Previous best practice notes
"Best Practice Notes" issued by the SLCC are as follows:
1. Signposting -
Practitioners should ensure that clients, or others, who may wish to express dissatisfaction with a practitioner or firm, are advised of the SLCC as the gateway for complaints at an appropriate time (issue date 04.12.09).
2. Time limits -
Practitioners should emphasise that the SLCC operates strict time limits for accepting complaints, which require complaints to be made within one year of the service ending or the conduct occurring. However, the SLCC will disregard any time it considers that the complainer was excusably unaware of their concerns (issue date 09.11.12).
3. Third party documentation -
Where the SLCC asks for information / documentation in the course of an investigation of a third party service complaint, practitioners should always consider whether they can provide some of the information / documentation requested, even if other information / documentation is confidential to their own client and protected by legal professional privilege (issue date 16.10.13.
4. Responding to complaints -
Where a practitioner / Client Relations Manager has received a complaint (whether that is verbally or in writing), a formal response (preferably in writing to avoid potential disputes over what was discussed verbally) should be provided to the complainer within 28 days. If any attempt to resolve the complaint fails, or if the practitioner / Client Relations Manager considers that the complaint is without merit or has been unreasonably made, the position should be made clear to the complainer and the complainer should be advised that this is the practitioner’s final response (issue date 16.10.13).
5. Responding to third party complaints -
Where a practitioner / Client Relations Manager has received a third party complaint, a formal response, preferably in writing, should be provided within 28 days, insofar as this does not breach their obligation to maintain client confidentiality. Practitioners / Client Relations Managers should always respond to a complaint, even if this is simply to say that they are unable to provide a full response as they do not have permission from their client to respond. In these circumstances, the practitioner / Client Relations Manager should confirm that no further correspondence will be entered into (issue date 16.10.13).
6. Costs updates -
In accordance with the Law Society of Scotland’s practice rule B1.9.2, clients should be provided with regular costs updates (including details of any outlays incurred) and be advised of any changes to the hourly charging rates. The SLCC considers also that practitioners should not provide exclusions in the terms of engagement letters which depart from the matters expected to be covered per the Law Society’s rules (issue date 16.10.13).
As and when new "Best Practice Notes" are issued, the relevant professional organisations will be asked to communicate the information directly to practitioners.