Scottish body names board of commissioners

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has named its first board of commissioners with Scottish legal services ombudsman Jane Irvine as chair.

The commission, which is due to launch in October, is being set up to act as an independent body for handling legal complaints.

Irvine said: “The Scottish Commission is an important body. It will provide a modern system for resolving complaints about legal services that both the profession and public can have confidence in.”

Four lawyers, Alan Paterson, David Smith, Margaret Scanlan and David Chaplin, are to serve on the committee alongside the non-lawyer members, Douglas Watson, Linda Pollock, George Irving and Ian Gordon.

Paterson is professor of law and director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at Strathclyde University, Smith is a partner at Shepherd & Wedderburn, Scanlan is an accredited specialist in family law at Russells Gibson McCaffrey and Chaplin is a partner at Anderson Fyfe.

Of the non-lawyer members Watson has been a police officer for 30 years, Pollock has held several leadership roles at the NHS since 1989, Irving has held a number of roles such as director of social work at North Ayrshire Council, while Gordon is a retired deputy chief constable of Tayside Police.

The commissioners’ first job will be to appoint a chief executive for the SLCC to replace interim chief executive Richard Smith.

As revealed by The Lawyer (3 December 2007), plans to fund the SLCC through a flat-rate levy on all legal practitioners has already come under fire from Scotland’s in-house community, who believe most claims are made against private practitioners rather than in-housers.