RSS

Tag Archives: Cameron Ritchie

A £2.2 billion rip-off for YOU while Law Society Chiefs follow Salmond in ‘grubby’ Dubai tour promoting Scots legal market for vested interests

Seeking business for bent lawyers : Law Society of Scotland in Dubai to promote Scots Law as a safe haven for crooked vested interests. AS SCOTTISH CONSUMERS begin to wise up to the rife corruption in Scotland’s legal profession, where dealing with a lawyer on virtually ANY legal matter means a client is going to be ripped off one way or another, with no hope of recompense or resolution to a complaint, the Law Society of Scotland’s Chief Executive Lorna Jack & current President Cameron Ritchie tagged along on the coat tails of the First Minister’s recent trip to the Gulf States promoting Scots law firms with their own lobbying trip to DUBAI, one of those places in the world where even its own Police Chief reckons state firms are rotten to the core and one would surely expect to find an organisation as dirty & corrupt as the Law Society of Scotland.

Alas, with the Law Society’s core Scots membership beginning to run out of clients back home in Scotland to fleece & ruin, due in part to the recession and in part because consumers are finally waking up to the perils of even walking past a lawyer’s office, a Press Release was issued by the Law Society of Scotland covering Mr Ritchie & Ms Jack’s trip to Dubai to promote the Scottish legal profession and its ranks of paid up & not necessarily honest ‘expert witnesses’ who will sell or twist their testimony to the highest bidder at the top of the vested interest feeding chain.

Law Society of Scotland promote Scots legal system for vested interests : An event held for over 100 delegates in Dubai last night, Thursday 3 November, marked the end of a successful week for the Law Society of Scotland at the IBA annual conference.

Banging the drum for lawyer lobbying in Dubai : Cameron Ritchie, current Law Society President & ex Crown Office Procurator Fiscal. The Law Society’s president, Cameron Ritchie, and chief executive, Lorna Jack, have spent time promoting Scotland as a hub for expert legal services at the week-long international conference. Mr Ritchie said: “This has been an excellent opportunity for us to promote the Scottish solicitor profession and emphasise that our legal system sits within an excellent business environment, with over 1,500 overseas companies investing and operating in Scotland. More than 100 guests attended our event, including a number of our members who are working in the Middle East and IBA conference delegates from several overseas law societies and bar associations.”

Mr Ritchie continued : “Scotland has a modern, progressive legal system with a reputation for honesty, integrity and fairness. We provide a flexible and cost effective location for international legal services and, with the passing of the Arbitration Act and establishment of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, can offer a globally competitive place for dispute resolution.We have met a great number of delegates from jurisdictions around the globe this week and been able emphasise the breadth and depth of experience across our legal firms who also provide value for money, have multi disciplinary capability, access to global networks and particular expertise in financial services, oil and gas, renewable energy and life sciences.”

A modern, progressive legal system, as in one easily twisted to the requirements of vested interests, and as far as having any reputation for honesty, integrity or fairness goes, well, the years long battle over asbestos compensation payouts for pleural plaques along the multitude of lawyers trying to justify the use of tainted blood products and the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill’s own takedown of justice in the Civil Courts Review seems to sum up the civil justice system quite well, while the Lockerbie Trial and all its attendant fit ups with bribed witnesses & tampered evidence will do for the Scottish criminal justice system, matters which Mr Ritchie will know very well as he is a former employee of the Crown Office, that institutionally closed-ranks organisation which protects its own from prosecutions, even when deaths are involved.

Lorna Jack, Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, replaced the ‘more fun’ Douglas Mill who resigned after staff interfered in court cases & claims against crooked lawyers. Chief executive Lorna Jack said: “We have had a great reception at the conference this year and it was especially pleasing to be able to attend the opening of one of our most successful firms, McGrigors, new office in Qatar. We shouldn’t underestimate the contribution of Scottish solicitors’ profession either at home, where it is estimated to bring £2.2 billion to our economy and employ approximately 18,000 people, or the role it can play on an international stage. Despite the current and ongoing financial difficulties, there are opportunities for our members which we want to encourage and support.”

