The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has responded to two Law Society of Scotland consultations on the future of regulation of the solicitor profession in Scotland. In responding, the SLCC welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the modernisation of the regulatory system.
The proposals discussed present a big opportunity for the Law Society of Scotland and also for the Scottish Government as these proposals will require legislative change. In response to the Society’s consultation on entity regulation, the SLCC believes that the Society and the Scottish Government should consider a risk based approach, which starts with a focus on risk to clients and the public.
It is important than any new regulatory regime is fully evolved, proportionate and targeted and therefore it should be subject to detailed consultation before any legislative changes are made. This should also include considering how the other bodies in the sector would play their part and what additional powers may be needed. This could include new ways of working to assist consumer choice and ensure that complaints are addressed effectively.
Chief Executive of the SLCC, Neil Stevenson, commented “the regulation of legal services has developed piecemeal over the last century with each new piece of legislation or regulation building on the last, often with reactive changes to particular problems that had been encountered. “
“We support the discussion of entity regulation, but would want to ensure any new legislation delivered real results for users of legal services, results that justify the cost of legislation and of the sector adapting to a new model”
“As an organisation we have a unique insight into the service standards delivered to clients. Analysing over 5000 cases, we have identified key trends, and use that data in our response to suggest that targeting the areas that lead to greatest regulatory cost across complaints, insurance, and the Guarantee Fund (such as conveyancing) and the issues that most affect clients (like failure to communicate, delays, and failure to follow instructions) might be more appropriate, proportionate and effective than a focus on business models. “
“I’m grateful to the members of our independent legal services Consumer Panel, a statutory group which the SLCC support and work with, for helping ensure our response focussed on the client and public experience of legal services”
The SLCC also welcomes the consultation on the future of the Guarantee Fund and look forward to working with the Society and the Scottish Government to take these proposals further.
The full text of both consultations is available on our website.