One suspects that the Faculty of Advocates has never fully come to terms with solicitors being granted extended rights of audience in the higher courts.

Today's strong attack by the Dean of Faculty on the Law Society of Scotland, for requesting a wider review of rights of audience than proposed by Lord Gill in the recent Woodside appeal, suggests that the Faculty has been waiting for the chance to hit out.

But is the charge of abdication of responsibility justified? It does not appear that the conduct of individuals is to come under further scrutiny, so we are not talking about disciplinary proceedings which would be entirely the province of the Society if a complaint were made.

As for a wider review of the rules, the matters highlighted by the Lord Justice Clerk clearly impact on clients' interests and on those of members of Faculty, in addition to solicitor advocates. And other bodies such as patent agents are now also in the process of acquiring rights of audience. Given the public's suspicion these days of professional bodies defining for themselves the scope of their members' activities, it is not difficult to see why the Society has asked the Government to commission an independent view.

Can this not be conducted efficiently in terms of time and money, for the results to feed into the discussions that will follow Lord Gill's general review of the civil courts?