Good practice

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In his latest criticism of the Scottish legal profession (Letters, 17 October) Thomas Crooks says the public aspires to a good complaints handling process.

As a lay person already involved in the legal regulation process, I would argue that the system of legal complaint handling in Scotland is robust and works to the benefit of consumers.

It is very surprising that Mr Crooks made no mention of the completely independent Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), which acts as the single gateway for all legal complaints. It is the SLCC, not the Law Society of Scotland, which decides which complaints should proceed to investigation.

The SLCC also audits, and reports on, the Law Society’s investigation process, the Guarantee Fund and the Master Policy of professional indemnity insurance.

The public can also make a handling complaint directly to the SLCC if they remain unhappy with how the Law Society has investigated a complaint.

It is another completely independent body, the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal (SSDT), which decides the outcome for any solicitor accused of misconduct, not the Law Society.

Within the Law Society, all committees involved in regulatory decisions have as many lay members as solicitors.

This ensures the public interest is protected in each and every decision. Indeed, I write this as a former secondary head teacher and someone who is not, and has never been, a solicitor.

Mr Crooks has strong and long-held views. However, he failed to mention the totally independent roles played by both the SLCC and the SSDT.

He has also overlooked the key roles played by lay members within the processes of the Law Society. I would repeat that the system is robust and operating in the public interest.

Carole Ford

Convener of the Law
 Society of Scotland 
Regulatory Committee

Drumsheugh Gardens

Edinburgh

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