Touts Working Hand In Hand With Lawyers
Touting is such a lucrative business that the perpetrators have started opening their own legal firms with the help of new lawyers who have just completed their chambering. - The Star, 5th May 2016
The Star reported that touts are now in business with some lawyers to glean the personal injury cases that are so abundant and lucrative.
What is touting?
Touting is a term used whereby an agent, the tout, will bring cases to lawyers in return for a sum of money. The amount is usually a percentage of the damages paid to the plaintiff.
Is touting legal?
Touting is an offence under Rule 51 of the Legal Profession (Practice & Etiquette) Rules 1978. It is an offence for the lawyer to employ or engage the services of a tout.
Moreover, under Rule 52 a lawyer may not share their profit or even pay any form of commission with a person who is not a lawyer.
But it must be noted that it is NOT unlawful for the tout to ply his trade.
Touting and corruption
In an accident case, the plaintiff will require documents such as medical reports, police reports, JPJ search etc. In many instances the touts will facilitate this. They do it 'expediently'. In fact many palms get greased pretty often enough. It creates a web of corruption.
Now, corruption is something we all want stamped out right?
The response from the legal fraternity
Selangor Bar chairman Salim Bashir said nothing could be done as long as the legal firm was opened legitimately. - The Star, 5th May 2016
Shocking as it may be, the Selangor Bar chairman seems to have brushed off this matter by merely focusing on the actions of the tout. However, he seems to have conveniently forgotten how the arrangement is clearly in breach of Rules 51 and 52.
Action needs to be taken against lawyers who flout the law. The Bar Council has deemed it fit to commence an action for judicial review against the AG on the basis that the Bar Council has a duty to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour.
Anyone going to remind the Selangor Bar chairman of this? I wonder ...