Solicitors have until the end of this week to give their views to the Law Society of Scotland on proposed practice rules requiring them to report suspicions of dishonest behaviour within the profession.
The proposals follow recommendations in KPMG’s report on the Guarantee Fund (now known as the Client Protection Fund), that there should be a formal requirement on Scottish solicitors to raise any concerns they might have about potential dishonesty by a solicitor, with the Society.
A solicitor who knows of, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, “serious misconduct” (defined in the proposal) by any person regulated by the Society, would be under a duty to report this to the Society “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
Protection would be provided by a further proposal that a reporting person must not be subjected to “detrimental treatment” because of the making of a report.
Responses will be considered and members and stakeholders advised of the outcome. Any final draft rules will be submitted to a general meeting of the Society – but not before the next annual general meeting in 2018.
Philip Yelland, executive director of regulation at the Society commented: “The results of a previous consultation indicated members’ support for a reporting policy for financial irregularities and/or mis-management.
“We take our regulatory role very seriously and with just a week left to respond, I would strongly encourage members of the profession to share their views and engage with this policy to ensure that members of the public can continue to have high levels of trust. Research tells us that 83% of people asked, considered their solicitor to be a ‘trusted adviser’. That’s something worth protecting.”