SLCC reports best ever year of performance
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has reported its best ever year of performance in dealing with complaints about lawyers and law firms in Scotland.
The SLCC annual report covers the SLCC’s performance in its 2018-19 operating year.
Highlights include the highest ever number of complaints assessed, resolved or determined along with a fall in the number of cases in progress as older cases have been cleared.
Neil Stevenson, SLCC CEO, said: “It’s great to be able to report our best ever year of performance. However, this wouldn’t have been possible without our staff and board being willing to innovate and challenge existing ways of working.
“We’ve also delivered real benefits to parties to complaints through early resolution, faster determinations and a new, more accessible website. The results have been achieved despite a continued rise in the number of complaints being made, and we hope this work lays a foundation for more efficient and effective working if that trend continues.”
Elsewhere, a new management structure supported other improvements and efficiencies in the SLCC’s work. This include a lease renegotiation and IT upgrades, as well as ongoing outreach and trends monitoring work.
Jim Martin, SLCC chair added: “This has been a great year of performance and I’d like to thank staff and my colleagues on the board for getting us here. However, no matter how much we find ways to innovate, there are still some challenges that tweaking around the edges won’t address. We need fundamental legislative reform.”
Chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, Lorna Jack said: “We are pleased to see the SLCC’s improved performance and its progress in clearing the backlog of cases. However, it is clear much more needs to be done.
“We need a complaints system that is fit for purpose, yet few would argue we have that currently. Twelve years on from the SLCC’s creation, consumers, solicitors and advocates still face a system which is slow, overly complicated, and costing more money to operate than ever before. There is also the challenge of the system being filled with ineligible complaints which still take up time and money to administer.
“This is why we are working closely with the SLCC to identify reforms to improve the system and speed up key parts of their processes. This can help consumers with genuine complaints get the redress they deserve more quickly. It also means we can protect the public by investigating alleged misconduct at an earlier point. These changes would need secondary legislation through the Scottish Parliament and we hope ministers can make this an early priority ahead of wider reform.”