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Society's Council agrees proposed fee reduction

4 August 2009

Solicitors will see a £100 reduction in their practising certificate fee for next year if they approve proposals just agreed by the Law Society of Scotland's Council.

Friday's meeting of Council approved the results of the Society's corporate planning and budget process for the year beginning 1 November. The budget now prepared will lead to a proposed practising certificate fee of £565 being brought to the Society's Special General Meeting on 24 September, when the profession will vote on the proposed figure.

The reduction was achieved by identifying savings across the Society’s operations, employment costs and by using some of the Society’s financial reserves.

Another measure is the introduction of a voluntary redundancy scheme for staff, which aims to save around £250,000 in employment costs. The Society introduced a pay freeze earlier this year and has restricted external recruitment.

The Society’s budget and corporate plan will be published for the first time in the next few days, on the Society's website.

Council also approved the proposal that all other fees should be held at this year’s figures. This includes the Scottish Solicitors’ Guarantee Fund subscription. The Society will advise the profession on the outcome of the Master Policy premium negotiations as soon as they are concluded.

Ian Smart, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “This year we have met a demanding objective to produce a significant reduction in the cost of the practising certificate, but it has been achieved by carefully working through the budget and planning for 2009-10.

“We are very aware of the impact of the recession on the profession and want to keep the cost of practice as low as possible, and give our members as much advance notice as possible about proposed costs for next year so that they can plan accordingly.”

Chief Executive, Lorna Jack said: "In common with many firms our commercial revenue has decreased. We have to take appropriate steps to ensure that the organisation continues to manage its finances well and operates in a business-like and customer focused way.

“Every element of our business has been re-examined in the planning process with a view to delivering benefits for the profession and the public in a cost effective way. We must retain the skills we need to do the job while reducing employment costs.

“We are not alone in facing this difficult challenge but it is right and proper that the Society reflects current marketing conditions in its own business planning. I want to be sure that we work with and consult with staff, which is why introducing voluntary redundancy is the right step to take at this time.”

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