Law Society practice rules relating to client communications and law firms' client relations manager have been updated, with the changes coming into effect on 1 February 2020,
The changes are being introduced to help ensure that firms' clients are fully informed on how to seek resolution to any concerns they have in relation to the work being carried out on their behalf.
The revised rules mean that solicitors must include in their terms of engagement a direction to clients to contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission if they are unable to resolve the issue directly with the firm. This has been part of the Society's guidance on best practice for a number of years and will now form part of Rule B4.2.
The rules relating to client relations managers (B5) at firms have also been revised and are a development of the existing requirement for all practice units to maintain a central record of each complaint received in writing. The record must now include a prescribed range of information:
- File reference
- Date the complaint was made
- Description of the substance of the complaint
- Category of personnel against whom the complaint was directed (trainee, solicitor, principal, non-solicitor)
- Type of business in respect of which the complaint was made
- Action taken by the practice unit in relation to the complaint
- Date the complaint was closed
- Whether or not the complaint was resolved
- Learning outcomes from the complaint
Please see an example form for the data which is to be recorded. Firms may wish to adopt this format or add the information to their own client management system. No confidential information should be included in the central record which can be requested by the Society.
The aim of collating this information is to help firms continue to improve their client services and also help the Society to identify and address any systemic issues that may exist.