Needless to say, while the £2.2 billion estimate may be a little more than reality, a great deal of client’s money well over a billion pounds flowing into the coffers of the Scottish legal profession is one of the main reasons there is no regulation of lawyers who are free to rip anyone off, and by the dozen. It was exactly the same with the bankers, who bought politicians, and bought the regulators. As we saw earlier in the year, even the lawyers who commit legal aid fraud, running into millions are not prosecuted for stealing from the public, such is the influence and lobbying power of the Law Society of Scotland over all in authority.

However, at least with the Law Society promoting Scottish Arbitration (recently exposed as little more than a platform for vested interests, corrupt insurers & disgraced judges who fell from grace in scandals) and ‘so-called’ expert witnesses who will alter their testimony to suit vested interests for a price, clients & consumers in Scotland and abroad are well warned to avoid litigating in the Scottish justice system, where injustice is a business and corruption, from the judiciary down to the High Street lawyer is an unregulated money making enterprise of criminal proportions.

Remember where we all live, in a country where expert witnesses and even doctors from the legal profession will argue that “asbestos is good for you” and be happy to say it in front of our own elected politicians in the Scottish Parliament because they know their profession carries too much influence and power for all our own good.

When the legal profession gets to such a stage as the Scottish legal profession have now become, common sense should tell you to save some money and walk out of your lawyer’s office along with all your papers, wills and titles. You, the consumers & clients across Scotland really are better off looking after your own.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Law Society from Hell : Scots face decade of closed shop, low quality & high cost crooked lawyers as solicitors demand access to justice monopoly goes on

law-in-scotlandAs predicted, Law Society of Scotland’s ‘one profession’ conference result : More client rip-offs on the way. ANOTHER DECADE OF LEGAL RIP-OFFS via poor regulation, consistently poor quality legal services, the worst levels of access to justice in the entire UK & the lowest possible form of consumer protection when things go wrong between clients & solicitors, is on the way for unsuspecting & unwary consumers of legal services in Scotland, according to the Law Society of Scotland ‘new strategy’ for the next decade up to 2020, published earlier this week as a result of the society’s annual conference : “Law in Scotland- One Profession”.

According to the Law Society’s Press Release following its annual conference, the society stated its new strategic aim as ‘to lead and support a successful and respected Scottish legal profession’ in its ‘Towards 2020’ strategy document and has set out five principal objectives against which it will assess and measure its performance over the coming years.

The latest ‘key objectives’ announced, which remain unachievable even after SIXTY YEARS of the Law Society of Scotland’s existence, are :

Excellent solicitor professionalism and reputation (Ignoring huge levels of fraud & theft involving clients funds, legal aid fraud, involvement in organised crime, tax fraud, criminality, etc is on the rise within the profession)

Law Society of Scotland members are trusted advisers of choice (Trust a member of the Law Society of Scotland, kiss goodbye to your life as you knew it before legal difficulties, home repossession, faltering finances, personal bankruptcy & family break up all set in as a result of clients misplaced trust)

Law Society of Scotland members are economically active and sustainable (Economically active enough to inflate fee notes & play clients along for years, charging for work which in most cases never leads to a solution to the client’s legal problems)

The Law Society of Scotland is the professional body and regulator of choice (Another decade of corrupt regulation of complaints against crooked lawyers where solicitors cover up for their colleagues)

The Law Society of Scotland is a high performing organisation (High performing for solicitors, non performing for clients)

The 4m Crooked Lawyer - Daily Record 1991The Law Society of Scotland’s vision for next 10 years – we should expect more multi-million pound crooked lawyers. The now familiar annual claims from the Law Society of Scotland cut little truth in terms of reality, as the levels of frauds committed by crooked lawyers against their clients are significantly on the rise in Scotland, doubtless due to the recession & general downturn in business which has brought about many new creative ways by law firms to rip off clients, including use of Scotland’s Sheriff Courts to pursue clients for alleged fees due for non existent work on court cases which commonly never see a court room or a legal remedy.

