Further to Campbell Watson’s letter in last month’s Journal, I thought the profession might like to hear about a complaint against me to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission which has been sifted through for investigation,
in which a client alleges that I did not show “sufficient sympathy and understanding” towards him when I demanded payment of fees which had been outstanding for a number of months and in respect of which he had failed to submit payment proposals. I will refrain from going into the details; suffice it to say the work was concluded and the fees
were due, having previously been put “on the back burner” due to financial difficulties which the client had indicated at the time (no thanks for that then).

Far from sifting out the complaint, the SLCC warned me that I would be liable to pay a standard levy of £500 if the case investigator recommended that the complaint be upheld. Further, if I want to challenge the sift decision then I require to appeal to the Court of Session. Of course, there are no financial implications for the complainer should the complaint be
dismissed or held as spurious.

Bearing in mind that the SLCC exists due to the payment of levies, I am just wondering what sort of chance I have of being fairly dealt with. Solicitors be warned, when you are thinking about taking steps to recover fees due from clients. Is this really the situation we have now reached in funding a body which entertains complaints like this? Of course, as well as the annual levy of £209 per solicitor, most of us contribute to the LDU scheme for fear that we fall foul of bodies
such as this.

Robert Vaughan,
R S Vaughan & Co, Glasgow