Over the last few months, we have been engaged with the Faculty of Advocates in a review of its systems for dealing with complaints and the Rules which govern its complaints handling process.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), the SLCC Consumer Panel and the Law Society of Scotland have all commented on a newly-published decision from the Court of Session that raises significant issues in dealing with complaints from consumers and others about lawyers.
The SLCC, Scotland’s single gateway for complaints about lawyers, is looking for four new board members. The vacancies come at an exciting time for the SLCC as the body starts to deliver on an ambitious four year strategy. The successful applicants will take up their role during a parliament where the governing party has committed in its manifesto to launch a consultation “to review the regulation of the legal profession in Scotland”.
The courts have refused leave to appeal to a complainer, who was unhappy that the SLCC had ruled his case “totally without merit” (a legal term the SLCC has to use under the 2007 Legal Professional and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act).
The SLCC has today called for the government to consult on opportunities to reform legal complaints handling, based on its experience of handling over 8,000 complaints.
Commenting on a recently published Court decision, chief executive of the SLCC, Neil Stevenson, said "it is vital that solicitors respond appropriately when the SLCC contacts them in relation to a complaint. Without a response it is more likely a complaint will be admitted, causing more work and stress for the practitioner and extra cost for the whole sector. It delays closure for the client, whether that being the case being dismissed or upheld, and risks undermining confidence in the profession.”
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has set out its 4 year strategy to improve Scotland’s legal complaints system. The plan was finalised after a consultation earlier this year.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has been made an official partner organisation of 50:50 by 2020 and in the same month has been accredited as a Living Wage employer.
Following a roundtable discussion on the application of disciplinary sanctions last month, the SLCC has now issued finalised guidance to the relevant professional organisations.
Experts from a range of professional regulators came together at the SLCC this week to discuss sanctions in professional regulation. They were joined by representatives from consumer and equality groups along with other stakeholders.
Four key themes dominated the responses to the recent consultation by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission on its draft strategy, operating plan and budget. Neil Stevenson, the Commission’s Chief Executive thanked all those who responded “we know preparing a response takes time and consideration, and we’re tremendously grateful to stakeholders who took the time to share very frank, focussed, and thoughtful feedback.”
10 members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission staff team are running the equivalent of over 100 miles at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in May. The combined effort includes a relay team, half marathon and full marathon runners, all in aid of the staff charity for the year ‘The Yard’.