Committees and sub-committees

The Society's committees carry out valuable work looking at a range of issues to do with improving the law and legal practice. The Society has a code of conduct for Council and committee members.

Full list of Council and Committee Members

Diagram of our Committee structure

More information about appealing regulatory sub-committee decisions is available and you can also download an appeal form.

Committee guide

  • The Regulatory Committee is 50/50 lay/solicitor, with a non-solicitor chairperson
  • All regulatory sub-committees are 50/50 lay/solicitor
  • All committees under the Regulatory Committee are sub-committees

Regulatory Committee

Regulatory Committee

Carol Ford - Convener

Phillip Yelland - Secretary (philipyelland@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • ensure that standards for the profession are set by way of making relevant and appropriate rules, to be applied in a uniform and consistent way and regularly reviewed
  • ensure on an ongoing basis that the internal processes, policies and procedures adopted by regulatory sub-committees are effective, appropriate and proportionate in order to ensure the making of consistent regulatory decisions for the protection of the public and the profession
  • where any policy, process or procedural changes are not in the authority of the Regulatory Committee, to change, make recommendations for any changes to the appropriate governance group in the Society (eg Council, Board, Finance Committee, chief executive)
  • build and develop relations with all stakeholders to ensure confidence in the work of the profession and the Society's regulatory regime
  • contribute to the Law Society of Scotland's overall strategy and corporate plan, including assisting the chief executive; Board and the Council in making resourcing decisions
  • create a plan of work for the Regulatory Committee based on the strategy and corporate plan and report progress on this to the Board
  • provide a written annual report to the Council and Board on the work of the committee and key regulatory issues
  • submit all minutes of its meetings to the Council on a timely basis
  • delegate regulatory functions to relevant sub-committees, having created and sought approval for the remits of those committees from the Council

Sub-committees of the Regulatory Committee

Admissions Sub-Committee

Nick Taylor - Convener

Katie Wood - Secretary (katiewood@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • carry out the functions of the Council relating to the training and admission of solicitors in terms of the appropriate regulations
  • for that purpose, to perform such specific functions of the Council as are assigned to it in terms of arrangements made by the Council under s3A of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980
  • advise the Regulatory Committee (on being requested to do so, or of it's own motion) in connection with issues of policy or principle relating to the foregoing matters
  • from time to time to establish such sub-committees as are necessary or desirable for the effective discharge of the above functions
  • refer to the Regulatory Committee (with a recommendation as to the action to be taken) any matter within its remit which it considers is more appropriate to be dealt with by that committee

Appeals and Reviews Sub-committee

Colin Dunipace - Convener

David Meighan - Secretary (appeals@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are to:

  • Consider appeals lodged against decisions made by regulatory sub-committees, where there is no statutory or other right of appeal available other than by Judicial Review. The grounds of appeal are specified in guidance. The sub-committee may:
    • Uphold an original decision of a regulatory sub-committee.
    • Vary all or part of an original decision.
    • Overturn all or part of an original decision and substitute the original decision for an alternative decision.
    • Overturn an original decision and require the original sub-committee to reconsider the matter, with appropriate directions.
  • Report to the Regulatory Committee, yearly or as identified by the sub-committee, in relation to the nature and frequency of the appeals that it hears, together with proposals/recommendations for improvements in the Society's regulatory processes.

The Society has developed an appeal form which applicants must use and guidance for filling it out.

Civil Legal Aid Quality Assurance Sub-Committee

Clair McLachlan - Convener

Sonie Gentile-Mills - Secretary (SoniaGentile-Mills@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • instruct, receive and consider all reviews under the Quality Assurance Scheme
  • instruct formal notification of a practice unit's pass or fail under the scheme
  • foster/encourage good practice in the provision of quality assured services
  • ensure consistency in the peer review process
  • appointment, re-appointment, dismissal or termination of contract, training and monitoring of reviewers
  • ratify any recommendation made by reviewer(s)
  • receive and consider applications for compliance certificates
  • gather statistics and analyse trends from the quality assurance process
  • consider whether to make a recommendation to the Professional Conduct Committee of the Society
  • consider requests by practice units for routine reviews at their premises

