The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission welcomes the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s final report on the legal services market study for England and Wales.
The Law Society of Scotland has announced its intention to take legal action over our categorisation of certain complaints, which had formerly been ‘hybrids’. This categorisation was carried out in the wake of a decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session that a single issue of complaint cannot be a ‘hybrid’- that is, contain elements of both conduct and inadequate professional service. This meant many valid complaints had no legal categorisation, and needed to be correctly categorised. We are disappointed in the Law Society of Scotland’s response, especially when in the Court of Session case the Society had positively supported the SLCC and helped explain to the Court that this way of classifying complaints had been in practice for some 30 years.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has published its Annual Report highlighting activity in the last year including improved operational performance, the finalisation of a new strategy and the publication of proposals for legislative reform. The Annual Report was laid before the Scottish Parliament, and covers the period from July 2015 to June 2016. It reports on complaints made to the SLCC, Scotland’s gateway for complaints about lawyers.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has launched guidance to help newly qualified solicitors improve complaint handling. The guide, developed with the help of the Scottish Young Lawyers Association (SYLA), and based on the results of a questionnaire which the two organisations jointly issued to SYLA members earlier this year, is targeted at solicitors who are new to the profession. It is hoped that this guidance will provide practical tips to make newly qualified solicitors better equipped to deal with a complaint, should one be made.
The SLCC's independent Consumer Panel has launched its first major publication - the 2015-16 Demographics Yearbook. The Yearbook is based on analysis of the demographic information which the SLCC collects from individual complainers.
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.