The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has published its Annual Report highlighting activity in the last year including improved operational performance, the finalisation of a new strategy and the publication of proposals for legislative reform. The Annual Report was laid before the Scottish Parliament, and covers the period from July 2015 to June 2016. It reports on complaints made to the SLCC, Scotland’s gateway for complaints about lawyers.
SLCC Chairman Bill Brackenridge commented, “There was a significant increase in the number of complaints made to the SLCC in the year (from 1009 to 1132). This may represent a small number considering there are now around 11,000 working lawyers in Scotland, but we know that these complaints have often arisen out of stressful times in people’s lives. I’m pleased that our Annual Report shows that we’re delivering effective redress - over £320,000 in compensation, refunds and fee reductions - when people have been provided an inadequate professional service by their lawyer. It demonstrates that the legal sector will put mistakes right, while the 13% of complaints rejected as “frivolous, vexatious or totally without merit” at our first stage shows that lawyers can be reassured that complaints with no substance won’t proceed against them.”
In addition to its role as a gateway for complaints, the SLCC’s work in the year included outreach and audit work to support improving complaint handling in the legal profession. There were also other achievements, including becoming a 50:50 by 2020 partner and gaining Living Wage accreditation.
Chief Executive Neil Stevenson said, “We focus every day on the delivery of a fair, efficient and effective complaints service for consumers and lawyers. However, it is right we also look at how that work is sustained and improved in the future, and the publication of the four year strategy and our proposals for legislative reform are big steps we have taken in evolving our work. There are opportunities for improvement ahead, as well as some real challenges for the future which we note in the report.”