The SLCC has welcomed the Court of Session ruling upholding the approach the Commission had taken to deal with complaints formerly categorised as ‘hybrid’.
We are pleased that all three judges recognised the key issue. This was that, on the basis of the earlier court decision, cases could not have legally continued with a “hybrid classification” along both the conduct and service route - which was the position argued by the Law Society of Scotland. The majority decision supported unequivocally how the SLCC had decided to manage cases that were in the system to achieve that requirement.
We issued a detailed statement in December setting out our views on this litigation, and the cost and delay it would cause. Our budget consultation in the spring of this year highlighted clearly the immediate impact on the profession and public respectively in terms of our levy and the delays and backlog caused by this case. This, along with further legal fees, will continue to impact on our 2018/19 budget and on delays stemming from the backlog of complaints which has built up.
We now look forward to starting to progress those cases which have had to be on hold for almost a year, and getting back to the effective working relationships required to make the current system work. On that we are pleased to note the willingness the Law Society has already shown in working with us to ensure our original plan is finally delivered. This is more important than ever in the context of a strong upward trend of incoming complaints to the SLCC.
We are delighted that the government has initiated a review of the regulation of legal services, including around complaints handling, and hope that proposals made by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission last year, in our #ReimagineRegulation paper, are taken forward.