Law Society proposals to give more prominence to solicitors’ ethics and core values in the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill were backed by the Justice Committee today, Tuesday 8 June.
The Scottish Parliament committee was beginning its consideration of 378 amendments tabled by the Scottish Government and opposition MSPs.
Society President Jamie Millar said: “It was encouraging that a number of amendments promoted by the Society were taken on board by the committee, particularly those that strengthened reference to the interests of justice, solicitors’ ethics and the issue of confidentiality.
“Committee members had a constructive, well-informed discussion about some complex but important issues and were positive about the Scottish solicitors’ profession and its core values.”
The committee dealt with amendments to the first five sections of the Bill. Those suggested to MSPs by the Society included: promotion of the interests of justice should be added to the regulatory objectives that apply to legal services providers and regulators; client confidentiality and ethical behaviour should be included among the professional principles to which providers must adhere.
A proposal to allow 25% non-solicitor ownership of firms was rejected by committee members. The amendment was similar to a motion supported at the Society’s annual general meeting though not adopted as policy. Other unsuccessful amendments included a proposal to create a new category of regulated employment law service providers.
Jamie Millar added: “This is only the first session of stage 2 of the Bill. We look forward to continuing to offer suggestions to improve the Bill in the interests of the public and the solicitors’ profession.”
ENDS 8 JUNE 2010
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