We'll be the first to admit that the law can be complicated. But to help you navigate your way through it, here are answers to some questions you may have about the law, dealing with your solicitor, legal fees and more.

If you can't find an answer to your question, you can email it to lawscot@lawscot.org.uk and we'll do our best to provide you with the information you need.

General queries about the Law Society

The Law Society is the professional body for all Scottish solicitors and sets the standards which practising solicitors must meet.  Whilst we can’t become involved in an individual’s legal affairs, we are an important part of the system of legal regulation which seeks to protect the public.

We can:

-          Help you find a solicitor.

-          Help you trace any law firm in Scotland, past and present.

-          Provide you with useful information, such as on buying a house, making a will, power of attorney, divorce and starting a business.

-          Explain the complaints process, including your solicitor’s responsibilities and how to contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

 

We can’t:

-          Provide legal advice.

-          Recommend or appoint individual solicitors or firms.

-          Advise if you are eligible for legal aid (for that you must contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board)

-          Receive complaints directly - all complaints start with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

No, we cannot give legal advice but we can help you find the right solicitor to assist you. The Find a Solicitor function on our website allows you to search by the type of work you need carried out or search for a solicitor close to where you live.

The Society is governed by a Council made up of both solicitor and non-solicitor members. The Council is supported by a series of committees, again featuring solicitor and non-solicitor members.

You can find out more about how we're governed on our who we are page.

Finding a solicitor

Yes, we can help you find a solicitor through the Find a Solicitor section on our website. We have a database of all solicitors in Scotland which you can search by location or the type of legal work that you need carried out.

We can’t recommend or appoint individual solicitors or firms. We represent all Scottish solicitors, so it would be unfair to recommend one of our members over another. This is why we normally suggest contacting a number of different firms.

'No win no fee’ is a term mainly used south of the border in England and Wales (a lot of the time in television adverts).  Firms in Scotland can take on a ‘no win no fee’ case, however they do not advise us if they do this or not – you’ll have to call them to see if they can and will. Firms would have to know the details of the case before deciding if they would take it on this way. In Scotland, firms may also do a first consultation free, however, again you have to contact firms and ask them if they are prepared to do this.

By ticking the legal aid box in our Find A Solicitor tool, you will only be shown firms who offer legal aid. If you have any queries regarding legal aid and eligibility, you can contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board on 0845 122 8686.

Not specifically. We recommend contacting a few solicitors in your area and enquiring whether they work with small claims. You may also wish to visit the Scottish Courts website for more details on the small claims court. It is often the case that you do not need a solicitor to represent you.

We don’t hold specific information on members who may also be qualified in the law of a country other than Scotland. We suggest contacting some of the bigger firms in Scotland who may have their own referral network or know of a solicitor who can assist you.

Our specialist accreditation scheme offers recognition of solicitors who develop specialist knowledge during their careers.

We can help you find a Law Society of Scotland accredited specialist through our Find a Solicitor tool.

It’s entirely at the solicitor’s discretion whether or not they can take on your case. If you’re struggling to find one, we would suggest contacting the Civil Legal Assistance Office.

There’s more information on their website.

Dealing with a solicitor

Solicitors must ask to see certain forms of identification in order to comply with money laundering regulations which are set down in law by the UK Government to prevent fraud. Solicitors who do not comply with these strict regulations face severe penalties from the Law Society as a regulator and by the law enforcement agencies.  Sanctions for failing to comply can include imprisonment.

Each firm will ask for documents which satisfy that you are who you say you are. It’s up to each firm to decide which documents they‘re satisfied with, so each firm might be different in their approach. 

Please be assured that the solicitor is only trying to comply with the requirements set down in legislation.  If you do have any concerns please discuss these with your solicitor.  Ultimately, if you are not able to comply with their requests, the solicitor may not be able to act for you.

If there are no outstanding fees, your solicitor has no authority to hold onto the file for no good reason.

However, if there are outstanding fees, then the general rule is that solicitors have a lien (right of retention) over your file.  If you or your new solicitors feel that your old solicitor is causing you prejudice by holding onto your file (“prejudice” is defined as more than inconvenience and will depend on the particular circumstances of the matter) then you should raise this with the old solicitor as quickly as possible.

Please visit the Scottish Courts Service website for instructions on serving or enforcing a court order.

Relationships Scotland is an organization which offers counselling, mediation and family support across Scotland. You can contact them at:

Relationships Scotland
18 York Place
Edinburgh
EH1 3EP
Tel: 0845 119 2020
Web: www.relationships-scotland.org.uk

The Scottish Mediation Network may also help you to access quality assured mediation services. You can reach them at:

Scottish Mediation Network
18 York Place
Edinburgh
EH1 3EP
Tel: 0131 556 8118
Web: www.scottishmediation.org.uk

The reports of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal are published on their website www.ssdt.org.uk. You can reach them at:

Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal

Unit 3.5 The Granary Business Centre

Coal Road

Cupar

Fife

KY15 5YQ

01334 659088

The simple response is yes you can. Deciding what representation you want in court is a personal decision.

You can find out more about representing yourself in court by contacting your local Sheriff Court. We strongly recommend that you use the services of members of the legal profession who have the relevant expertise and experience of the court procedures. A solicitor will present your case in the best possible way and guide you through complicated court procedures

The Society can help you find the right solicitor to meet your legal needs. For more information on the court system, go to the Scottish Court Service website.

Yes you can.  Your old solicitor should release the file to you upon settlement of outstanding fees.  If you wish this to be sent directly to your new solicitor, your new solicitor will send the old solicitor a mandate for the file, which will be implemented provided fees are paid.  If your old solicitor refuses to implement the mandate for no good reason or if you dispute the fee to be paid, you may wish to contact the Client Relations Partner at your old firm to discuss this in the first instance to raise a complaint.  If you still do not receive a resolution, you may wish to speak to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

You cannot challenge their verdict unless you believe they have erred on a point of law. You should seek advice from a solicitor on whether you have a realistic chance of challenge.

Yes, all Scottish law firms regulated by the Law Society must have professional indemnity insurance.

Your solicitor is the best person to keep you updated about your case. You can also speak to your firm's client relations manager, who deals with queries and complaints. Resolving a matter internally is often the easiest, quickest and most effective way of doing so. Legal disputes can be complicated and sometimes require lengthy periods of investigation and negotiation.  If you continue to be concerned, ask to speak to the firm’s Client Relations Manager.

The Law Society cannot intervene with ongoing legal disputes.