Legal Services Regulation

The Scottish Government’s legal services regulation consultation comes off the back of the ‘Roberton report’ which independently reviewed the subject. Its primary recommendation was the introduction of a single independent regulator for the Scottish legal system that would govern disciplinary matters against legal professionals as well as the regulation of the profession itself. 

This recommendation has been included in the Scottish Government’s consultation as one option for legal services regulation reform along with two other models described as the ‘Market Regulator’ model and the ‘Enhanced accountability’ model. The regulation of legal services is a serious issue and any proposals for reform will be carefully studied by the Scottish Conservatives to ensure the proposals work for victims of crime, legal professionals and their clients.

Concerns were raised in the Roberton report that the current system of regulation was too complex and that for too many it was not clear who was the regulator for the associated legal body. Additionally, it was stated that the complaints against legal professionals was not fit for purpose. 

It is vital that whatever system of regulation is eventually chosen by the Scottish Government, it must be free from political interference. That would undermine the independence of the judiciary and hinder the vital work that legal professionals conduct. 

However, it also important that the current failings in the complaints system are addressed. There are high profile cases that have recently been reported in the media which are still unresolved more than a year after the complaint was made. 

The Scottish Conservatives will closely scrutinise the SNP Government’s proposals to ensure that it meets these conditions.