Cameron RitchieLaw Society President Cameron Ritchie. Commenting on the Law Society’s desire to remain in charge of exactly who in Scotland it decides should have access to justice, the Society’s current president, Cameron Ritchie, said: “The pace of change for the legal profession, like others, has been tremendous in recent years and of course there has been the additional challenge of the economic downturn. It’s vital for any successful organisation to take time to step back from the day to day operations and look at where we are headed. We must plan what our key priorities should be and how we can best anticipate future opportunities and challenges in order to properly support the profession, which in turn helps our members better serve their own clients, now and into the future.”

The Law Society further stated that a review of its work was initiated by its Council and the final strategy, approved by Council members last month, has had input from groups of members, faculties and firms, as well as senior management and staff at the Society. The Council has considered economic, social and political change which is likely to impact the legal sector and the opportunities these change could bring in addition to any challenges for members.

The statement did not make any mention the Council of the Law Society of Scotland was branded “fundamentally dishonest at its core” by a now former Council Member, John McGovern who, it is claimed “has been critical of the Society’s policy on ABS, and has campaigned against the dual functions of representation and regulation being vested in the Society, amongst other issues.”.

Law Society President Cameron Ritchie again : “The outlook for the next few years remains challenging and we know that solicitors will continue to feel the effects of a tough economic climate. Social change will also impact on our members as consumers of legal services become increasingly well informed and will seek the best and most cost effective services available to them. This makes reputation and quality assurance for solicitors and their firms even more important. As a professional body, it will be our role to promote a deeper understanding of the solicitor brand to the public.

Mr Ritchie said the Law Society was now looking to bring in more female solicitors into the profession. he continued : “The legal sector itself is changing and we are seeing a younger profession with the gender balance swinging towards females. There are also pressures on some specific areas of legal practice, such as the criminal bar, and a growing number of ’employed status’ solicitors.”

Fergus Ewing Scottish ParliamentFergus Ewing, Communities Minister in 2010 was made a laughing stock after Law Society forced him to announce major pro-lawyer changes to a wider-consumer-choice-in-legal-services law. The Law Society also praised the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, (a much watered down out version of the UK Legal Services Act 2007) which took the SNP Scottish Government three years longer than Westminster MPs to consider, and was only passed after the Law Society heavily amended its intentions, at one point turning Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing into a shrivelled-up laughing stock after Mr Ewing was forced by the Law Society to withdraw major parts of the reforming legislation which had intended to put consumers in charge of their own access to justice although not to the same degree as consumers in England & Wales enjoy. Such were the amendments ordered by the Law Society to the Scottish Government’s legal services bill, the latest timetable from the Scottish Government has indicated that alternative business structures are unlikely to become a reality until at least summer 2012.

An earlier article reporting on how the Legal Services (Scotland) Act was passed, is here : ‘Choice’ but not as we know it : Legal Services Bill passed, Scots access to justice remains mostly under Law Society’s control and the chequered history of the Legal Services Bill at the Scottish Parliament can be read here : Legal Services Bill for Scotland, giving consumers no access to justice.

More examples of how the then Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing danced to the tune of the Law Society of Scotland & its members, can be found HERE, HERE, & HERE.

Law Society President Cameron Ritchie added: “In addition to this we also have to be aware of the political context in which we work and the changes coming down the track which will affect the profession. Given the cross party support for the Scotland bill we can predict further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament and we know there is strong political will to see reforms proposed by Lord Gill introduced. We await the outcomes of the ongoing reviews by Lord Carloway and Lord McCluskey. Within such a period of change, we want everyone, whether they are a solicitor or member of the public, to be able to understand our organisation’s purpose and vision for the next five to 10 years.”

