Aims & functions of the committee
- to consider appeals lodged against appealable decisions made by regulatory sub-committees. The grounds of appeal are specified in guidance.
- the sub-committee may:
- uphold an original decision of a regulatory sub-committee
- vary all or part of an original decision
- overturn all or part of an original decision and substitute an alternative decision for the original decision
- overturn an original decision and require the original sub-committee to reconsider the matter, with appropriate directions
- to report to the Regulatory Committee, yearly or as identified by the sub-committee, in relation to the nature and frequency of the appeals that it hears, together with proposals/recommendations for improvements in the Law Society's regulatory processes.
You can download the appeal form which applicants must use and read the guidance below for filling it out:
Appealing or reviewing a regulatory decision of the Law Society of Scotland
We have a number of committees that can make decisions that affect you. These decisions are often able to be appealed or reviewed.
The letter or email from us, advising you of a decision, will say whether you have a right of appeal and who you can appeal to. Often, the appeal body will be our Appeals and Reviews Sub-Committee (the ‘Appeals Committee’).
If you wish to make an appeal and it is unclear from your letter what your rights are, please contact the person who sent the letter or email advising you of the initial decision.
1. How do I make an appeal to the Appeals Committee?
The Appeals and Reviews Sub-Committee Secretary
The Law Society of Scotland
144 Morrison Street Edinburgh
DX ED1 EDINBURGH
Your submission must include your grounds for appeal (see point 3). It can include supporting documents or references that you consider relevant. Once it has considered your appeal, the Appeals Committee may ask you for additional information.
Please note: If you wish to appeal a conduct complaint against a Scottish solicitor, please see our guidance for complaints against Scottish solicitors.
2. Is there a time limit for lodging appeals?
Yes, appeals must be made within 21 days of the date of the letter or email advising you of the original decision.
An extension to this time limit can be granted in exceptional circumstances. If you are or have been unable to meet the time limit, please contact us at the above email or postal address, setting out the reasons why you feel your circumstances are exceptional. We will let you know if your request is successful within 21 days of receiving it. There is no appeal against a decision not to extend the time limit (see point 8).
3. What are the grounds for appeal?
There are five grounds for appeal:
a) the original decision was based on a misunderstanding of the facts
b) evidence, which could not reasonably have been made available at the time of the original decision, is now available
c) the original decision contains an error in applying the law, the rules or the regulations
d) there has been a fundamental procedural irregularity in the way in which your case was handled or the original decision made
e) there was a failure to provide you with adequate reasoning of the original decision
4. What are the possible outcomes?
The Appeals Committee will either:
- uphold the original decision
- overturn the original decision in favour of its own decision; or
- return your matter back to the original committee and, with appropriate direction, ask it to reconsider it.
5. Can I appear in person?
Appeals are usually considered on the basis of written information only and you should not expect to appear in person. In exceptional circumstances, the Appeals Committee may ask an individual connected to the appeal to attend in person.
6. How will the decision be communicated to me?
You will be notified of the appeal decision, by either letter or email, within 21 days of the Appeals Committee’s decision.
7. What happens after my appeal?
The letter informing you about the decision of your appeal will set out the next steps. If you have any queries, you should contact the Appeals Committee Secretary at the above email or postal address.
8. What if I am unhappy with the appeal decision?
You have a right of Judicial Review at the Court of Session. If you wish to exercise this right, we strongly suggest that you seek independent legal advice.
9. Is there a fee for appealing?
No, the appeals process is free. However, we will not pay any expenses that you incur in bringing your appeal.
If you have further questions on the appeals process, please contact the Appeals Committee Secretary at email@example.com or The Law Society of Scotland, Atria One 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EX.
If your right of appeal is to another body (for example Judicial Review at the Court of Session), we strongly suggests that you seek independent legal advice.
Frank McAuley (convener)
Samantha Hollywood (secretary)