Friday, April 03, 2009

Solicitor Advocates criticised by Lord Gill claim the high ground ahead of Law Society EGM

The Society of Solicitor Advocates are claiming strong support for its approach to Lord Gill’s recent criticisms of the lack of regulation & standards maintained by some in the profession.

The claims come amid confidence building, and the odd bit of spin needed to generate publicity ahead of their Extraordinary General Meeting at the Law Society of Scotland's Drusheugh Gardens HQ, Edinburgh, on 22 April 2009.

It is fairly obvious Solicitor Advocates, along with the rest of the profession are being poorly regulated by the Law Society .. (perhaps a change of regulator is needed, which we’ve all known is the case for years – Ed)

The release from the Society of Solicitor Advocates :

Solicitor Advocates claim strong support in advance of EGM

The Society of Solicitor Advocates has claimed strong support for its principled approach in responding to the criticisms of the court in the recent case of Woodside.

Lord Gill, in the recent case of Woodside, has questioned the way in which all solicitor advocates operate, and has specifically questioned whether or not solicitors and solicitor advocates are able to act independently when advising their clients on who they should instruct for appearances in court.

The judges in the Woodside case all raised points of fundamental importance. The Society is committed to upholding the principles that all lawyers share. It seeks an open and frank debate as to how those principles apply in the modern world.

"We have had an excellent response to our call for an open debate, with strong support for our principled approach. A large number of solicitor advocates have already committed to attending the EGM on 22 April, and we expect to see a good attendance from solicitor advocates specialising in both civil and criminal law," said Alayne Swanson, President of the Society of Solicitor Advocates.

Not since the debates in the House of Lords in 1990, when the law allowing solicitor advocates was introduced, has there been such a direct criticism of the whole concept of solicitor advocates.

"The Society treats the criticisms with the utmost respect and seriousness, but rejects them in their entirety," said John Scott, a leading human rights lawyer, and Vice President of the Society of Solicitor Advocates. "While there may be criticisms of individual solicitor advocates in individual cases, there are mechanisms in place to deal with such complaints," he added.

The Society of Solicitor Advocates wishes to play a central part in the review of rights of audience before the higher courts – a review that both the Law Society of Scotland and the Society of Solicitor Advocates have welcomed. To that end it intends to seek the views of its members, with a view to publishing those views after the EGM.

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