Law Society of Scotland pushes for reform
The Law Society of Scotland is asking for new legislation to better protect consumers and allow the Scottish legal services market to thrive.
Publishing a detailed prospectus which it has presented to the Scottish Government on the need for change, the professional body for Scottish solicitors said the current legislative framework was increasingly out of date and unfit for purpose. It plans to engage with political parties, consumer groups and others in the legal sector to build a consensus in favour of change with an aim of getting a new Bill introduced early in the new term of the Scottish Parliament.
The new prospectus, which the Law Society has submitted to Scottish Ministers, sets out the need for change in greater detail and includes proposals for;
- better regulation of legal firms (‘entity regulation’) in addition to the regulation of individual solicitors to protect consumers,
- new powers to suspend solicitors suspected of serious wrongdoing,
- opening the Law Society’s membership in order to improve standards amongst other legal professionals,
- the ability for the Society to regulate legal work beyond the domestic Scottish jurisdiction in order to provide simpler regulation for cross-border firms, and
- more flexible business models which allow legal firms to adapt to market changes.
Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said:
“We have had a number of very useful discussions with the Scottish Government and we are grateful to Ministers and officials for being so open to listening to our ideas. We have also worked hard to engage other bodies in the legal sector as well as consumer groups to ensure we work in partnership to deliver real change.
“We obviously need to see the outcome of the Holyrood elections in May and the shape of the new Scottish Government. Whatever the outcome, we will be pushing hard for reform to be an early priority in the new parliament.”
The full paper submitted to the Scottish Government can be found on the Law Society’s website at www.lawscot.org.uk/members/legal-reform-and-policy/new-legislation-to-grow-legal-services/