Law Society additional comment on Christopher Hales case
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society, issued the following statement at a press conference held at 3.15pm, 1 October 2015:
“The Law Society’s number one regulatory priority is to protect the public from any wrong doing by solicitors. As I have previously commented, following a routine inspection of the accounts of law firm Grigor Hales of Gorgie Road, Edinburgh in July 2011, we believed Christopher Hales had not met the required standards of professional conduct.
“We therefore took action to protect the public by suspending Mr Hale’s practising certificate in September 2011. There is a duty on us as a regulator to report suspicious activity quickly to the appropriate authorities. Such reports and timings or information about the report are confidential by law.
“I want to stress that Law Society employee Sheila Kirkwood has not acted unprofessionally or inappropriately at any time. Sheila is a hard-working, dedicated colleague. She had no involvement in taking papers on the Christopher Hales case to the Law Society Guarantee Fund sub-committee and in no way delayed these papers being taken to the committee. Sheila’s role as secretary to the committee is to write the minute.
“The names of Christopher Hales’s clients were not included in any Law Society papers that Sheila handled. The first time Sheila realised Michelle Thomson was involved in the Christopher Hales case was from recent media reports.
“Sheila is entitled to her personal political views. The Law Society is a non-partisan organisation. However, we do not stop our staff from holding or expressing their own views in their personal lives. People in Scotland are legally entitled to express their personal opinions.
“I am confident there was no conflict of interest in relation to Sheila’s role at the Law Society.”
1 October 2015