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Complainant Name:
Glasgow Bar Association

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Scottish Daily Mail

Complaint:

Kenneth Waddell, President of the Glasgow Bar Association, complained that the newspaper had published an article which wrongly suggested that solicitors in a particular trial had requested bail for their client as a reason to charge more when, in fact, the main reason for obtaining bail is that it allows for more extensive case preparation.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the complainant, on behalf of the Glasgow Bar Association:

Dear Sirs,

I write with reference to the article by Graeme Grant, Home Affairs Editor published on 13 April 2011, relating to the case of John Hay.

On behalf of the Glasgow Bar Association can I clarify that Lawyers are not demanding bail to boost their own fees'.

As the article confirmed, the concern is the proper conduct and preparation of the case. The current regulations page a fixed block fee to solicitors for visiting accused persons remanded in custody. This takes no account of exceptional cases where significant and important issues have to be discussed and instructions taken. Solicitors must take instructions. They act for an accused based on that person's instructions. There is now a difference between clients remanded in custody and clients at liberty; the fee for custody matters is fixed and therefore restricts (sometimes unfairly) what work can be done.

It is important within the justice system that facilities are put in place to allow for proper preparation of a case, which in turn allows for a fair trial. Whether one loves or hates lawyers, it seems to be universally agreed that when someone is accused they have a right to be provided with the opportunity to properly prepare for the presentation of their defence. Solicitors' fess are then scrutinised by the Scottish Legal Aid Board who will only pay for work (at Legal Aid rates) that was both reasonable and necessary.

Yours faithfully,

Kenneth J Waddell
President
Glasgow Bar Association

Date Published: 17/06/2011



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