The Scots public do not need to wait to understand the Law Society of Scotland’s purpose & vision for the next ten years, as the last two decades of record levels of client fraud & corruption within the Scottish legal profession, held together by the Law Society and its persistent crop of leaders who ensure the legal profession’s vested interests come before consumers, serve as warning from the past the same will continue until fully independent regulation of legal services is a reality, and anti-consumer closed shop institutions such as the Law Society of Scotland are consigned to the dustbin if history.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Scheme : Law Society’s new regulation committee pitches old joke of ‘lay membership’ as more ‘slaps on the wrist’ for crooked lawyers expected

Law Society of ScotlandOld Joke returns : Law Society indulges in spin on lay membership as yet another new beginning for regulation.  THE latest attempt by the Law Society of Scotland to deal with the issue of regulation of Scotland’s notoriously corrupt legal services market as yet another regulation committee was revealed yesterday with the announcement of yet more lay members and another regulatory committee to comply with the laughably lax regulatory requirements of the Scottish Government’s Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, the half hearted & much interfered with attempt to comply with recommendations by the Office of Fair Trading to open up Scotland’s closed shop solicitor dominated legal services market.

The ‘duties’ of this new regulatory committee, with yet more lay members, those oh-so-honourable lay members who allow the Law Society to justify its continued stranglehold over the regulation & lack of protection of Scots consumers who are duped, fleeced, ripped-off and ruined by their legal representatives on a daily basis, are contained in Section 133 of the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which reads like a criminal’s recipe for money complaints laundering & regulation dodging.

However, the Law Society’s not-so-shiny-or-new regulatory committee has its roots mired in controversy, double dealing & threats against the legislation which created it, all culminating in a significant climb-down by the Scottish Government on its proposals to specify the number of lay members on the Law Society’s ruling Council as I reported  here : Scottish Government back down on lay appointments to Law Society Council as lawyers interests threaten to break pro-consumer legal services bill

Fergus EwingEmbarrassing forced retreat by Scottish Government Minister after Law Society threats over council & committee make-up. Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Government’s now former Minister for Communities & Safety appeared at a Law Society ‘road show’ last year to announce to angry solicitors their beloved ‘Council of the Law Society of Scotland’ would remain a lawyer-only club, making the following announcement :“The power of Scottish Ministers to make regulations specifying the proportion of lay members and the criteria for selection was intended as a fall-back, only to be used in the unlikely event that there would be a need to resolve any disagreements regarding the proportion of lay members.”

Mr Ewing continued : “Following representations from the Law Society of Scotland, in which it re-affirmed its commitment to lay appointments, I no longer consider it necessary for Scottish Ministers to have this fall-back power. Therefore, I intend to bring forward an amendment at Stage 2 of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill to delete section 92(4), (5) and (6) of the Bill.”

A solicitor attending the Law Society road show branded Mr Ewing’s appearance & speech as “comical”, saying the Minister appeared at the show like a schoolboy awaiting corporal punishment. A video of Mr Ewing’s speech briefly published by the Law Society was quickly taken down as some indicated it looked too embarrassing for Mr Ewing, who has since been replaced in his role by Roseanna Cunningham.

The Law Society of Scotland issued a Press Release, promoting its latest committee abortion creation as “a significant step for the Society” yet lay members have populate much of the Law Society of Scotland’s committee structure, and as the records show, have simply acted as a rubber stamp for the Society’s wishes & determined effort to undermine any legal reforms which intend to place consumer protection over the vested interests of the legal profession and self regulation.

The Law Society today claimed : “The new committee will work independently from the Society’s Council on regulatory matters, with all of the Society’s current regulatory sub-committees now reporting to it. “

Cameron Ritchie, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The calibre of those applying to join the regulatory committee was extremely high and we were struck by the range and depth of talent of applicants and the enthusiasm they displayed for the work of the Society.

Mr Ritchie continued : “The appointment of the committee is a significant step for the Society as we move towards new types of legal services businesses becoming a reality. The Society is continuing to develop a regulatory framework for Licensed Legal Services Providers which will be as rigorous as that for solicitors, and the committee will have an important role to play as we move forwards.”

