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Constitution responses to go before Council

23 March 2012

The Law Society of Scotland's Council will decided at its meeting next week on its next move following the consultation on the Society's proposed new constitution.

A total of 13 responses were received both from individuals and from representative groups within the profession, and the Society's vice president-elect, Bruce Beveridge, who led the work to produce the current draft, held a number of meetings as part of the consultation process.

The meeting on 30 March will consider the responses received, some at least of which continue to oppose the plan to replace the existing document in its entirety. The Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow argued earlier this month that reform, "if such should be necessary", should not be implemented until the impact of the Society's new Regulatory Committee had been properly assessed, as well as criticising aspects of the current draft.

And earlier this week, John McGovern, a former president of the Glasgow Bar Association and a critic of the Society's current dual role, argued that the proposed model was "unworkable" in trying to achieve a balance between representing the interests of solicitors, regulating solicitors, and regulating the new legal services providers permitted under the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010.

Both challenge the Society's position that the new version would strengthen the position of the Society's members, though Mr Beveridge insisted that they were intended to do so as well as improve the Society's corporate governance, having been adapted to satisfy concerns raised in relation to earlier versions.

He commented: “The input from our solicitor members, whether positive or critical, is essential to this process and in shaping any future constitution. I thank everyone who contributed for the time and effort they took to meet with us or submit written comment. We now have a number of responses, including some giving a very detailed analysis of the revised constitution, and Council will discuss how to take things forward when it meets next week.”

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