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Law Society comment on SLCC complaints figures

20 February 2015 | tagged News release

Commenting on the half year figures on legal complaints published by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) today, 20 February, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland Lorna Jack, said: “We’re pleased to see the continued efforts which the SLCC is making to deal with service complaints effectively.

“People rely on solicitors to do a good job for them whether they are buying or selling a home, helping people plan for the future by setting up wills or power of attorney as well as more difficult issues involving family breakdown, resolving disputes or representing people accused of a crime.

“In the vast majority of cases, solicitors’ clients are happy with the advice and the level of service they receive. However we know that things do go wrong from time to time and it is important that people have proper recourse to address any failings through a strong legal complaints system.”

Recent research by Ipsos MORI showed that 90% of solicitors’ clients were satisfied with the service provided, with around two thirds, at 67%, saying they were very satisfied, and a further 23% saying they were fairly satisfied. A total of 9% of respondents said they were fairly dissatisfied (5%) or very dissatisfied (4%), with the main reasons being that the solicitor was not sufficiently knowledgeable; a lack of communication or cases taking too long to resolve.

“While the overall results from the Ipsos MORI research are positive we know we can never be complacent. In addition to ensuring that we have robust regulatory system in place, it’s important that we can understand the reasons behind clients dissatisfaction and what we at the Law Society can do to provide the right support, information and training for our members to ensure that solicitors offer the advice and services that their clients need and that we can continue to drive up standards.

“It is also important  that clients can be confident in raising concerns and that they will be dealt with appropriately, either by the firm at source or by going to the SLCC  as the gateway for all legal complaints in Scotland.

“All conduct matters are passed by the SLCC to us as the Scottish solicitors’ professional body. We have worked to improve our own complaints handling processes and have reduced the average time taken to investigate complaints by a third, although of course the time taken in individual cases can vary enormously depending on the complexity of the situation. We are pleased that just 2% of the complaints we investigated resulted in a handling complaint to the SLCC.

“Dealing with complaints is and will always be difficult for everyone involved. What we want to ensure is that the process in place is robust and fair to both complainer and solicitor, and that we reach the right outcome.

“We will work with the SLCC to ensure that the legal complaints system in Scotland continues to improve.”

ENDS                         

Note to editors

The Law Society is the professional body for all Scottish solicitors. Established in 1949, the Society regulates and represents solicitors and has an important duty towards the public interest. It has over 11,000 practising solicitor members in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), is the gateway for all legal complaints in Scotland. It acts as a gateway and point of contact for all complaints against legal practitioners in Scotland. Legal practitioners include qualified conveyancers, solicitors, advocates and commercial attorneys.

In addition to acting as gateway for legal complaints, the SLCC investigates service complaints. The Law Society of Scotland, The Faculty of Advocates, Association of Commercial Attorneys deal with matters of professional misconduct or unsatisfactory conduct involving their members. The SLCC oversees how these complaints are investigated and prosecuted.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk or sarahsutton@lawscot.org.uk

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