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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

Programme for action?

10 Sep 18

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

As this month's Journal goes to press, the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government for the next 12 months has just been published. While the attention of most commentators has focused on the bigger spending projects and whether public services are performing as well as the First Minister claims, the document is a comprehensive one with some detail on matters of particular interest to the profession.

In particular we can gauge the progress of reform on matters beyond what appears in the list of planned bills, which in itself is not a very exciting mix. Family law actions, especially child cases, will see new legislation, but otherwise we by and large have to content ourselves with the bills introduced in the past year that are still in progress. Admittedly there are several of these, including Age of Criminal Responsibility, Damages, Human Tissue (i.e. organ donation), Planning, Prescription and Vulnerable Witnesses. But perhaps we should ask why so many have had to be held over (13 in total).

Peering a little further up the pipeline, here some items are being carried along more quickly than others. On defamation, there appears to be an agenda for action in light of the Scottish Law Commission’s report. Civil partnerships need a further look, following the Supreme Court’s pronouncement regarding opposite sex couples and discrimination (ministers were previously against extending the law to them). Both, however, remain at the further consultation stage. On the criminal side, victims and witnesses (including those of domestic abuse) continue to feature; and once their safeguards are in place, the presumption against short prison sentences will be extended from three months to 12.

But “We will also consult on a fresh approach to the reform of succession law”, is all the paper can promise on a subject discussed at considerable length over the last 25 years and more. And unfortunately there is little sense of urgency on legal aid. We can finally expect a response to the report of the independent review, which has been published these past seven months – and which, even though it failed to see the case for an immediate fee increase, did call for a further independent review focusing on fees, with timetable and process to be agreed before the end of this year. If that is to happen, more impetus needs to be shown than has so far been evident.

The report of Esther Roberton’s review of legal services regulation should also be imminent. As to that, however, ministers will be content to set out “how we intend to respond to those recommendations”. What about an actual response? It looks like we will have to live with the present legislation for some years yet.

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Blog archive

9 Sep 19

Courts and politics

Courts should be able to intervene if an abuse of power threatens the balance between executive and legislature

12 Aug 19

Constitutional meltdown?

The fundamentals of our constitution should not be put at risk simply in order to achieve Brexit by the scheduled date

8 Jul 19

70, and counting

The Society is in good shape as it turns 70, though uncertainty lies ahead

12 Jun 19

Uncovering the unacceptable

Our self-styled ethical profession has a problem of bullying and harassment. Can it be treated as a question of fitness to practise?

15 May 19

Make wellbeing a thing

Staff wellbeing in legal firms has to become a matter of culture, with supporting mechanisms in place

8 Apr 19

Law for people

The dignity of the law has come before the dignity of those caught up in its processes. What might happen if that were reversed?

12 Mar 19

Shape your future

Despite the uncertainty, it would benefit legal firms to think proactively about how to react to Brexit

11 Feb 19

Flexible is possible

As this month's lead feature illustrates, large and small firms alike can operate flexible working practices, and there appear to be few issues with clients when they do

14 Jan 19

Seeking the positive

A bit of flexibility and imagination can achieve things this year, whether for a business in the face of Brexit or for employees to improve their work-life balance, and wellbeing

3 Dec 18

A turbulent Christmas

Depressing divisions and a lack of clear thinking dominate the Brexit scene. But (stop press) there is something positive in the official reaction to the legal aid review