The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has commented on the outcome of a judicial review in the Court of Session.
The judicial review came out of a case where serious allegations had been made by the police, but they were not willing to make a formal complaint of their own. The SLCC then raised a complaint in its own name. One of the lawyers named in the complaint raised a judicial review of the SLCC’s ability to do this.
SLCC CEO Neil Stevenson commented, “We were passed detailed information by the police, but after further discussions they were unwilling to make a formal complaint. “
“There was a serious allegation with evidence available, and potential public protection issues. After discussions with the Law Society of Scotland, we believed raising a complaint in our own name was the only remaining option to ensure the matter could be investigated. Our only role would have been to perform an initial ‘eligibility’ assessment. As it was an allegation of misconduct we would have then passed the complaint to the Law Society of Scotland for investigation, if we had accepted it as eligible.”
“We will now carefully consider the detail of the court’s decision and the implications. We are concerned that this decision leaves a situation whereby it is unclear how serious allegations of misconduct against lawyers can be considered in terms of public protection if no individual or organisation is prepared to make a complaint in such cases.”
“This case has highlighted again that the system for legal regulation and complaints is complex and unwieldy and we will continue to make the case for reform. “
The judgment is available at: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/cos-general-docs/pdf-docs-for-opinions/2020csoh23.pdf?sfvrsn=0