Monday, July 18, 2011
14 Scottish lawyers accused of fiddling Legal Aid but not one single prosecution, Scottish Government must act, taxpayer’s money
One thing that the legal profession is passion about is self regulation.
That is why we have the Law Society of Scotland.
The Society is supposed to deal with complaints against lawyers.
However if you go to the Scotland against crooked lawyers, it is a testimony to the failure of self regulation.
However on occasion, the Law Society of Scotland gets tough usually because a case gets into the public domain in a big way.
Legal aid bosses from the Scottish Legal Aid Board have reported 14 lawyers to prosecutors for allegedly fiddling a fortune in taxpayers' cash.
But not a single one has been put in the dock.
The current Lord Advocate is Frank Mulholland, he took over when Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini folded her tent.
Of the 14 cases, 11 suspected fraud cases were marked no proceedings, one lawyer was declared insane, one died and the other is still being considered.
Crown officials are not identifying any of the lawyers involved or reveal the scale of their alleged fraud.
Which means just as they allegedly ripped off the taxpayer; they are free to do so with clients.
And the Procurator Fiscal Service is standing back.
The revelations of alleged fraud were made by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service director of operations Scott Pattison in response to a freedom of information request.
Last year, Scottish lawyers were given £155million of taxpayers' money for legal aid work.
Despite public spending cuts biting elsewhere, they opposed any attempt to reduce legal aid costs.
Legal reform campaigner Peter Cherbi said:
"It seems that the Crown Office which is run by lawyers has one rule for the legal profession and another for the rest of us. If you receive taxpayers' money, you should be open to full public scrutiny."
And MP Brian Donohoe added:
"This is outrageous but hardly surprising given that it's lawyers regulating lawyers. We need an independent system of regulation. Until that happens, people will have no confidence."
The self regulation scam isn’t just a preserve of lawyers; the medical profession has also jumped on the self regulation bandwagon.
It all makes Scotland and Britain corrupt.
Four months ago the Sunday Mail revealed that Kilmarnock solicitor Niels Lockhart, 60, raked in more than £600,000 in two years.
Legal aid watchdogs investigating ruled that Lockhart made dodgy claims but did not call in police.
Why did they not call in the police? That should have been automatic on their part.
Lockhart is still practising but no longer claiming legal aid.
Three lawyers who worked for Paisley firm Robertson & Ross have also fallen foul on claiming.
Ian Robertson was forced to hand back £221,847 in claims and banned from further claims.
Colleagues Fraser Currie and Alastair Gibb were also banned.
And last year a lawyer who was banned from claiming huge sums of legal aid was back in business.
Steven Anderson who worked in Springburn, Glasgow pocketed £560,330 in one year.
Slab blocked £500,000 of pending payments and banned all future claims by Anderson, but he was not struck off.
"We provide all relevant and available information to the police and Crown Office. It is for the procurator fiscal to decide if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution."
And in corrupt Scotland with pretty much all lawyers being members of the Law Society of Scotland cartel don’t hold your breath.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University