This month's profile features Frank Johnston, long serving convener of the Society's Consumer Law Committee

What is your own practice area?

My primary areas of practice are consumer credit law, consumer law, supply of goods, Financial Conduct Authority compliance issues and volume debt recovery.

What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?

The fact that I must walk my dog.

What’s your top tip for new lawyers?

Engage with clients, talk to them about their business, understand what their legal and commercial concerns are. Find an area of the law that you are interested in and specialise in it.

How long have you been a member of the committee, and how did you become involved?

I have been a member of the Consumer Law Committee for about 20 years and convener of it for about 14 years.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

I particularly enjoyed giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament, on behalf of the Law Society of Scotland, on Tommy Sheridan’s bill to abolish poindings and warrant sales.

What big project/issue is the committee working on at the moment?

There is no one big issue on which the committee is working at the moment, but in recent years we have been looking at a number of issues that impacted on consumers, including the transfer of regulation of the consumer credit sector from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which has just come into force.

What do you see as the other main issues that the committee will have to address in the near future?

I suspect that other main issues that the committee will have to address may include the FCA’s thematic review on early arrears management in unsecured lending, and possibly how the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation may impact on consumers.

Are you a member of any other committees?

I am also a member of the Privacy Committee and am convener of the Society’s Accredited Specialism: Debt and Asset Recovery panel.

If you could change only one thing for your members, what would it be?

I still like reading hard copies of consultation papers rather than electronic copies – it would be great if these were still sent to members in hard copy.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

My wife and I enjoy sailing and walking our dog.


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