Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Scots Law should use more English to attract business despite worst performing lawyers in Europe

One of the ways in which Scotland can attract legal business, if anyone is mad enough to come to this jurisdiction, is to use more plain English, recommends the Business Experts and Law forum (sounds shady)… but clients would have to get over the absolutely dire quality of the Scots legal profession as well as the layers & levels of useless laws designed to flummox even the most brilliant of legal minds, of which there are very few north of the Carter Bar …

No improvements expected as long as Kenny MacAskill is the Justice Secretary …. (laugh)

The Herald reports :

Scots law should use more plain English, says panel

STEWART PATERSON November 04 2008

Scotland should market itself more aggressively to the world as a place to do legal business, according to a panel of government-appointed experts who say the country has the potential to turn itself into "the Switzerland of dispute resolution".

To help make this happen, court procedures need to be expressed in more plain English, they said.

More temporary judges, an expansion of the Commercial Court and a review of cost recovery limits are also proposed.

The Business Experts and Law forum, a panel of nine set up by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to investigate ways to make the system more attractive to business, included representatives from the CBI, the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and leading financial institutions.

They found reasons why businesses would opt for English courts over Scots for contracts and litigation, including the "increasing harmonisation of Scots and English Law", mainly as a result of EU directives.

Businessmen were baffled by terminology, which used the term "taxation" for the assessment of legal fees, their report said.

However, a range of measures are recommended to fulfil what the panel sees as "the potential for Scotland's dispute resolution system to be developed and marketed as a just, integrated and efficient neutral system that runs like clockwork - the Switzerland of dispute resolution".

Fergus Ewing, Community Safety Minister, said: "Scotland's legal system has a proud and illustrious history. However, it is important that it continues to provide a first- class service to both members of the public and businesses.

"The Scottish Government is determined that our law firms should be able to compete internationally and that our legal system should be more attractive to major businesses.

"That is why I asked this group of some of our best business and legal brains to look at how we can encourage business organisations both large and small to use our legal services.

"I welcome their recognition that Scotland can play a leading role as a centre for dispute resolution, and our legal services should be included in any marketing of Scotland and its businesses. I will now consider the forum's report in detail as we take forward our plans to reform the legal profession and develop our arbitration bill."

Michael Clancy, of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "The report contains some very good recommendations that would enhance the reputation of Scottish lawyers internationally, and we will be looking at it in greater detail."

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