Latest appeal case highlights need for reform
The court of session has refused a complainer’s leave to appeal a decision of the SLCC that his complaint was not eligible for investigation.
Commenting on the decision, Gillian Martin, Case Investigations Manager said, “We’re pleased with this decision by the court, and we’re grateful that it has been reached swiftly and without requiring a hearing. That limits the time and staff cost we need to devote to this case. Many cases take far longer to conclude or require more costly hearings.
“However, it’s still the case that almost four months on from our decision on this complaint, we are only now in a position to close it. In that time we have had to devote staff resource to provide the necessary papers to the court and pay legal costs and court fees to defend our decision.
“In this case, the practitioner complained about has also had to wait for an extra four months for the court’s final decision that the complaint was not eligible for investigation.
“It is hard to see how an appeal route to the highest civil court in the land benefits anyone. It isn’t in the interests of complainers, who may be liable for significant costs awarded against them if their appeal is unsuccessful. It isn’t in the interests of practitioners who have a complaint hanging over them for longer than necessary. Nor is it in the interest of the wider legal profession who fund our work.
“An accessible complaints system requires a more proportionate review process. We believe that the changes proposed in the Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill would reduce time and expense and be more proportionate to our role in delivering a swift, effective consumer redress system. We urge the Parliament to support these proposals to benefit consumers and legal services providers alike.”