Response to rule change of advocates appearing in court alone
Kim Leslie, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Civil Justice Committee, said: "This is a significant and interesting development and we will be looking into this to see what the potential impact could be on solicitors and their clients. We look forward to liaising with the Faculty of Advocates and welcome our members' views.
"This rule change introduces flexibility for clients - it ends the hard and fast rule that a solicitor must appear with an advocate and allows the client and solicitor to decide what would be best for them.
"It may be that a solicitor could brief the advocate instead of going to court, however every case is different and the decision of whether a solicitor should appear or not should be taken on a case-by-case basis.
"In some cases it might be beneficial for a solicitor to be in court, particularly if it is a complicated case and the sheriff may have additional questions. However, with increased use of technology in the courts, that may become less of an issue over time.
"It is difficult to predict the change in business levels for solicitors as it depends on what clients want, however with the proposals to change the values for sums sued for in the Court of Session, a significant number of cases would be heard in sheriff courts instead, where solicitors represent clients in the majority of cases."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Suzy Powell on 0131 476 8115.
29 August 2013