Quality statement

Legal Services Agency is a charity and a company limited by guarantee.  The relationship between it and the firm of solicitors that it employs to undertake the legal advice and representation for LSA’s clients is explained here.

It is LSA’s policy that Brown & Co. Legal LLP adheres to the standards to be expected of a reasonably competent solicitor practising in Scotland.   The standard would be, broadly speaking, that which would be expected by a client paying and no reduction or modification of quality is intended, even though services may be provided free or through the Legal Aid system.

Brown & Co. Legal LLP is the solicitors’ firm employed by LSA to undertake the legal work.   It has two Partners:  Paul Brown (Principal Solicitor) and Ronnie Franks (Cashroom Manager).

The Partners of Brown & Co. Legal LLP are responsible for the legal work of the firm as a whole, including all qualified “assistants”, associates, senior solicitors, trainees, paralegals, legal secretaries and so forth.  Brown & Co. Legal LLP is responsible for the funds held on behalf of clients in clients’ account.

The relationship between Brown & Co. Legal LLP’s clients and the firm is the same as it would be between any firm in private practice and its clients.

In particular, as regards the Scottish Legal Aid Board and the Law Society of Scotland, Brown & Co. Legal LLP is part of the “peer review” quality regime.  This means that it is subject to inspection on a regular basis by independent solicitors appointed by the Law Society of Scotland and the Legal Aid Board.

The most recent inspection took place 2017. 

The inspection was, as usual intensive, with a minimum of five files randomly selected from each member of legal staff.

The analysis of the inspectors’ views went to the relevant Law Society/Scottish Legal Aid Board Quality Committee.   

Brown & Co. Legal LLP is also subject to the Scottish Government’s National Standards for Advice and Information.  This entails an inspection of overall management systems, as well as randomly selected files.   The inspection is undertaken by independent inspectors .

Brown & Co. Legal LLP makes disbursements on behalf of clients and holds clients’ funds.   All these arrangements are as required by the Law Society of Scotland.  Funds are audited  twice a year and are also subject to random audit by the Law Society of Scotland.

As the management of client funds in general and, in particular, disbursements relates to the funds of LSA, LSA, as the “employing” charity has a range of protocols and audit arrangements, including all disbursements being checked by the Treasurer (who is not a member of staff), as well as a separate audit.

Clients’ funds are generally held in separately denominated special deposit accounts in a mainstream UK based clearing bank (currently the Royal Bank of Scotland).

Brown & Co. Legal LLP has a range of internal quality systems, as suggested by the Law Society of Scotland.   Space does not permit an analysis of all of these.

They include a requirement that all members of staff take part, either present or participate, in compulsory professional development (see CPD).  This includes not only solicitors and trainees but also administration staff.

This is reviewed to ensure that staff receive all the training that they may require and is well in excess of the minimum required by the Law Society of Scotland.

Brown & Co. Legal LLP has management systems for quality review, including its own “internal” peer review checking system, Time Bar diaries, protocols for the receipt and signature of mail and so forth.

All clients are sent a client questionnaire.  In addition, Brown & Co.’s standard “Terms of Business” include information on Brown & Co. Legal LLP’s internal complaints procedures and a complaint form is sent to every client should they wish it, together with a stamped addressed envelope.

Brown & Co. Legal LLP clients, of course, may avail themselves of standard external complaints’ systems in the same way as any client of any solicitor in Scotland.