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Law Society consultation on standards results

18 July 2008

The further development of standards of service and conduct for solicitors has received overwhelming backing in a consultation carried out by the Law Society of Scotland.
The aim of the research was to clarify what those using legal services can expect from their solicitor – for the benefit of both the public and the legal profession.
The consultation outlined draft standards covering different areas of a solicitor’s service and conduct. Overall, 94% of respondents agreed that the standards were “very important” or “important”. A solicitor’s competence and acting in the best interests of the client were ranked the most important professional standards.
Most of those who took part thought the new set of standards would help ensure that clients received an appropriate level of service from solicitors (73%), while also giving clear guidance to solicitors as to what is expected of them (81%). Just over three-quarters (76%) believed the proposed standards covered the areas that should be contained in a professional code.
Neil Stevenson, head of strategic change at the Society, said: “These results endorse the work already carried out on standards by the Society and mean that we can progress confident that the end result will be in line with people’s expectations of a solicitor’s service and conduct.
“We are very encouraged by the level and positive nature of the responses we received to the consultation and would like to thank all those who took part.”
Following consideration of the consultation feedback, the standards will be submitted for approval at the Society’s special general meeting in September this year. Once formally accepted as solicitor rules, the aim is to have the new standards published and distributed towards the end of the year.
In total, 227 individuals responded to the questionnaire. Of those, 75% worked within the legal services market – mostly as solicitors – and 25% were members of the public.