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Society blog

21 Feb 18

Scottish Legal International comes to fruition

Joint initiative aims to promote Scottish profession internationally

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

Editors Blog

Civic engagement

9 Jan 17

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

It seems I was not alone in being somewhat surprised by the apparent warmth of the Society's welcome last month for the Scottish Government's paper Scotland's Place in Europe. Comments appeared on social media, and our letters page this month carries a protest at the tone of the response to the document purporting to set out ways in which Scotland might remain more closely tied to the EU, should the UK Government pursue withdrawal from the European Economic Area as well as from the EU itself.

It is obvious that Brexit has major implications for the devolution settlement, given that the EU exercises extensive powers over areas such as farming, fisheries and the environment which otherwise fall within Holyrood's competence. The legal and constitutional implications of any transfer of such powers are matters on which independent comment can properly be made without taking sides politically.

At the same time the (present) Scottish Government has an open agenda to pursue Scottish independence, and most commentators accept that its actions are guided by a strategy that it hopes will ultimately win majority support in a second independence referendum, whenever that might take place. Given that it regards Brexit, in the face of the Scottish vote to remain in the EU, as a development justifying a further referendum, caution is advisable over the extent to which a body like the Society, with its express policy of political neutrality, should be seen to welcome a paper that will have been written with such an agenda in mind. The fact that neither the UK Government nor other EU member states have treated the paper as containing realistic proposals, and Spain for one has expressed outright opposition, suggests that it will be confined to the sphere of pure politics.

Contrast the Society's comments with the very arm's-length response from the Faculty of Advocates, which simply “noted [the proposals] with interest”, adding that much would depend on political will, with the Faculty standing ready to contribute its expertise. One might argue that it says little of substance, but perhaps it foresaw the likely response.

Both bodies seek to engage in civic Scotland, and to bring influence to bear in the corridors of power on behalf of their members. The question of how friendly or critical a tone to adopt with Government in pursuit of this sound objective is a recurring one, and the answer often not clear cut. But it need not always involve a welcome for a Government publication, even as a contribution to a debate.

What 2017 will bring is anyone's guess, but I extend best wishes to all readers for the year ahead.


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Blog archive

9 Oct 18

Under siege

After the extra money announced for prosecutors and then the police, something has to be done now for the defence sector

10 Sep 18

Programme for action?

How much can we expect to happen through the Scottish Government's Programme for Government?

6 Aug 18

No deal, no say?

The arguments for a second EU referendum apply with greater force in a "no deal" scenario

9 Jul 18

System under threat

Items in this month's issue illustrate increasing threats to the rule of law and the integrity of the legal system

11 Jun 18

Speaking out

The benefit sanctions system has drawn some unusually sharp comments from the Society, but the need for such strictures is likely to increase

8 May 18

After Windrush

The treatment of those of Caribbean origin shows a need for the law to be rebalanced

9 Apr 18

Mind the gap

Do the Gender Pay Gap Regulations provide enough useful information to justify their approach?

12 Mar 18

Case to be made

If the independent legal aid review could not find evidence to support a general rise in fees, what should the response be?

9 Feb 18

Crunch time

The independent reports due in the next few months will be an indication of how the profession is seen from outside

9 Jan 18

Hold tight for 2018

Get set for another rollercoaster ride through the year