New appeals committee established
A new Appeals and Review Sub-Committee has been established by the Law Society of Scotland.
It will determine appeals raised by both solicitors and members of the public of decisions made by specified regulatory sub-committees of the Society.
If the decision has come from a Client Relations Sub-Committee, Complaints Sub-Committee, Professional Conduct Sub-Committee or the Quality Assurance Civil Legal Aid Sub-Committee, there is already a formal appeal procedures in place through legislation or rules to deal with these matters.
The new Convener, Colin Dunipace, Council member for Airdrie, said: "The purpose of the Appeals and Review Sub-Committee (ARSC) is to allow a transparent and proportionate right of appeal from decisions of all our regulatory committees where there are no existing statutory rights of appeal.
"Until now, appeals from regulatory sub-committee decisions have been considered by various other sub-committees within the Society, rather than the same single body, or by judicial review to the Court of Session. The latter can be costly for individuals, so is not always an option.
"The ARSC will for the first time provide a single, identifiable and constant point of appeal for those who wish to challenge a decision of a regulatory sub-committee. The ARSC will also identify any patterns in the appeals that it receives and will consider if these patterns indicate any need for change to the regulatory processes of the sub-committees making initial decisions. The existence of this single appeal body will also ensure that a consistent approach is taken in relation to all relevant appeals."
Carole Ford, Convener of the Regulatory Committee, added: "We felt that there was a gap in the regulatory landscape of the Society and that a sub-committee dedicated to reviews and appeals was a much needed addition."
The ARSC will hear appeals on the following grounds:
- There has been a material change in circumstances that was not originally considered.
- New evidence, not reasonably available for the original decision, is now available.
- An error in fact or law has been made.
- There has been procedural irregularity in the decision-making process.
- There has been a failure to give adequate reasons for the original decision.
The new sub-committee will now be able to hear appeals marked against decisions taken by the relevant regulatory sub-committees from 1 June 2014.
Contact the Society for further guidance on how to appeal such a decision.
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