Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Law Society President Jamie Millar attacks leak of dictatorship style ‘media protocol’, says act of leaking by solicitor was repugnant

A little over two days since the details of the Law Society of Scotland’s gagging order media protocol were leaked to online legal websites, the Law Society’s current President, Jamie Millar, has attacked said leak (Comedy capers – Ed)

The Law Society of Scotland’s President Jamie Millar’s letter :

22 Nov 2010
Dear colleagues

You may be aware of this already but if not I would draw to your attention the attached report in the Firm Magazine online -

I would also draw to your attention the note from the Registrar which formed part of the Council agenda (Agenda item 6a) issued to all members of the Council on Friday which indicated those papers which were confidential. Included in the list of confidential papers was the protocol on media communications.

The article in the Firm indicates that the publication has received comment from one senior member of the Society's Executive and two members of the Society's Council. It is clear that that the protocol has been leaked to the Firm and given the unattributed comments in the article the conclusion must be reached that it was leaked by one or more Council members or a senior employee of the Society despite the confidentiality attached to the paper when issued.

I find it repugnant that a solicitor should choose to flaunt one of the basic principles of our profession by breaching confidentiality but to do so in an unattributed way is cowardly and not worthy of someone who has had the dignity of the solicitor's profession conferred upon him or her.

I have always been prepared to engage in open debate with any member of the profession on any issues and to stand up and be identified and counted in relation to any issue.

I invite whoever has breached the confidentiality of the business of the Council of the Society to have the courage of his or her convictions, to identify himself or herself to me, to engage in open and transparent debate on the matter and allow the other members of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland the courtesy of an opportunity to have their say before the matter is put to public debate. Quite apart from the breach of confidentiality, I find the leak of this matter to be disrespectful to the 50 or so members who make up the governing body of the Law Society of Scotland, its Council.

I do not intend to dwell in this e-mail on the merits or demerits of the protocol other than to make it quite clear that the adoption or rejection of that protocol will be a matter for the Council to decide on Friday at the next meeting of the Council and that the protocol does not seek to prevent any Council member expressing any opinions on any matter in their personal capacity or as spokesperson for another body but sets out the basis on which Council members will comment as spokespersons of the Society.

To save the person who leaked the protocol to the Firm the trouble of forwarding this e-mail to Steven Raeburn I am copying it to Steven. I am also copying it to Peter Nicholson of the Journal and I confirm that this e-mail is not off the record and can be published in its entirety in their respective publications.


Jamie Millar
The Law Society of Scotland

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