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ROGUES LAW: Law Society of Scotland’s self regulation “cartel” of lawyers investigating lawyers must end, says legal academic

14 Jan

Decades of lawyers looking after each other has destroyed confidence in Scots legal profession. THE Law Society of Scotland should be stripped of its dual role of acting for lawyers and the public, says a leading legal academic who has publicly called for an end to the self regulation cartel of Scottish lawyers looking after each other. The call for change comes amid overwhelming evidence that Scots consumers & clients who fall victim to rogue lawyers rarely if ever secure a fair hearing for their complaints or receive correct recompense for significant financial losses or embezzlement by their solicitors, due to lawyers covering up for each other.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail newspaper ahead of a BBC Scotland investigation on how solicitors make a mockery of the current system of regulation of complaints against the legal profession, Professor Julia Black of the London School of Economics said independent regulation is vital to build public confidence.

On Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 22:35, BBC Scotland will broadcast their investigation “Lawyers Behaving Badly”, where journalist Samantha Poling investigates a regulation system which clients say favours the profession rather than the consumer, and goes undercover to investigate solicitors making a mockery of the system.

Those involved in the debate regarding self regulation of Scotland’s legal profession will be well aware of the ill fated attempts between 2001-2007 to create a more independent system of regulation, which saw the creation of the pro-lawyer, anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

Since the SLCC was created in 2008 by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, there have been little if any improvements in how consumer complaints against Scottish solicitors are investigated.

The current model of self-regulation of Scottish solicitors, where the SLCC investigate complaints against lawyers, appears to have led to record numbers of solicitors escaping sanction or prosecution for offences committed against clients.

Critics of the current system and its in-built pro-lawyer bias point to the fact the SLCC itself is effectively run by the Law Society who pay for its running through subscriptions raised by lawyers who in turn increase client fees to fund their own pat-on-the-back self regulation cartel.

Diary of Injustice reported on the secret vested interests at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in an earlier article here: A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP : Investigation reveals Scotland’s ‘independent’ legal regulator is mired in family, business & personal links to legal profession & Law Society

The frequent, almost serial failures of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been widely reported in previous articles.

The Sunday Mail reports :

Expert: Kick out cartel of lawyers

Sunday Mail 12 January 2014

A leading legal academic has called for an end to the self regulation “cartel” of lawyers in Scotland.

Professor Julia Black said independent regulation is vital to build public confidence.

Critics say the Law Society of Scotland’s dual role of acting for lawyers and the public is flawed.

Professor Black, director of the law school at the London School of Economics, said: “Let’s be honest about self-regulation.

“It’s a case of a group of people doing their work, marking their own work and if they do something wrong, telling each other off.

“It would be difficult to have full confidence in a system until you have independence, transparency and accountability.”

The Law Society in England and Wales was stripped of its regulatory role by the UK Government seven years ago.

The independent Solicitors Regulation Authority now investigates and disciplines lawyers there.

Professor Black said: “You have moved from a situation where the professional regulated itself to a situation where you have operationally independent regulators.”

Professor Black raised her concerns ahead of BBC1 Scotland investigation Lawyers Behaving Badly, which will be broadcast on Wednesday.

The Law Society of Scotland said there was “much evidence” that the system in England and Wales is more bureaucratic and expensive. A spokesman added: “This doesn’t sound like a model Scotland should follow.”

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