General meetings

The Society usually holds an annual general meeting (AGM) in the spring.

The AGM considers the annual report and the practising certificate fee for Scottish solicitors for the forthcoming year. The Society's corporate plan and budget are also reported at the AGM.

The general meetings are open to all members of the Society. Motions can be raised at the meetings by both the Council of the Society and individual members.

SGM September 2012

SGM report, 18 September 2012

The practising certificate fee for solicitors will be frozen for a third successive year, a special general meeting agreed today.

Holding the PC subscription for 2012/13 at £550 is intended to limit financial pressure on the profession in a challenging economic environment.

The Society Treasurer, David Newton, told more than 100 members at the SGM that a "tight control over costs" had been kept and an appropriate balance struck between fees and services.

He added: "We are well aware of the challenges faced by many within the profession and continue to monitor the Society's financial stability along with the impact of fee levels on members."

Other fees were previously fixed by the Council. They included a £5 increase in the cost of remaining on the roll of solicitors to £75, the first rise in the retention fee since 2007.

The accounts fee, which is levied on principals to fund the financial compliance and interventions teams, will increase by £39 to £380. The Guarantee Fund subscription was set at £200, a decrease of £39. The combined cost of the accounts and Guarantee Fund subscription therefore remains unchanged. The fees for non-practising membership and the incidental financial business regime will also remain unchanged.

Despite the freeze in the PC and modest rise in the retention fee, the Society had budgeted for a deficit of only £18,000, the SGM was told.

Following a question from delegates, the cost of the review of the In-House Lawyers' Group, which looked at how in-house solicitors were represented and supported, was given as £58,621.

In presenting the Society's corporate plan for 2012/13, Chief Executive Lorna Jack highlighted research that "put to bed the old adage that everyone trusts their own solicitor but distrusts everyone else's".

The survey showed that 95% of those polled trusted their own solicitor and 86% trusted the profession in general.

She added: "The results demonstrated just how respected, trusted and valued solicitors are. Part of our role is to help protect and build on that reputation.

"The corporate plan is not meant to be a description of all the Society's work but highlights our priority projects and our key areas of focus for the Council, our committees and staff for the coming year as we seek to meet the objectives contained in the strategy."

The SGM also approved a minor constitutional amendment that will end the current requirement to conduct the annual elections of president and vice president by postal ballot, allowing electronic voting in the future.

Delegates heard an interim report on the advantages and disadvantages of separate representation for borrowers and lenders in conveyancing transactions following an increase in the number of claims against solicitors by lenders which have exposed a conflict of interest. A Society working party will continue to meet interested parties and consider the issues involved.