SLCC welcomes proposed radical reform of legal regulation as ‘long overdue’

23/10/2018

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) welcomes the radical recommendations for reform made today by Esther Roberton in her report as chair of the independent review of the regulation of legal services in Scotland.

Chief Executive Neil Stevenson commented, “Two and half years ago the SLCC published a vision for reform based on the ‘better regulation agenda’ and the internationally recognised consumer principles. At the time we were a lone voice saying the current regulatory and complaints system was broken and that an entirely new approach was required both in the public interest and to support a vibrant and sustainable legal services sector.”

“We recognise that the independent review has adopted the vast majority of our proposals into the final recommendations and found the evidence of best practice in other jurisdictions and sectors that we presented to be compelling.  A single and simplified regulatory scheme, established as an independent body, is a logical starting point for future discussions.  For too long the barrier to change has been a failure to tackle the issue of whether five separate statutory bodies are really needed to regulate lawyers in Scotland.”

“I’m proud of our staff team who argued for the best outcomes for consumers and the sector.  Our own proposals recognised that delivering these long overdue changes may mean our organisation not continuing in its current form and could mean our functions becoming part of a different organisation.  I publicly thank my colleagues for putting the needs for a better system, and of the Scottish public, before everything else. The SLCC’s Board will be discussing the proposals, and our response, in more detail next week.”

“We were one of the leading voices in calling for change and we will continue to play a leading role in this bold reform agenda, and be at the heart of the final system design and transition.  It will be an exciting period over the next couple of years as we move to modern, agile and independent legal regulation fit for 21st century Scotland, and within a vanguard of reform internationally.”

“We call on government to respond quickly and to start discussing options for implementing those findings they support.  Minimising the period of uncertainty is vital for businesses in the sector, potential new businesses which may wish to start delivering legal services, and for people working in regulation.  A rapid response will ensure these suggested reforms empower, rather than inhibit, public protection and market growth.”

The report is here: https://www.gov.scot/About/Review/Regulation-Legal-Services

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