We hold an annual general meeting (AGM), usually in the spring, and hold special general meetings (SGM) when required.

For 2020, under the current circumstances with the Coronavirus pandemic, the 71st Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of Scotland will be held via telephone and video conference on Thursday 28 May 17.30pm. 

Anyone wishing to attend the AGM on 28 May 2020 will be required to register in advance. To do so, please email registrar@lawscot.org.uk by Friday 22 May 12 noon. Only by registering will you receive the audio and video call details.

Both AGMs and SGMs are open to all of our members. Motions can be raised at the meetings by both our Council and individual members.

Agenda for the 71st Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of Scotland to be held as a virtual meeting by telephone and video conference on Thursday 28 May 2020 at 1730hrs. 

Anyone wishing to attend the AGM will be required to register in advance. To do so, please email registrar@lawscot.org.uk by Friday 22 May 12 noon. Only by registering will you receive the audio and video call details.

 

Order of formal business

1. Approval of the minute of the Annual General Meeting held on 30 May 2019 and the minutes of the Special General Meetings of 6 September and 24 October 2019.

2. The President’s Address

3. The adoption of the reports from the Treasurer; the Client Protection Fund Convener; the Audit Committee Convener; and the Lawscot Foundation Board of Trustees for 2018/19.

4a. Resolution number 1 - The approval of the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Society and the Client Protection Fund for 2018/19. 

4b. Resolution number 2 - The appointment of the Auditors to the Society and the Client Protection Fund for 2019/20

The annual report and financial statements are available to read on the annual report pages of our website. 

5. Chief Executive’s Report

Presentation by the Chief Executive on the Society’s current operating performance.

6. Resolution number 3 – Practising Certificate fee for 2020/21

“That, as from 1 November 2020, the Annual Subscription payable by each member of the Society holding a Practising Certificate will be £460”

 7. Draft practice rules for discussion

There will be a presentation on the draft practice rules which the Regulatory Committee is proposing to be introduced later this year. The draft practice rules concern changes to Rule D.5 on incorporated practices. More detail is set out below. 

Amendments proposed to Rule D5 (Incorporated Practices)

These rules set out the requirements which must be met before a body corporate can be recognised by the Society as an ‘incorporated practice’ in terms of s34(1A) of the 1980 Act.

At present the rules contain some requirements which only apply to limited companies. The main purpose of the amendments is to equalise the treatment of incorporated practices, regardless of whether structured as a company or a limited liability partnership, given that, in reality, both types of structure may have only a limited number of individuals qualified to own, manage and control the business and hence both types of structure may need to consider how to manage the same risks.

The draft Amendment Rules are accompanied by track-marked and clean draft versions of how the rules at D5 would read, if amended in accordance with the Amendment Rules, and by draft Guidance which would be available alongside the amended rules. 

  1. Draft amendment rules (No 2 of 2020)  - proposing amendments to the rules at D5;  
  2. A revision-marked version of the current D5 rules showing the proposed changes tracked;
  3. A clean version of the D5 rules – showing how they would read once amended in terms of the amendment rules;
  4. Draft Guidance to accompany the amended rules.

 

A Law Society Special General Meeting (SGM) is to be held at 9.15am on 24 October 2019 at our offices at Atria One, Edinburgh.

Agenda
  1. Draft practice rules for discussion

There will be a presentation on the draft practice rules which the Society needs to put in place due to the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union. Read a copy of the instrument of amendment for these draft practice rules. 

The Law Society's Special General Meeting (SGM) is to be held at 9.30am on 6 September 2019 at our offices at Atria One, Edinburgh.

See below, the agenda for the meeting.

Agenda

Presentation of Honorary Membership of the Law Society of Scotland to Alistair Cockburn and Sheriff Brian Kearney

Resolution
  1. Practising Certificate fee for 2019/2020 - Resolution number 1

  Resolution from the Council on the Practising Certificate Fee for 2019/2020

  “That, as from 1 November 2019, the Annual Subscription payable by each member of the Society holding a 
   Practising Certificate will be £575”

  For a copy of the paper on the Practising Certificate Fee for 2019/2020 please click here.

Topic for information
  1. Murray Etherington, Chairman of the Insurance Committee will speak on the profit share agreement for the Master Policy for insurance years 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. For a copy of the paper on profit share please click here.
 Draft practice rules for discussion

     3. There will be a presentation on the draft practice rules which the Society needs to put in place due to the UK’s 
         scheduled exit from the European Union. For a copy of the instrument of amendment for these draft practice
         rules please click here.

Voting in advance of the meeting - online vote is now closed

The Constitution now allows voting on any matter in advance of the SGM. The only matter on which a vote is scheduled is on the approval of the Practising Certificate fee 2019/20.

Online voting for this will open on Thursday 22 August at 12 noon and run until 12 noon Thursday 5 September.  You will receive an email when the voting opens. Voting is now closed. 