Client Protection Sub-Committee

Alison Atack - Convener

Sheila Kirkwood - Secretary (sheilakirkwood@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions of the Committee are to:

  • oversee the fulfilment of the statutory obligations of the Law Society of Scotland regarding the Client Protection Fund (the new operating name for the Scottish Solicitors' Guarantee Fund) and financial compliance
  • ensure that risks to the Client Protection Fund are managed to an agreed and acceptable level
  • ensure that Client Protection Fund operations are in accordance with stated Client Protection Fund policy
  • protect the Client Protection Fund, the profession and the public interest by dealing properly and promptly with significant cases of non-compliance with accepted financial compliance standards (eg accounts rules/money laundering regulations)
  • influence strategic developments regarding financial compliance and the Client Protection Fund to ensure that processes remain up to date and fit for purpose
  • enable effective communications with the profession, public and other stakeholders  regarding financial compliance standards and Client Protection Fund claims
  • benefit the Client Protection Fund/financial compliance processes by acting as a source of expertise on relevant working practices and issues within the legal profession
  • monitor financial compliance activity (planning, progress, quality & approach)
  • review outputs from financial compliance activity (including the conducting of interviews) and where appropriate (eg as a result of breaches in accounts rules or money laundering regulations), refer matters of professional conduct to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and Complaints Investigation Team for investigation or recommend other actions (eg interventions, judicial factories etc) in accordance with the scheme of delegation
  • monitor the consistency and quality of Client Protection Fund claims and intimations processing
  • decide upon Client Protection Fund claims (as detailed in the delegated powers)
  • consider and approve strategic policy matters related to financial compliance and Client Protection Fund matters
  • consider the continuing adequacy of accounts rules and other guidance to protect the Client Protection Fund, the profession and the public, monitor the development of new or amended rules and recommend these for approval.
  • review financial compliance activity to inform and influence the profession, public and other stakeholders about relevant financial standards, compliance requirements and claims issues
  • monitor Client Protection Fund risk management procedures and approve
  • decide key policies related to insurance arrangements, financial reserve levels, investment decisions and firms which pose a risk to the fund
  • monitor the financial position of the Client Protection Fund and recommend approval of the annual budget and annual subscriptions to the Council
  • be made aware of operational developments in the workings of the financial compliance and Client Protection Fund functions

Client Relations Sub-Committee

Ian Cruickshank - Convener

Michael Greenfield - Secretary (michaelgreenfield@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • consider and determine complaints about service and/or allegations of professional misconduct arising from business instructed before 1 October 2008

Complaints Sub-Committee

Professor Alan Paterson

Michael Greenfield - Secretary (michaelgreenfield@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • consider and promote initiatives to improve client care standards within the profession
  • give guidance and directions to relevant committees and thereafter review the handling of all aspects of complaints to ensure transparency, consistency and balance
  • give guidance and direction to the complaints handling staff in relation to policies and procedures for handling complaints
  • consider and deal with points of policy and principle arising from specific cases and to give guidance as appropriate
  • review on an ongoing basis, issues of resource and budget for the Regulation Liaison Team, Complaints Investigation Team and Regulation Support Team of the Regulation and Standards Department
  • consider on an ongoing basis relevant external relationships including, but not exclusively, matters relating to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, the Scottish Government and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
  • consider issues arising from client dissatisfaction with a view to educating the  profession as to:
    • dealing with dissatisfaction and complaints appropriately
    • trying to avoid client dissatisfaction and complaints
    • education on the policies and procedures of both the Society and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Education and Training (Standard Setting) Sub-Committee

Jane MacEachran - Convener

Liz Campbell - Secretary (lizcampbell@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • assure the quality of those admitted as solicitors in Scotland by review of policy and standards for pre- and post-qualification education and training
  • assure quality of the components of solicitors' pre-qualification education and training
  • to make recommendations to the Regulatory Committee

Practising Certificate Sub-Committee

Chris Fraser - Convener

James Ness - Secretary (jamesness@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • consider complex applications for practising certificates or entrance/removal from the roll which are not dealt with by the Admissions Committee or administratively by the Registrar's department
  • consider appeals from the Admissions Committee

