Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Duty Solicitor Slots and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) - the story continues...

The Duty Solicitor and LSC Debacle
A recent case we have been involved in as recruiters has finally hit the big time. The LSC have been heavily criticised by an MP for their dealings with a duty solicitor. Yesterday Steve McCabe MP stood up in the House of Commons and delivered a speech to question the relevant minister about the matter. I have pasted below his press release, sent out shortly before the speech was made.
The link to the Hansard entry is: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130903/halltext/130903h0002.htm#13090344000002 - gives a bit of information as well about the government's plans.
We are involved in the case as the recruitment agency who introduced Mr Majid to Knights Solicitors. This was a last minute introduction, done before a duty solicitor rota deadline in 2010. Mr Sajjad Khan/Ahmad, the senior partner at Knights Solicitors, was arrested by police and is currently due to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Press Release from Steve McCabe: MP slams Legal Aid Agency in House of Commons debate
Steve McCabe, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak, is due to bring the Legal Aid Agency, formally the Legal Services Commission, to task over its unfair treatment of a constituent in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 2 September 2013.
Steve McCabe was first contacted by Kamran Majid in summer 2011 when he asked Steve to take up his case. Since then Steve has been trying to get a meaningful and genuine response from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) but to no avail.
Mr Majid was taken on as a solicitor by a firm which were under investigation by the LSC for large scale fraud. Despite this the LSC allowed Mr Majid’s Duty Solicitor submission to be registered with them in May 2010 but then 20 days later the LSC terminated all legal aid contracts held by Knights Solicitors. This meant that Mr Majid could not undertake any of the legal aid work the LSC had previously approved him to do.
Mr Majid requested that he transfer his legal aid work to another solicitors firm as the LSC had done with 15 other solicitors. However, the LSC refused to do this and did not offer any meaningful explanation; it seemed the LSC were somehow implicating Mr Majid in the alleged fraud at Knights Solicitors. This had grave consequences for Mr Majid who felt his reputation was irrevocably damaged; he was put under considerable financial strain and left without employment for 7 months.
After persistent enquiries from both Steve McCabe and Mr Majid the LSC decided to admit that they actually did make an error in allowing 15 other duty solicitors in similar positions to Mr Majid to pursue legal aid work. This happened before and after the sanctions taken against Knights Solicitors. Although the LSC admitted an error they did nothing to correct it and allowed the 15 other solicitors to enjoy a benefit which they denied to Mr Majid.
Steve McCabe also brought this matter before the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman but no satisfactory response from this body.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“I have called this adjournment debate as I do not believe that the LSC, which is a publicly funded body, have acted in a proper way towards my constituent. I do not feel that at any point they have helped me with my enquiries and it appears they have purposefully tried to mislead both myself and Mr Majid.
“The crux of the matter is that the LSC penalised my constituent but allowed 15 other solicitors an opportunity they denied to my constituent. This is clearly unfair and we need to know how they made a ‘mistake’ before and after Mr Majid’s case but can claim they got it right for him. I also want to know why the LSC approved my constituent’s contract with Knights Solicitors if the very same firm was under investigation for fraud and was being shut down only days later.
“Does the LSC not have a duty to protect solicitors that carry out legal aid work? In my opinion Mr Majid is an innocent victim of public bureaucracies who have protected themselves rather than the innocent party and I hope the Minister will pursue this matter. We are talking about several million pounds being lost in fraud and these people at the LSC covering it up and picking on an innocent man. It’s an utter disgrace.”

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1 comment:

shel said...

What goes round , comes round.Cheating , fraudulent solicitors like Sajjad Khan of Knights solicitors and family are a menace to the public and bring utter disgrace to the profession