As the professional body and regulator for Scotland's solicitor profession we assure the quality of legal services and protect the public interest. We set and maintain standards for solicitors throughout their route to qualification and after admission to practise, act to protect consumers, support and maintain the proper administration of justice, and uphold the rule of law.
Parliament has set us important regulatory objectives including supporting the interests of justice; protecting consumers; fostering competition in the provision of legal services; and promoting an independent legal profession.
Solicitors are expected to adhere to the rules and guidance set by the Society and must continue to meet annual CPD requirements. Law firms are also subject to regulatory measures, including financial compliance and compliance with anti-money laundering rules. This ensures that our members maintain high professional standards of conduct and service and the public can continue to have confidence in the profession.
The Regulatory Committee, which is a committee of the Council of the Law Society but acts independently, is responsible for the oversight of all of the Society’s regulatory functions. Chaired by a non-solicitor member and with its 50% solicitor / 50% non-solicitor membership, this committee brings together real expertise from within the profession as well as the public interest ethos of lay members. This partnership approach also exists through our regulatory sub-committees responsible for admissions, complaints, anti-money laundering, and the operation of our Client Protection Fund.
Who we regulate and how we regulate is governed by legislation and we must comply with any conditions and limitations to which those regulatory powers are subject.
When exercising our regulatory functions, and so far as practicable, we must act in a way which is compatible with, and which we consider most appropriate to achieve, the regulatory objectives set out in Section 1 of the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which are:
(a) supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law;
(b) protecting and promoting—
(i) the interests of consumers,
(ii) the public interest generally;
(i) access to justice,
(ii) competition in the provision of legal services;
(d) promoting an independent, strong, varied and effective legal profession;
(e) encouraging equal opportunities (as defined in Section L2 of Part II of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998) within the legal profession;
(f) promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles.
(As set out in Section 2 of the 2010 Act, the professional principles are the principles that persons providing legal services should—
(a) support the proper administration of justice,
(b) act with independence (in the interests of justice),
(c) act with integrity,
(d) act in the best interests of their clients (and keep clients’ affairs confidential),
(e) maintain good standards of work,
(i) exercising before any court a right of audience, or
(ii) conducting litigation in relation to proceedings in any court,
comply with such duties as are normally owed to the court by such persons,
(f) meet their obligations under any relevant professional rules,
(g) act in conformity with professional ethics