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Solicitors barred from criminal legal aid work

19 July 2010

Three solicitors have been deregistered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board from being able to provide criminal legal assistance, after investigations uncovered that they had made excessive claims.

Iain Robertson, a director, and Alistair Gibb, a former associate both of the Paisley firm Robertson & Ross Ltd, were found to have overcharged in particular for travel to various prisons. The firm has been forced to repay to the Legal Aid Fund the sum of £221,847.

Separately, solicitor Steven A Anderson of Andersons Solicitors, Springburn and the firm of Andersons Solicitors have been removed from the list for holding unnecessary meetings with clients, and making inappropriate, multiple and repetitive grants of advice and assistance. No figure for recoveries was given; SLAB is currently resolving outstanding claims made by Mr Anderson.

Deregistration means that these solicitors cannot now provide criminal legal aid or criminal advice and assistance.

Each decision follows an investigation by the Board as part of its programme of monitoring and investigating legal aid expenditure involving both legal aid applicants and the legal profession. The Board also disclosed that In 2009-2010 its compliance and investigations work resulted in savings and recoveries of nearly £2m, and a number of cases involving solicitors, applicants and legally-aided assisted persons were reported to the Crown Office.

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