I write in support of David Kirwan’s letter. How has a supposedly intelligent profession got itself into such a mess? No other profession or trade is subject to regulation in which even the slightest deviation from perfection is met with a fine of £200; and the work involved in defending even a completely unmeritorious claim often has a value of over £1,000.
I estimate that, for several years now, over 90% of our alleged complaints have been made after the final bill is raised, with the intention of reducing the bill.
One of only three complaints upheld epitomised the pinnacle of unfair treatment. The complainant made nine complaints, all dismissed, and then she complained of overcharging. The regulatory body found that we had overcharged in two categories, but undercharged in other categories by twice as much. But they had no jurisdiction to deal with undercharges, so we had to give a refund, even though it had been found that we had undercharged overall.
The suggestion of a complainant having to pay an initial fee, returnable if the complaint is upheld, seems eminently sensible, and is a system operated by other bodies.
Robert Last, Caversham Solicitors, Reading