Keep SCB impartial, say advisers

COMPLAINTS handling should be as independent of the Law Society as possible, according to the Solicitors Complaints Bureau's lay-dominated advisory committee.

The bureau's policy advisory committee has come out against Law Society president Martin Mears' plans for its functions to be brought back in house.

In its response to the Law Society's consultation exercise on reform of the bureau, the committee says complaints handling should remain at arm's length from Chancery Lane. It says many of the bureau's problems are “perceived rather than real” and defends its record.

It also responds to Legal Services Ombudsman Michael Barnes' claim that the bureau's regulatory functions should be brought back in-house while complaints handling should be made more independent.

“Careful regard must be had to preventing the creation of a more expensive bureaucracy, and this may be the case with any reform which tends to separate regulatory and disciplinary functions.

Committee chair Tony Heywood said: “We have been concerned during the last year at the barrage of largely unfounded criticism about the bureau.”