Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman

Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman

The Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman is a non-departmental public body in Scotland appointed by the Scottish Ministers responsible for overseeing the internal complaints procedures of the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland but with considerable constraints on their investigatory remit.

The legal profession in Scotland is essentially self-regulating with solicitors licensed by, members of, and responsible to the Law Society of Scotland, with Advocates having the same relationship with the Faculty of Advocates. The Ombudsman is theoretically independent from the legal professions and the Scottish Executive; (but see below) the Ombudsman's findings and recommendations are not reviewed by Scottish Ministers or the Scottish Executive.

It should be noted that any criminal activities of Scottish lawyers is handled by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the public prosecution service for Scotland headed by the Lord Advocate.

The organisation Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers does not believe the current system provides for sufficient independent scrutiny of the legal profession. The concerns however are held more broadly than this. Some observers fear the Ombudsman has shown repeated bias in favour of the legal establishment when considering complaints, and there are growing calls for an independent review to be held of some of these opinions.

Though supposedly independent, the Ombudsman is in fact overseen by a committee of senior representatives from various areas of the Scottish legal establishment. This would appear to completely defeat the purpose of the service; a trait sadly all too common in Scottish legal affairs.


The Ombudsman decides:
*if the professional body has given each complaint proper attention;
*if it has taken appropriate action on the basis of a fair and thorough examination of all the evidence;
*if it has acted reasonably, impartially and effectively.

External links

* [ Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman]

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