News / General

Scottish Solicitors Benevolent Fund

By SLAS Spokesperson

Our former President, Craig Bennet, continues as convenor of the Scottish Solicitors Benevolent Fund which is a facility operated jointly by the Scottish Law Agents Society and the Law Society of Scotland and which provides much needed assistance to former solicitors or their dependants, on the back of subscriptions raised from the membership.  The current position of the fund is well stated in Craig Bennet’s address to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of Scotland on 9th March 2007 which ran as follows:-

This is my Third Report as convenor.  I am pleased to report that the year ended 31 October 2006 was a fairly successful year for the Fund.


The Accounts have been made available previously.  It may help if I summarise.  Most importantly, the total incoming resources for the year ended 31 October 2006 increased from £17,919 for the year ended 31 October 2005 to £31,593.  Net incoming resources likewise grew from £6,052 in the year ended 31 October 2005 to £16,529 for the year ended 31 October 2006.  The balance carried forward as at 31 October 2006 was £269,117, as opposed to £230,601 for the year ended 31 October 2005.  These are all substantial increases and something of which the Trustees, the donors and the grantees can be rightly pleased. 


The marked increase came about largely from a Law Society mailing last year which went out with the 2006 AGM papers.  Substantial donations were received at that time, in particular a four figure sum from a winding up Sole Traders’ Association in the West of Scotland. 


There were other sources for the donations.  There was a highly successful golf day at Blairgowrie Golf Club.  My grateful thanks and indebtedness are owed to Ross Ireland, Solicitor, Kirkcudbright for organising the Day once again and also to First Scottish/Legal Post for their generous sponsorship of the event.  Monies were also given to the Fund by CPD speakers (in particular from the Law Society of Scotland and also, for example, from Ken Swinton of the Scottish Law Agents’ Society in lieu of fees).  There were individual donations and donations from local Societies/Faculties to include Dundee and Dunfermline.  Finally, monies were also received from the traditional Law Agents’ Renewal Subscription Notice.


Much remains to be done to bring in funds.  In the current year the priorities are to publicise the Fund by way of the Law Society’s Journal and also the Law Agents’ Gazette and also through the local Faculties/Societies in Scotland.  Faculty/Society donations remain pitiful; only three or four contribute.  That is a number which I am determined to see grow in the next few months.


However, back to the present.  Beneficiaries have seen their grants this year increase.  As at the November 2006 meeting of Trustees the grants increased to £600 per recipient.  During the year twenty separate donations were made, ten at the November 2005 meeting and also ten at the May 2006 meeting.  Several grateful letters of thanks have been received from beneficiaries.  If any person in the audience today or reading this knows of any potential beneficiary, then intimation should be made to the Fund’s Secretary, Michael Sheridan, Solicitor, Glasgow.


This year has also seen the establishment of the Tod Endowment Trust, whereby the sum of £10,000 has been received by the Fund.  The money, however, has been specifically ear-marked for the provision of short holidays in Scotland to stressed-out solicitors and their immediate dependents who can establish that they are unable to afford such time away.  Please do not all rush to apply at once!  I understand that the first holiday has been taken (to Dornoch) and was enjoyed by the participant.  Again, appropriate publicity is to be given to this Trust during the current year.


All in all therefore I would submit that this has been a fairly good year for the Fund.  The figures speak for themselves.  However, much has still to be done.  This is very much a Cinderella committee; when time permits I and the other Trustees will continue to promote the Fund in the hope that both income and then outgoing grants will increase to help those who can least help themselves.


Thank you to my colleagues on the Fund and in particular to Heather Kiteley and Michael Sheridan for their assistance in guiding me through this year.


My only and final motion is to request that KPMG LLP be re-appointed Auditors to the Fund.

Craig Bennet

9 March 2007


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