Learning from decisions
We’ve launched this newsletter to coincide with the first ever publication of SLCC Determinations – you can see all the decisions of our Determination Committees for the months of July to September here.
By publishing our decision, we hope you can learn from our experience of dealing with complaints – both in terms of how to prevent these sorts of complaints happening to you, but also how to adopt best practice when a complaint occurs.
Of the six complaints which were formally upheld by Determination Committees within the quarter July to September, two (15/03 & 15/06) included issues relating to delay. This is an area which featured highly in our five years trend analysis of complaint issues in 2013 and which continues to be a recurring problem.
In an ideal world, delays would always be deftly avoided and clients would always be kept updated and informed about the steady progress of their cases. However, few of us live in such a Utopia and very often matters can be prolonged and protracted through issues which are outwith our control.
In such situations, it’s very tempting to cross your fingers, hope that time will magically catch up with itself and that the client will never know. The reality check is that it probably won’t self-resolve and the client, on finding out, will be doubly annoyed – annoyed that something has not progressed and annoyed that you didn’t tell them!
Managing your clients’ expectations is absolutely critical to good client care – and therefore makes sound business sense. So if you do find that matters are not progressing at the speed your client is expecting, and if there are delays either within or outside your control, it is best practice to let your client know at the earliest opportunity.
Our guidance for solicitors on best practice in preventing complaints is in the links box to the right.
By the way…
Case 15/02 is unusual as it’s an example of an inadequate professional service (IPS) complaint being upheld against an individual solicitor.
Most service complaints are made against firms, rather than individuals, with the firm being responsible to pay compensation and the complaints levy. It is possible, however – as here – for a Determination Committee to find a particular solicitor personally responsible for the issue at hand and uphold the complaint against him/her.
The solicitor in this case was ordered personally to pay compensation to the complainer and also personally to pay the SLCC’s complaints levy.