SLAS passes motion of no confidence in SLCC budget
The Scottish Law Agents Society (SLAS) has passed a motion of no confidence in the budget of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC).
SLAS held its annual general meeting on 18 June using Zoom video conferencing.
John Stirling, Hamilton and David MacLennan, Edinburgh were elected president and vice president respectively.
The meeting heard a motion calling upon the council of the society to state that it had no confidence in the budget of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) nor that the SLCC had complied with its statutory obligations in the preparation of the budget.
Following submissions by members, an exchange of differing views and a debate a vote took place on the motion and it was passed by a majority of over 90 per cent of those present.
Andrew Stevenson, secretary of SLAS, said: “We had tried to have substantially the same motion heard by the AGM of the Law Society of Scotland last month but its agenda provided no mechanism to enable that to happen.
“The motion as passed at the SLAS AGM reflected a mature and considered response to the budget of the commission. Our society has consistently said that the SLCC does not recognise the present crisis in the legal profession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It must now agree to revisit its spending plans and find a way of achieving a substantial reduction.”
He added: “Obviously, lawyers do not wish to pay more than is absolutely necessary in the overheads legally imposed as a requirement of running a practice in Scotland. No businessperson does. However, the issue is a specific one rather than a general grievance about higher levies; the fact is that this particular budget is unreasonable and we think that the commission has simply got it wrong.
“Inflation is currently below one per cent. Had the SLCC proposed an annual increase of even 1.5 per cent this motion would never have had to have been put before the AGM. As it is, the profession is facing an increase of 3.5 per cent in the general levy.
“On top of that, coronavirus is a game-changer, threatening the viability of many legal firms. This factor appears completely to have escaped the notice of the commission. The motion as passed by SLAS is a measured and specific answer to this proposed increase”.