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The Solicitors Regulation Authority, hold themselves up to be a professional body in place to uphold the professional standards of ALL solicitors, ensuring highest stanards are adhered to at all times. Or so their literature professes.

 

This group do not provide a service for joe public to raise issues, more, they take a complaint twist it around with lies and unfetted supposed undisclosible data and then tell you there is no case to answer, when clearly on the evidence there is.

 

This organistion does not aid the public faith in solicitors and the like, even their own statistics prove this,

 

in 2014 they received 10000 complaints against solicitors and only 50 were upheld, to the point that the solicitor in question was sent a letter telling them to up their game, no disciplinary action or penalties were imposed.

 

Even someone not conversant with stats can see this is not a 'norm' of predications for any complaints procedure in whatever field

 

. So if anyone is considering using the SRA forget it along with the Legal Ombudsman, they will both look for an angle for the legal professional and you as a citizen will not get any recourse.

 

Best form of redress is find a web/blog and blast your issues there whilst providing tags/links/searches everywhere so that the world can see what charlatens these people and their organisations are.

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Hi and welcome to CAG

 

I have to disagree somewhat with your post. Within that 10,000, how many were vexatious complaints? Where a solicitor has done their best for the client but the client lost a case, that doesn't mean the solicitor is bad at their job, just that the courts disagreed. People will complain that the solicitor didn't use 'best practice'

 

How many times has a solicitor told a client that thy may lose a case but the client still wants to progress? A solicitor must act when instructed by a client-even when they know it may be a lost cause.

 

In the criminal courts, many guilty people will profess their innocence and the solicitor must act on that. It is only after the guilty verdict, the client will complain.

 

With the 50 upheld cases you have stated, were these solicitors struck off the register or had conditions placed on them? Many solicitors who have behaved poorly (but not illegally) will have got words of advice and a possible marker on their file but this won't be made public.

 

I also fully understand that some data must remain confidential as it may identify other bodies/people that have nothing to do with the case.

 

I am no lover of solicitors but I do believe that they have a hard enough job to do without having to worry about whether they are going to get sanctioned.

 

Have you had a bad experience that leads you to your opinion?

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Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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What did you get the 10,000 figure from?

 

I suspect that a lot of people incorrectly make complaints to the SRA when they should instead complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints regarding matters such as poor customer service should go to the Legal Ombudsman.

 

The difficulty for a lot of solicitors involved in litigation matters is that legal proceedings often end with a clear winner or loser. People can sometimes look to blame their solicitor if they lose even though it probably isn't the solicitor's fault, the risk of losing is just a risk that you take when you are involved in litigation.

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority, hold themselves up to be a professional body in place to uphold the professional standards of ALL solicitors, ensuring highest stanards are adhered to at all times. Or so their literature professes.

 

This group do not provide a service for joe public to raise issues, more, they take a complaint twist it around with lies and unfetted supposed undisclosible data and then tell you there is no case to answer, when clearly on the evidence there is.

 

This organistion does not aid the public faith in solicitors and the like, even their own statistics prove this,

 

in 2014 they received 10000 complaints against solicitors and only 50 were upheld, to the point that the solicitor in question was sent a letter telling them to up their game, no disciplinary action or penalties were imposed.

 

Even someone not conversant with stats can see this is not a 'norm' of predications for any complaints procedure in whatever field

 

. So if anyone is considering using the SRA forget it along with the Legal Ombudsman, they will both look for an angle for the legal professional and you as a citizen will not get any recourse.

 

Best form of redress is find a web/blog and blast your issues there whilst providing tags/links/searches everywhere so that the world can see what charlatens these people and their organisations are.

 

 

In the SRA's defence, most complaints in my experience are completely without merit. I should add that I am no fan of the SRA either.

 

TWMCADY, what was your complaint?

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Please excuse my having not got back sooner I was called away.

 

 

I will attempt to answer all the points raised by Silverfox1961, Steampowered and Ganymede in an honest and precise a manner as I can, obviously any personal data I will refrain from using at this stage.

 

1. The statistical data provided was obtained from the SRA themselves via a FOI request, so that provided was to all intents and purposes correct as far as we, the public, and they, the SRA are concerned.

 

2. Yes, I have been involved personally and have spoken to many others who have had the exact same experience.

 

3. Just to expand the point, the case I was involved in I WON, so, there was no argument with the decision made by the court ultimately. Although, in was in spit of the solicitor and Barrister involved and not because of their professional conduct.

