Scottish Legal Complaints Commission open for business

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, set up under the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, opened its doors at The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, on 1 October 2008.

All complaints against legal practitioners must now be sent to the new Commission, which acts as a gateway and single point of contact for these complaints.  Complaints about conduct are passed to the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates who will investigate them, as they have done in the past.  The Commission also has the power to deal with complaints about the way the relevant professional organisation has handled an investigation.  In effect it replaces, but is more powerful than, the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman.

Chief executive of the Commission is Eileen Masterman, formerly the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland and Director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland.  The Commission is chaired by former Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman Jane Irvine, and lawyers amongst its eight other members include Professor Alan Paterson (Strathclyde Law School), David Smith (ex-Shepherd & Wedderburn), Margaret Scanlan (an accredited specialist in family law at Russells Gibson McCaffrey), and David Chaplin (ex-Anderson Fyfe).