From the Professional Practice Committee: Terms of business should not seek payment for time spent

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission asked for comment in a situation where a solicitor changed their terms of business letter. The addition stated that if a client complains to the SLCC, and the complaint is not upheld, the firm will pursue the complainer for the time spent in defending the complaint.  

This question was recently considered by the Professional Practice Committee and this is its response:

“The SLCC has raised a question as to whether it is appropriate in a terms of business letter to specify to clients that a solicitor proposes to charge for their time in dealing with a complaint which is not upheld. The question was considered by the Professional Practice Committee who agreed that it was inappropriate to charge for dealing with a complaint.

“The Professional Practice Committee is firmly of the view that there should be no provision made, in a terms of business letter or otherwise, to attempt to allow a solicitor’s firm to charge a client for time spent dealing with a complaint. Whether a complaint is upheld or dismissed will not alter the Professional Practice Committee’s position on this issue.”

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