News & Events
news and events
Due to the ongoing Covid situation, and the risks to health, we have postponed the seminar “How to Conduct a Sheriff Court Proof”, which had been scheduled to take place on 12th November 2020. The event will be held instead when coronavirus restrictions allow and when it is safe to do so.
At the end of June we published the second Scottish Law Gazette of 2021. 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 legal aid and witches. 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 2021 we have responded to Consultations on Civil Online and on the Expenses charged in the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal. We do monitor upcoming Consultations generally, and anyone interested in assisting in responding is welcome to do so.
For the first time since March 2020 we are having a physical meeting. Our Council meeting in August 2021 will take place at the Caledonian Hotel, Aberdeen. All members are invited to attend, on Thursday 19th August, when tea, coffee and biscuits will be served at 5.30pm. We welcome hearing about any issues or concerns facing our Aberdeenshire members. We look forward to making the granite city our first of many post-Covid venues.
In 2021 we lodged Responses in relation to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on regulation of the profession and on that of Child Welfare Reporters, curators ad litem and those appointed in cases where accused persons cannot represent themselves
Because Covic-19 has hampered our ability to organise any physical CPD events, a problem facing all CPD providers, we have launched a webcast based CPD programme, 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 programme 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 will be a highly important communication tool long after Covid ceases to be a 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 2021
Practitioners are asked to note that the Law Society of Scotland’s Price Transparency Guidance came into force on 31st January 2021.
The Society is proud to sponsor the best floor speech prize at the 2020/21 Donald Dewar Schools Debating Tournament. The Secretary was a judge in the final in summer 2021. We owe it to our young people to support all activities that encourage their educational development and their participation in interactive projects, particularly during the pandemic lockdown.