A round table discussion on the application of disciplinary sanctions on lawyers in Scotland is to be hosted by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
The 26 April event will focus on a draft guide produced by the SLCC for the professional bodies to refer to when drafting their own sanctions guidance. It seeks to help the regulators to achieve the consistent application of sanctions.
The draft has been produced as part of the SLCC's oversight function, under which it oversees how complaints about an individual’s conduct are dealt with by the relevant professional organisations (principally the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates). As part of this work, the Society has already agreed to a recommendation by the SLCC to revise and publish its own guidance, to include the level of fines, where there has been a finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct.
The round table event will be attended by representatives from the legal profession, representatives from other regulatory schemes, consumer groups, and other stakeholders.
David Buchanan-Cook, head of oversight for the SLCC, commented: “We know that all bodies in the sector are keen to work together to ensure clear and consistent approaches where possible, which helps consumers and lawyers know where they stand. The issues around sanctions can be complex. There are aggravations and mitigations to consider, the intention of the sanction – is it deterrence or redress, actual loss versus compensation for distress – whether training or exclusion better protects the public, to name just a few.
"Each organisation has its own rules, and each case is different, so this is not about standardisation but about creating a common reflective framework to aid discussion about what is appropriate and ensure we are at least considering the same factors. I think Alison Marron, our Oversight Manager, has done an impressive job in developing the draft, but part of the purpose of this event is to seek feedback from other experts to ensure the finished product is a useful tool for all.”