This section is for anyone under 16 who uses our services.
We have to apply certain rules around how we deal with your personal information.
For example, we have to tell you;
- what personal information we will ask you for;
- why we need it;
- how long we will have it for;
- the steps we will take to keep your information safe.
Click on the > headings below to find out more about what this means for you:
We, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (“the SLCC”), deal with all legal complaints about Scottish legal practitioners, including solicitors, advocates and commercial attorneys.
We investigate and resolve complaints about poor service. We send complaints about how practitioners behave to their professional bodies (who are the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and the Association of Commercial Attorneys), to deal with. We have the power to check how these professional bodies manage those complaints.
We also encourage and train people about good complaint handling. We keep a check on how legal complaints are dealt with and prepare and publish reports about this. We also share some information about complaints with various different organisations, without naming anyone if possible, to help people understand more about legal complaints and the issues that cause complaints.
The SLCC has a Consumer Panel, which is currently made up of people from Citizens Advice Scotland, Competition and Markets Authority, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, QMU Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre, Scottish Women’s Aid and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. The Consumer Panel helps us to understand the interests of members of the public who are not legally trained. We take into account their views when we are making new rules and processes. So that the Panel can help us, we may need to share information about the number and types of complaints that we see. We do our best to make sure that the information that we give to the Panel does not disclose personal information.
If you have any questions about how we use your personal information, or you would like more information, you can speak to our Data Protection Officer:
Louise Burnett (DPO)
Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
The Stamp Office
10-14 Waterloo Place
EDINBURGH EH1 3EG
Phone: 0131 201 2130
We might decide to contact you by post, email or by telephone. If you want us to contact you in a particular way, or you do not want us to contact you once a complaint has ended, please let us know.
Personal information is any information which helps you to be identified, like your name, address, telephone number and email address.
If you make a complaint, there is likely to be personal information in your complaint form and in the paperwork that you give us.
Before we can deal with your personal information, we must make sure that we are acting within the law.
Because the 2007 Act says that we have a legal duty to deal with complaints about solicitors, advocates and commercial attorneys, we are usually allowed to use your personal information to do that job. This means that you do not have to say that you agree to us being able to use your information for us to deal with a complaint.
We might also have another particular reason to use your personal information. This might be where we are going to use your personal information in a way that you would reasonably expect, but has a little impact on your privacy rights.
In those cases, we are allowed to do so. However, you have the right to ask us not to do so, if you are not happy about this. In that case, you should ask to speak to our Data Protection Officer.
Complaints can be made online or on one of our complaint forms, which can be posted or emailed to us. When we get a complaint form, we open a file on our computer system. We also open a paper file, which has all of the paperwork in it.
When we deal with a complaint, as well as asking you for your own personal information, we will ask you to tell us the name of the person you are unhappy with and/or the firm you are complaining about. All of this information is added to our files.
We usually ask you for personal information when we speak to you on the telephone. We may record this information on our system, even before we receive a complaint form from you. We do this so we know where to send a complaint form to, if you haven’t got one already, or if you want more information about the complaints process. It is helpful for us to record some information about you, in case you phone us again and so we can put your complaint form in the same file when we receive it.
Sometimes you might need to give us information which we need to be extra careful with. This is known as ‘Special Category’ information.
‘Special category’ information includes personal information about your health, ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs etc.
We also need to be careful with information about criminal offences and convictions. In some cases we might need to use this information if the complaint is about a criminal case. In those situations, we will let you know what extra steps we are taking to make sure we deal with this information as carefully as possible.
You can visit our website without giving us any personal information. However there are certain programmes going on behind the scenes (referred to as cookies), which help us to understand how our website works and who is visiting it.
A full list of the cookies we use is on our website.
If you complete our online complaint form, we will record the personal information that you complete in the form. This will be held securely by our web provider, and then transfer directly into our case management system.
Sometimes we might need you to agree to how we use your personal information. We will need you to sign a consent form, which will explain what information we need to use and why. If you are happy that we can use your information, you can sign the form and send it back to us. We will always talk to you about this first.
You are allowed to agree and then change your mind. If this is the case, you need to let us know. You should ask to speak to the Data Protection Officer.
If you choose not to give us information which we ask you for, it might not be possible for us to deal with matters. Feel free to talk to our Data Protection Officer about this if you are worried or have any questions.
If your personal information changes (for example your name, address and contact details) then please contact our Enquiries Team on 0131 201 2130 or email Enquiries@scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk as soon as possible. We will then update our records.
We use your personal information to deal with complaints. We may also use your personal information to prepare statistics, carry out research and prepare reports. Your personal information will not be published in any of our reports, unless you have agreed that we can.
We will make sure that we:
- keep your personal information up to date,
- store and destroy it safely,
- only collect or keep information that we need,
- protect it from being lost or misused, and
- make sure that we keep it safe.
The information that we receive about a complaint will be kept in our paper and computer files so we can deal with complaints.
Only our staff and those people who we ask to help us deal with complaints and our computer systems will be able to access your personal information.
