Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Law Society President faces calls of conflict of interest over dual role as lawyers figurehead and legal adviser on reforms

Richard Henderson, the Chief solicitor for the Scottish Executive Government legal advisory team, is as we know, the new President of the Law Society of Scotland, after the untimely resignation of John MacKinnon last week, on grounds of 'pressures of work'.

However, the problem is that Law Society of Scotland have taken a well known public stance against such issues as the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, the OFT's proposals for opening the legal services market, possible restrictions & further controls on who enters those newly opened legal services markets, and measures proposed to the Scottish Parliament to clean up the legal profession's sins of the past,

Some are now pointing to the fact that Mr Henderson's duties as figurehead President of the Law Society of Scotland - which entail duties to the interests of the legal profession itself, and Chief Solicitor & Legal Advisor to the Scottish Government - which entail duties to offer impartial legal advice on these very same issues which may benefit the public, are incompatible with each other and are therefore a significant conflict of interest.

With reforms looming to the legal services market in Scotland, and inevitable problems between the Law Society and Scottish Legal Complaints Commission over regulatory issues, will Mr Henderson choose to remain Law Society President, or stay as head of the Scottish Governments legal advisory team with a multi million pound taxpayers bill for some 114 solicitors.

Developments will be reported in due course ..

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