02:57, July 14 361 0

2017-07-14 02:57:07
Law Society of Scotland boss calls for accelerated regulatory review

The chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland Lorna Jack has called for an acceleration of the legal services sector regulatory review, which began earlier this year and is currently due to report by summer 2018.

The Scottish Government launched the review in April, with the announcement made by the minister of community safety and legal affairs, Annabelle Ewing. It is aimed at updating the statutory framework for the Scottish legal market, which is currently based primarily on the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 as well as several other pieces of legislation and which has been described as an “unsatisfactory patchwork” by sources.

Jack told The Lawyer that she welcomed the review but had requested an accelerated timetable in meetings with both the review chair Elspeth Roberton and with the Scottish Government.

“We have agitated for this review, we want change because the current regulatory framework is not working well for the sector,” said Jack. “For firms with a cross-border or international practice it doesn’t work well, its clunky. We have asked to see is there any way to try and speed this up. We’ve made that comment and there have been positive noises back. If they could shave six months off the timetable that would be helpful. Then it will depend on what the government does with it.”

The scope of the review will include the regulation of firms, individual solicitors and advocates as well as an overhaul of the complaints process and consumer protection.

It is also expected to address ways of modernising the Scottish legal sector, with improvements expected to the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which allowed for new forms of business model and partial external investment in law firms.

Roberton, current chair of NHS 24 and a former Law Society of Scotland president, is leading the review. Other advisers on the review panel include Harper Macleod chairman Lorne Crerar, Alistair Morris chairman Pagan Osborne and Christine Mclintock, who is both a former Scottish Law Society president and general counsel at Pinsent Masons.