Lawyers overcharged for legal aid

Three lawyers have been barred from providing criminal legal aid services after being investigated by the Scottish Legal Aid Board over charges.

All three were found to be in breach of the board's code of practice.

Solicitor Iain Robertson of Paisley-based Robertson & Ross and former associate Alistair Gibb were found to have overcharged the board for travel to various prisons.

Mr Robertson's firm has since repaid £221,847 to the Legal Aid Fund.

In a separate case, Glasgow lawyer Steven A Anderson and his firm Andersons Solicitors were found to have held "unnecessary meetings with clients" and made "inappropriate, multiple and repetitive grants of advice and assistance".

The Scottish Legal Aid Board monitors and investigates legal aid expenditure involving both legal aid applicants and the legal profession.

While it can stop solicitors undertaking criminal legal aid work, only the Law Society of Scotland has responsibility for stopping solicitors from providing civil legal aid services.

Last year, the board saved or recovered almost £2m following investigations.

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