The 60th AGM of the Law Society of Scotland is due to take place on Thursday 28th May 2009 at 2pm at the Sheraton Hotel, Festival Square, Edinburgh. In order to assist our members and colleagues to participate in this very important meeting, we have issued the following letter:-
Dear Solicitor/Colleague, May 2009
LAW SOCIETY DRAFT ACCOUNTS RULES 2009
There are at least two very important changes to the accounts rules now proposed by the Law Society but with little opportunity for discussion and consideration before their implementation at the 2009 AGM. These changes include provision that we should be obliged to account for interest in all sums of money received in excess of £500, no matter how briefly the money may be in our accounts. In our opinion, this gives solicitors (and in particular, domestic conveyancers) a completely unnecessary and unproductive task, especially at present when interest rates are virtually nil. In the second place, the proposal is that we are no longer allowed to hold funds without being able to show good cause for doing so and we are not aware why this provision should be added to the existing rules. There are other changes which appear to lack definition and which have cost implications for solicitors. For these reasons we have decided to oppose these draft rules and would request that you complete and return the enclosed form of proxy in support of that opposition. (See our website www.slas.co.uk for the full texts of the draft rules and of the Agenda for the AGM).
ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS STRUCTURES (ABS)
The transition towards deregulation and external ownership in Alternative Business Structures (ABS) was confirmed as Law Society policy in March, 2008. This was shortly before the credit crunch which manifested, at least arguably, the consequences of similar reconstruction in the financial services industry to include the destruction of our private banking system and a general breakdown of the financial services industry. We have therefore requested that the Law Society table this topic for further debate at this year’s AGM. While there are many complicated aspects to this issue, there is, nevertheless, a fundamental question as to whether the profession is supportive of Alternative Business Structures in principle and I therefore enclose a very brief questionnaire and suggest that you return this as suggested so that the view of individual members of the profession might be ascertained in order to inform ongoing policy.
ABBEY PANEL OF SOLICITORS
You may be aware that Abbey previously made the unilateral decision to remove a substantial number of Scottish solicitors from its panel for mortgage transactions. Whilst to some extent, Abbey have retracted from this decision (due in no small part to the actions of the Law Society of Scotland), the matter must remain on the profession’s radar. It cannot be allowed to pass without comment at the Law Society AGM. SLAS is very worried about this and has tabled the motion shown below. There is more than a fair chance that other lenders may seek to follow Abbey’s lead. We would ask you please to sign the enclosed Proxy supporting SLAS in our stance in this connection.
We are doing our best for the profession and we hope that we can count on your support. Even better, if you are not a member of SLAS, why not consider joining? Details can be obtained from our website at www.slas.co.uk
The Scottish Law Agents Society moves the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of Scotland on 28th May, 2009 to resolve as follows:-
1) that this meeting of the Law Society of Scotland deplores the action taken by Abbey in deciding unilaterally and without consultation to remove solicitors from their panel for mortgage transactions and calls upon Abbey to rescind that decision”.
2) to call upon the Law Society of Scotland in the interests of consumers and of the legal profession to take all and any steps that may be open to them to bring about the rescission of the decision by Abbey referred to in paragraph one above.
N.B. The form of proxy referred to in the above letter can be found by clicking the button below and this may be printed out, completed, signed and posted to The Secretary, Scottish Law Agents Society, 166 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 2LW, LP5 Glasgow 7, DX GW266. Please do not use fax.
The full agenda and draft accounts rules can be found elsewhere on this page.