Law Society of Scotland annual plan launched at SGM
The Law Society of Scotland presented its 2014-2015 annual plan at a special general meeting held today, Wednesday 24 September, in Glasgow.
The plan highlights 40 key projects to be undertaken by the organisation to help meet its strategic aims. These include:
- rollout of the new Law Society digital Smartcard
- take forward any recommendations from the Guarantee Fund review to ensure appropriate consumer protections
- work to improve access to justice
- continue our work on fair access to the profession and promote diversity
- work to ensure that we retain an effective and properly funded legal aid system
- build on our successful mentoring pilot and improve support for individual members
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The annual plan is part of the conversation we have with our members and others about our commitment to improve and ensure that the work we do is relevant to them.
“It’s important for us to be clear about our priorities as an organisation and we want to ensure that our members, the public and other key stakeholders can also have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve and why – and equally importantly, that they can then assess how well we are doing in meeting our aims.
“That is why we publish an annual plan which sets out how we plan to meet our main aims and objectives. While not a detailed prospectus, it highlights a number of important projects and identifies those areas where we hope to improve.
“As we approach 2015 we know that, like our solicitor members, we as a professional body need to adapt to a fast changing legal sector, including increased expectations of consumers, in order to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. That's why we plan to review our overarching Towards 2020 strategy to ensure that we are still on track and can make any necessary changes as the sector evolves.
"Just as we have watched events unfold in recent weeks and days in the run up to the independence referendum, the next year will continue to present an exciting backdrop for Scotland and the Law Society as significant further powers are likely to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We have a long and proud role in working with government and civic Scotland when it comes to constitutional reform and I have no doubt that our ideas, expertise and judgement will be called on in the months ahead and we look forward to being part of the continuing debate on Scotland’s future.
"However this work is just one project among the 40 actions listed in this plan. We have a broad and stretching programme of work which we hope that our members find relevant to them. We are keen to hear from our members on what they think we should do, what we might stop doing and of course where we can improve as we work to lead and support a successful and respected Scottish legal profession."
Ms Jack also highlighted the current consultations on entity regulation and on whether to move to a principles and outcomes based approach in place of the current system of rules. Both consultations close on 10 October.
She said: "No decisions have been taken and we maintain a very open mind at this stage. What we are looking at would represent a fundamental shift in the way we set and uphold standards in the profession so it is very important for our members to have their say."
Solicitors at the meeting voted to retain the current practising certificate fee at £550. This is the fifth consecutive year that the fee has been held at this level.
In addition the meeting agreed to amend a rule on its Master Policy (Scottish solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance policy) to ensure that Scottish multi-national practices must be covered by the Society’s overarching professional indemnity policy.
A motion to change a rule on powers of attorney was also carried. This change was proposed to provide clarity for solicitors who are acting as a power of attorney in a private capacity, for example for a parent, to ensure that this can be kept separate from their professional work as a solicitor acting on behalf of a client.
A motion to amend the constitution of the Law Society regarding Council elections to change the voting system from ‘first past the post’ to the ‘single transferable vote’ was also passed.
For more information and to read the annual plan see:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 07825 206468 / email@example.com