The SLCC has announced changes to the time limits for people making a complaint about a lawyer and/ or the adequacy of legal services in Scotland.
At its meeting on 30th November, the SLCC Board agreed that its Rules will be changed to extend the time for making a complaint to the SLCC from 1 year to 3 years.
This change will come into effect from 1 April 2017 and will relate to complaints arising from new work which was first instructed on or after that date, or where the alleged occurrence of a specific act, omission or conviction complained of was on or after that date.
Bill Brackenridge, SLCC Chair said:
“As Chair of the SLCC Board, it gives me great pleasure to announce this extension to the SLCC’s time limits – something which we as a Board have been anxious to finalise for some time but which had been delayed for various reasons outside our control.
We have now agreed to change the time limit for making a complaint to us from one year to three years, which brings our process closer to those of other complaint bodies.
We focussed on a rule that is clear and simple to apply for both consumers and lawyers. Some interesting alternatives and additions to how timeframes might work were considered in detail, but our priority is always on making our process as easy to understand and as efficient to administer as is possible.
Having agreed in principle to change the time limit some time ago, I am sure that the more simplified approach which we have now approved will be welcomed by consumers and the legal profession.”
Carol Brennan, Chair of the independent SLCC Consumer Panel said:
“The Consumer Panel welcomes this change to the time limit for making a complaint to the SLCC from 1 year to 3 years.
Last year, 74 legal consumers who made a complaint to the SLCC found that their complaint could not be taken forward because it had been made too late. This raises questions about the public awareness of the SLCC – a matter which the SLCC continues to address, as is reflected in the significant reduction in such ‘time barred’ cases compared to 132 the previous year.
The Panel firmly believes that this extension to the time limit will further strengthen access for consumers, whilst bringing the SLCC’s complaint handling more in line with that of other complaint-handling schemes”.