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Campaigning aristocrat challenges parliamentary elections and sues Brodies for £45m
Scottish pressure group Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers (SACL) is fielding candidates to stand against 16 Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) who are also lawyers in the upcoming Scottish parliamentary elections. SACL candidates will stand against MSPs that include Scottish Conservative Party leader and Tods Murray partner David McLetchie and Labour MSP Gordon Jackson QC. SACL is led by Stuart Usher, a Scottish aristocrat who is suing Scottish law firm Brodies for £45m. He told The Lawyer: "These lawyers are also MSPs and sit on a great number of parliamentary committees. We don't believe that lawmakers should be the people who also practise law and are members of the Law Society of Scotland." Candidates will be drawn from SACL's membership, which is made up of those who believe they have been wronged by Scottish lawyers or Scotland's legal system. "We want to find candidates who have been through the Law Society pantomime, the Citizens Advice Bureau pantomime, the MSP pantomime - the whole pantomime," Usher added. A spokesperson for the Law Society of Scotland responded: "Lawyers have a valuable perspective to bring to the function of law making. They, like any other citizen, are entitled to put themselves before the electorate for membership of a democratic parliament." Usher launched his £45m claim against Brodies in March this year. He is suing the law firm because he believes it mismanaged his family's estate, which was once worth more than £365m. Usher claims that when he returned to the UK from South Africa in 1995, he discovered that all the Usher family wealth had disappeared. As the eighth beneficiary to the estate, he believes he is entitled to £45m. The 60-year-old now sells burgers and hot dogs from a roadside van and has a second job driving disabled children. A spokesman for Brodies said: "Lawyers aren't to blame for Stuart Usher's problems. His family wealth, which he greatly overstates, supported generations before him. He's disappointed with his inheritance, but this isn't the fault of lawyers. The management of his family trust funds has been investigated by the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Ombudsman and was found to be completely in order. Stuart Usher's claims are groundless; he has a grudge against the entire Scottish legal profession and he needs to move on. "Brodies has appointed legal advisers to defend this action on behalf of the firm and its insurers, and they have applied to have the case dismissed as irrelevant. Brodies and its advisers are confident this application will be successful."