Our committees carry out valuable work looking at a range of issues to do with improving the law and legal practice. We have a code of conduct for Council and committee members.

View a diagram of our governance and committee structure

Policy on appointment of lay members to Council, the Regulatory Committee and regulatory subcommittees (from 15 March 2021).

Constitution of the Law Society of Scotland

Section 2; Interpretation

 ‘a lay member”, means a member of Council who is a person who appears to

the Council to be qualified to represent the interests of the public in relation

to the provision of legal services in Scotland or, having regard to the

Society’s functions, appears to the Council to be suitable in other respects,

but is not a:

(a) member of the Society,

(b) member of the Faculty of Advocates,

(c) conveyancing or executry practitioner as defined in section 23 of

the 1990 Act,

(d) person having a right to conduct litigation or a right of audience

by virtue of section 27 of the 1990 Act,

(e) confirmation agent as defined in section 90(4) of the 2010 Act, or

will writer as defined in section 101(3) of the 2010 Act.

“a member of the Society” means a solicitor who in terms of Section 2(1) of

the Act has in force a practising certificate, and any other solicitor who has

paid the current annual membership subscription to the Society and whose

name appears upon the Roll of Solicitors kept by the Council;

 
Section 3C(1)(b) Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (as inserted by section 133 Legal Services ( Scotland ) Act 2010

‘at least 50% of the (Regulatory) committee's membership is to comprise lay persons’

Section 3C(4) 1980 Act

In subsection (1)(b), “lay persons” are persons who are not—

(a) solicitors,

(b) advocates,

(c) conveyancing or executry practitioners as defined in section 23 of the 1990 Act,

(d) those having a right to conduct litigation, or a right of audience, by virtue of section 27 of the 1990 Act, or

(e) confirmation agents or will writers within the meaning of Part 3 of the 2010 Act.

When considering the appointment or re-appointment of any person as a lay member to the Council of the Law Society, the Regulatory Committee or a sub-committee of the Regulatory Committee, consideration should be given to whether a person could generally be considered independent of the legal profession and hold a public interest perspective.

Specifically, those who should not be considered for lay membership shall include:

  1.  Any person, who within the preceding 10 years, has fallen within any of those categories as set out within section 3C(4) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980.
  2. Any person who currently is, or has been within the preceding 10 years, regulated or represented by, but not limited to, any of the following; 
    a) regulatory body authorised by the Legal Services Board with the exception of those authorised to regulate Chartered Accountants,
    b) the Association of Commercial Attorneys,
    c) the Law Society of Northern Ireland or
    d) the Bar of Northern Ireland.
  3. Any person who:
    a) is a trainee solicitor or undertaking pupillage with the Faculty of Advocates (Devilling),
    b) is employed by a business regulated for the purposes of providing legal services,
    c) has been subject to a finding of misconduct by a professional or disciplinary body and as a result has had the right to practice removed (i.e. struck off / disbarred) or 
    d) is subject to a current suspension of the right to practice.

 The guidance does not apply to representative, governance or policy committees or sub-committees.

We have a number of committees that can make decisions that affect you. These decisions are often able to be appealed or reviewed.

The letter or email from us, advising you of a decision, will say whether you have a right of appeal and who you can appeal to. Often, the appeal body will be our Appeals and Reviews Sub-Committee (the ‘Appeals Committee’).

If you wish to make an appeal and it is unclear from your letter what your rights are, please contact the person who sent the letter or email advising you of the initial decision.

1. How do I make an appeal to the Appeals Committee?

You must complete an appeal form and submit it with any relevant supporting documents by email to appeals@lawscot.org.uk or in writing to:

The Appeals and Reviews Sub-Committee Secretary
The Law Society of Scotland
Atria One,
144 Morrison Street Edinburgh
EH3 8EX
or
DX ED1 EDINBURGH 1

Your submission must include your grounds for appeal (see point 3). It can include supporting documents or references that you consider relevant. Once it has considered your appeal, the Appeals Committee may ask you for additional information.

Please note: If you wish to appeal a conduct complaint against a Scottish solicitor, please see our guidance for complaints against Scottish solicitors.

2. Is there a time limit for lodging appeals?

Yes, appeals must be made within 21 days of the date of the letter or email advising you of the original decision.

An extension to this time limit can be granted in exceptional circumstances. If you are or have been unable to meet the time limit, please contact us at the above email or postal address, setting out the reasons why you feel your circumstances are exceptional. We will let you know if your request is successful within 21 days of receiving it. There is no appeal against a decision not to extend the time limit (see point 8).

3. What are the grounds for appeal?

There are five grounds for appeal:

a) the original decision was based on a misunderstanding of the facts

b) evidence, which could not reasonably have been made available at the time of the original decision, is now available

c) the original decision contains an error in applying the law, the rules or the regulations

d) there has been a fundamental procedural irregularity in the way in which your case was handled or the original decision made

e) there was a failure to provide you with adequate reasoning of the original decision

4. What are the possible outcomes?

The Appeals Committee will either:

  • uphold the original decision
  • overturn the original decision in favour of its own decision; or
  • return your matter back to the original committee and, with appropriate direction, ask it to reconsider it.
5. Can I appear in person?

Appeals are usually considered on the basis of written information only and you should not expect to appear in person. In exceptional circumstances, the Appeals Committee may ask an individual connected to the appeal to attend in person.

6. How will the decision be communicated to me?

You will be notified of the appeal decision, by either letter or email, within 21 days the Appeals Committee’s decision.

7. What happens after my appeal?

The letter informing you about the decision of your appeal will set out the next steps. If you have any queries, you should contact the Appeals Committee Secretary at the above email or postal address.

8. What if I am unhappy with the appeal decision?

You have a right of Judicial Review at the Court of Session. If you wish to exercise this right, we strongly suggest that you seek independent legal advice.

9. Is there a fee for appealing?

No, the appeals process is free. However, we will not pay any expenses that you incur in bringing your appeal.

 

If you have further questions on the appeals process, please contact the Appeals Committee Secretary at appeals@lawscot.org.uk or The Law Society of Scotland, Atria One 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EX.

If your right of appeal is to another body (for example Judicial Review at the Court of Session), we strongly suggests that you seek independent legal advice.