The access to information policy describes what type of information we regularly publish, types of information we are unable to publish and how we will deal with individual requests for specific information from a member, the public or another organisation.

At the Law Society of Scotland, we follow a set of values including being open, inclusive and respectful with our members (Scottish solicitors), our stakeholders and the wider public about what we do and what we think about issues affecting the Scottish legal profession, especially if those issues are in the public interest. The Society has to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 but we are not covered by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. We regularly publish new and updated information on our website, via our regular e-bulletin which everyone is welcome to sign up to for free and in our monthly magazine – The Journal which members receive and non-members can subscribe to or view online. The access to information policy describes what type of information we regularly publish, types of information we are unable to publish and how we will deal with individual requests for specific information from a member, the public or another organisation.

The aim of the policy is to ensure the Society is open and transparent by regularly publishing information about our work and having a clear process for dealing with individual requests to access information.

We regularly publish and provide information which is not personal or confidential aimed at solicitors, the public, journalists and others, usually on our website. This information includes:  Responses to consultations of the Scottish Government, UK Government and other organisations  New or updated rules and guidance for solicitors to follow  A searchable database of solicitor firms in Scotland  List of registered paralegals in Scotland  List of firms which take trainees  Our policy position on issues affecting the legal profession  Our code of conduct for Council and committee members  Our policy on dealing with unacceptable behaviour  Our policy on regulating solicitors  Our service standards and our procedures for dealing with complaints  Details of vacancies for members of Council, its committees and staff Access to information policy  Outcomes from the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal  Names of solicitors suspended, ‘struck off’ or disciplined  A summary of our budget for the financial year  Our ten year strategy and annual corporate plan  Annual report on our achievements and financial position  The expenses claimed by our President and Vice President  Remuneration payments to office bearers, committee conveners, Board members and chief executive  The results of elections to Council, Board and of office bearers  Reports on decisions taken at the Society’s Council meetings  Summaries of annual and special general meetings  Summary reports on the Society’s committee meetings  On request, agendas for Council, Board and non-regulatory committee meetings which do not contain personal or confidential information such as draft policies or commercially sensitive information  Reports on outcomes from ‘working parties’  On request, minutes from non-regulatory meetings which do not contain personal or confidential information.

There is some information we cannot publish or provide to individuals because, for example, we are restricted by the law. The following list shows examples:  Information of a personal nature about an individual  Information given to us in confidence  Commercially sensitive information  Information or advice we have received on legal issues affecting us  Information that we plan to publish in the next 30 days  Information available exclusively to members of the Law Society of Scotland  Specific details about ongoing customer service complaints against the Society or disciplinary cases or conduct complaints against solicitors  Certain details about resolved customer service complaints against the Society or disciplinary cases or conduct complaints against solicitors  Certain regulatory information about individuals or firms due to it being confidential  Regulatory committee and sub-committee meeting agendas and minutes  Details of expert witnesses and arbitrators in specific cases.

Please check our website www.lawscot.org.uk for the information you require first. There may be a named member of staff next to the relevant section who you can contact directly for more information if needed. If you do not have access to the internet or you cannot find the information you want please contact us in writing either by email or letter to request the information. The information you require should not be used for commercial purposes. The contact details are: Information officer, Law Society of Scotland, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street Edinburgh, EH3 8EX or informationofficer@lawscot.org.uk. If you require the information in an alternative format, please write to us or call 0131 226 7411.

We will aim to acknowledge your request in writing within seven working days and tell you if we can provide the required information. If we cannot provide the information you want, we will explain why. If we believe your request for information is unreasonable or that the information is not going to be used in the way you suggested we will not provide you with the information and we will explain this to you. If we can provide the information, we will aim to email you a copy or post you a copy if you do not have an email address, within 20 working days of receiving your request.

If we told you we cannot provide the information you requested and you think the reason we gave is unreasonable, you can complain in writing to: Chief Executive, Law Society of Scotland, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street Edinburgh, EH3 8EX. We will write to you within ten working days of receiving your complaint with either a detailed response or an acknowledgment. We will also indicate the likely timescales involved in responding fully to your feedback where it has not been possible to do so within the original ten working days and keep you informed with progress.

If you require this policy document in an alternative format, please write to us at Law Society of Scotland, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street , Edinburgh, EH3 8EX or email informationofficer@lawscot.org.uk or call 0131 226 7411.