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Commission does its sums

17 March 08

Report on discussions with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission on the amount of the initial levy to be raised from solicitors

The cost to practitioners of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is beginning to become clear as the Commission prepares its budget for approval by the Scottish Parliament in April.

As part of the Society’s discussions with the Commission on the practical working arrangements between the organisations, and as required by the 2007 Legal Profession Act, the Society has been consulted on the Commission’s annual levy on solicitors.

The exact amount of the levy is not yet known, but many firms and organisations are preparing their budgets for the coming year, and as a guide for budget planning, members should be aware that the full annual levy is likely to be between £400 and £500 per solicitor. As the first levy will be for the first six months only, only half this levy will be charged. The Society continues to express its concerns about this amount, particularly as it is now more than double the amount that was put before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee in 2006.

The Society has recommended to the Commission that there should be reduced levies for in-house solicitors (33% of the full levy), and solicitors in their first three years of practice (50% of full levy for private practitioners and 16% for in-house).

The 2007 Act requires Council to collect the levy from each member of the profession. The Society will be asked to collect this first half-year’s levy between July and September this year. The next Commission levy will be for a full year and the Commission is likely to expect collection of the levy early in 2009.