Another Scottish legal firm has incurred legal costs through delaying to hand over its file to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

The SLCC announced today that it had been successful in securing a file required to investigate a complaint, after raising court proceedings against the firm in question.

The file had been requested in May 2021, and after a reminder the firm was advised that court proceedings would be brought against it to secure the file. Proceedings were raised in September and not defended, and the firm eventually produced its file in November.

It is not clear, the SLCC said, why the firm did not comply with the request, or contact the SLCC to discuss it. As a result the solicitor has to pay expenses, and the investigation into the complaint has been significantly delayed.

 

Chief executive Neil Stevenson commented: "Our aim in raising these proceedings is to secure the files we need to investigate complaints brought to us. However, it is clearly unsatisfactory that a significant number of firms continue to ignore statutory requests which they are legally obliged to meet. This has left us with no option but to seek the court’s support in securing those files."

He added: "We continue to call on the regulators of the profession to do more to encourage compliance. However, cases like this also highlight there may be a positive role for representative bodies to look at what they can do to support their members. It’s well recognised a difficult file is sometimes the one that we never get to, if we are struggling. Representative bodies may be able to support members at an earlier point, and help avoid issues escalating to court and the costs that means for a practitioner.

"The SLCC also hugely values the work of the charity LawCare, and would encourage any practitioner who perhaps realises themselves they are struggling to face dealing with a complaint, to seek help from this completely confidential service."