The Law Society has accused the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission of being ‘tone-deaf’ to the financial crisis facing the legal profession after the SLCC published its financial plans for the coming year.
The SLCC has laid its final budget for 2020/21 before the Scottish Parliament. It represents 100% of what was proposed in January before the spread of coronavirus and increases the levy which must be paid by every practising solicitor by 3.5%.
It comes at a point of crisis in the legal profession following the movement restrictions, a dramatic reduction in court business and a sudden halt in the property market.
President of the Law Society, John Mulholland said, “The First Minister was clear last month. If your life still feels entirely normal, you should ask yourself if you are doing the right things. The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is simply not doing the right things.
“Like all sectors, Scottish solicitors face a historic economic crisis. It requires everyone, including the SLCC, to do everything possible to ensure there is a still a functioning legal profession in the long term.
“We pressed the SLCC, repeatedly and robustly, to change its approach. It is astonishing that the SLCC has instead published a business as usual budget which is identical to that proposed in January. It is tone-deaf to the scale and seriousness of the emergency before us, increasing fees on solicitors when they are least able to pay. It is the latest in a series of failures by the SLCC when it comes to listening and responding to those who fund it.
“The Law Society has already made a number of changes to reduce our costs and relieve the burden on the profession. We plan to make an announcement soon on a package of further financial measures. It is wholly unacceptable that the SLCC is refusing to take a similar path.”