News In Focus
Unsatisfactory professional conduct findings published by Society
Findings in relation to unsatisfactory professional conduct by solicitors have been published online by the Law Society of Scotland on its website.
A range of case findings has been made available to improve transparency of the Society’s regulatory procedures and ensure the profession is aware of the range of actions it can take. The findings have been anonymised as the Society does not have specific powers to publish names of either solicitor or complainer in cases of unsatisfactory professional conduct.
The term is applied to occasions where a solicitor's conduct is considered, or has been found by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal, not to amount to professional misconduct but still to be unsatisfactory in professional terms.
Solicitors whose conduct is found to be unsatisfactory are censured by the Society, which can also direct them to undertake training, pay a fine of up to £2,000 and/or pay compensation up to £5,000 to the complainer.
Cases are discussed by the Society’s Professional Conduct Subcommittees, comprising solicitor and non-solicitor members, which can also decide to prosecute more serious conduct cases before the independent Discipline Tribunal as professional misconduct.
Carole Ford, non-solicitor convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Regulatory Committee, commented: “Solicitors are expected to meet high standards of practice both in the service they provide for clients and in their own conduct. While these cases represent less serious conduct issues which do not merit prosecution before the SSDT, it was appropriate to take action against the solicitors involved. Publishing the findings, albeit anonymously, will let solicitors see the type of issues that can arise as a result of conduct complaints and, importantly, the outcomes when a solicitor has fallen short of what is expected of them.
“We hope it proves to be a useful reference for solicitors who can use the findings to ensure best practice in their own work, while members of the public will be more aware of what constitutes unsatisfactory professional conduct from their solicitor.”
Click here to access the database.