Scots clients left in dark over complaints

DISSATISFIED clients wishing to complain about their solicitors are unlikely to know how to register their complaint, according to research by the Scottish Office.

Eight per cent of those questioned in an official survey said that they had been annoyed with the way their legal adviser had handled their case, and two thirds of these considered complaining.

But only 13 per cent of those using legal services had been informed by their adviser of the complaints procedure, according to the official findings.

Lawyers' attitude toward their clients is more important to the Scottish public than their costs or the length of time they spend with them.

Of the 4,500 households surveyed, 91 per cent of respondents were satisfied with their solicitors' service, with 85 per cent saying they would use the same adviser in the future.

Almost three quarters of cases where lawyers had been used had been “successfully concluded,” say the Scottish Office findings.

A significant minority – two fifths – paid for legal services themselves and around three quarters of these felt they had received value for money.

Solicitors remain the main source of legal information to the public, with Citizens' Advice Bureaux preferred for advice on financial problems, neighbourhood disputes, and faulty goods.

*Children giving evidence in Scottish courts will benefit from extended provisions for using closed circuit television (CCTV) to take their evidence from 3 April.

Scottish Secretary of State Ian Laing MP gave the go-ahead for CCTV in answer to a parliamentary question. Statutory provision to allow children's evidence in criminal trials to be taken on a live CCTV link, with judicial approval, was introduced in the Law Reform Act 1990.