Scotland’s place in the world is changing. Both Covid and Brexit have altered how we interact with our neighbours in terms of law, trade and travel. Our new International Strategy emphasises both our pivotal domestic role in the Scottish legal landscape and our responsibility to use that platform to both support the rule of law around the world and to promote the profession and Scottish jurisdiction internationally.
We can use our international memberships, and our trade policy, to promote our values and to showcase Scots law. The overlapping nature of our international work presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
For further information on any aspect of our international work, please contact International Policy Executive Adam Marks at email@example.com.
There are three pillars to the International Strategy
- Work with colleagues and stakeholders to promote the legal profession, showcase the work of the Society, Scots law and legal services internationally
- Collaborate with other organisations and law societies, including through the CCBE and IBA to enhance the reputation and profile of the legal profession and the Society internationally
- Support the core business of the Law Society of Scotland by learning from other law societies and jurisdictions. In particular assisting with the delivery of relevant objectives from our new strategy to become a more socially and environmentally responsible organisation
We’re proud to work on behalf of and with the Scottish solicitor profession at home and to engage with other organisations and groups across the globe. It helps us to work towards ensuring that wherever in the world you happen to be – whether it’s in the EU or further afield - the Scottish legal profession is known and respected.
To achieve these we built a network of contacts from other law societies and members overseas. We also have close links with a number of international organisations which represent lawyers at EU and international level. Our most important are:
- the International Bar Association (IBA)
- the Council of EU Law Societies and Bar Associations (CCBE)
- Scotland Europa to represent us in Brussels
The first two of these will continue to be the most significant means to deliver upon the objectives in pillar one. The IBA and CCBE provide a number of channels to exchange ideas on a technical and high level strategic level which will ensure we can deliver on our goals. The UK Law Societies' Joint Brussels Office is closing and to ensure we remain relevant in Brussels we will need to investigate new methods of post Brexit engagement.
- Promote the rule of law at an international level; showcase the best of the jurisdiction internationally;
- To share our own expertise and experience to work with others help ensure equal access to justice for all as outlined in the UN sustainable development goals.
The Promotion of the Rule of Law and Access to Justice cut across every aspect of our work. We will seek to work with partners, such as the Scottish Governments International Development Programmes, to strengthen the institutions of the rule of law and promote best practice around the world as opportunities arise.
We will aim to work with other legal professionals to provide mentoring or guidance in areas that Scotland is a world leader. This could include partnership programmes through the signing of memoranda of understanding with other legal regulators. Our membership of the IBA and CCBE also provide platforms for us to actively promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all in line with UN Substantiable Development Goal 16. We will also continue to use our membership of the CCBE Access to Justice Committee to exchange ideas and experiences with our European colleagues.
We are particularly interested in promoting the rule of law though our membership of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) comprises lawyers and legal associations from across the 53 Commonwealth countries, including some of the largest jurisdictions in the world. Since a primary purpose of the CLA is to maintain and promote the Rule of Law throughout the Commonwealth it provides an excellent forum to pursue this objective. For instance, there is a Rule of Law award that will be presented at next year’s Commonwealth Law Conference.
- Seek to influence UK trade policy priorities to help deliver the society’s trade policy objectives whilst upholding our values and promoting the rule of law. Work with colleagues and stakeholders both in and outside of Scotland to promote the legal profession and legal services in the UK’s trade negotiations.
- Ensure that the regulatory, qualification and education standards of the society are maintained as the UK signs new trade deals.
- Use the UK’s trade negotiations as a platform to promote the Society’s wider goals such as the promotion of Private International Law in Scotland.
International trade is likely to continue to be a major focus over the coming years and increased policy engagement in this area present an opportunity to be part of thought leadership on trade issues in Scotland.
Trade agreements can be used to bring about a wide range of changes in the relationship between states and regions. In many such agreements provisions are a means to promote or reinforce the application of the rule of law. Trade negotiations should take into consideration the need to ensure minimum standards or norms and respect for the rule of law and the interests of justice and access to justice.