It is no longer possible at a general meeting to demand a poll vote or to vote by proxy except in relation to a 'constitutional resolution', for which there is none at this SGM.  

The Law Society's 70th annual general meeting was held at 5.30pm on 30 May 2019 at our offices at Atria One, Edinburgh.

See below, the agenda for the meeting.

Presentation of Honorary Membership of the Law Society of Scotland to Dame Elish Angiolini DBE PC QC FRSA FRSE 

Order of formal business

1.  Approval of the Minute of the Annual General Meeting held on 31 May 2018.

2.  The Presidential Address by Alison Atack, President. 

3.  The adoption of the reports from the Treasurer; the Client Protection Fund Convener; the Audit Committee Convener; the In-house Lawyers’ Committee Convener; and the Convener of the Scottish Solicitors’ Benevolent Fund (SSBF) for 2017/2018.

4a. The approval of the Annual Report and Accounts of the Society; the Client-Protection Fund and the SSBF for 2017/2018.

4b. The appointment of the Auditors to the Society; the Client Protection Fund; and the SSBF for 2018/2019.

You can read the documents referred to above here.

5.  Chief Executive’s Report

Presentation by Lorna Jack, Chief Executive on the Society’s current operating performance and five year strategy 2015/2020

6.  The Roberton Review

Presentation by Kevin Lang, Executive Director of External Relations and Philip Yelland, Executive Director of Regulation on the Report of the Independent Review of Legal Service Regulation in Scotland

7.  Practice rules amendments - for discussion

There are two sets of draft practice rules for discussion. Craig Cathcart, Convener of the Regulatory Committee will speak to these draft practice rules. You can read the draft instrument of amendment for each of the two sets of draft practice rules.

There are separate explanatory notes to these practice rules available here.


The Law Society's 69th annual general meeting was held on 31 May 2018 at our offices at Atria One, Edinburgh.

A modest rise in the cost of practising as a Scottish solicitor was agreed following an eight-year freeze. Members voted in the majority to adopt the proposed rise of £15 in the 2018/19 practising certificate subscription to £565, put forward by the Law Society’s Council.

See below, the agenda for the meeting.

Order of formal business
  1. Approval of the Minute of the Annual General Meeting of 27 May 2017 and the Minute of the Special General Meeting of 25 January 2018.
  1. The President’s Address.
  1. The adoption of the reports from the Treasurer; the Client Protection Fund Convener; the Audit Committee Convener; the In-house Lawyers’ Committee Convener; and the Convener of the Scottish Solicitors’ Benevolent Fund (SSBF) for 2016/2017.

  2. a) The approval of the Annual Report and Accounts of the Society; the Client-Protection Fund and the SSBF for 2016/2017.
    b) The appointment of the Auditors to the Society; the Client Protection Fund; and the SSBF for 2017/2018.

    You can read the documents referred to above here.

  3. Chief Executive's report
    Presentation by the Chief Executive on the Society’s current operating performance and five year strategy 2015/2020.
Resolution
  1. Practising Certificate fee for 2018/2019 - Resolution number 1

    Resolution from the Council on the Practising Certificate fee for 2018/2019
    “That, as from 1 November 2018, the Annual Subscription held by each member of the Society holding a Practising Certificate will be £565”
Topics for discussion
  1. The Council has agreed that Michael Sheridan, Solicitor, Glasgow can raise at this meeting the topics of Alternative Business Structures and Proxy voting for discussion.                                

 

Our practising and non-practising members were invited to attend a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Thursday 25 January when they endorsed amendments to practice rules intended to raise standards around their anti-money laundering practices and incidental financial business.

Our current incidental financial business (IFB) regime allows firms to conduct certain activities which would otherwise require Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation.

The changes to the incidental financial business rules, the first in over a decade, are required to ensure that we implement the terms of the Insurance Distribution Directive by the required date of 23 February 2018.

The purpose of the directive and the amended IFB rules is to raise the standards of conduct of business and introduce greater disclosure requirements in relation to the distribution of insurance products.

The second set of proposed amendments set out what will be required of Scottish solicitors in terms of their anti-money laundering (AML) practices and how we will supervise compliance. The key difference will be the introduction of desk-based risk assessment and reviews, which in some cases may lead to an onsite AML audit of firms by the Law Society.

Convener of the Client Protection Committee and Vice President of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack introduced both sets of amendments.  She said, “We take our regulatory role very seriously and it is imperative that we have a robust set of practice rules, which provide clarity for the profession and the appropriate and necessary protections for solicitors’ clients.

“I am pleased that our membership has endorsed the proposed amendments.  We will now seek formal approval from the Lord President’s office and work towards their implementation.  We will of course keep our members up to date as matters progress”.

We consulted widely on the proposed changes, seeking the views of our members, the Lord President’s Office and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the IFB rules. We will seek the Lord President’s formal approval on the AML rules once a supporting legislative change process has been concluded and before implementation.