Professional Conduct Sub-Committee 1

Frank McAuley - Convener

Ian Ritchie (ianritchie@lawscot.org.uk) & Caroline Catto (carolinecatto@lawscot.org.uk) - Secretaries

The aims and functions are:

  • decide whether complaints alleging professional misconduct require referral to the SSDT and determination of matters of unsatisfactory professional conduct arising in the post 1 October 2008 system - Sections 42 ZA and 51 1980 Act
  • consider recommendations from the Guarantee Fund Committee to refuse in whole or part grants exceeding £1,000 - Sect 43 1980 Act

Professional Conduct Sub-Committee 2

Colin Dunipace - Convener

Ian Ritchie (ianritchie@lawscot.org.uk) & Caroline Catto (carolinecatto@lawscot.org.uk) - Secretaries

The aims and functions are:

  • decide whether complaints alleging professional misconduct require referral to the SSDT and determination of matters of unsatisfactory professional conduct arising in the post 1 October 2008 system - Sections 42 ZA and 51 1980 Act
  • consider recommendations from the Guarantee Fund Committee to refuse in whole or part grants exceeding £1,000 - Sect 43 1980 Act

Rules, Waivers and Guidance Sub-Committee

Amanda Millar - Convener

Samantha Hollywood - Secretary (samanthahollywood@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • make recommendations to the Regulatory Committee on the practice rules made under s34 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 either in relation to new matters or to update existing rules in the light of changed circumstances
  • consider applications for waivers from the rules

Rights of Audience Sub-Committee

Robert Carr - Convener

Liz Campbell and David Meighan - Secretaries (lizcampbell@lawscot.org.uk & davidmeighan@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • carry out the functions of the Council relating to extended rights of audience as set out in s25A of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 and relevant practice rules

Non-regulatory committees

Access to Justice Committee

Stuart Naismith - Convener

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • promote access to justice for the public
  • identify barriers to access to justice and, where possible, work alone or with others to identify or implement solutions
  • monitor the supply of publicly funded legal assistance across Scotland, encouraging greater coordination of services
  • identify opportunities to promote pro bono work
  • build the Society's relationship with law centres, Part V solicitors, and other advice providers
  • examine how a range of funding sources for, and providers of, legal advice can be encouraged
  • liaise and negotiate with external organisations, such as Scottish Government, Citizens Advice and others
  • collaborate with other LSS committees, including Civil Justice, the Civil Legal Aid Negotiating Team, Mental Health and Disability, Equality and Diversity and Human Rights and Discrimination

Audit Committee

Liam McCabe - Convener (lay member)

David Cullen - Secretary (davidcullen@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • review and where appropriate challenge the policies and procedures of the Society; the actions and judgment of the Society's executive, office bearers, Council and committee members in relation to the Society's affairs; the Society's reporting systems, internal controls and governance and risk management arrangements
  • oversee the Society's relations with its auditor

Civil Justice Committee

Kim Leslie - Convener

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • promote the interests of solicitors by examining and questioning the current methods used to resolve all civil disputes
  • include a review of:
    • the organisation of the civil courts
    • use of information technology
    • representation by solicitors at tribunals
    • speculative and contingency actions and the insurance cover available
    • the efficiency of the courts and the roles of the regular users

Criminal Law Committee

Ian Cruickshank - Convener

Matthew Thomson - Secretary (matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • advise the Council and the profession on criminal law matters; to promote its reform; to respond to proposals for reform from bodies including the government and to enhance the profile of criminal law, encouraging best practice and professional ethics
  • improve the criminal law, both practice and procedure, in the Scottish legal system for the benefit of the public and the profession through lobbying for change and through responding effectively to criminal law reform proposals from Westminster, Holyrood, Brussels and beyond
  • advance the Law Society of Scotland as key in improving, commenting and analysing proposals for criminal law which emanate from the UK Parliament and UK ministries, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, the EU Commission and EU Parliament

