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GBA condemns constitution proposals

22 July 2010

The consultation exercise by the Law Society of Scotland on its proposed constitution reforms is a "charade", and the proposals are designed simply to disenfranchise the membership, according to the Glasgow Bar Association.

In a strongly worded response to the proposals, the GBA states: "We presume that the drafts on the Law Society website are intended to be some sort of joke", claiming that the Society's proposals effectively provide "that under no circumstances will the membership ever have any say in what Council does or in the running of the Society".

It goes on to accuse the Society's executive of being so "rattled" by the events of earlier this year – the ABS and referendum debates – that it is intent on removing the possibility of the membership binding the Council by a vote in general meeting.

And it argues that it is premature to "rush through" the consultation before the final terms of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill are known.

The GBA maintains that with the Society's regulation functions given over to a committee with 50% lay membership, Council should be an all-solicitor body which need be no more than 30 strong for efficient operation. It questions the role of the board and where that leaves Council's powers.

It also opposes any increase in the number of members required to requisition a general meeting.

Criticising the timing of the exercise over the holiday period, the GBA's general comments conclude: "Putting it simply, the consultation is a charade and it is clear that the Council (or perhaps more precisely, the Executive) have no interest whatsoever in any views which might conflict with the wholly inappropriate power grab provided for in the drafts."

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