The SLCC operates in the UK and all of our computers are held in the UK. In order for us to be able to do our job, sometimes we might need to send your information to businesses outside the UK.
If you complete an online complaint form, the emails sent will be operated through Mandrill. Mandrill processes data outside the EU, but is certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. We have an agreement with Mandrill about this.
If you sign up to our email newsletter, the data you provide us will be sent to Mailchimp. Mailchimp processes data outside the EU, but is also certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. We also have an agreement with Mailchimp.
If you agree to Google Analytics tracking, the data may be processed outside the EU. Google is certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. We have an agreement with Google.
We usually disclose names and contact details to the other persons or bodies who may be involved in the investigation of a complaint, such as the complainer, practitioner, firm or professional body. We also let the firm’s Client Relations Manager know about your complaint. The Client Relations Manager is the person who is given the job of dealing with complaints on behalf of a firm.
We may also send any documents that we receive about the complaint. This information may contain the identity of other individuals who were involved in the matter being complained about. Personal information about any individual who is not involved in the complaint will not be disclosed or will be anonymised, where possible.
A copy of your complaint form and any papers which you have sent to us will usually be sent to the person/firm you are complaining about. This is to give the person/the firm an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
If you are involved in a complaint, your personal information will be accessed by our staff so that they can assess whether the complaint should be investigated by us and/or by the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates or the Association of Commercial Attorneys.
As part of the eligibility, investigation or determination processes, we might need to share information about you and the complaint with external Reporters, who are employed by us to prepare reports. Our Board Members are also involved in the complaints process, so your personal information and information about the complaint will also be shared with them.
We also use Mediation as a way of resolving complaints, which involves us needing to share information with external Mediators who we employ for this process.
If we decide that the complaint has a conduct element to it, we will pass on copies of all of the information which we have received about the complaint to the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates or the Association of Commercial Attorneys to carry out the investigation.
In respect of all complaints received, we will tell the professional body if we are going to take the complaint forward or not. We email them copies of the completed complaint form and the letter explaining the decision that we have made.
Sometimes people are not happy with our decisions and they decide to appeal to the Court of Session. In these circumstances, we might need to share your personal information with our legal advisers.
We are also legally required to share information about service complaints that have been upheld with the Scottish Legal Aid Board (“SLAB”). Your name and information about the complaint will be sent to “SLAB” as part of this legal obligation.
If required, we might need to share information to assist in any investigation into alleged criminal or illegal conduct.
We have various documents which explain about how we keep information safe and what we need to do if, for example, we lose your personal information or if our computers are hacked.
Our office building is safe and secure. We have locked doors and locks on our filing cabinets etc. Our staff are regularly trained on how to keep information safe, how to stop information from being lost and how to make sure personal information is not given to anyone that shouldn’t have it.
Our computers are protected with firewalls and antivirus software and we use passwords to keep our information on our computers, tablets, phones and USBs safe.
We will keep your personal information for as long as we need it to deal with a complaint. Sometimes investigations can take a long time to complete, so it is not possible to say exactly how long we might keep your personal information for.
When the complaint has been dealt with the case will be closed. We will keep personal information on our computer system for 7 years and in paper files for 1 year.
We do have more information about how long we keep information and when we destroy it in our Retention and Destruction Policy.
We respect your privacy rights. Where we hold personal information about you, either in connection with a complaint or otherwise, in certain circumstances, you have rights about how we hold that information. Your rights include the right to:
- request information about or restrict processing of your personal information.
- request correction of wrong or incomplete personal information.
- have your personal information erased (this is known as ‘the right to be forgotten’).
- request access to your personal information.
- request that your personal information is moved, copied or transferred(this is known as ‘the right of data portability’).
- withdraw consent previously provided at any time.
If you wish to know more about how to exercise your rights, or you wish to make a request about the personal information which we hold, please contact our Data Protection Officer. You can also find more information on the ICO’s website.
You are entitled to ask us for a copy of the personal information that we hold about you. To do this, you can email or write to us. We will usually respond within 1 month, but if the request is complex or there is a lot of information, we have up to 3 months to respond.
There is usually no charge for making a request for your personal information.
You should be aware that there are some circumstances when we don’t have to provide you with the information that you have asked for, or when we might charge a fee, e.g. the information also includes information about someone else and we do not have their permission to give it to you, the request is unfounded or excessive.
If we refuse to give you your personal information, we will explain why. If you are not happy, you have the right to contact the ICO. You must do this within one month.
This Privacy Notice was created on 24 May 2018. Its terms will be regularly monitored and formally reviewed after 6 months. Thereafter the review will take place at least every two years.
We can decide to change our Privacy Notice at any time without having to let you know first. If we make any changes or plan to use personal information for a new purpose, details will be posted on our website. If we think that it is necessary to tell you directly about changes which we have made, we will contact you.
If you are not happy with the way that we have used your personal information, please contact our Data Protection Officer, who will try to help you with your concerns.
If you remain unhappy, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners’ Office at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Phone: 0303 123 1115