Guidance relating to both rule changes will be developed and issued to members in due course.

Read the full SGM 2018 agenda

This year's Annual General Meeting was held at on Thursday 25 May 2017 at the Law Society offices at Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh.

Honorary Membership of the Society

The award by the Council of Honorary Membership of the Law Society of Scotland to Adrian D Ward MBE, Solicitor.

Order of formal business

  1. Approval of the Minute of the Annual General Meeting held on 26 May 2016.
  2. The President’s Address.
  3. The adoption of the reports from the Treasurer; the Client-Protection Fund Convener; the Audit Committee Convener; the In-house Lawyers’ Committee Convener; and the Convener of the Scottish Solicitors’ Benevolent Fund (SSBF) for 2015/2016. 

4a.       The approval of the Annual Report and Accounts of the Society; the Client-Protection Fund and the SSBF for 2015/2016.

4b.      The appointment of the Auditors to the Society; the Client-Protection Fund; and the SSBF for 2016/2017.

  1. Chief Executive’s Report

Presentation by the Chief Executive on the Society’s current operating performance and five year strategy 2015/2020.

Resolutions

  1. Resolution from the Council of the Law Society of Scotland to amend the Society’s Constitution – Resolution 1

Resolution to amend the Scheme under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 being the Constitution of the Law Society of Scotland (which came into operation on 1 November 1988)

“That with effect from 00.00 hours on 26 May 2017 the Constitution of the Law Society of Scotland is amended as follows –

Amendment to Article 3 Composition of the Council

In article 3(3) for the number “6” substitute the number “8”. “

  1. Practising Certificate fee for 2016/2017- Resolution number 2

Motion from the Council on the Practising Certificate Fee for 2017/2018 – Motion No1.

“That, as from 1 November 2017, the Annual Subscription held by each member of the Society holding a Practising Certificate will be £550”

  1. Practice Rules – proposed changes in practice rules for Solicitor Advocates – Resolution 3

Motion from the Regulatory Committee on Amendments to the Society’s Practice Rules – Motion No 2.

The meeting began with outgoing president Christine McLintock paying tribute to past president Michael Park CBE who sadly passed away recently. She spoke about all of the work Michael had done to represent Scottish solicitors. She added: “We were sad to hear the news of his death and extend our condolences to Michael’s family at this difficult time.”

Christine then gave a short speech summing up her 12 months in office. During her speech she said:

“It has been a wonderful, challenging and productive year. We have launched an ambitious new strategy focused on continuous improvement and Leading Legal Excellence.  We have moved into these wonderful new premises, which better reflect a modern, adaptable and successful Scottish legal profession.

“We have seen the profession become majority female for the first time and done some ground-breaking work on equality and diversity.  And another highlight for me, we announced news of our exciting Lawscot Foundation.”

Christine finished her speech by thanking Alistair Morris, past president, who was standing down from the Law Society council after 24 years for his service to the profession. She also welcomed incoming president Eilidh Wiseman.

Lorna Jack, chief executive, gave members an update on our operational plan and new five year strategy which is intended to ensure the Society is a bolder, more ambitious and more effective world class professional body. Lorna explained that we are making great progress across all 28 projects with the vast majority expected to be completed on time. The major projects include:

  • A legislative change programme
  • Reforming our post qualifying accreditation system
  • Justice reform including legal aid
  • Member smartcard roll-out
  • Implications of the EU referendum

Lorna also highlighted again an important change that we are making. She said “We have recently appointed leading insurance brokers Lockton to administer and broker our Master Policy of professional indemnity insurance with effect from 1 January 2017.

“The decision to change brokers was the result of a comprehensive and open tender process which started nearly a year ago in June 2015.  This tender was carried out by a specialist panel of practitioners drawn from the Society’s insurance committee. The panel’s recommendation to the Insurance committee, Board and ultimately Council, to change brokers was based on a range of factors and was taken very seriously. The factors included Lockton’s brokering and placement plans; their service levels; their proposed innovation especially in the area of online renewal and their commitment to the long term sustainability of the Master Policy.”

Lorna concluded by thanking current broker Marsh “I want to take the opportunity to put on record our gratitude for the great working relationship we have had with Marsh and Alistair Sim and Russell Laing in particular.”

The AGM, which was attended by 35 solicitors, went on to approve freezing the 2016/17 Practising Certificate fee at £550 for the seventh consecutive year. The accounts fee and also fees for new solicitors, non-practising members and those on the roll were set at the April Council meeting. 

In other business, draft amendments to the practice rules relating to the civil legal aid quality assurance scheme were also passed. Changes to our constitution relating to voting at the AGM and office bearers were also approved by members.

Statements of our accounts; the client protection fund (formerly the guarantee fund); and the Scottish Solicitors' Benevolent Fund as well as reports from the audit committee and in-house lawyers' group committee are available to view here.

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