This short guide - based on our experience of real cases - outlines ten steps you can take which should help you to avoid the most common complaint scenarios. View this as a PDF here.
Preventing complaints - business specific guides
We have published a series of business-specific guides on preventing complaints. These include:
- Wills and executries
- Criminal law
- Family law
We also produce guides for legal consumers designed to help clients understand their own roles and responsibilities. You may wish to make these available to your clients with a view to preventing common complaints.
Complaint-handling for newly qualified solicitors
We have produced specific information for newly qualified solicitors on complaint handling and prevention. We have also produced a separate guide for Client Relations Managers whose role it is to deliver training about complaints handling and avoidance. We hope that this will help provide better insight into what people typically complain about. This will not only help you avoid the common pitfalls which tend to lead to complaints, but should also make you better equipped to deal with a complaint, should one be made.
Useful resources for Client Relations Managers
The resources below may be useful for you if you are a Client Relations Manager with responsibility for delivering training about complaints-handling and avoidance.
- CRM news - our quarterly newsletter has updates on training opportunities, new guidance or advice
- Determination decisions - find out about our recent decisions
- Our policy and procedure manual outlines our processes for dealing with complaints
- Complaints log template - use our downloadable complaints log template
- Formal guidance on dealing with complaints
- Facts and figures about complaints
Dealing with us - complaints made to the SLCC
Determinations and levies
Assessing the Complaints Levy - When assessing the amount of the Complaints Levy to impose in circumstances where a complaint is upheld, the SLCC may take into account (a) the action taken by the practitioner at the time the complaint was originally made and any subsequent action taken, (b) any attempt to respond to / resolve the complaint, (c) offers of settlement, and (d) how the complaint has been managed during the course of the SLCC’s investigation.
Providing evidence to confirm compliance - In order to ensure full compliance with Section 16 of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, practitioners should ensure that the SLCC is provided with a thorough explanation of the action which he / she has taken to implement a Section 10(2) decision and provide written evidence, wherever possible, e.g. a copy of the letter paying compensation, an amended fee note and confirmation of fee refund.
Failing to comply with determinations - Where practitioners have failed / delayed to comply (in full or part) with Section 16 within the timescales specified by the SLCC, the SLCC will report the failure / delay to the RPO and may proceed to seek enforcement of the decision. No reminders will be issued to the practitioners where timescales have not been met. The RPO may decide to raise a conduct complaint against the individual who has failed to comply.
Failing to comply with the Complaints Levy -Where practitioners have failed / delayed to pay the Complaints Levy within the timescales specified by the SLCC, the SLCC will report the failure / delay to the RPO as potential unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct, and may proceed to raise court proceedings for recovery of the sums due. No reminders will be issued to the practitioners where specified timescales have not been met. The RPO may decide to raise a conduct complaint against the individual who has failed to pay.