The solicitor credited with pioneering much of Scotland’s modern law on incapacity and mental disabilities has been awarded honorary life membership of the Law Society of Scotland.

Adrian Ward MBE received the award at the Law Society’s annual general meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday, 25 May.

Presenting the accolade, Eilidh Wiseman, President of the Law Society of Scotland 2016/17, said: “Adrian has had a remarkable career, earning him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and peers. During his 50-plus years as a solicitor, he has pioneered much of our modern law on incapacity and mental health and disability, including helping to steer the first major piece of legislation, the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, through the Scottish Parliament, benefitting thousands of people across Scotland.

“He has been hugely influential, carrying out extremely valuable work on human rights in eastern European countries following the break-up of the Soviet Union and playing a prominent role in promoting powers of attorney, or their equivalents, at home and abroad.

“For this and so much more, I am delighted to award him with honorary life membership of the Law Society of Scotland.”

Solicitors at the Law Society’s AGM voted to freeze the annual practising certificate fee for the eighth consecutive year.

Eilidh Wiseman said: “We are aware of the costs involved in practising as a solicitor and the Society’s Council put forward the proposal to maintain the current practising certificate fee at this year’s AGM. Just as solicitors need to adapt to a changing economic environment, we too need to continue our drive to increase efficiency, to innovate and be enterprising in our approach to make sure we can add value, without imposing any unnecessary additional costs on our members.

“While we’re encouraged to see growth within the legal sector and a gradual rise in the number of practising solicitors, economic uncertainties remain. We recognise that there are firms, particularly those who carry out legal aid work, and other organisations facing budgetary constraints, and these, coupled with rising costs elsewhere including the mandatory SLCC levy increase of 12.5%, place further pressure on hard-working solicitors.

“Our strategy is to boost the Society’s revenue through new and improved services, partnerships or suitable investment so that we are less reliant on membership fees.”

Delegates at the AGM also voted to change the rules on qualifying as a solicitor advocate and were in favour of a change to the Society’s constitution which will increase the number of co-opted members on its Council from six to eight to allow representation from different interest groups within the profession, including Scottish solicitors working overseas.

Solicitors aiming to qualify as a solicitor advocate will now be required to undertake an introductory course before applying to become a solicitor advocate, with applications scrutinised to ascertain whether the solicitor has sufficient experience prior to the training course. The new rules will also introduce a requirement for solicitor advocates to undertake a minimum of ten hours of advocacy-related CPD each year.

Note to editors

Adrian Ward has been a member of the Law Society of Scotland since 1967. He is a consultant to TC Young, and also works as a consultant to Council of Europe, after a distinguished career in practice. He has convened the Law Society of Scotland’s Mental Health and Disability Sub-Committee for almost 30 years and won the Scotsman Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Scottish Legal Awards. He was awarded an MBE for his work with people who have learning disabilities in Scotland and has received national awards for legal journalism, legal charitable work and legal scholarship.

The practising certificate fee, which is compulsory for all practising solicitors, is set by the Law Society Council and voted on by members each year at the Society’s annual general meeting. There are currently 11,500 practising Scottish solicitors.

Information about the Law Society’s Council is available on our website.

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The Law Society of Scotland is the professional body for over 11,000 Scottish solicitors and was established in 1949