Rising Complaint Numbers Prompt Increase In Lawyers’ Annual Levy


The Scottish Legal Complains Commission has approved a 12.5% increase in the annual levy Scottish solicitors pay to fund the system which deals with complaints against them.

The rise, approved last week by the SLCC’s Board, follows a significant growth in the numbers of complaints about lawyers and costs coming from recent court rulings and the ongoing uncertainty they have caused.

Commenting on the proposals Neil Stevenson, CEO of the SLCC, said: “In recent years, we have been able to freeze or even reduce the levy, and have subsidised those reductions from our cash reserves, but we have always been clear that those reserves were not limitless and that a rebalancing of fees would be necessary.

“The new levy means that, in real terms, the increase in fees since 2012/13 is just over 5% for most solicitors, and is actually a 5% decrease for in-house lawyers over the same period.

“For solicitors in private practice – who account for around half of those who pay the levy - there will be an annual increase of £40 to £356 and for other groups the rise, in cash terms, is much lower. For members of the Faculty of Advocates, it is actually a return to the level they paid in 2012-13. 

“Much has been said about the fact that even although complaint numbers are rising – and we need to look at the underlying reasons behind this – a large proportion of those complaints will not be accepted for investigation. This misses the key point that every complaint requires to go through a detailed eligibility assessment before we can decide whether it is admissible.”

Bill Brackenridge, SLCC chairman, added: “In agreeing the proposal, the board carefully considered all the responses we received to our wide-ranging consultation. We have committed to working with the various professional bodies, including the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates, in the months ahead to help ensure that we further improve the levy process for future years.”

The budget is now finalised and approved.  The final stage in the budget process is for a copy to be laid before the Scottish Parliament.  The budget is laid for information, but is not subject to Parliamentary procedure. 

Go here for the consultation and responses received.

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