Comment on Law Society of Scotland response to SLCC budget consultation

10/03/2017

"We are obviously disappointed at the stance taken by the Law Society of Scotland.

The underlying reason for the proposed levy increase is a 12% rise in complaints against lawyers over the past year, many of which are complex cases that take significant resources to resolve. After five years of SLCC discounting fees by using reserves we now have no choice but to increase it in order to continue serving the public properly.

Taken over the most recent five year period the total rise proposed is equivalent to only 5%.  For a solicitor in private practice that equates to an annual increase from £332 to £368, a rise of £36 – and applies to around half of those the levy is paid by. For other groups the rise, in cash terms, is much lower.  For example, for advocates the rise is only £24 and for in-house lawyers only £15.

In addition to the rise in demand for its services, the SLCC has also had to budget for an increase in the number of appeals and litigation it is involved in following the 19 Court of Session actions brought against it by the Law Society of Scotland.

We welcome debate across the profession about how the process can be speeded up and streamlined to improve the experience and outcomes for consumers and lawyers, and the best way to reduce cost would be to work together to improve the process and reduce the common causes of complaints.”

Our Board will meet later in March to fully consider all responses received to this consultation."

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