Ken Dalling, President of the Law Society of Scotland comments following publication today, Wednesday, 14 July, of the analysis of the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals to improve the  legal complaints system

He said: “A robust and fair regulatory system that sets high standards for solicitors and ensures the confidence of the public in the profession is essential. This includes having an effective complaints system which offers a route to redress for legal services consumers.

“It’s good to see the consultation analysis published today and the range of views expressed on proposals for improving the current complaints system, which is overly complex and cumbersome for both complainer and solicitor. It will be important to ensure that robust checks and balances are retained so the profession and the public have confidence that any reforms are proportionate and will achieve a fair outcome.

“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in taking forward proposals to improve and speed up the process, while looking ahead to further consultation on more substantial reform to the regulation of legal services.

“We have pressed for regulatory reform for a number of years. This led to the independent legal services review in 2018. Much of the current patchwork of legislation governing the legal profession is over 40 years old and does not meet the needs of modern consumers of legal services or the profession. The recommendations made following the review include many of our own proposals for reform. Importantly however, we remain strongly opposed to the primary recommendation to create a new regulatory body. Such a step is unnecessary and although it would do nothing to improve the regulatory system, would inevitably increase costs for those who pay for legal services.

“The review itself described Scotland as being home to a well-educated, well-respected legal profession which enjoyed a high degree of public trust. Despite having an effective regulatory system, we know there can and should be further improvement to it. Future reforms need to be directed at areas where change will mean improvement and should be evidence based.

A further Scottish Government consultation on reforming legal services regulation is expected to take place later this year.

An outside view of the Atria One building in Edinburgh

Legal Services Regulation

As part of our strategy, we set out our ambition to secure a modern, flexible and enabling legislative framework.