Professional practice updates 2013

Professional practice updates June 2013

Lively discussion on sep rep at sole practitioner's conference

Rule Change - signing of documents by unrepresented parties

Lively discussion on sep rep at sole practitioner's conference

Alison Mackay and Kaira Massie, both solicitors in the Professional Practice Department of the Law Society of Scotland, led several lively and constructive discussions at the Sole Practitioner Symposium held in Stirling on 12 June 2013 on the impending consultation on the removal of the exception to the conflict of interest rules that allow solicitors to act for both borrowers and lenders, otherwise known as the 'separate representation' debate.  

The sole practitioners in attendance were each given a copy of the proposed amendment as approved by the Rules and Waivers Sub-Committee on 6 June 2013 for discussion.  Following the vote at the Society's AGM in March, the Rules and Waivers Sub-Committee held that the issue should be framed as strictly as possible, therefore, should the rule be passed in its current form, any lending secured by a heritable security will be affected whether this be conventional residential or commercial lending, inter-family lending or inter-company lending.  

Members' views ranged widely from being completely in favour of a wholesale removal of the exception to the conflict of interest rule to preserving the status quo. Overall, there was a strong sense from those in attendance at the discussion sessions that they were firmly in favour of the rule change because this will benefit consumers. Alison and Kaira received many helpful comments to assist with progressing the issue and they are grateful to all those sole practitioners who took part and engaged with them. 

The Law Society of Scotland expects to move to consultation with its members on the proposed rule change next week. We would be delighted to receive as many responses on the proposed rule change as possible following publication of the consultation, as this feedback will inform the proposed rule change to be taken to vote at the Society's SGM on 23 September 2013.

Rule Change - signing of documents by unrepresented parties

With effect from 1 June, 2013 there has been a change to Rule B2.1.7 dealing with the signing of documents by unrepresented parties.

The words "another party or prospective" have been deleted and replaced with the words "an unrepresented"

The replacement words are shown in italics in the following paragraph:

2.1.7 When you are acting on behalf of a party or prospective party to a transaction of any kind you shall not issue any deed, writ, missive or other document requiring the signature of an unrepresented party to that party without informing that party in writing that:

(a) such signature may have certain legal consequences, and

(b) he should seek independent legal advice before signature.