Our purpose

Introduction

We provide a single point of contact for all complaints against lawyers in Scotland (solicitors,advocates, commercial attorneys, licensed conveyancers).

We investigate and resolve complaints about service and refer conduct complaints to the relevant professional body for investigation.

We also have oversight of complaint handling by the professional bodies and have a role in promoting and advising on good complaint handling across the legal profession.

What we do

Where we investigates a complaint, we need to take into account factors such as how the lawyer or firm dealt with the complaint when it was raised and what settlements were offered or discussed. In investigating, we can listen to both the person making the complaint and the lawyer or law firm and examine correspondence and documents.  We can also demand explanations in connection with the complaint.  This is to help us reach a fair and reasonable outcome. This means we must take account the relevant law (and levels of damages awarded by courts in similar circumstances), relevant codes of practice, professional rules, standards and guidance.

 We have the power to uphold any parts of a service complaint and award the complainer up to £20,000 for any loss, inconvenience or distress resulting from inadequate professional service. We can also require the relevant legal practices and practitioners to reduce fees, re-do work and rectify any mistakes at their own expense. If we feel the practitioner shows a lack of competence relating to any area of the law or legal practice, we can report the matter to the relevant professional organisation.

Our governance

We are a non-departmental public body with some private attributes. As a public body, we are subject to

However, we are responsible for our own finances, set our annual budget and are not funded by the public. Our funding comes from the legal profession in Scotland through a levy and this is collected by the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and the Association of Commercial Attorneys. The levy for Conveyancing & Executry Practitioners is collected by the Law Society of Scotland.

The Board of the SLCC is appointed by Scottish Ministers in consultation with the Lord President of the Court of Session.