Education and Training (Policy) Committee

Jane MacEachran - Convener

Liz Campbell - Secretary (lizcampbell@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • assure the quality of those admitted as solicitors in Scotland by review of policy and standards for pre- and post-qualification education and training and to make recommendations to the Council
  • promote greater awareness of the education and training strategy of the Society
  • play a leading role in all thinking about legal education and training in Scotland
  • represent vigorously the Society's views to all other interested bodies, including the government and the universities

Equality and Diversity Committee

Iain Burke - Convener

Rob Marrs - Secretary (robmarrs@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • set, form & guide the policy and actions of the Law Society of Scotland in relation to equality and diversity
  • offer guidance and support to the Society and the head of diversity
  • offer guidance on specific issues to the Council and committees of the Society, when requested to do so
  • identify key priorities and key risks for the Society in relation to equality and diversity
  • provide a forum for debate and best practice on issues of equality and diversity

Finance Committee

John Mulholland - Convener

Ken Tudhope - Secretary (kentudhope@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • review and finalise the annual budget, in consultation with the Board, Audit Committee and senior management team, for presentation to the Council
  • review and, where appropriate, put forward proposals for the alteration of practising certificate fees and subscription levels and bandings
  • review the monthly management accounts and make appropriate recommendations
  • review the Society's annual accounts and, subject to audit and scrutiny by the Audit Committee, approve them for submission to the Council
  • keep under review the level and nature of the Society's own banking arrangements, investments, borrowings and insurance cover (excluding that relating to insurance of the profession) and take action where necessary or desirable
  • determine financial controls and propose innovations in financial management
  • maintain a register of key risks in relation to finance and resources
  • set policy and supervise the procurement process of the Society, including approving the individual award of contracts above a certain threshold amount, as set by the Finance Committee
  • provide advice on any other matters referred to it by the Board, Audit Committee, senior management team, or Council
  • report on monthly accounts to the Board
  • produce an annual report to the Board and Council
  • make a recommendation to the Council on the budget for the coming year
  • make a recommendation to the Council on the practising certificate, and other fees, for the coming year

In-house Lawyers Committee

Graeme McWilliams - Convener

Beth Anderson - Secretary (bethanderson@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • To engage with in-house solicitors and trainees (not working in private practice), ensuring the Law Society understands and serves their professional needs.
  • To promote the interests and status of in-house solicitors and trainees.
  • To encourage and assist in the development of better training of solicitors and trainees working in-house.

To promote the value of employing in-house solicitors and trainees to organisations who do not currently employ solicitors or trainees.

Find out more about the In-house Lawyers Committee and its members

Insurance Committee

Alistair Morris  - Convener

David Cullen - Secretary (davidcullen@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • negotiate the commercial terms of the PII arrangements for those members in private practice via the insurance brokers with the insurers
  • conduct the tender for the brokerage and administration of the current Master Policy arrangements
  • put in place an annual risk management programme for members via the brokers
  • liaise with the SLCC with respect to its oversight function of the PII arrangements for those members in private practice

Legal Aid Committee

Ian Moir and Mark Thorley - Co-conveners

Andrew Alexander, Marina Sinclair-Chin & Matthew Thomson - Secretaries (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk, marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk, matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • negotiate with Scottish Government, the Scottish Legal Aid Board and other relevant organisations on criminal legal aid issues
  • monitor and evaluate the outcomes of summary and solemn reforms
  • communicate effectively the Society's work on legal aid
  • any other work necessary to deal with legal aid issues affecting criminal practitioners

Nominations Committee

John Mulholland - Convener

David Cullen - Secretary (davidcullen@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • run the system for the selection for conveners of committees which report to the Council
  • run the system for the selection of Board members who put themselves forward for the elected Board positions
  • oversee the systems for the selection of committee members for those committees which report to Council

Professional Practice Committee

Austin Lafferty - Convener

Fiona J Robb - Secretary (fionajrobb@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are to:

  • advise solicitors on all professional practice and conduct matters, encouraging progressive working methods in the process, so that the profession's standing as advisers to the public may be enhanced
  • keep under review existing rules and guidelines to consider whether they are still relevant in the light of current conditions
  • Identify issues which may need to be addressed by new rules or guidelines and consult with the profession on those
  • consider and make recommendations to the Council on new practice rules
  • issue new practice guidelines as required
  • consider waiver requests in terms of delegated powers

