Regulation

Who will regulate LPs?

Only approved regulators will be able to regulate LPs. The Society intends to apply for approved regulator status and ICAS may also choose to apply.

Is there room for more than one regulator?

It remains to be seen how many applications Scottish ministers will receive from professional or other bodies which are seeking to become approved regulators. However, the size and nature of the legal services market in Scotland is such that there is unlikely to be a complex 'regulatory maze'. The Act as passed limits the number of regulators to three.

Will this cause confusion?

Some solicitor firms already have to comply with the regulatory conditions set by more than one regulator, for example the Law Society of Scotland and the Financial Services Authority, or the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. From the client's perspective, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is likely to remain the single gateway for all legal complaints raised about solicitors, advocates or potentially those emanating from LPs. This is for the Scottish Parliament to decide.

Why are there no plans to introduce a Legal Services Board in Scotland?

Because of the relative simplicity of the legal services market in Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice took the view that a Legal Services Board would be "a disproportionate and inefficient response", adding an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and additional financial burden. The Society agrees with this.

How will any regulatory conflict be resolved?

The Act provides that the approved regulator's regulatory scheme must include provision for the prevention or resolution of regulatory conflicts between professional or other regulatory bodies.

If the Society becomes an approved regulator, it would want to work with other relevant bodies to ensure that conflicts - actual or potential - will be dealt with as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Will the Society seek to regulate all LPs?

The Society intends to apply to become an approved regulator. As such, it would regulate any LP which met its licensing criteria.

The Society will develop a regulatory scheme for LPs. This will be approved by the Council before it is submitted to Scottish ministers as part of the application for the Society to be an approved and authorised regulator.

How can I be sure that my interests are represented?

The Society will continue to represent its solicitor members whether as part of a solicitor practice or a LP.