms demanding fees which cannot be substantiated. Please contact us with your information via : scottishlawreporters@gmail.com

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