Posted Apr 10, 2007 10:14 pm CDT
A billion pounds or so in legal fees taken from coal miners’ compensation claims in the United Kingdom has led to a huge public outcry and an ongoing investigation. Most of the money was paid to 30 firms representing miners with respiratory disease and other workplace-related conditions allegedly caused by inadequate safety precautions.
One lawyer reportedly made more than $16 million pounds in one year, or approximately $45,000 pounds daily, the London Times reports.
Meanwhile, “the Solicitors Regulation Authority is currently ploughing through 53 investigations into the conduct of law firms that syphoned off coalminers’ compensation,” reports The Lawyer. “Investigations into the conduct of lawyers are in full swing, it states in another article, “with the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) looking into firms that may have deployed “very aggressive” approaches deemed to be inappropriate behavior for professional services firms.
“In 10 cases alone,” the article continues, “40 solicitors are facing disciplinary hearings. Partners from 11 firms have been referred to the SDT, with a further eight subject to internal Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) decisions. Thirty-two solicitors have been reprimanded and 22 warned about their future conduct.”
The situation is described as “an appalling feeding frenzy for solicitors” by Kevan Jones, Labour MP for the coal mining constituency North Durham.