 

 

Without the case dossier I created, along with evidence offered by myself and my witnesses in court I would certainly have lost this case if I had to rely on these so called professionals to fight my corner as pertinent evidence was sidelined at critical points.

 

 

The cost of this exercise induced by their incompetence cost me three times more than it should of, as outlined in the initial contract of engagement. To supplement this they undertook settlement negotiations, what a joke that was, until I stepped in and stated what was going to be appropriate otherwise I would have lost financially throughout. Their basis of negotiation was to get their fees first after which I came very low down the pecking order of resolution.

 

To suggest that the amount of complaints raised were 'mostly' vexatious is stretching the believable I fear. All these complaints had progressed through the 'firms' own complaints procedure otherwise they would not be heard by the SRA. Therefore using very simple analysis all these folks felt aggrieved and would I suggest have looked at other forms of redress such as the Citizens Advise, Trading Standards etc. before pursuing this path.

 

Even when reporting to the Ombudsman, I think this needs clear understanding. The ombudsman deals generically with processes and procedures, they are not interested in truth, disputed actions or morals of professionalism.

 

 

To put it more plainly, they look at whether all the processes and procedures followed by the firm are in line with their own documents of engagement etc. they do not consider the facts of truth and lies. So if a solicitor has failed in their processes and procedure the Ombudsman MAY act, I stress MAY.

 

Regarding the penalties mentioned previously, NO SOLICITOR was struck off, a number were sent a letter with an 'up your game' sentiment but no punitive measures were taken that I was made aware of. Out of 10000 complaints these figures are unbelievable, I have experience of statistics raised with regard to customer facing organizations and I have NEVER encountered such a large disparity as I have witnessed here.

 

Whilst I do concede that the contributors may have a differing view to myself, unless you have experienced this service first hand in a personal or analytical manner I fear it is only to easy to expect these organizations to provide the form of support you would hope for, unfortunately they do not. One point made above is that solicitors have a hard enough job anyway.

 

 

Well these are professional people who are highly rewarded, all we the general public expect is honesty, integrity and for them to work in our best interest. Unfortunately many, not all, solicitors are motivated by money, their first call in any settlement is to get their fees, obviously they are in business so deserve remuneration, but the presentation of truth, honesty and moral a code of natural justice I have personally seen wavered so they get paid their fees.

 

 

To support this how many civil cases have you seen were the complainant gets back ALL of the costs incurred in a case, I would suggest very few. For every complaint that wins they never recover all the costs incurred in bringing the case before the courts. It would be very easy for Joe Bloggs to conclude that all of these solicitors etc. are in collusion with each other so that all get their rewards, or, that so gentleman's agreement or 'bricklayers' shake is going on, but I for one am hopeful that none of this conspiracy theories are taking place within the British Judicial system.

 

To this end I stand by every word I raised in my initial thread the SRA are not fit for purpose in my opinion. Thank you for your time and patience in review this thread.

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It sounds to me like your complaint is about poor service and should therefore be dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman, not the SRA.

 

It is important for the claimant's fees to be addressed in any settlement negotiation. Otherwise they would have to come out of your pocket. Ensuring that fees are paid is in your interest too.

 

Outside small claims track, the losing side in civil court proceedings will almost always be ordered to pay the winning side's legal costs.

 

All the best.

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It sounds to me like your complaint is about poor service and should therefore be dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman, not the SRA.

.

 

Absolutely.

 

If people are taking complaints to the SRA that the SRA are unable to deal with (poor service rather than breaches of the SRA's principles), it would explain why the SRA are taking action in such a small proportion of cases!.

It would be useful to know how many of these cases were claims of poor service and how many for allegation of breach of the SRA's principles.

 

The SRA do try and make this distinction clear

http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page

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they refuse to look into a complaint made against a solicitor whose action for a client ., as you have not instructed them yourself i.e. Claimants solicitor not yours as defendant, then tell you to go to law ombudsman who send you off elsewhere = as Stated They are not fit for purpose, and shows once again self Regulators do not work, in all/many cases i.e. Utilities etc etc etc

 

been there . wrote the Review and read it. all help not to right misuse of a so called Justice System and fraudulent circumnavigation of legislation

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I must say you have laid your arguments out very well and congrats on the win. I have to agree that in the majority of cases the solicitors get an 'up your game' decision and few if any companies/individuals get struck off however, there are some cases where the allegations are made and the solicitor appeals. These appeals go to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which give a clearer picture of what has happened. Here is the link to their decisions page

http://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/search/JudgementSearch.aspx

 

On the first page, four solicitors got struck off. I haven't gone further but it does say that sometimes, they get it right.

