HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
The Scottish Law Agents Society (SLAS) is a company incorporated by a Royal Charter granted by Queen Victoria in 1883. Initially it was named the Incorporation of Law Agents in Scotland. A Supplementary Charter of 1925 amended our name to the Scottish Law Agents’ Society and a further change was made by another Royal Charter in 2006. We are the oldest and the largest national voluntary association of solicitors in Scotland.
Unlike the Law Society of Scotland (LSS), which is a creature of statute dating only from 1949, SLAS has, in modern times, always been a solely representative national body. Accordingly, we do not possess the conflict of interest that will always bedevil any organisation that requires simultaneously to promote the interests of both its members and their clients, the public. In SLAS, our profession has a truly independent representative body. We always endeavour to be distinct and independent from the LSS in how we approach national matters. In addition, we are always keen to know about issues that arise in particular localities, such as delay in the processing of business in a specific sheriff court.
Since 1933, we have published the Scottish Law Gazette, a journal which retains a mixture of historical, academic and practical articles, and which always welcomes material from members and other contributors.
The Society also contributes responses to government and other consultations.
In September 2020 we commented on the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, expressing our view that it would suppress freedom of expression. Outlawing behaviour is not a step to be taken lightly. If done at all it must be in a way that provides reasonable clarity, in advance, as to whether actions, including expressions of belief or narrating religious texts, will be classified as “abusive” or “insulting”, unlawful or not. Nobody wants to be a test case to determine the scope of ambiguous new criminal legislation.