Property Law Committee

Ross MacKay - Convener

Fiona J Robb - Secretary (fionaj.robb@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • consider matters relating to the law and practice of conveyancing
  • where appropriate, to provide guidance and information to the profession

Remuneration Committee

Colin Dunipace - Convener

TBC - Secretary

The aims and functions are:

  • seek to improve the profession's income through monitoring solicitors' cost rates, the market place and fees charged, including the effect of written fee charging agreements; to raise awareness of new types of remunerative business
  • make representations to LPAC for periodical increases in judicial expenses

Rights of Audience (Policy) Committee

Craig Connal QC - Convener

TBC - Secretary

Technology Law and Practice Committee

TBC - Convener

Alison Mackay - Secretary (alisonmackay@lawscot.org.uk)

The aims and functions are:

  • consider matters relating to the technology law and/or practice, and where appropriate
  • to provide guidance and information to the profession as it relates to all areas of their professional practice

Law Reform Committee

Law Reform Committee

David Newton - Convener

Michael Clancy - Secretary (michaelclancy@lawscot.org.uk)

The committees aims and functions are:

  • to fulfil the section 1 objectives of the promotion of the interests of the solicitors' profession and promote the interests of the public in relation to that profession through engagement in the law reform process
  • improve the law in the Scottish legal system for the benefit of the public and the profession through lobbying for change and through responding effectively to law reform proposals from Westminster, Holyrood, Brussels and beyond
  • advance the Law Society of Scotland as key in improving, commenting and analysing proposals for law reform which emanate from the UK Parliament and UK ministries, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, the EU Commission and EU Parliament

Law reform sub-committees

Administrative Justice Sub-Committee

Richard Henderson - Convenor

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

Banking, Company and Insolvency Law Sub-Committee

David Bennett - Convener

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

Charity Law Sub-Committee

Stephen Phillips - Convener

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

Competition Law Sub-Committee

Jim MacLean - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Constitutional Law and Human Rights Sub-Committee

Charles Mullin - Convener

Michael Clancy - Secretary (michaelclancy@lawscot.org.uk)

Consumer Law Sub-Committee

Frank Johnstone - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Employment Law Sub-Committee

Joyce Cullen - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Energy Law Sub-Committee

Richard Hothersall - Convener

Matthew Thomson - Secretary (matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)

 

Environmental Law Sub-Committee

Kenneth Ross - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Equalities Law Sub-Committee

Rory McPherson - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Family Law Sub-Committee

Morag Driscoll - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Health and Medical Law Sub-Committee

Alison Britton - Convener

Brian Simpson - Secretary (briansimpson@lawscot.org.uk)

Immigration and Asylum Sub-Committee

Sarah Craig - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (MarinaSinclair-Chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Intellectual Property Sub-Committee

Jim MacLean - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Licensing Law Sub-Committee

Archie MacIver - Convener

Matthew Thomson - Secretary (matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)

 

Marine Law Sub-Committee

Jane Ryder - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Mental Health and Disability Sub-Committee

Adrian Ward - Convener

Marina Sinclair-Chin - Secretary (marinasinclair-chin@lawscot.org.uk)

Obligations Sub-Committee

John Paul Sheridan - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Pensions Sub-Committee

Norman Dowie - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Planning Law Sub-Committee

Alastair McKie - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Privacy Law Sub-Committee

Tim Musson - Convener

Andrew Alexander - Secretary (andrewalexander@lawscot.org.uk)

Rural Affairs Sub-Committee

Mike Gascoigne - Convener

Gael Scott - Secretary (gaelscott@lawscot.org.uk)

Trust and Succession Law Sub-Committee

Gordon Wyllie - Convener

Matthew Thomson - Secretary (matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)

Tax Law Sub-Committee

Isobel D'inverno - Convener

Matthew Thomson - Secretary (matthewthomson@lawscot.org.uk)