Report of the latest twice-yearly meeting between the Society's President and deans of local faculties

The President welcomed the Deans and other faculty representatives to the Society on 19 April. These twice-yearly meetings ensure local faculties can contribute to Society policy making, and allow the Society to report on progress and key issues.

The President first reported on the main areas of discussion at the quarterly meeting with the Justice Minister on 22 March. This covered the Government’s plans to implement a new solemn fee for criminal practitioners under the Scottish Legal Aid Scheme and to introduce a criminal quality assurance test.

He related recent discussions with the SLCC about the extent of their budget surplus, now exceeding the £1.5m stated in their first annual report. Partly due to the Society’s influence, ministers have become involved and are exerting pressure on the SLCC with a view to achieving a reduction in the general levy next year.

Movement from Government is slow but perceptible in relation to the Thomson and Gill reviews, but the Society has set up a working party to progress those recommendations which are beneficial and which do not require primary legislation.

The Society’s continuing support to solicitors on questions of recession, redundancy, business management etc was examined, along with progress on the project to set up a scheme to register, train and regulate paralegals. This will be launched on 16 August 2010.

The President also described ongoing negotiations to achieve a united position for the profession regarding ABS in order to best position the Society to argue for necessary amendments and safeguards within the proposed legislation.

A full report will be posted on the Society’s website. Any concerns or points of interest on which members would like to see the Society take action can be raised through local faculty representatives for discussion at the next meeting. Simply ask them to contact, the faculties’ main contact point within the Society.

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