Style Continuing Power of Attorney

In a recent court decision 1 the Sheriff has questioned whether a commonly used style of deed of Continuing Power of Attorney in fact complies with the requirements of s15 of the Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act 20002. Perhaps a little embarassing for the Office of the Public Guardian, it is the style they themselves suggest on their website3
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Age of Irresponsibility

Much has been made in recent years of the problems of the “Compensation Culture” and many politicians have expended great gusts of hot air about how they propose to end it. However, in reality this is merely a symptom of a far wider problem.

Historically in the UK, when a government department got something seriously wrong the Minister for that department would give an “honourable resignation”, leaving his position on the basis (as a US President1 famously said) “the buck stops here”. Now we have government Ministers who when something goes wrong send a junior member of staff to face the wrath of the press and carry on regardless. But it is not just politicians, this type of behaviour is endemic across society.  Bankers mess up in catastrophic ways, even breaking the law, and walk away with large bonuses in their pockets. Security contractors accept lucrative jobs, then ask the government to bail them out when they can not do what is needed.
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The Great Dictator

In an earlier blog, I made a remark about some firms still using cassettes for dictation, which attracted a couple of comments. Therefore I thought I’d go over the moderns options, pros and cons.

The first decision is to dictate or not to dictate in the first place. The advantage of not dictating is a possible reduction of costs in equipment and staffing, but this is set against having to deal with the production of text yourself. This ranges from typing everything yourself (where output depends on your typing speed), to document creation systems which let you simply pick from banks of styles (which reduce ability to make bespoke documents) This is not an either/or proposition, but a continuum, and the more work a document creation system does for you in general the dearer it costs, possibly outweighing the savings of have less staff.1
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A living wage from Legal Aid? The tale of Petunia Perfect

Petunia Perfect, the perfect Solicitor, sets up her Legal Aid practice in Scotland in November 2011. She is 5 years qualified now, so able to be a sole practitioner, but she’s going to stick to working 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch, 5 days a week, with 28 days a year holiday.

Since she is only doing Legal Aid work, obviously her fee income is going to be based on SLAB rates. These are quite complicated, but attendance with a client under Advice & Assistance is £51 per hour. Since Petunia Perfect is perfect therefore every single hour of her working week earns this rate; she saves up all her work on correspondence, preparing papers etc. until she has enough that she can bang enough of them out within an hour that she will still get the £51.

She does all her CPD outside office hours, never does pro bono work, and never even sees a client in the office who won’t qualify for Legal Aid. Every minute of every working day is spent earning that £51 per hour.

For, at 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year of perfect work, her accounts to SLAB will be £85,680.00. Pretty good fee income don’t you think.
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So, why exactly am I practising Law again?

After one of those long days after struggling with the Scottish Legal Aid Board to get them to actually pay the pittance due for Legal Aid work done; dealing with a client who is complaining that we did not make them a multimillionaire in the process of their divorce from their unemployed penniless spouse; taking instructions from someone who has just walked in the door with tomorrow being the last date to oppose their home repossession; at the same time trying to sit down with a 40 page commercial lease that needs quick turn around for the business client who has workers and contractors on standby for completion; and all the other similar tasks that makes practice so much fun, you sometimes ask yourself “What on earth am I doing this job for?”
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