The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has been invited to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Finance and Personnel today. The SLCC’s Head of Oversight David Buchanan-Cook gave a briefing as the Committee considers the Legal Complaints and Regulation Bill.
The Legal Complaints and Regulation Bill will set up a new role, the Legal Services Oversight Commission for Northern Ireland, with significantly increased powers compared to the current Lay Observer for Northern Ireland. The SLCC were invited to comment on how the Scottish legal complaints system operates, including the single gateway for complaints and the oversight arrangements for the professional bodies in Scotland.
David Buchanan-Cook commented, “It’s great to see our expertise recognised, we’re always happy to share our experience with other administrations.”
“This is not just a one-way process – we can always learn from others. The new arrangements proposed for Northern Ireland bring in some powers we don’t currently have in Scotland such as the ability to recommend training for those handling complaints in the professional bodies”
Meanwhile, later today the SLCC welcomes parliamentarians from the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg in Germany looking to find out more about how the legal complaints system works in Scotland.
The group are from the State Parliament’s Petitions Committee and will participate in a learning session with the SLCC’s management team. Amongst the topics to be covered are the SLCC’s status as an independent body, how mediation and other methods are used to resolve complaints early and the different kinds of redress the SLCC can offer complainers when complaints are upheld.
Neil Stevenson, Chief Executive of the SLCC, welcomed the visit saying “we are joined by this German delegation on the same day we are giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly on their new legislation on legal services regulation. Across Europe we see growing interest from the public and politicians in independent complaints handling in the legal sector and the oversight of professional bodies. We’re delighted to share our experience and learn from the arrangements being considered in other jurisdictions, which helps us ensure we remain at the forefront of effective services.”