Solicitor's complaint bureau (now abolished)

The solicitor's complaints bureau handled complaints about the work of solicitors prior to being abolished in 1996.

Problems have been experienced with the complaints procedure that the Law Society operates.  One of the main concerns has been that the Law Society represents both the solicitor’s interests and the clients.  A court decision in 1986 highlighted this conflict of interests when it was decided that Glanville Davies, a solicitor and member of the Law Society’s council had overcharged someone by £131,000. 

When the Law Society investigated the complaint they decided that Davies had acted properly. Following a subsequent court decision Davies was struck off and the Law Society decided they needed a more independent complaints procedure; this led to the setting up of the Solicitor’s Complaints Bureau. 

The Solicitor's Complaints Bureau was criticised for its slowness and inefficiency when dealing with complaints. A survey taken by the Law Society in 1995 revealed that in a review of 2,246 complainants two out of three were dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.  

The Solicitors Regulation authority is now responsible for regulating solicitors.  There is also an independent Legal Ombudsman set up under the Legal Services Act 2007.

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