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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

Review time

8 May 17

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

Here we go, then. The profession now has not one but two Government-appointed independent reviews looking at matters central to legal practice, with the review of legal aid under Martyn Evans having been followed by the appointment of Esther Roberton’s panel to scrutinise the regulation of legal services and legal complaints.

The Society should be pleased, as the latter review’s terms of reference seem to cover its shopping list: this included updating the 1980 Act to reflect modern types of legal practice, fixing snaggings in the legislation providing for alternative business structures, regulation of the likes of will writers and claims management companies, entity regulation and an overhaul of the complaints regime.

Still, such a study is bound to take time, and even if the review meets its deadline of reporting to ministers by summer 2018, it is safe to say that any action thereafter will involve thinking time within Government and further consultation ahead of any Holyrood bill. So the best we can probably hope for is legislation passed by about 2020 – if the bill can find room to breathe in amongst whatever is necessary to deliver Brexit, in a parliamentary programme that also has more devolved powers to act on than at the time of previous bills covering legal services.

Not that all will be quiet on the regulatory front until then. SLAB has opened up a different front with its draft code of practice on criminal advice and assistance, and it and the Society are, at time of writing, some distance apart on whether the draft significantly innovates on what is expected of solicitors particularly in providing police station advice, and encroaches on what the Society might reasonably regard as its proper province. In any event, the Society is rightly concerned at the legal aid fee levels on offer for the 2016 Act procedures, and seeking resolution here before agreeing any benchmarking of service levels to be expected of solicitors.

And in addition to the profession pointing out to the Roberton review the weaknesses in the present regulatory framework, it would be worth doing some homework on influences brought to the panel by its non-legal members. The SLCC, for example, has already in its paper promoting legislative change, pointed to the “innovative thinking in regulation and standards coming from the health professions”, and has welcomed the health sector expertise represented on the panel. While it is good that the panel has a broad remit and is able to take a holistic view, if new approaches are to be put forward it is desirable that they are properly scrutinised and debated at the outset.

 


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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?