The SLCC has introduced a new Complaint Levy Policy.
The policy will apply to complaints upheld or part upheld by a determination committee from today (1st October) onwards.
The new policy is simpler than the one it replaces, which had grown up over several years.
The complaint levy remains at £3,500, which was set in 2012 following consultation with the profession and public.
The legislation allows committees to waive an element of the levy if they consider it appropriate to do so. Under the simplified policy a reduced levy of £1,500 may be applied based on several factors. Some of these are:
- Had the practitioner (lawyer or firm) followed their own complaint handling procedures and adhered to the SLCC’s guidance?
- Had the complainer been signposted to the SLCC?
- Did the practitioner accept any failure in their service and offer a reasonable settlement?
Finally, there is a nominal levy of £500 when the committee considers the inadequate professional service to be very minor.
In addition, the committee will have discretion to waive some or all of the levy in exceptional circumstances.
Neil Stevenson, SLCC Chief Executive, commented “This simpler levy should bring greater clarity to firms and lawyers. It also reaffirms that there’s a real benefit for firms in following our guidance on complaint handling. Having complaint handling procedures in place and following them can make a significant difference. We’re also still recognising when a firm has engaged with our process.
It’s worth stressing that this policy will only apply to complaints which have been upheld or part upheld by our determination committee. While we recognise that all firms may face complaints from time to time, it’s right that where an issue is upheld there is some meaningful contribution to the costs of that complaint, to minimise what is passed on to the profession as a whole.”