The committee members, who include non-solicitors from a wide range of backgrounds including education, the medical sector, surveying and accountancy, will choose a lay convener from amongst the five non-solicitor members. Solicitors Alison Atack, Frank MacAuley, Jane MacEachran and Alistair Morris will be joined by the five new lay members. A further solicitor appointment will also be made. The lay members of the regulatory committee are: chartered surveyor James Allan, head teacher Carole Ford, Professor Kay Hampton, chartered accountant Alan Plumtree and Elaine Tait, chief executive of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

The Law Society of Scotland refused to release any photographs of its latest lay Committee Members, in keeping with it’s tradition of keeping Scots consumers in the dark over who exactly decides on complaints against ‘crooked lawyers’. Clearly however this is wrong. Consumers, clients of solicitors and the public have a right to know exactly who it is who sits on these Law Society of Scotland committees.

These people, along with those who sit on the board of the anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission are making anonymous, unaccountable decisions which affect the lives of anyone using legal services. Those individuals or groups who make these decisions on the quality of legal services which affect the lives of ordinary people and solicitors alike, should be identifiable by a current photograph if their positions are in any way connected with consumer protection or regulation.

As a journalist and a law reform campaigner, I always wonder about the motives & make up of such people who clamour to join an organisation such as the Law Society of Scotland which is already known to have threatened the Scottish Government & Scottish Parliament with legal action if it did not get its way, has interfered with litigants legal aid applications, undermined consumer protection & client rights, personally targeted critics & litigants pursuing ‘crooked lawyers’ through the courts, has whispered in the ears of judges to influence verdicts in civil cases, has regularly provided false information to newspapers, has been linked to & covered up the deaths of its members clients and has within its ranks, officials who have used connections with Police forces to intimidate clients who dared complain against solicitors.

Indeed, what motives & what kind of person would clamour to join such an organisation and such a scheme aimed at ensuring solicitors sleep soundly at night while clients rot in ruin ?

An official with one of Scotland’s consumer organisations said today : “The latest Law Society attempt to control regulation through yet another committee will not change the circumstances of consumers who face historically prejudiced self regulation by the legal profession”.

A client turned campaigner whose bitter experiences with the Law Society became part of the SLCC’s 2009 report on the Master Policy said  : “The committee lay membership at the Law Society of Scotland has proved time and again it is a sham. It does nothing to enhance consumer protection or give clients a fair hearing against solicitors who have the Legal Defence Union standing by their side while the complainant remains unrepresented.”

The backgrounds of those the Law Society of Scotland consider to be “lay people” :

James Allan (East Lothian – Surveyor) – Chartered Surveyor. Honorary Secretary of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors from 2004 to 2010.  Former Chairman of the Institution’s Nominations Committee Independent Adjudicator and Mediator in many construction disputes.

Carole Ford (Glasgow – Education) – Head Teacher, Kilmarnock Academy.  Current Council Member for the General Teaching Council Scotland as well as current Convener of Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the Council Scotland.  Former President of Schools Leaders Scotland.  Board member of Learning and Teaching Scotland.

Professor Kay Hampton (Glasgow – Higher Education) – Emeritus Professor in Community and Race Relations at Glasgow Caledonian University. Commissioner to the Scottish Human Rights Commission.  Member of Children’s Panel in Glasgow.  Former Commissioner of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.  Former Chair, Deputy Chair and Commissioner, Scotland and UK for the Commission for Racial Equality.  Former Chair and UK Board Member for the Community Fund, Lottery Fund.

Alan Plumtree (Dunblane – Accountancy) – Chartered Accountant.  Current Partner in the firm of French Duncan LLP.  Former Senior Audit Partner and member of that firm’s Management Committee.  Extensive involvement with the Committees of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland including the Practitioner Certification Committee, Regulation and Compliance Board, Professional Standards Liaison Committee and Examination Board.

Elaine Tait (Kinross – Medical) – Chief Executive of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE).  Quality Assurance Partner of the General Medical Council (GMC).  Member of the Royal College’s Lay Advisory Committee.  Former Reporter for the Society for the Client Relations Committee as well as a member of the Client Relations Committee as well as a member of a Client Relations Committee.  Also member of the Society’s Professional Conduct Committee as well as the Shadow Regulatory Committee.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,