PROVING yet again one member one vote does not exist in Scotland’s ten thousand strong legal profession, SIXTY EIGHT solicitors backed a motion reducing the size of the Law Society of Scotland’s governing ‘Council’ to 46 members, down from the current 62, according to an announcement made by the Law Society today.
The amendments to the Society's constitution will deliver a Council made up of : 31 solicitor members elected from geographical constituencies ranging in size from Glasgow & Strathkelvin (5 members) to Perth (1 member), 6 co-opted members and 9 appointed lay
poodles members. The changes will be phased in over a three-year period.
Law Society of Scotland Press Release :Solicitors back smaller Law Society Council
The Law Society of Scotland's ruling Council is to be reduced in size by around a quarter, members agreed at its annual general meeting today.
In a vote, a motion to amend the Society's constitution to establish a Council of 46 members, down from 62, was backed by 68 solicitors, with two against and three abstentions. A two-thirds majority was needed to pass the motion.
Bruce Beveridge, the Society's Vice President-elect and Convener of the Constitution Working Group, said the reform would streamline the decision-making process.
He added that a smaller Council had been supported during consultations with the membership.
He said: "The decision to reduce the size of the Council, part of the Society's ongoing modernisation process, will streamline the way we work while still allowing effective representation of solicitors.
"The profession is increasingly diverse and it is vital that all views and interests are properly represented on the Council. We will continue to work with our members to ensure the Society's processes and procedures are modern, effective and transparent."
Solicitors elected from geographical constituencies will continue to make up most of the Council, with up to six co-opted solicitor members also representing specific under-represented sectors or groups, and up to nine non-solicitor members.
Bruce Beveridge added that further reforms would be considered in the future, including the use of technology to increase participation in Society business.
However, reducing the size of Council further, as has been suggested by some, would require careful consideration and consultation with the profession and could risk damaging the effective representation of members, he said.
The AGM in Perth also heard a statement of the Society's accounts for 2011, approved draft practice rules and debated the issue of separate representation for borrowers and lenders in property transactions. The Society's Council had been minded to propose amending the Practice Rules to prevent solicitors acting for both lenders and borrowers in all transactions but agreed there should be further discussion with members at today's meeting. It was agreed that a working party would be set up which would engage with solicitors, lenders and public interest groups to promote standardised practices and procedures for security work. A follow up report will go to the SGM in September.