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Society blog

30 Aug 17

A paralegal's tale

Janet Rieu-Clarke, the Law Society’s accredited paralegal, explains the path that led her to new role at the Society and the rationale behind the new accredited paralegal status.

30 Aug 17

A call to vote from John Scott

John Scott QC urges his fellow solicitor advocates to vote for their dedicated representative

29 Aug 17

No globalisation without representation...

Katie Hay discusses the globalisation of the legal market and urges Scottish solicitors working internationally, to get involved

24 Jul 17

Bringing the world to "world-class"

Sarah Sutton, digital communications executive at the Law Society of Scotland, talks about her bright idea to ensure international representation on the Society’s Council

26 Jun 17

The Debate - backstage, front of house and top tips

In this mini-series of blogs, three key players in the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament share their individual perspectives of the event.

19 Jun 17

Got a passion for the profession?

Could one of the 23 current vacancies for 16 different committees be just right for you?

28 Apr 17

Professional Practice - advising the advisers

Scottish solicitors help their clients through some of the most momentous occasions of their lives, personal or professional, good or bad. But where do solicitors turn for support? Prof Prac, that's where.

1 Nov 16

How getting involved in debating can change your life

Head of education Rob Marrs explains how getting involved in debating, whether as competitor or judge, can be incredibly rewarding. And more importantly, he explains how to win a debate.

14 Oct 16

Career development and volunteering at the Law Society of Scotland

If you want to enhance your career, develop your skills or just give back to your profession, there are lots of different personal and professional development opportunities at the Society

4 Oct 16

Going international – a Scots lawyer's week at the IBA

John Morgan, a newly qualified solicitor at Brodies, recently received a scholarship from the International Bar Association to attend its annual conference in Washington DC. He tells of his experience

Editors Blog

Working with change

14 Oct 16

The spotlight is turning to making the court reforms work, but the profession will not be found wanting

Another legal year has opened, and along with the traditional ceremonies the practice has developed of marking the occasion with an address reflecting on the present state of the courts and what we might expect in the coming months.

In Scotland, the courts reform programme has featured heavily for some years now on these occasions, and this year’s address from Lord Carloway highlights the latest stages. By end November we will have the new simple procedure, replacing the present summary cause and small claims. As appears from this month’s lead feature, “simple” means not only layperson-friendly rules, but powers in the sheriff to do pretty well whatever is needed to bring a case to a proper conclusion.

November will be a significant month. Coming in on the same date we have the new mandatory protocol for personal injury actions (featured in last month’s Journal), and rules permitting legal entities to be represented by non-lawyers, ending the effect of previous rulings that managers could not speak for such bodies.

With the architecture of the system as envisaged by Lord Gill about to complete, it is not surprising that in his address, Lord Carloway spoke of the emphasis shifting from structure to function, going on to preview the coming digital process within which the simple procedure (and eventually other business) will operate, and court programming changes.

But by “function” the Lord President principally meant that the success of the reforms would depend on the commitment of the judiciary, court staff and the legal profession to make sure the intended goals were met.

I have little doubt that lawyers will soon get to grips with the new procedures. It is in their own interests, when faced with pressures on fees and control of business costs, to maximise efficiency, and it is to be hoped that the reforms will prove to be valuable in that connection. It was notable that in her address to the Society’s conference last month, Lady Dorrian spoke of the courts’ digital justice programme as providing just such an opportunity for smaller firms.

On one matter the court has been at odds with the solicitor profession: whether rules are needed for advice on the options for representation in High Court trials. They are now in place, and solicitors have to hand their clients (with a note of available counsel) a form that says, in effect, that advocates should be tip top but actually solicitor advocates aren’t bad either – and it all comes down to who you get. One wonders really whether it will make a difference at the end of the day.


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Blog archive

11 Sep 17

Brexit and the legal order

Government recognition of the need to continue civil judicial cooperation with EU countries after Brexit is welcome, but how can it exclude the involvement of the CJEU?

7 Aug 17

Taking access to justice seriously

The House of Lords decision on employment tribunal fees elevates this constitutional principle

10 Jul 17

Advance of the courts

There is momentum behind civil procedure reform, and practitioners need to be alert to have their say

12 Jun 17

Defend our rights

Don't sacrifice rights to combat terrorism; welcome to Edinburgh for the UK Supreme Court

8 May 17

Review time

Patience will be needed as regards the outcome of the new review of legal services regulation, but there is much for the profession to concern itself with meantime

10 Apr 17

Complaints about the Commission

It is not surprising that solicitors are complaining about the SLCC budget and levy – but what should be done?

13 Mar 17

Crack this one

Digitising summary criminal business is a tough nut to crack, but a bold attempt has been made

13 Feb 17

Imbalance of power

These days, all lawyers may need to be ready to take a stand in defence of the rule of law

9 Jan 17

Civic engagement

The Society risked becoming political in welcoming the Government paper Scotland's Place in Europe

6 Dec 16

The year that was

The Journal employment survey reveals a gloomy outlook; how can solicitors meet clients' needs in these times?