SLCC Rules 2016 - Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions on the time limit changes made in the Rules of the SLCC 2016.
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Q. Is this change retrospective and will it allow complaints previously rejected to be re-considered?
A. No, it applies to service complaints which arise from legal work commenced on or after 1 April 2017 and to conduct complaints where the conviction/ alleged conduct incident occurred on or after 1 April 2017. If the service complaint is being made by a third party (i.e. not the client or someone complaining on behalf of the client), the new time limit will apply if the act or omission being complained about occurred on or after 1 April 2017, regardless of when the legal work commenced. Complaints which currently fall outwith the 1 year time limit cannot be resubmitted.
Q. Why is this change being made?
A. Partly to address the number of complaints which come to us each year and are rejected because they are received too late but also to bring the SLCC closer in line with other similar complaint-handling bodies.
Q. So will this change result in an immediate increase to the SLCC’s workload?
A. Making this change effective only for complaints arising from new work engaged on or after 1 April 2017 means that any increase in complaints will be gradual and phased over the next few years.
Questions that only apply to legal practitioners:
Q. What changes will need to be made to my Terms of Business/Terms of Engagement Letter?
A. Information on signposting the client to the SLCC (where they remain dissatisfied with the firm’s handling of the complaint at 1st tier) will need to be changed to reflect the new 3-year limit. This will apply to all Terms of Business/ Terms of Engagement issued on or after 1 April 2017.
Q. Will I need to change my firm’s complaints procedure?
A. If your complaints procedure or process refers to the SLCC’s time limits this will have to be amended to reflect the change, but bearing in mind that it only affects complaints which arise from new work commenced on or after 1st April 2017.
Q. Will the change impact my firm’s record retention policy?
A. Only if the Law Society of Scotland’s recommended file retention period for your particular type of business is less than three years. As files for most work currently require to be kept for at least three years it is unlikely, in most cases, that this will impact firms’ existing file retention practices.
For general information on the SLCC's time limits for service and conduct complaints, see our time limits page.