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Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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I'd hope not just for "poor service", but for a complaint based on a breach of SRA principles where such sanction was justified, why not?.

I'd hope that the low numbers of SDT decisions to strike off reflects the rarity of such poor behaviour.

 

But for "poor service" absent breach of the SRA principles, no. That is what the LO is for, surely?.

 

How many complaints of "poor service" are in fact "in an adversarial system : one side wins, one side looses, and loosing your case doesn't mean the service was poor"?.

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In response to Steampowered and Bazzas, as you will appreciate I am very well aware of what areas the SRA are deemed responsible for so to contradict your claim, I did not raise an issue relating to poor service, although that was obviously an outcome of the firms actions.

 

The firm involved, and the senior partner particularly, violated their own contract of engagement along with the SRA principles of professionalism.

 

I would ask respectfully that when offering support for this organization's conduct one forensically looks at the data provided.

 

Do you really consider 50 complaints out of 10000 raised to be a proportional and realistic figure for those found to have guilty of violating the SRA code of practice, in all honesty.

 

Whilst some logged may be wrongly attributed and others vexatious the 'conviction' figure is paltry and really does not seem at all convincing in line with other consumer facing organizations which undertake a similar or complementary service.

 

Most individuals who engage a solicitor or legal professional put complete trust in them to act on their behalf and in their best interest, when this fails many, I would say most, do not have the willingness or energy after a court case to even look at the solicitors performance and just revert back to their lives having lost at great personal cost.

 

It is only those that still have energy enough who will pursue this at the SRA. Therefore, it may well be that the 10000 figure I quote is just a portion of the actual number that have suffered at the hands of solicitors violating the SRA principles.

 

Why don't the SRA carry out random case reviews on every firm, this would ensure all firms continue to adhere to the principles on which they sign up, but then there would be a cost I hear you say, what cost honesty and integrity.

 

The SRA unfortunately in my view are not worth a light, having had to deal with blatant lies, data that cannot be verified or questioned this all removed from an individual the major thrust of natural justice whilst enabling the SRA to make decisions without you as an individual having access to all the facts

 

From a personal point of view I will again reiterate, using the SRA or Ombudsman will get you nowhere, utilize other more appropriate methods to gain recourse should you have been compromised by the legal profession.

Edited by TWMCADY
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TWMCADY, what would you like to see? I higher number of solicitors struck off?

 

You have given us very limited information about your own case, but nothing you have told us leads me to believe that either your solicitor or barrister should be struck off.

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Ganymede, whilst my case was only a preface to my looking at this organization, there are many aspects which I am not able to discuss in an open forum, but, here are a few of the points I raised with the SRA.

 

Inappropriate/wrong evidence offered in court, never seen or ratified by me, failed to call pertinent witnesses 'could not get hold of them' - I got hold of them in one phone call, Information/Evidence created by firm was not factually based so refused by courts to be submitted at trial, failed to act in my best interest at all times, firm driven by recovering their fees not truth/evidence based and firm did not adhere to my instructions throughout case management.

 

As stated these are a subset, I should add all points I raised were/are COMPLETELY supported by correspondence between myself and the firm in question, even a lay person cannot fail to arrive at they same conclusions as I did, this firm acted in breach of the SRA code of conduct.

 

Throughout our discussion here you have offered support for the SRA, whether vested or not, on the basis of your opinion, yet no hard data to back this up. I have attempted honestly to offer an OPINION as to what I have experienced and the information I have obtained in support of the reasoning on which this opinion is based. After all it is just my opinion I am not insisting that anyone must follow my lead, but, offering a calculated opinion from my point of view, others will obviously make their own minds up in these situations.

 

Do I want to see 'more solicitors and barristers struck off', well to answer this honestly - YES, if it means the rogue elements are jettisoned I most certainly do. Without adequate policing I fear we the general public are left vulnerable to so called professionals who misuse their position to massage their ego and bank balance.

 

Obviously you are aware that 'every action has a consequence' if we are to let the SRA continue in the mode you seem to suggest then surely this will continue to provide lip service to complaints or fears of the general public. Solicitors currently know that if they are reported to the SRA or LO nothing serious will happen even if they are found to have breached the code of practice, organizations such as the SRA and LO do not stand as a deterrent to any rogue organization.

 

Surely it is time for a truly independent monitoring group to take up this mantle for the sake of all concerned

.

Edited by honeybee13
Paras.
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I said in my first post that I am no fan of the SRA.

 

I respect your opinion but can disagree. You still haven't given a justifiable reason to have your solicitor struck off. In my own humble opinion of course.

