The below proposed amendments have been approved and will come into effect on 1 September 2016.
Proposed practice rule amendments
1. Revocation of Rule B8.2 (ARTL Mandates)
This rule requires that solicitors obtain a mandate signed by the client in a specified form and then register that mandate with the Keeper prior to taking certain steps to deal with property rights in the digital system maintained by the Registers of Scotland. The rationale for revocation is primarily that the rule conveys no benefit to clients and may increase costs; is no longer effectively enforced; is unnecessary given the increased awareness of the ARTL system; and its maintenance is inconsistent with progress by the Registers towards e-enablement.
2. Replacement of Rule C3 (Civil Legal Aid)
These rules relate to the Quality Assurance Scheme for civil legal aid. Various deficiencies have been identified in the current rules and it is proposed to correct these and, at the same time, make the rules shorter, simpler and easier to follow. The changes proposed to the current rules are identified in the track marked revised Rule C3 which contains commentary on the reason for each change proposed.
3. Revocation of Rule D2.1.8 (part of D2.1 Restriction on Practice)
This excludes the operation of Rule D2.1.3 (commonly referred to as ‘the three year rule’) in certain circumstances. It is suggested that, in doing so, it creates a "grandfathering" principle which is both anachronistic and inappropriate and may be perceived as giving an advantage based on a person’s age, which may be unlawful.
We consider that these proposals would promote achievement of the regulatory objectives and the adoption of best regulatory practice by promoting adherence to professional principles by removing unnecessary burdens and improving transparency and consistency.
We welcome comments on the consultation draft Amendment Rules by 21 March 2016. Once the consultation has closed all responses will be considered, any necessary changes made and we hope to present Amendment Rules for approval at the AGM on 26 May 2016. The rules will require the approval of the Lord President before they can come into force.
Amendments to Constitution
The Socierty's Council is considering amendments to the Society's Constitution which would further e-enable member participation at general meetings and clarify the status of the vice president.
There are a total of 12 proposed changes to the Constitution plus one deletion. The majority of the proposed changes are to Article 14 and deal with draft voting reforms at our general meetings. Comments from members by 21 March 2016 are very welcome.