How to make a complaint

Something’s happened, and you feel you have a grievance against an Advocate. Here’s what you can do…

First, contact the Advocate directly to try to resolve matters informally. That can often be achieved and welcomed by both parties. If you need the Advocate’s contact details, see the Find an Advocate section of our website

If your concern cannot be settled informally, a formal complaint against an Advocate begins through the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. The Commission is an independent body and is the gateway for complaints against all lawyers in Scotland, not just Advocates. The Commission will decide whether your complaint is admissible and, if so, whether it relates to conduct (behaviour of the Advocate) or to services (the standard of the work undertaken by the Advocate).

You can contact the Commission on 0131 201 2131, by email to enquiries@scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk or by writing to The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, The Stamp Office, 10 - 14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG. For information on making a complaint, and assistance in completing the necessary forms, see the Commission’s website

An admissible “conduct” complaint is sent by the Commission to the Faculty, to be dealt with through the Faculty’s disciplinary procedures. An admissible ”services” complaint is dealt with by the Commission.

In a remitted “conduct” complaint, normally a Complaints Committee of the Faculty will sit in private to consider your written representations and those of the Advocate. The committee has an equal number of Advocates and lay members, and will decide whether Professional Misconduct (the more serious) or Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct has been proved, and any penalty to be imposed, ranging from a caution or a fine, to suspension or expulsion. The decision, and the reasons for it, are issued to you in writing.

An appeal against decisions of a Complaints Committee, either by you or by the Advocate, is possible, but not automatic. The permission of the Complaints Committee is required. An appeal is heard by the Faculty of Advocates Disciplinary Tribunal, chaired by a retired judge and with an equal number of Advocates and lay members.

Notice of Tribunal hearings is published here.

The Faculty’s full Disciplinary Rules are here

If you need more information about the Faculty’s complaints process, there is a Practical Guide, or please contact the Dean’s Secretariat on 0131 260 5689, by email to deans.secretariat@advocates.org.uk or by writing to Dean’s Secretariat, Faculty of Advocates, Parliament House, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF.

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