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This thread is indicative of the mistrust that the public have for the profession.

 

Maintaining this trust is a requirement by the SRA's own principal (6). But how are we to do this when oftentimes it is the SRA itself that paints us all with a bad brush for the actions of a small minority. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/beware-get-rich-quick-solicitors-sra-to-warn-public/5058534.article#commentsJump case in point.

 

And even when we firmly uphold their principles this 'regulator' turns to its regulated with some research it has commissioned saying we make our Clients feel 'thick' - https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/care-letters-make-clients-feel-stupid-says-watchdog/5058596.article

 

To the OP, if you think the SRA is a friend of the profession I can assure you it certainly isn't. The above are two in a litany of examples. If they have their way there won't be much of a legal 'profession' left for you to complain about.

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Supervillain,

having read your response along with the items outlined in the Law Gazette,

does this not highlight the very points I raised in my original thread.

 

 

Your response seems to suggest that you do not wish anyone to monitor or regulate your profession, that you consider you and your colleagues always do the correct and honest thing, unfortunately this is not true I am afraid.

 

 

Having dealt with numerous 'law professionals' in my business and personal life I can honestly say that some do act as reported by the SRA, that is, to consider their 'general public' joe clients to be less intelligent or less able than themselves exasperating this image by using terminology and legal jargon which most folks are unfamiliar with and when dissected is not really required, I suppose this to them keeps their pedestal high.

 

 

How do you suggest checks and balances are placed on your profession then, every other professional body is regulated why shouldn't yours be?. The public do not trust 'most' solicitors that is true, but surely it is both yours and every one of your colleagues obligation to negate this image by your actions and deeds.

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You misunderstand. A regulator's function is to regulate. To pick out the bad apples and punish accordingly. Not to denigrate the entire profession on the actions of those bad apples as this regulator consistently does.

 

The reason I'm employed and not in the dole queue is precisely because I do a good job for my clients. The reason I have a practising certificate to hang on my wall is precisely because I do that good job without falling foul of our regulator's infinite wisdom (that was sarcasm) at penalty of seccumbing to their guillotine. Take the client care letter for example. The content is determined by the SRA and who then tell the public we're condescending for putting it all in there. Does that seem fair to you?

 

But alas the SRA isn't interested in telling the public about people like me or my colleagues and fellow professionals, whilst on the other hand spreading word that we're ALL crooks and liars. Are you saying I should go out to the street with a loudspeaker once a week and tell all of the good job I'm doing. It's a beyond arrogant notion which in the face of already dire public opinion of me (for no valid reason I might add) would be an awful idea.

 

A fair regulator that doesn't set out to demolish us piece by piece isn't too much to ask for in my humble opinion.

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Whilst I consider my previous points indicate I do understand the points raised,

your own comments support my original premise, that of lack or no accountability.

 

To take the consultation conducted by the SRA, which you quote, apparently out of 10000 solicitors contacted to discuss and comment on matters of professionalism and public impression only 600, not even 10%, of your colleagues and fellow members saw fit to respond, what does that say of a profession supposedly trying to put it's house in order.

 

After all the findings you find so offensive weren't even reported in the daily media, as far as I am aware, but in your 'trade magazine' so the exposure was rather limited don't you think.

 

Many solicitors do a fine job I am sure, but, it does seem that none are open to selective scrutiny,

 

I would hate for you to go shouting on the streets to promote your good work, but, why is not every client who receives legal services offered access to a critique 'app' on completion of work undertaken.

 

Many professions I have been involved with do this as a matter of course to better their service offering and ensure high standards are continually maintained.

 

The results of these responses could be made public if managed correctly and hence would negate the need for biased or inappropriate analysis of you and your colleagues.

 

Obviously this would need to be arranged in such a way as to remove any bias or vexatious action but this happens in many other professions without problems and really does get to the nub of any problems.

 

I fear there is a need for your profession to open up more in terms of service offering by putting the client first at all times, after all they are your life blood.

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Other professions don't tend to deal with work that is as contentious.

 

With a "winner" and a "looser" to every adversarial court case, the risk of an "unhappy customer" is greater for solicitors, even if they haven't done anything wrong.

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There is accountability.

 

If you commit a very serious breach then you will be struck off.

 

You won't, and shouldn't, be struck off for one of the minor complaints that will make up the vast majority of all valid complaints.

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The legal profession is scrutinised and monitored by a fairly strict regulator.

 

More importantly, they are scrutinised and monitored just like any other business - by their reputation. If a law firm is rubbish it won't get repeat business.

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