Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Latest annual report of Scottish Legal Complaints Commission shows rise in compensation awards, mediation between clients & solicitors

THE latest annual report of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) shows a rise in compensation & fee reductions awarded to clients in the year 2013-2014. Figures of £365,000 announced by the SLCC’s Chief Executive – Matthew Vickers, reveals complaints are costing the legal profession around £1000 a day.

SLCC 2014 Annual Report

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission laid its Annual Report and Annual Accounts before the Scottish Parliament on 15 December 2014.

Over £1000 a day was agreed or awarded to complainers dissatisfied with the service provided by the legal profession in Scotland last year. The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), agreed or awarded more than £365,000 in compensation or fee reductions in its 2013/14 operating year.

Launching the Annual Report, the SLCC’s CEO, Matthew Vickers, commented “The vast majority of the legal profession in Scotland provide great service to the public, but where things do go wrong the SLCC takes firm and decisive action to put things right.” Conveyancing, family law and executries, wills and trusts are the three biggest areas of complaint. Vickers points out that cases touching on home and family life can have a huge impact on people’s lives (yes yes, where there’s a will there’s a crook – Ed)

“We’re ready to use the full extent of our powers to enforce our decisions and make sure awards are paid out where they are due. 65% of the complaints about service which we accept are resolved or upheld” says Vickers. But the Annual Report also highlights the growing importance of informal techniques such as the SLCC’s free and confidential mediation service in finding solutions to complaints. Consequently, the SLCC’s process has become quicker and more efficient and complaint handling times have halved since 2012."

"The legal services sector is worth over £1 billion to the Scottish economy and the report notes recent research which indicates that law firms can increase their profitability by around 3% through better complaint handling. The report also sets out the work of the SLCC on training and guidance for the profession. Vickers added “we’ve published guidance for the public on using legal services and on conveyancing in particular as part of our efforts to prevent complaints from happening in the first place.”

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