SCB is no 'masquerade'

I think it is a bit strong for you to describe the Solicitors Complaints Bureau as an institution which "masquerades" as an independent complaints handling body (The Lawyer 23 July).

I have been the partner in our practice dealing with complaints over the past six years and on occasion have had to deal with the SCB.

In my experience they bend over backwards to assist the lay applicant (which I find quite proper) and, while some delay may, for all I know, be caused by administrative problems in their office, part of it must also be due to the considerable detail which they go into in requiring the firm complained of to answer each and every allegation of the complainant, however weak or strong.

Most queries can be sorted out direct and I suspect that the majority of those who complain to the SCB would not be satisfied whatever the outcome.

Most complaints should be capable of being handled between the solicitor and the client. As for information being made available to the public (by which you presumably mean the Press) one has no problem with that provided that confidentiality is maintained in respect of the clients affairs.

Even if the client waived the privilege inherent in the solicitor-client relationship, would it really help the profession (or the public) in responding to a complaint for us to use matter which, though a complete answer to the complaint, is extremely detrimental to the reputation of the complainant and which has come into our possession in the course of dealing with the matter for that client ?

David Walmsley

Hawkins Russell Jones

7-8 Portmill Lane

Hitchin

Herts SG5 1AS.