The Scottish Law Agents Society (SLAS) wish to make clear the reasons for their continued opposition to the draft constitution of the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) being put to the AGM.
1) Disenfranchisement of Members
Member motions will now require a two thirds majority to succeed. That is instead of the present democratic threshhold of over 50%.
Council Motions remain at over 50%.
The reality is that it will be impossible for any single member or for any of the voluntary representative bodies to achieve a successful motion.
2) Standing orders
Council can take extensive new powers to itself through Standing Orders for which members' approval is not needed.
3) Regulatory error
Council would act as regulator of the new Legal Service Providers without the need to account to the Society. Under statute it is the Society which may act as regulator.
4) Guarantee Fund and Master Policy uncertainty
The effect on members as regards Guarantee Fund and Master Policy is potentially highly damaging and is not explained.
5) Sloppy drafting
There are numerous examples of erosion of members' rights and poor drafting, which have been pointed out and not taken into account.
Michael Sheridan, secretary for SLAS commented: “We accept that there have been changes by the LSS but there are still flaws that are fundamental. In all good conscience we cannot recommend a vote for the new constitution as it stands. Do not be misled by scaremongering. There is still time to improve the constitution.
"We urge all members of the LSS to read the literature and come to an informed view."Proxy votes in favour of SLAS should be sent by 22 March to the secretary at 166 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2LW (DX GW226 Glasgow; LP-5 Glasgow 7)