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Legal aid lawyer helped himself

Legal aid lawyer helped himself

A ROGUE Scottish solicitor has been found guilty of professional misconduct after being found submitting false accounts and inflated charges. The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal found…

A ROGUE Scottish solicitor has been found guilty of professional misconduct after being found submitting false accounts and inflated charges.

The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal found Paul Kirk guilty of defrauding legal aid by double-charging and claiming false expenses, enabling him to become one of Scotland’s five highest earners in a league of one-man law firms, The Express newspaper reported.

In the judgment the Tribunal lamented that they could only impose a slap-on the-wrist penalty because Kirk had taken his name off the Law Society of Scotland’s list prior to action being taken against him.

In 2003—04 Kirk was paid £311,000 ($778,728 in 2003—04) by Scottish Legal Aid, however the investigation showed at least 10 per cent of Kirk’s claim was fraudulent. Kirk was fined the maximum penalty £10,000 ($22,589) and was censured.

The Tribunal said the lawyer’s fraudulent claims “strike at the heart of the obligations of honesty and integrity which are incumbent on every solicitor”.

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