Corrupt lawyers can be named and shamed on website
THERE may be "wigs on the screen" after "corrupt" solicitors, barristers and judges are named and shamed on a new website.
A group calling itself Victims of the Legal Profession Society (VLPS) has purchased the domain name www.rateyoursolicitor.com and plans to use the site to expose "rogue solicitors".
Ken Murphy, director general of The Law Society, yesterday said he had "no comment" on the proposed website.
John Gill, spokesman for the VLPS, claimed: "I have talked to at least 600 people who have been victims of this judicial system. The judiciary are corrupt as hell, they should stand down or be put down. We plan to list all rogue solicitors on our website - they are giving poor people the run-around," he said.
While the site is being constructed, he has called on the public to email the names of members of the judiciary and legal profession that they have concerns about to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Gill was particularly anxious that lawyers were aiding the theft of land and building sites, the fraudulent probate of wills, covering up for double charging and taking large sums of money from clients' accounts.
The VLPS described itself as a rapidly growing organisation with more than 500 members. The society, of which Mr Gill is a founding member, was started in early August 2001, with the first meeting in Athlone that month.
It claimed a critical analysis of the "immoral and unethical conduct of many members of the legal profession" found the following:
* Large sums of clients' money being removed from trust accounts without the clients' knowledge.
* Perjury in the courts by members of the legal profession.
* Altered and distorted contracts and wills - falsified to deprive clients of sums of money.
* False registration of property and in many cases small, inaccurate prices appearing on the Deed of Transfer; in effect, denying the State the full amount of stamp duty.
* Files going missing.
The VLPS believed the best long-term solution to help clients who felt they were mistreated would be the establishment of a legal ombudsman.
This would bring far-reaching changes to solicitor-client relationships, improve the manner in which cases are dealt with and eliminate malpractice.
The society said the Government had failed in its 1997 general election manifesto pledge to appoint a legal ombudsman.
Currently, people can complain to a disciplinary tribunal which deals with misconduct cases.
The web as a weapon: