Friday 19 March 2010

Scottish Government's concession on section 92 welcomed

GLC welcomes reports (Scotsman, 19 March 2010)that the Scottish Government has agreed to delete parts of section 92 of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill, which would have given the Scottish Government the power to set the proportion and number of non-solicitor members on the Council of the Law Society of Scotland, and the criteria for such appointments.

Fergus Ewing's intervention is positive, yet it still leaves the irreconcilable problem that non-solicitors cannot 'represent' the interests of solicitors. GLC supports non-solicitor membership of the regulatory aspects of the legal profession, but on the proportions as applicable in England and Wales. The Bill should be amended to exclude non-solicitor membership of the Council of the Law Society.

Fergus Ewing has said that the 'without the Bill, Scottish law firms may be less able than their competitors to take advantage of the opportunities arising in areas of law not reserved to Scottish solicitors.” That is hardly an endorsement for the Tesco Law provisions of the Bill which extend far beyond reserved law matters, and include all devolved Scots law issues. If the Bill reflected the Scottish Government's own position, the ABS sections of the Bill would be restricted to corporate law issues.

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