Friday, 1 May 2009

Don't worry it was only taxpayers money

From today's Times...

A former television presenter who became one of Britain’s highest-earning solicitors has been struck off for “disgraceful” misconduct in his handling of sick miners’ compensation claims.

Andrew Nulty, who earned £13 million from the claims in one year, joins a growing list of solicitors punished for their role in the coal health scandal.

This story takes some beating. The government created a £8 billion scheme, which was supposed to support miners suffering from injuries received while working underground. However, £1.2 billion went on fees to lawyers. In fact, it appears that scores of lawyers regarded this public assistance as nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme.

Last December, two solictors in a Doncaster law firm, Beresfords, were struck off for dishonesty and “conscious impropriety” involving miners’ claims. "More than thirty partners at a further ten law firms have been suspended, fined or disciplined for misconduct. An additional 16 misconduct cases, involving 75 solicitors, are yet to be heard by the tribunal."

I have a couple of questions.

How could this scheme end up being so abused? Why wasn't someone in the civil service watching over this money? Why was it left to a newspaper to expose this shocking misuse of public funds?

If lawyers were using deceit in order to obtain money from this scheme, then why haven't the police been called in? This sounds a lot like fraud to me. Leaving it to the Law Society is simply not good enough.

Finally, did the taxpayers get any of this money back? I somehow doubt it.

However, this scandal points to a deeper malaise. Scores of individuals, in what used to be an honourable and trusted profession, have been systematically scamming a scheme to help injured workers. This is morally reprehensible behaviour.

Yet, in Britain today, no one cares, there is no outrage. After all, these lawyers were scamming the state. It was only taxpayers money.


sobers said...

Other peoples money. What civil servant is going to care about it? If you do something, prevent fraud, or prosecute the frausdters and recover the money, will you get more salary, or promotion? Unlikely. Probably get a black mark for bringing the department into disrepute, and potentially lowering next years budget.

The only way to prevent taxpayers money being wasted by govts is to leave it in the pockets of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes drink in a place where Britain's top lawyers hang. I am not surprised: they are a load of scum bags who very proudly have been ripping off the New Labour state for the past ten years. New Labour has created the greatest boom in legal history for lawyers (which ironically is a profession most MPs come from - hmm?). Nothing will be done because the sad fact is this: most Brits are very thick and clueless as to how their society functions.

Anonymous said...

Did they cancel Britain's Got Talent', Gok, or the football - No? Then don't expect outrage any time soon.

Anonymous said...

When the UK introduced the American 'ambulance chasing' laws our legal profession was changed forever.

No win, no fee & accidents are no longer accidents.

dearieme said...

"How could this scheme end up being so abused?" Perhaps because it was introduced by a Labour cabinet many of whose members were lawyers, or even lawyers married to lawyers. Just a guess, of course.

Anonymous said...

"Scores of individuals, in what used to be an honourable and trusted profession"

Shakespeare "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
Henry VI, part 2 (act 4, scene 2, in specific)

Lawyers have always been hated unfortunately the law is needed and therefore lawyers simply put the alternatives to the pigs breakfast we have now are all worse.

The decline of present times is more due to lawmakers making too much new law that is poorly thought out. This case is an example.

Anonymous said...

Every Solicitor involved in the scam should be struck off and their practices taken over by the Law Society and closed down.

All advertising by lawyers and "claims farmers"- those characters you see on day time TV should be banned-TOTALLY. That includes the likes of Tesco and AA when they start to offer Legal services.

Ban the payment of referral fees to and by lawyers.Mineworkers Unions were getting bungs from lawyers in these cases I believe.

And "ban no win no fee" arrangements.

ie turn back the clock to 1980 before Thatcher and New Labour did their worst!

Anonymous said...

The difference between a rooster and a lawyer?
The rooster clucks defiant.

boiling frog said...

Sadly, we have grown to expect this from our legal profession, and expect that they will not be prosecuted for the fraud they commit. Maybe we should build bigger jails for the lawyers, bankers,politicians and other swindlers, but I see the gubbment is cancelling the Titan jails. Frightened they might end up in it no doubt.

formertory said...

The Law Society, if similar to its brother organisation the Law Society of Scotland, will be a toothless excuse for a regulator of the legal profession. I recently pursued a complaint of negligence against a partner in a Law firm in respect of his dealing with the conveyancing of my house. 6 out of 7 complaints were found in my favour by the LSoS.

It became clear that awards made against lawyers by the Society (capped at £5000 in Scotland at least and usually in the range £50 - £200) are regarded as a petty business expense by firms. There's no comeback, no public registration of the negligence - nothing at all. The next few clients along get billed for any award made, and the offending lawyer is free to go stuff someone else, ad nauseam.

I got a couple of thousand pounds in compensation afetr the original award was appealed by the lawyers as excessive, but I'm still left with the problems in the deeds and unresolved matters relating to an adjoining landowner's obligations.

Bastard lawyers. Not all, maybe, but assuredly, most.