A reduction to the practising certificate fee for 2020-21 was approved by solicitors today, at the Law Society of Scotland’s first ever virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The proposed reduction to the cost of practising as a Scottish solicitor was put forward by the Law Society’s Council, as part of the £2.2m support package that has been put together to help solicitors through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to reduce the fee by 20% to £460, was taken by solicitors at the virtual AGM, which took place via both video and audio conference, and by those who had voted online in advance of the meeting. Being an online meeting, it was attended by a record number of members, over 100, who were able to join from across the country, as well as from more far flung locations such as Zurich and Dubai.

John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The current pandemic has caused a massive global crisis, and we know that it is hitting our members particularly hard.

“As the Law Society, we need to fulfil our statutory objective to ensure Scotland has a strong, independent and effective legal profession. We know that over a third of Scottish solicitors have been placed on furlough and that over 90% of firms are seeing a reduced turnover. This why we proposed a financial support package. The overwhelming approval this evening by our members to reduce the PC fee, allows us to put it into practice.”

Among other business, members approved the financial statements and annual report for 2018-19, and approved the re-appointment of the auditors, BDO, to the Society for 2019-20.

The AGM also held discussions on draft practice rules which the Regulatory Committee is proposing to be introduced later this year, concerning changes to Rule D.5 on incorporated practices.

£2.2 million package of financial support for Scottish solicitors

The Law Society of Scotland has announced an "unprecedented" package of financial support for members in recognition of the critical situation which faces individuals and firms.