Paid for by you – legal regulator is no guarantee of justice for wronged clients. WHENEVER someone asks the question – who exactly pays for the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) - the ‘independent’ regulator of solicitors in Scotland, from judges to Justice Secretary, from lawyers to advocates, and even the SLCC itself, the answer is always – the ‘independent’ regulator is funded by a levy paid by lawyers.
The levy – hovering between £2.5m to £3m a year is collected by the Law Society of Scotland, and handed over each year to the ‘independent’ SLCC – itself staffed by former staff members of the Law Society of Scotland, lawyers, relatives of lawyers, and friends of lawyers.
With fifteen members of staff who qualified as solicitors, five members of staff who held a previous position at the Law Society of Scotland, eight members of staff who held a previous position at a law firm, and five members of staff who have held previous positions at a law firm and Law Society of Scotland ..costs are high, to keep all those lawyers and former lawyers in a job of self regulation.
But, who really pays for the SLCC?
The SLCC – created in 2008 with over £2 million of public money, unashamedly state clearly on their website: “The SLCC is funded by a levy paid by legal professionals operating in Scotland.”
And just exactly how do lawyers get the £3 million a year to pay for the levy ? – a follow up question you might be forgiven for thinking should come easily to any inquisitive mind.
£3 million a year - It has to come from somewhere, right?
The answer is easy – from you, the client. Yes, you - in the form of ripped off clients, ripped off estates, mortgage frauds, embezzlement, and of course, fees for legal work charged to you by your lawyer. And, many times over.
Remember that ‘hard hitting, deserving of justice, easy to win case’ you took to some solicitor who looked you in the eye and said, no problem as the pound signs flashed by ?
That same case … now dragging on for months … months … months … turning into years … years … years … adjusted court dates, cancelled hearings, expert witnesses on the blink … counsels opinion costing up to £6K a time – and you almost never get to see … appearances before a judge who, unbeknown to you - is having dinner later on with the other side’s lawyers. As the delays mount up, so does your bill and it is easy to slip in a few extra pounds here and there…
After all, the annual SLCC levy is a mere £324 for solicitors … less than the cost of a decent flat screen television. How easy solicitors find it to add this amount many times to fee notes sent out to their private & corporate clients. It is so easy, you never notice. But it happens. You realise that now, don’t you.
And just because some former High Street solicitor posing as a Scottish Minister sits in front of a Parliamentary committee and says Scotland’s ‘independent’ regulator of lawyers the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, is funded by a levy paid by lawyers – you now know - you – the client, pay for it.
So, next time someone tells you the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is paid for by lawyers, you know different. You pay.