I have been referred to in the Scotland on Sunday today. As there are a number of material inaccuracies in the article, and as there may be readers who come to this blog with the wrong impression, I reproduce below my response to it, which has been emailed to the Editor and posted as a comment on the Scotland on Sunday website.
I refer to the article published in your newspaper today under the headline “Ten-year ban for solicitor who failed to pass on Scottish miners’ compensation”.
I wish to point out a number of inaccuracies in the article and trust that the appropriate corrections will be made to the online edition, and that a suitable correction notice will be placed in your newspaper.
First of all, the headline is incorrect. The sanction imposed, and I will refer to this again below, was not a “ban” but a restriction on working as a principal in a law firm ie a Partner. I am entitled to work as an employed solicitor with Law Society approval and under supervision by the firm for whom I work.
The reference to failing to pass on compensation implies dishonesty, and that any funds not passed on were kept by me.
It was accepted at the Tribunal by the Law Society and by the Tribunal that there was “no question of dishonesty”, and that “every penny of clients’ funds had been accounted for”.
Dealing with the specifics of the article, as referred to above, I have not been “barred from the profession”. I am permitted to work as an employed solicitor with Law Society approval and under supervision.
The fifth paragraph of the article repeats that I will not be permitted to work as a solicitor. Again, that is wrong. The statement that I will be allowed to work as a “legal assistant” implies that that is not a solicitor. As mentioned, that is not the case.
In the eleventh paragraph, reference is made to a “fine” having been imposed on the firm, contributing to the problems. That is incorrect and no such statement was made regarding a “fine”. Reference to a “fine” implies some form of wrongdoing. There was no such “fine”.
Your quote from Mrs Hunter is based on an inaccurate premise, as I am allowed to continue to practise, as referred to above. The accusation of “faking a fire alarm” is untrue.
As regards details of individual cases, client confidentiality prevents me making any specific comment.
I regret that there were cases where for the reasons explained at the hearing, clients’ affairs were not progressed as well as they should have been, and I apologise for that. However, over the time my firm operated, we had many thousands of satisfied clients, on whose behalf we had obtained justice. That does not excuse even one lapse, but I mention it for purposes of perspective.
I am posting this as a comment on your online piece, as well as emailing it to you.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.