Saturday, November 03, 2007

Controlling the debate : Law Society issues consultation paper on legal services market reforms

The Law Society of Scotland has issued a consultation paper on implementing the OFT's recommendations for open legal services markets in Scotland.

No prizes for guessing the Law Society is strongly resisting any breaking of the solicitors monopoly on access to legal services, and any moves to open up the legal services market will be strongly resisted.

The Law Society is apparently looking for views from the legal profession, politicians, consumer groups and other interested parties on the best way forward, but will the sweetness & brown envelopes be changing hands for opinions in favour of maintaining the current solicitors monopoly on access to justice ? Many think so ...

You can download the 'consultation' paper from the Law Society's website in Acrobat pdf format HERE - (looks like a consultation form from North Korea ! - ed)

The Herald reports :

Law Society opens up debate on ‘Tesco Law’


The so-called Tesco Law' that would allow legal services to be provided by places other than law firms, such as supermarkets or banks, has been thrown open to a national debate.

The Law Society of Scotland yesterday issued a consultation paper which could result in changes to how legal services are delivered in future.

The society is looking for views from the legal profession, politicians, consumer groups and other interested parties. It will examine whether the rules governing law firms should be relaxed to allow the legal services market to be opened up to other providers who are already gearing up to offer legal services to consumers in England and Wales.

Richard Henderson, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "This is one of the most important issues to arise in the history of the Scottish legal profession and could result in far reaching changes.

"There is a growing demand for change both from within the profession and other interested parties, including consumers, and while we have embraced the need for change and have been active in driving this debate forwards, we cannot underestimate some of the challenges that must be addressed to do this.

"With any opening up of the market, we need to ensure that members of the public can continue to access legal advice locally and that protections for the public, currently provided by a strongly regulated legal profession, remain in place".

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