News & Events
news and events
To meet the Law Society of Scotland’s requirement that an hour’s CPD on risk management be included in solicitors’ annual 15 hour verifiable quota, we have provided such CPD within our expanding portfolio, free to all our members.
In September 2023 we published the third Scottish Law Gazette. Members are encouraged to submit news, articles, book reviews or items for discussion. The Gazette is not a glossy business magazine but a traditional publication for those who do not necessarily want to spend all their time looking at a computer screen.
We publish articles in The Scotsman, on subjects as diverse as Queen Caroline, the Taliban and the SLCC. These appear every 8 weeks, in print and online, and they are a way of airing matters that are of concern or interest to our membership, the profession or the public. We regularly have items on Scottish Legal News. If you have any ideas for future publications please let us know
The Society is always keen to respond to the consultation exercises undertaken by the Government, the Scottish Law Commission and others. In May and in September 2022 we have responded to Scottish Government Consultations on Mental Health and on the Moveable Transactions Bill. We do monitor upcoming Consultations generally, and anyone interested in assisting in responding is welcome to do so.
On 30th October 2023 we submitted a Response to the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s Consultation om new civil procedure rules. Whilst this set of rules contains some good reforms its erosion of the distinction between adversarial and inquisitorial procedure is a recipe for confusion and complaints.
When Covid 19 hampered our ability to organise any physical CPD events, a problem facing all CPD providers, we launched a webcast based CPD program, totally FREE to members and giving extraordinary value for money for anyone subscribing as a SLAS member.
In July 2020 the Society responded to the claim that the profession’s increased Covid driven reliance on technology supported the view that Alternative Business Structures are preferable to the conventional partnership model. Acknowledging the importance of IT in enabling solicitors to continue distance working we observed that our own organisation had been dependent on Zoom video conferencing to maintain our program of monthly committee meetings as well as enabling us to meet third parties such as the Competition and Markets Authority and to participate in events such as the AGM of the Law Society. It has remained a highly important communication tool after Covid ceased to be a major problem. Indeed, many processes such as civil litigation are likely never to be conducted in the same way again. The arguments are strong that remote hearings are considerably more efficient and cost effective than traditional courtroom gatherings. Where we are baffled, however, is in following an argument that the increased use of IT is somehow relevant to the ownership, as opposed to the methods of operation, of legal firms in Scotland. This factor has nothing to do with the supposed merits of ABS. Non-lawyers are indeed vital to the way in which we conduct business, as they always have been, but it simply does not follow that they should be part owners of businesses. Lawyers and non-lawyers perform complementary but distinct roles.
In February 2021 we began writing to MSPs to seek their support for a change in the law so that the budget of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is approved by the Scottish Ministers rather than by the Commission itself. In our view accountability and transparency demand that the Commission’s spending be scrutinised by someone else. If it is sensible the SLCC has nothing to worry about. This year’s draft budget shows why there needs to be outside scrutiny; despite a fall in complaints, the Commission seeking to impose the same annual levy on the profession as last year. This is wholly unreasonable. We hope to have the matter raised by an MSP during or in 2023.
Practitioners are asked to note that the Law Society of Scotland’s Price Transparency Guidance came into force on 31st January 2021.
On 22 June 2023 we held our Annual General Meeting at the Royal Faculty of Procurators Library in Glasgow city centre. Darren Murdoch, Waddell, and Mackintosh, Troon, was elected as President and two new members joined Council, namely David Leishman of Lockharts, Ayr, and Shelley Mathieson, a trainee at Oraclelaw in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire. The meeting discussed the current Legal Regulation Reform Bill and the threat that it poses to the independence of the profession. We submitted a Response thereafter. The AGMs were followed by wine and snacks.