Back to top
Article

Website reviews

1 August 03

Reviews of the websites of Scottish legal professional bodies

by Derek O’Carroll

There are around twelve websites set up by groups of Scottish legal professional groups of one kind of another. They vary enormously as regards the quality of design, content, frequency of updating and size. But the fact that they exist at all is very pleasing. One hopes that even more attention can  be given to them in the future: they are all part of the future of law.

Naturally, the biggest sites tend to be associated with the biggest groupings. The Law Society of Scotland, as surely all readers will know, is found at www.lawscot.org.uk, a site now in its second or third redesign and all the better for it.

The other part of the divided profession, the Faculty of Advocates, has its electronic presence at www.advocates.org.uk, a site in need of some TLC after three years online. An unofficial, and highly personal, view from, and of, the Bar can be found at www.jonathanmitchell.info.

Straddling the traditional divide is www.solicitoradvocates.org, relatively new and very blue. Paralegals get in on the act at www.scottish-paralegal.org.uk, a full and active site (also blue) including the unusual feature of a link to itself in the links section…The Scottish Law Agents Society, incorporated by Royal Charter in 1884 keeps up with the times at www.slas.co.uk (the Society for South American Studies got to slas.org.uk first). It maintains its traditional (and unique) red colour scheme on this site which contains, for members only, electronic copies of the Gazette.

Another old established society established by Royal Charter is the Royal Faculty of Procurators (“the foremost representative body for Glasgow Solicitors” runs the strapline) at www.rfpg.org . The length of its history no doubt explains the two-year delay in the completion of that section. That other representative society of solicitors in Glasgow, the GBA focuses on events (lots!) and minutes of meetings (complete with archive, possibly not the most visited part of the site) at www.glasgowbarassociation.co.uk: but traditional sources may be preferred to discover the content of the weekly roll of civil business…On the other side of the country, the WS Society, unusually, identifies itself by its property rather than by its name in the web address: www.signetlibrary.co.uk : another site themed in blue. Its history section is complete, interesting  (the library contains “about 65,000 books of which almost half are legal.”…) but short. Keeping the two sides apart would have been the Falkirk Faculty of solicitors at www.falkirklawyers.org.uk, but that site is presently unavailable, temporarily one hopes.

Lawyers of all kinds of course form lots of interest groups. The Family Law Association of Scotland has been on the go since 1989. Its website, www.fla-scotland.co.uk (a very sober grey and purple get up) provides the bare minimum of information including contact details of the Committee (but not, for some reason, email addresses). Calm Scotland at www.calmscotland.org.uk (white, orange and just a touch of blue) takes a highly innovative approach to the design of the menu on the home page: so innovative that this particular reviewer completely missed it first time round; a fact that reflects rather more on this reviewer than the site. The Scottish Society for Computers and Law home page www.scl.org/services/default.asp?p=64 has the advantage of being able to piggy-back onto the principal site of the Society (www.scl.org, a site full of all sorts of interesting news and information) and so might be forgiven for the paucity of content on the Scottish page. The Scottish Legal Action Group seeks a better legal deal for the disadvantaged and usually speaks through its Journal: parts of which are found at www.scolag.org (blue too), the rest obtainable for the usual fee.

From slag to sleg, the Scottish Lawyers European Group at www.sleg.co.uk (dark, or true, blue too) uncompromisingly, and no doubt appropriately, defines its membership in terms of Directive 77/249/EEC: if you don’t understand the definition, this is not the Society for you.

And that is it, for the time being. If I have missed any sites, or got things wrong, please accept my apologies. (What is it about blue?).