A former director of Citizens Advice Edinburgh has been appointed to lead the Law Society of Scotland’s regulatory work.

Craig Cathcart, senior lecturer at Queen Margaret University’s Business School, has been named as the new convener of the Society’s Regulatory Committee, succeeding former headteacher Carole Ford, who has been convener since the committee was established in June 2011.

Mr Cathcart, who took up the role this month, has been a member of the committee since 2013. In his career he has specialised in consumer matters, business regulation and dispute resolution, as well as having experience in trading standards and the advice sector.

The Regulatory Committee has oversight of all the Society’s regulatory functions, including admission of new solicitors, setting standards and rules for trainees and solicitors, financial compliance and anti-money laundering, complaints, and intervening when something goes wrong at a firm. The committee comprises an equal number of solicitors and non-solicitors and is required to have a lay chair to ensure independent oversight of regulation.

Society President Alison Atack commented: "I am delighted that someone with such a strong consumer background will be helping to lead the Law Society’s regulatory work. With the Scottish Government considering Esther Roberton’s report on the regulation of legal services, Craig takes up the role at a very important time."

She added: "I am certain that Craig’s professional and academic knowledge and expertise will see him drive forward the work of the Regulatory Committee as he picks up the reins from Carole Ford. As the very first convener of the committee, Carole has led the changes which have increased transparency and improved the appeal and review system. She has also been a consistent champion of reforms to the complaints handling process to make it quicker, simpler and more efficient. I thank her for everything that she has done in leading this critical area of work."

Mr Cathcart added: "I would also like to thank Carole for the work she has done. She has guided the committee expertly during the past seven years and will be a hard act to follow.

"I am looking forward to taking on this role, particularly during this time when regulation of legal services is very much in the spotlight. I strongly believe that solicitors play a vital role in civic society and I am delighted to work towards strengthening both the legal profession in Scotland, and the public’s confidence in it."