The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has set out its 4 year strategy to improve Scotland’s legal complaints system. The independent public body, which investigates and resolves complaints from the public about Scottish lawyers, finalised the plan after a consultation earlier this year.
Amongst the strategy’s priorities are:
- Increasing public awareness of the right to make a complaint about a lawyer and increasing the SLCC’s visibility
- Working to understand the public’s and the legal profession’s expectations of professional standards, including highlighting complaints processes
- Developing a culture of learning, so that complaints made to the SLCC can be used to improve levels of service, as well as national professional standards and regulation
- Further developing the SLCC as a high performing organisation
- Making sure that compensation or fee refunds awarded by the SLCC arealwaysreceived by consumers (in a tiny minority of cases this doesn’t happen at present)
“We’ve finalised our strategy at a time when consumer rights have been climbing the public agenda” said SLCC Chair Bill Brackenridge, “and we’re now planning for the years ahead. We’ll have been running for ten years in 2018 and we now have a path, for then and after, to a more effective and efficient system for legal complaints. Working in partnership will be crucial to its success and I’d like to thank our stakeholders for an open and challenging debate around the consultation.”
The SLCC’s 2016-2020 strategy consultation, along with the SLCC’s annual budget and operating plans for 2016-17, was launched in January this year. The consultation closed in March and the budget was laid before the Scottish Parliament in April. In addition to individual submissions, responses were received from the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates, the Scottish Government, the Competition and Markets Authority and the SLCC’s independent Consumer Panel.
Consumer Panel Chair Carol Brennan commented, “Having been consulted by the SLCC during the development of the strategy, we’re pleased to see that many of the issues we raised have been reflected in the final strategy. In particular, the needs of diverse consumers must be taken into account and we are keen to see how the work on consumer focus and clear communication moves forward.”