No place for self-regulation of complaints, says Sayer

THE LAW Society should consider washing its hands of complaints handling and allowing an independent body to take over, according to one of its leaders.

Vice-president Robert Sayer has moved to reopen the complaints handling debate just days after the Law Society Council settled on a new-look complaints-handling body.

At its council meeting earlier this month, the Law Society agreed to relaunch the Solicitors Complaints Bureau in the shape of a more independent body which will be called the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.

At the meeting Sayer tried in vain to persuade the council to bring the new body more firmly under the Law Society's control.

Now he has come up with the highly controversial suggestion that the profession may be better off if it abandoned its attempt to regulate itself altogether and acted more like a trade union.

“It's a debate that should be held,” he said.

“It has always been suggested that we would still have to pay for complaints handling if we lost control of it and that we would probably have to pay even more.

“But I don't think that would necessarily be the case.”

Suggesting that an independently controlled complaints body might be less cumbersome, he added: “The current system pries into every aspect of our lives and treats us like little children. Solicitors get bogged down in trivia.”