Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Well there's a surprise

There are times when my contempt of the legal profession knows no bounds, particularly those sucking on the teat of taxpayers largesse aka human rights lawyers, who seem to do rather well for themselves by doing good.
Lawyers defending the Dale Farm gypsies have been handed £6million of taxpayers' money in just five years, it emerged today.
Leeds-based Davies Gore Lomax cashed in while villagers living beside the Essex campsite had to fund their own campaign to evict the travellers.
The firm, which specialises in helping the 'vulnerable and disadvantaged', pocketed more than £1.1million in legal aid in 2008, The Sun has revealed.
It then received a further £1.1million last year from taxpayers through the Legal Services Commission.
The firm's website reads: 'Whether you are a privately paying client or eligible for representation under the legal aid scheme, we offer the same high level of service and specialisation.'
Of the Dale Farm case, the company said: 'It is a wake up call to all councils to provide the sites that are needed.'
But the firm's founding partner Keith Lomax told the newspaper that their work for gypsies only made up 'a tiny fraction' of their lucrative business.
He added: 'It is very good value for money and the fact that there are still lawyers prepared to work for such low pay to assist vulnerable people should be celebrated.'
Another leading law firm specialising in helping travellers has also netted millions in legal aid, The Sun discovered.
Birmingham's Community Law Partnership, whose funding also covered housing and asylum cases, earned £4.8million between 2006 and 2011.
Now the rights and wrongs of the Dale Farm travellers case don't really concern me, I've seen comment on both sides of the case and thought simply at the end they were taking the piss big time, but as their lawyers were milking the public, no wonder. Most people who were defending themselves in such circumstances would have simply cut their losses well before bringing in the U.N. and filing objections simply to prolong the case itself.
My concerns are that the legal battle itself rather than be for the benefit of the travellers, strayed over in being to the benefit of the legal firm. After all, if you know that legal aid will cough up no matter what, you'll milk it for all it's worth. Nor am I suggesting however that people should not have access to the legal profession, simply that there should be limits. One case and one appeal should be the norm and only extra access should be granted if there is new evidence prejudicial to the verdict, not simply new evidence and not simply withheld whilst the case was ongoing to gain further access to the legal aid teat. Either that or a cap is set on expenses that can be claimed. Nor would I expect this to move legal firms away from such cases, after all the money would still be there, just that the pursuing of a case to the bounds of idiocy will have been removed.


2 annotations:

Anonymous said...

"He added: 'It is very good value for money and the fact that there are still lawyers prepared to work for such low pay to assist vulnerable people should be celebrated.'"

Conjure me a figure for "low pay" for lawyers?

Captain Haddock said...

And when their duplicity or uselessness as lawyers is finally exposed, they're still free to go on to become politicians ..

The public teat .. the gift which keeps on giving ..