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New Communication Rules from 1 August

18 July 05

Council decision to make the rules without the amendment passed at the AGM, accepting the views of the Lord President

The new Client Communications Rules, which convert the guideline on letters of engagement into a rule, come into force on 1 August.

The new rules impact on the Recommended Table of Fees, which will be finally withdrawn from 31 July. As previously intimated, the Society received clear advice that the table should be withdrawn, but there remains a requirement on solicitors to ensure clarity of fee charging in all circumstances.

The new Rules were approved at the AGM in March (which is advisory to, rather than binding on the Council as respects practice rules), subject to an amendment to rule 6, passed on a proxy vote, that breach of the rule should be a service matter rather than possible misconduct.

The draft Rules with that amendment were submitted to the Lord President who asked the Society to reinstate the original wording of rule 6, in view of the specific terms of section 34(4) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980. Having regard to the Lord President’s views the Society’s Council at its meeting on 1 July decided to make the Rules in their original form.