Mediation at Scottish Legal Complaints Commission branded expensive time wasting tactic. A SCHEME set up by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) to mediate complaints made against rogue Scottish solicitors & law firms by clients has been branded nothing more than an expensive time wasting strategy which more often than not results in failures of outcomes for the client and advantageous lengthy delays to investigations being started into many Scots law firms over serious complaints made about their service.
In the past year alone, mediation at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has cost upwards of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS, with a significant number of cases being sent back to investigation after the lengthy mediation process failed.
Clients who have been stuck for months in what has been dubbed by some as a ‘mediation trap’ have recently contacted Diary of Injustice, reporting numerous difficulties and a breakdown of expectation after false promises of amicable conclusions or a ‘sorting out’ of difficulties between clients & solicitors, which have more often than not disappeared during the time it has taken mediation cases to progress, with many clients finding their solicitors have been much less than honest during the mediation process.
As part of an on-going investigation into the viability of mediation between clients & solicitors who have provided expensive, yet poor, often negligent legal service, Diary of Injustice asked the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to disclose its latest records of medication cases.
The SLCC responded via a Freedom of Information legislation, disclosing information which makes extremely poor reading for any clients who are currently being cajoled by the SLCC into what is clearly a very poor mediation scheme with little results :
1. 91 cases have been put to mediation in this last year (i.e. since our last annual report).
2. There has been 58 successful mediation outcomes
3. There has been 33 mediation failures
4. The number of mediation outcomes accepted or rejected by complainer/solicitor is not applicable – if either party does not want to agree, there is no settlement. Such a mediation falls within the number of “mediation failures”,
5. 33 mediation cases were sent to Investigation (if a mediation fails, the case goes to Investigation),
6. 0 mediation cases have been abandoned
7. The cost of all mediation cases equals £18028.29
While the above figures reveal some 58 ‘successful mediation outcomes’, it appears clients in several of these cases had to settle for much less than they expected to gain from the mediation process.
After DOI journalists made further enquiries of legal sources, it will surprise no one to lean that most of the outcomes in what the SLCC have dubbed ‘successful mediation outcomes’ appear to have disproportionately benefited the law firms & solicitors being complained about more so, than the client victims who were forced to go to the SLCC because of poor legal services undertaken by their solicitors.
There is also evidence to support claims from some clients that solicitors & law firms have been using the SLCC’s mediation process as little more than a delaying tactic to prevent full complaints investigations by regulators which could result in stiffer penalties and media exposure for those in Scotland’s legal profession who consistently abuse their clients.
Speaking to Diary of Injustice, a legal insider said it was common knowledge that law firms were abusing the mediation process simply to avoid investigations into their conduct. He also claimed material from the mediation process has been seen on an almost ‘live basis’ by the Law Society of Scotland & solicitors acting for the Legal Defence Union (LDU) who have previously been reported to have been involved in secret no-notes taken meetings with the highest ranks of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, featured earlier by Diary of Injustice in a report here : Investigation reveals Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s links, secret ‘off the record’ dealings with lawyers lobby group Legal Defence Union
A client who has been stuck in a months long mediation case which ultimately failed described the whole process as “a complete waste of time which only benefited the lawyers and has probably ruined any chance my complaint about my solicitor ripping me off will ever be properly investigated by the SLCC.”
The SLCC have issued no further comment or details on the types of cases entering into its mediation scheme, nor have they published the details of those thirty three cases which have failed and then been put back into the investigation loop.
If you have difficulties with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and have been involved in its mediation scheme, Diary of Injustice would like to hear from you. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org