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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Biggest legal aid fraud repaid
Legal papers
The Scottish Legal Aid Board said Mr Muir made false claims
The widow of a solicitor involved in Scotland's biggest legal aid fraud has agreed to pay back the cash.

James Muir, who was based in Bothwell Lanarkshire, received 1.8m in legal aid payments over seven years.

A repayment agreement was reached with his family and a law firm he had briefly worked for. The solicitor took his own life in 2005.

Details of the repayment were included in the annual report of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

The solicitor had specialised in child welfare matters and died in April 2005.

After his death, the board announced that it was working with the police and Crown Office to investigate "possible abuse" of legal aid by the solicitor.

We reported the matter to the police, but no action could be taken following the death of the solicitor
Scottish Legal Aid Board

The 45-year-old was understood to have been involved in about 36 cases a year involving children's legal aid.

The board found that he "embellished" child abuse cases in order to claim additional money.

The annual report said: "During 2004-05, following the successful enhancement of our reporting and analysis capability, board investigators revealed that a solicitor had fabricated documents to fraudulently obtain 1.8m over a seven-year period.

"We urgently undertook a review to ensure that the case was an isolated one and fortified our controls to minimise the risk of a recurrence.

"We reported the matter to the police, but no action could be taken following the death of the solicitor."

The report said the legal aid board had worked with the Scottish Government's civil recovery unit to recover the loss.

"A binding agreement has been signed by all parties that will effect recovery with no loss to public funds," it said.




SEE ALSO
Legal aid bill increases to 150m
01 Oct 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
High court reforms judged success
26 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Lawyer banned from legal aid work
07 Feb 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Advocates offer services for free
20 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Legal aid growth 'widens choice'
20 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Legal aid reform 'harmed justice'
20 Oct 06 |  Scotland

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