SLAS calls for Law Society to regain regulatory function for solicitors
The Law Society of Scotland should regain its regulatory function for solicitors from the “grossly inefficient” Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), the Scottish Law Agents’ Society (SLAS) has said.
The SLCC, which is funded through a levy on practising lawyers, has proved controversial since its establishment in 2008.
Last year, both SLAS and the Law Society criticised the SLCC for proposing a 3.5 per cent increase in the levy despite the financial pressure on lawyers due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrew Stevenson, SLAS secretary, said the SLCC is “grossly inefficient, with an annual budget of around £4 million and around 60 full-time-equivalent staff to deal with a predicted number of only 1,200 new complaints”.
“It would be cheaper for the SLCC to pay £3,000 to every complainer at the outset,” he added.
Mr Stevenson said the SLCC justified its 3.5 per cent levy increase on the basis of an anticipated increase in complaints which turned out to be “wildly inaccurate” – and has now proposed a 10 per cent reduction instead.
He said: “There simply are not enough complaints against solicitors in Scotland to justify funding a separate organisation to deal with them. The low numbers – which are statistics that we should be celebrating – do not merit the administrative costs which the SLCC generates.
“With regard to the figures … the Law Society seems to us to have been far more efficient than the SLCC in processing complaints.”
SLAS suggested that the Law Society should lose its representative role and retain a “solely regulatory function” in order to address concerns about an institutional members’ body dealing with consumer complaints fairly.