News In Focus
Solicitors thanked for "amazing" support for challenge to SLCC budget
Solicitors have been thanked by the Law Society of Scotland for their "amazing support" as the Society challenged the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's budget proposals for its coming financial year.
Despite a wave of protest at its plans for a 12.5% increase in the annual levy paid by legal practitioners, the SLCC refused to alter its final budget, now laid before the Scottish Parliament, from its initial proposals, citing a similar increase in the number of complaints received.
MSPs have no power to approve or veto the budget, but the Society appealed to members to show the strength of feeling over the issue by contacting their MSPs.
A message to members yesterday by Society President Eilidh Wiseman revealed that 6,766 emails had been sent by 850 individuals following the appeal, with all 129 MSPs having been contacted over the issue. As a result one motion and six written questions were tabled, one question raised in the debating chamber and a round table meeting set up by the deputy convener of the Justice Committee.
Ms Wiseman commented: "I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you for the amazing support you have given to our campaign objecting to the SLCC’s proposals and urging them to rethink their levy increase." The Society, she added, had been "overwhelmed by the response, both from solicitors and from MSPs".
The President said the Society was "extremely disappointed" that the levy increase was going ahead. "It is deeply frustrating and underlines the current lack of oversight. The SLCC could have doubled or even tripled its budget and nothing could have been done, either by the people who pay for it or our democratically elected representatives."
The complaints handling system is included in the remit of the independent review of regulation of the legal profession announced this week (click here for news item).