Society to publish UPC findings online
The Law Society of Scotland is to publish unsatisfactory professional conduct findings on its website.
The Law Society’s Professional Conduct Sub-committees, comprising solicitor and non-solicitor members, have the power to make findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct (UPC) following investigation of conduct complaints against solicitors.
Solicitors whose conduct is found to be unsatisfactory are censured by the Society, which can also direct them to undertake training, pay a fine of up to £2,000 and/or pay compensation up to £5,000 to the complainer.
The committees can also decide to prosecute more serious conduct cases before the independent Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal.
A range of UPC findings will be published to improve transparency of the Society’s regulatory procedures and ensure the profession is aware of the range of actions it can take. The case findings are anonymous as the Society does not have specific powers to publish names of either solicitor or complainer in UPC cases.
Carole Ford, non-solicitor convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Regulatory Committee, said: “Solicitors are expected to meet high standards of practice both in the service they provide for clients and in their own conduct. While these cases represent less serious conduct issues which do not merit prosecution before the SSDT, it was appropriate to take action against the solicitors involved. Publishing the findings, albeit anonymously, will let solicitors see the type of issues that can arise as a result of conduct complaints and, importantly, the outcomes when a solicitor has fallen short of what is expected of them.
“We hope it proves to be a useful reference for solicitors who can use the findings to ensure best practice in their own work, while members of the public will be more aware of what constitutes unsatisfactory professional conduct from their solicitor.”
The new searchable database includes a selection of past UPC decisions of the Society’s professional conduct sub-committees. It is available on the Law Society website from 7 September.
The SSDT is an independent body which has the power to decide if a solicitor’s conduct amounts to professional misconduct and can impose a range of sanctions. In the most serious cases it can strike a solicitor from the roll, meaning they can no longer practise. Its findings are published on the SSDT website.