The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has announced its budget proposals for 2010/2011. This will be the SLCC's third budget for its second full year of operation.
Set up by the Scottish Government under the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, the SLCC investigates complaints made by members of the public about services provided by legal practitioners in Scotland. The Commission opened for business on 1 October 2008 and although operating wholly independently of the legal profession, it is funded by legal practitioners in Scotland through the payment of an annual levy and charges imposed when a complaint is upheld.
Commenting on the budget proposals, SLCC Chair Jane Irvine said: "The Board is keen that levies collected from the legal profession do not change dramatically from year to year.
"Taking this and the economic downturn into account, we have decided to use SLCC reserves to stabilise the levy fee at a time when there is a reduction in the number of practising legal professionals, which of course, means fewer levies to be collected by the professional bodies."
She added: "The general levy for the next financial year will remain the same with additional categories being added to bring In-house Conveyancing and Executry Practitioners inline with In-house Solicitors and to also include members of the Association of Commercial Attorneys."
The levy is gathered by the professional bodies; the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates and the Association of Commercial Attorneys (the levy for Conveyancing & Executry Practitioners is collected by the Law Society of Scotland).
Jane Irvine continued: "Similarly, whilst our previous budget doubled the levy we apply when complaints are upheld, this will not increase in our next financial year.
"What we have done, however, is to give ourselves more discretion when and how we charge the complaints levy with the maximum set at the relevant levy banding.
"The SLCC proposed budget for 2010 to 2011 is £2,839,336 and although our budget calculations need to factor in running costs of up to six months, our under-spend has enabled the overall budget to be reduced by over £145,000."
Proposed levy charges for 2010/2011 are:
Solicitors with 3 plus years experience £275
Conveyancing or Executry Practitioners with 3 plus years experience £275
Solicitors within first 3 years of practice £138
Conveyancing or Executry Practitioners within 3 plus years of practice £138
In-house solicitors £91
In-house Conveyancing or Executry Practitioners £91
Commercial Attorneys £91
Complaints levies are charges made against legal practitioners when a complaint is upheld. The proposed complaints levies for 2010/2011 are:
Mediation levy £0
No complaint upheld £0
Complaint accepted - First Settlement up to £500
Complaint accepted - Second and
Further Settlements up to £700
Formal Determination - First up to £800
Formal Determination - Second up to £1,200
Formal Determination - Third
and Further Determinations up to £2,000