Following the correspondence (p 6) and article (p 37; link is to equivalent online news) in the April Journal concerning the SLCC, I am prompted to write about my own recent experience. As I was about to retire from full-time practice last August, I received a complaint from a third party concerning work done for a client. The work complained of took place over a year before and was therefore clearly, on the face of it, out of time. The third party however raised a complaint with the SLCC on 13 August 2017.
The response from SLCC was that the complaint would be passed to a case handler, something which would take up to 16 weeks. Apart from responses to my emails indicating my retiral, I heard nothing more until 22 December when I was told that it would take a further five weeks to allocate the case. On 22 January 2018 I received a preliminary decision indicating that the complaint appeared to be out of time, inviting comment from myself and the complainant within 14 days. A final decision that the case was time-barred was only issued on 3 March 2018, almost seven months after the initial complaint was made.
Clearly, there is something far wrong with SLCC procedures when it can take that length of time to make this decision. It was clearly apparent from the initial complaint that it was out of time and the only question should have been for the complainant to show that the case fell within the permitted exceptions. If the SLCC takes seven months to make a decision in the simplest of cases, how long does it take to deal with anything complicated?
Any solicitor dealing with a matter in such a dilatory manner would no doubt have been the subject of complaint and I can only imagine what the complainant thought of this procedure.
I heartily agree with the Society's call for reform of the SLCC.Keith Robertson, Kingussie