Law Society referendum
Mar 11, 2010 No Comments
The Law Society of Scotland may lose its traditional role as the representative body for the country’s solicitors after an internal rebellion over plans to allow non-lawyers to own practicing firms.
The measure, officially described as Alternative Business Structures but more widely known as ‘Tesco Law’, is one part of a range of changes in the way that civil law operates in Scotland.
All 10,500 members of the Society will now take part in a referendum asking whether the Society should continue to represent their interests. The move follows the announcement of another referendum specifically referring to the Society’s handling of the change to Alternative Business Structures contained in the Scottish Government’s Legal Services Bill.
Speaking in Holyrood leading solicitor Patrick McGuire of Thompson’s has argued that the range of civil justice reforms currently underway, including the Legal Services Bill and various recommendations stemming from Lord Gill’s review of civil justice are aimed at creating a new ‘litigation industry’ in Scotland.
“I think for me personally the motives are fairly clear. On the political side of things, with Mr MacAskill, there is a very clear role to make the Court of Session the forum of choice from around the world irrespective of their contact with Scotland or not, to come here to litigate their cases.
“If you like, big business will use the Cayman Islands for tax, Switzerland for banking and Scotland for litigation. But is that really what we in Scotland want? I think that is the political motive and everything else flows from that.”
McGuire will be speaking at the Holyrood magazine conference on civil justice law reform on Tuesday March 23. Other speakers in include Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill and Kim Leslie, civil justice committee, Law Society of Society.
Click here to attend.