Regulatory Committee Convener Craig Cathcart provides an update on the work of the committee from 1 July 2020 until 28 February 2021.
The Law Society of Scotland Regulatory Committee has continued to operate throughout the enforced Covid-19 changes, with a number of key developments since the last update.
The first ever regulatory sub-strategy has now been approved. Drawing on our statutory purposes, the sub-strategy is designed to give the committee a sharper and more proactive focus. It is aligned with the Society’s overarching strategy both in terms of objectives and timescale. The five strategic objectives are to Protect, Scrutinise, Enhance, Align, and Develop. In the coming period there will be a programme of events to raise awareness of and commitment to the objectives.
Having deferred twice, the Price Transparency Guidance commenced on 1 February 2021. As many members will know, it recommends best practice in giving indicative pre-contract price information for consumers. The extent and manner of implementation will be monitored and an evaluation made after a year.
Due to Covid-19, government has deferred the next stages of the Legal Services Review until after the Scottish Parliament election. In the meantime, it did manage to consult on proposals to amend the complaints process by secondary legislation, and the committee contributed to the Society’s response.
In response to volume of business, the committee has revised its meeting schedule from six a year to 10. As noted above, historically the committee has had to debate and decide on a number of time bound issues between meetings. While some matters are straightforward, others are not, and debate by correspondence is far from ideal. It is hoped that between the more frequent meeting schedule and the strategic drive for greater alignment of regulatory activity, there will be greater capacity and a smoother flow of business.
At the end of 2020 we said goodbye to three longstanding members: Joe Boyd, Frank Hughes, and Alan Plumtree. I am grateful for their wise, insightful and good-humoured contributions to the work of the committee over the years. Like all our volunteers, their service is not only to the profession or the Society: it is service to the integrity of the legal system, and thus to protecting the rule of law from which we all immeasurably benefit.