How to read our Statistics

Explaining the terms we use

The following information explains some of the terms we use in our complaint statistics.

Number of contacts received

Reasons for ineligibility and what they mean

Eligible for investigation but not by the SLCC

Discontinued

Mediation

Investigation

Determination

Cases in hand

Number of contacts received

Our role is to act as the 'gateway' for complaints about the legal profession, to investigate complaints about the service provided by legal practitioners and have oversight of complaint handling by the profession and the Master Policy and Guarantee Fund.

The legislation which gives the SLCC its powers is the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007. Complaints received by the SLCC will be considered under the terms of this Act.

Back to top

Reasons for ineligibility and what they mean

We assess whether complaints are eligible for investigation under the terms of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007. The following figures show the number of cases we were unable to accept because they do not meet the eligibility criteria. The reasons for the ineligibility are explained below.

Premature conduct or service complaints

Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, the SLCC will not accept a complaint until the practitioner has been given the opportunity to resolve the complaint in the first instance.

Premature handling complaints

Handling complaints are complaints about how the professional organisation has investigated conduct complaints. The SLCC can consider how the professional organisation handled the complaint under the terms of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, but we are unable to investigate the actual conduct complaint. The professional organisation should be given the opportunity to investigate the complaint and write to the complainer with their decision. If the professional organisation has not made a written response to the complaint, it is termed premature and may not be investigated by the SLCC until the relevant professional organisation has issued its final decision letter.

Body out of jurisdiction

These are complaints that fall outside the powers of the SLCC as they concern organisations not covered by the terms of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007.

Subject out of jurisdiction

These are complaints that fall outside the powers granted to the SLCC under the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, because they are not about the service provided by, or the conduct of legal practitioners.

Not a legal practitioner

The SLCC is unable to accept a complaint about someone who is not a registered legal practitioner as it would fall outside the powers of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007.

Practitioner acting in a judicial capacity

These are complaints where the practitioner has been appointed by the Court or Crown to act in another capacity.

Conduct/service complaint or handling complaint made out of time

These are complaints that have been made outside of the time limits for conduct/service complaints and handling complaints.

Complaint is vexatious, frivolous or totally without merit

This is where the SLCC has rejected a complaint because it concerns something we consider to be vexatious, in a legal sense of the word, frivolous or trivial, or totally without merit. This means it is not considered a complaint as defined under the terms of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007.

Back to top

Eligible for investigation but not by the SLCC

Any complaints we receive and decide are eligible complaints about conduct, will be handed to the relevant professional organisation for investigation.

Back to top

Discontinued

These figures indicate when a complainer has contacted us about something that is a legal complaint but then fails to submit a complaint form or when a complainer decides to withdraw their complaint during investigation.

Back to top

Mediation

Mediation is where both parties have taken the complaint to an independent mediation and have agreed themselves on how to resolve it. If the complaint is resolved it is closed.

Back to top

Investigation

These are complaints that have been investigated by the SLCC and have been resolved without a formal determination.  At the end of an investigation the SLCC issues a report setting out our findings and recommendations.  If the parties agree with the report, it is closed.  Sometimes the complaint is resolved during the investigation and before a report is issued.

Back to top

Determination

If the findings of the investigation are not accepted by both parties, the complaint is referred to the Members of the Board of the SLCC. Members will determine or decide whether or not to uphold the complaint and what action or compensation is needed to address the consequences of any inadequate service provided. Members make their decisions in determination committees of three, five, seven or nine Members with the majority coming from a lay or non-legal background. The Members' determination is final and if either party disagrees with it, they can appeal to the Court of Session.

Back to top

Cases in Hand

These are 'live' cases from the previous period that the SLCC is dealing with at each stage of the complaints process.

Back to top