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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

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 Jan 18

Hold tight for 2018

Get set for another rollercoaster ride through the year

4 Dec 17

Trends and revelations

From the Journal employment survey: sexual harassment must be taken seriously

9 Nov 17

Mergers and markets

After the Maclays-Dentons merger, what now for the independent Scottish legal firm?

9 Oct 17

For the greater good

The profession should support those who attempt to improve the lot of the most vulnerable

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?