Dealing with a solicitor

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Solicitors must ask to see certain forms of identification in order to comply with money laundering regulations which are set down in law by the UK Government to prevent fraud. Solicitors who do not comply with these strict regulations face severe penalties from the Law Society as a regulator and by the law enforcement agencies.  Sanctions for failing to comply can include imprisonment.


Each firm will ask for documents which satisfy that you are who you say you are. It’s up to each firm to decide which documents they‘re satisfied with, so each firm might be different in their approach. 

Please be assured that the solicitor is only trying to comply with the requirements set down in legislation.  If you do have any concerns please discuss these with your solicitor.  Ultimately, if you are not able to comply with their requests, the solicitor may not be able to act for you.

If there are no outstanding fees, your solicitor has no authority to hold onto the file for no good reason.

However, if there are outstanding fees, then the general rule is that solicitors have a lien (right of retention) over your file.  If you or your new solicitors feel that your old solicitor is causing you prejudice by holding onto your file (“prejudice” is defined as more than inconvenience and will depend on the particular circumstances of the matter) then you should raise this with the old solicitor as quickly as possible.

Please visit the Scottish Courts Service website for instructions on serving or enforcing a court order.

Relationships Scotland is an organization which offers counselling, mediation and family support across Scotland. You can contact them at:

Relationships Scotland
18 York Place
Tel: 0845 119 2020

The Scottish Mediation Network may also help you to access quality assured mediation services. You can reach them at:

Scottish Mediation Network
18 York Place
Tel: 0131 556 8118



The reports of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal are published on their website You can reach them at:

Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal

Unit 3.5 The Granary Business Centre

Coal Road



KY15 5YQ

01334 659088

The simple response is yes you can. Deciding what representation you want in court is a personal decision.

You can find out more about representing yourself in court by contacting your local Sheriff Court. We strongly recommend that you use the services of members of the legal profession who have the relevant expertise and experience of the court procedures. A solicitor will present your case in the best possible way and guide you through complicated court procedures

The Society can help you find the right solicitor to meet your legal needs. For more information on the court system, go to the Scottish Court Service website.

Yes you can.  Your old solicitor should release the file to you upon settlement of outstanding fees.  If you wish this to be sent directly to your new solicitor, your new solicitor will send the old solicitor a mandate for the file, which will be implemented provided fees are paid.  If your old solicitor refuses to implement the mandate for no good reason or if you dispute the fee to be paid, you may wish to contact the Client Relations Partner at your old firm to discuss this in the first instance to raise a complaint.  If you still do not receive a resolution, you may wish to speak to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

You cannot challenge their verdict unless you believe they have erred on a point of law. You should seek advice from a solicitor on whether you have a realistic chance of challenge.

Yes, all Scottish law firms regulated by the Law Society must have professional indemnity insurance.

Your solicitor is the best person to keep you updated about your case. You can also speak to your firm's client relations manager, who deals with queries and complaints. Resolving a matter internally is often the easiest, quickest and most effective way of doing so. Legal disputes can be complicated and sometimes require lengthy periods of investigation and negotiation.  If you continue to be concerned, ask to speak to the firm’s Client Relations Manager.

The Law Society cannot intervene with ongoing legal disputes.