Tubby Isaacs wrote: ↑
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:33 pm
Bennett has pulled out. Chris Williamson steps up to the plate.
Ah Howard Beckett now there's a very interesting story about him
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/top- ... -z55v7djx9
One of the most senior officials in Unite, Britain’s biggest union, was fined £5,000 for his role in the miners’ compensation scandal.
Howard Beckett, director of legal services at the union, was put forward at a recent union executive council meeting to become an assistant general secretary of Unite. He was accused seven years ago of unfairly deducting fees from miners’ compensation claims.
The miners’ compensation scheme was launched in 1998 for 760,000 former British coal workers who had suffered serious industrial injuries, including lung disease and hand injuries. The scandal involved several law firms that wrongly took money from payouts to the miners.
Beckett and two colleagues attended a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing on May 12, 2009, to face claims that his firm, BBH Solicitors, had not properly informed miners about deductions from payouts as referral fees to a claims-handling firm.
It was alleged: “The respondents had preferred their own interests, specifically the maintenance of their relationship with [the claims-handling firm] and the flow of referrals, to the interests of their clients.”
It said for a time that this meant the firm had allowed “commercial priorities to prevail over its ethical responsibilities”.
Beckett’s lawyer told the tribunal he had made “errors of judgment” but had acted in good faith and had not realised the payments were for referral fees. He added that BBH Solicitors had been “right at the bottom of the scale of operations” on miners’ compensation claims. BBH, based at Eastham Hall in Eastham Village, Wirral, was bought by Thompsons, another law firm, for £2.69m in August 2011. Thompsons is on a panel of 12 firms that provides legal services for Unite members.
Kate Lonsdale, a former colleague of Beckett when he worked in private practice, now owns Unite Tax Refund Ltd, based at Eastham Hall, and helps to obtain tax refunds for Unite members. Her firm keeps up to 30p out of every £1 that workers may have been overcharged by the taxman in their payslips.
John Mann, the Labour MP who has campaigned for victims of the compensation scandal, said it was “outrageous” that a lawyer fined over miners’ compensation should hold such a senior position in a union.
Don't give me the Star Trek crap. it's too early in the morning.
Dave Lister, philosopher.