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Consultation on proposed changes to practice rules

11 September 2017 | tagged News release

The Law Society of Scotland are inviting responses from members on a number of proposed changes to current practice rules and the possible introduction of new practice rules next year.

Details follow.

 

Anti Money Laundering Rules 2017 (Rules B6 and B9)
We are changing the way in which we supervise our members’ AML compliance. The reason for this change is the coming in to force, on 26 June 2017, of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

To facilitate the necessary change the Society are to amend the Law Society of Practice Rules 2011. The attached “Amendment No 2 Rules” details the proposed changes.

Please note that it is the Schedule to this document which sets out the new Anti Money Laundering (AML) rules. You will also note, among other things, that this document serves the following three purposes, further details are provided in the linked to documents;

(i) identifies a series of deletions to be made to the existing rules
(ii) formally introduces a duty to co-operate with the Society, and
(iii) imposes obligations relating to the recording of complaints.

As part of the change referred to, we are revising our approach to be increasingly risk based which will include the ability to deliver supervision in different ways including traditional inspections.  We will carry out more risk assessments of practice units, deliver new types of review (desk based and thematic) and focused reviews on specific topics such as trust and company service work by a practice unit.

Responses to the consultation detailed above should be submitted no later than noon on Wednesday 11 October to SGM2017Consult@lawscot.org.uk

This timeline has been set in order to facilitate review at this year’s Special General Meeting in December.


Client Relations Manager Rules Rule B5
In June 2017, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission issued a report into "First Tier Complaint Handling" (ie. the way in which solicitors deal with complaints at the point at which they are first raised with a practitioner by a complainer).

The report recommended that the Law Society consider changing Rule B5.5.1, to include a requirement for Client Relations Managers to not only maintain a central record of complaints received by his or her practice unit, but also to ensure firstly that that central record captured a minimum range of information; and secondly, to deliver copies of the central record to the SLCC on demand.

You can read further information about the process which led to the proposed amendments and details of the proposed amendments to Rule B5 here.

Responses to the consultation detailed above should be submitted no later than noon on Wednesday 11 October to SGM2017Consult@lawscot.org.uk.

This timeline has been set in order to facilitate review at this year’s Special General Meeting in December.

Raising Concerns
In 2015 we consulted on various recommendations made by KPMG in their report on the Guarantee Fund (now known as the Client Protection Fund).  One of those recommendations was that consideration should be given to introducing a requirement on solicitors to report suspicions of dishonest behaviour within the profession to the Society.

The responses to that consultation indicated strong support from members in favour of a reporting policy for financial irregularities and/or mis-management and the view being expressed that all members of the profession should report any suspicious or dishonest behaviour.

We have been working on implementation of this recommendation and now seek views on a proposal to introduce two new practice rules into the Standards of Conduct at B1. 

Details of the proposed draft rules to be inserted into Standards of Conduct at B1, can be found here.

Responses to the consultation detailed above should be submitted no later than noon on Friday 10 November to RaisingConcernsConsult@lawscot.org.uk .

Responses will then 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 (currently scheduled for May 2018).

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