SLCC succeeds in third leave to appeal case in recent weeks

Neil Stevenson

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has been successful in defending a ‘leave to appeal’ case in the Inner House of the Court of Session.

The complainer sought leave to appeal against the SLCC’s decision that his complaint was time-barred and ineligible for investigation.

Following two other appeal cases reported in the last fortnight, in this case, leave to appeal was refused by the court on the basis of written submissions only.

The court’s view was that the proposed appeal has no real prospect of success, with Lord Malcolm stating that while the complainer disagreed with the SLCC’s decision, “an appeal to this court is not an opportunity simply to re-argue the propositions which failed to satisfy the commission. The court does not have jurisdiction to consider the merits of a decision of this kind. It can only review its legality”.

Lord Malcolm also stated that he had also “not identified any arguable flaw in the decision or the process adopted by the commission”.

Neil Stevenson, SLCC CEO, said: “We are supportive of the efforts of the profession and Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service to see civil justice business resume, and to play our role in that. This is not quite ‘business as usual’, but the flurry of decisions in the last weeks, despite the current circumstances, gives the profession real insight to the challenges and costs of the current system.

“While we welcome this judgment, we continue to believe that a power of appeal to the highest court in the land for decisions about whether to examine a case further or not is disproportionately expensive and time consuming for us, and for the legal profession.

“Legal fees and court fees are a key driver of cost in our current system, and even where we are able to successfully defend appeals, and our process and decision making has been found to be without fault, we are often unable to recover those costs. We continue to believe building momentum and consensus around reform to a more proportionate system would best service the public and profession.”

Tags: SLCC

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