BLA wants bureau axed

The British Legal Association is to call for the abolition of the Solicitors' Complaints Bureau at a requisitioned meeting at the Law Society.

Members of the 15,000-strong BLA voted at its annual general meeting to support a motion for abolishing the SCB, returning disciplinary matters to the Law Society and discontinuing all other SCB functions.

The motion became BLA policy and the association's officers are now seeking the required 100 signatures to requisition a special general meeting of the Law Society where the policy can be debated.

The BLA vote came despite members knowing the society's two-year review on the future of the SCB is still underway.

Stanley Best, BLA executive committee member and ex-chair, says feelings about the SCB run high.

“It is an expensive, time-wasting organisation which simply encourages people to complain.”

He adds: “It is generally felt that it is also doing general harm to the public's view of

solicitors.”

The BLA believes that around 70 per cent of the SCB's work involves “trivia” which would be better handled between solicitor and client, or in the small claims court and County Court.

The SCB's high-profile handling of such “trivia” leads to bad press for solicitors, and is a distraction from dealing with serious complaints, it says.

The BLA has an active track record in baiting the Law Society. In 1992 it advised members to withhold Solicitors Indemnity Fund payments, as well as calling for a dismantling of the SIF, and considered calling for the Law Society Council's resignation. This was only stalled by last-minute talks held with the society (The Lawyer 20 April 1993).