The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) agreed or awarded £400,000 from law firms in compensation, fee refunds and reductions for Scottish consumers in the past year, as we reveal in our Annual Report. This was during the period from 1st July 2014 to 31st June, when we also received 1009 new complaints about lawyers from the members of the public. The Report was laid before the Scottish Parliament on December 4th.
The Chair, Bill Brackenridge commented, “It has been a year of performance in handling complaints and ensuring consumers get redress from their lawyers if they’ve received an inadequate service. The Annual Report also shows that we’re using complaints data to improve professional standards across the wider regulatory system.”
“A personal highlight was our successful lobbying for the power to convene a statutory Consumer Panel, which is now informing our plans for the future and the quality of our day to day work.
We were also delighted to recruit Neil Stevenson as our new Chief Executive, charged with leading a longer term plan for the organisation to ensure we deliver value to consumers and to the sector”
The Annual Report reveals that the top four business areas of business for legal complaints are conveyancing; litigation; family law and executries, wills and trusts, and that the commonest types of complaints concern failures to communicate; failures to advise; delays; failures to provide information; failures to follow instruction and failures to prepare adequately. This data is now being used to help educate the profession and the public to ensure a better experience for consumers.
We also drew on five years of conduct complaints data to produce a trend report with a number of recommendations for the Law Society of Scotland on improving its complaint handling.
New CEO Neil Stevenson added, “We’re in a great position and now we’re looking ahead to the next four years to make sure that the SLCC continues to make a difference for consumers and the profession. We are looking forward to going out to public consultation in January on an exciting new four year plan. Our plan will consider how consumers select and experience legal services and their needs when things go wrong with a service, rather than just looking at the system from a perspective of regulations and institutions.”