The amateur tradition is alive and well in Britain and old ‘rickety edifices’ are being swept away with the appointment of Adam Sampson, a former CEO of Shelter, who has no legal qualifications (but is married to a criminal barrister) as Legal Ombudsman.
Got a legal complaint? Now you can take it to the new legal ombudsman
The Guardian reports: A new legal ombudsman service is being launched on Wednesday with powers to investigate clients’ complaints
I particularly liked the fact that the new Legal Ombudsman will not be able to investigate complaints from “No Win No fee” operations if the work was carried out by non legally qualified personnel. Oh… the irony.
Adam Sampson provides some ‘homely’ examples of his experience with lawyers in The Guardian article –
“a barrister slamming down photos on the table in front of a paedophile client while shouting “look what you’ve done … you’ve got to plead guilty”….
“Along with seeing some indifferent and occasionally shoddy legal practice, I have seen countless examples of really committed and skilled lawyers going the extra mile for their clients. That was certainly true at Shelter.”It was also true, for example, of the solicitor my brother used in his divorce, who truly sought to understand and deliver on my brother’s desire … not to do any further damage to his relationship with his wife and protect his relationship with his kids…..I saw how hard she worked and the result of all her efforts. There are shoddy lawyers out there but we mustn’t give the impression that we think that they represent the majority.”
Astonishing…..I wonder if we will need a SuperLegal Ombudsman to oversee the work of The Legal Ombudsman…. perhaps we could get a plumber in to do that one?
As with all these things, we shall have to wait and see what happens. I suspect it will muddle along in the finest of British tradition and will be a complete shambles… but we shall see. I’ve always thought the old maximum “It takes a thief to catch a thief” worked well… and with the legal profession a lawyer would, I suspect, do a better job.
STOP PRESS! I’VE JUST SEEN THIS NONSENSE
LSC hit by £300,000 legal bill over tender
The Law Society Gazette: The Legal Services Commission faces a £300,000 bill for the Law Society’s legal costs, after losing a High Court battle over its family tender process.
The LSC said it could not disclose how much it had spent on its own legal fees in defending the action, as the figure had ‘not been finalised’.
The court ruled on Thursday that the LSC’s tender process for family legal aid contracts was unlawful, and effectively quashed the outcome, which would have reduced the number of family providers from 2,400 to 1,300. It ordered the LSC to pay the Law Society’s costs, which amount to £300,000.
The LSC will also have to pay its own costs. It said this figure has not been finalised, but it is likely to be ‘substantially less’ than the Law Society’s costs.
It isn’t possible to give LSC chair Sir Bill Callaghan (who is ‘disappointed’ by the result) a knighthood…because he already has one – but I am sure that there must be some other deserving soul at the LSC?
New defence to murder charge comes into force
The Independent reports: Men and women facing domestic violence could argue they were forced to kill their tormentor under a new murder law which comes into force today. Killers can escape a murder conviction by proving they were motivated by “words and conduct” which left them “seriously wronged”. Under the changes, the defence of provocation is replaced with a new defence of “loss of control” caused by “a fear of serious violence” or in response to “words or conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged”.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Changes to the law on murder contained in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 come into effect today. The new law also replaces the partial defence of diminished responsibility with a new defence based on “recognised medical conditions”.