17,074 complaints against solicitors….

I read with some interest a story in the Guardian today about the staggering number of complaints against solicitors – 17,074 according to the story. The author of the piece in The Guardian, Alan Wilson, offered the statistic that this is “equivalent to one for every six solicitors practising in England and Wales.”

Alan Wilson went on to say that a Which magazine survey said that one in three people were not happy with the service from their solicitor. Complaints included rudeness, arrogance, no witten quotes, delays, bills being ‘steeper’ than anticipated and incompetence. The article goes on to explain how to make a complaint. Statistics are always interesting – but it would be far more interesting to know how serious these complaints are. I think, in fairness, I will ring the Customer Complaints Service at the Law Society and see what they say.

EDIT: Follow up

I rang The Law Society – and after wading through their automated phone system, I spoke to a very charming young woman who told me that the Press Officer would call me back. I did make it clear that I wanted to find out the nature of these complaints to see how serious the complaints were – on the premise that (surely) not all of the 17074 complaints were ‘very serious’ matters and that I wished to provide a bit more information to readers than was available in Alan Wilson’s article. I will let you know how I got on.

On an entirely different note – but one related to customer service. I went into the Notting Hill branch of Royal Bank of Scotland today to draw some cash. The bank had been refurbished – very glossy, very slick. I waited to be called by the cashier. A very smart female member of the bank staff came over to ask me how I was, to ask me what service I was seeking and to ask if I would like a coffee! This so took me by surprise that I passed on the opportunity to get a freebie from a bank. It was all a bit unexpected – not really a “British Banking” experience. It was even more surreal when I got to the cashier. I noted that a woman was seated in the background with a clip board. She was from Quality Control).

The cashier was excellent – asked me how I was today, whether I would like a coffee while I waited and asked me what service I would like. I told him that I wanted to draw cash, that I did not bank with this branch (but they did have my signature on file, because, very occasionally, I do draw cash from this branch – rather than go into The City.) I produced my passport for ID/Money Laundering purposes and within a few moments had the cash in my wallet. I was, as it happens, most impressed. It was fascinating to watch the reaction of other customers, accosted by smart woman from reception, respond to her enquiries about their health and their needs that day. Everyone seemed a bit embarrassed to be asked – in a very ‘British’ way. Maybe we are so used to indifferent service that we feel awkward when faced with an organisation which is trying to raise the game?

I am going up to RBS Notting Hill again tomorrow to have some free coffee. It will be worth it. I may even hang out there for a while, read a newspaper on their very comfortable chairs and see if they could arrange for some Rioja to be brought in for me. Maybe they have Rioja in the cupboard… just in case?

I must award a Silver Lobster to RBS for this – it made me smile on a morning otherwise bereft of smiles. Good stuff.

5 thoughts on “17,074 complaints against solicitors….

  1. Pingback: Charon QC…the Blawg from spr-consilio.com

  2. I am one of tjhe directors of CASIA (Complaints Against Solicitors, action for Independent Adjudication) a small company limited by guarantee – like the Law Society but without its power.

    Members of CASIA are not happy with the way solicitors have handled their cases, and especailly unhappy with the way the Legal Complaints Service tries to force conciliation with any investigation whatsoever, especially as we havee so much proof that solicitors lie to the complaint system and lie to the courts too.

    No matter how many of the essential rules of professional conduct are breached, all such failures are forgiven as “mere technicalities”.
    A major concern is the indecent haste with which a solicitor will obtain in secret a “Summary Judgment” which the solicitors will then use to try and make a client who is protesting about the solicitors’ service or bill bankrupt. Victims have been made bankrupt on bills which later have been proved invalid.

    I do not see the new bill as providing what it says on the tin as there are unecessary time limits and restrictions on appeals – all with the false pretence that complainants want complaints speed up although victims see investigation as a priority.

    CASIA has been campaigning for eleven years now,meeting the great and the good etc., so its views are well known and we expected more than a “framework” with a few more years needed to put a proper system in place.

    Also, we generally distrust the “Tesco Law” provisions which we thought David Clementi was against. It is bad enough now to nail home a complaint but with others involved it will be even harder.

  3. I am in the process of trying to sue a Senior Solicitor for negligence as a disabled self litigant. In an application to strike out my claim a Master in the Queens Bench division (who flagged up his interest in horse racing) refused to turn on the recorder. When I asked why, he said that he would not allow a person on income support to have access to Public Funds to pay for an expensive transcript. When I told him I needed the recording as I am partially sighted, he still refused shouting at me to say I would pay for the transcript. When I asked how much it would be he said he did not know and shouted at me again to tell him I would pay for the transcript or he was not going to turn on the recorder. I told him that unless he could tell me how much it would be approximately I could not say I would pay for it. I pressed him again to turn on the recorder and he said he would record his judgment. A member of CASSIA came at very short notice and attended the second day of the hearing. The Master could not resist saying “I hope her notes will be of a comfort to you.”

  4. Glory Anne Clibbery – I hope your negligence case is fruitful – I am merely a representative, not a client, and am disgusted at the lies and breachese of regulations our legal professionals are allowed to get away with.

    I spoke to the helpline of the LCS – a while ago now, about why verbatim notes could not be accepted by the SRA; and why the solicitor is the honest one! Laughable really – the lovely lady on the telephone helpline told me that since working there the one thing she had learned above all else was : never visit your solicitor and hold a meeting without recording it yourself”. How I wish I had.

  5. Solicitors can certainly put you through hell. Greedy, self-serving, incompetent and not regulated at all. The “profession of last resort” are an evil to be avoided if you can.

    If you have made an official complaint about a solicitor any time in the past 10 years please take part in this national survey.


    There are some to avoid here…
    Which takes you back to the start of this post.

    Hope this helps someone.

    Kind Regards,

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