Number of Members: 8,300
Annual Cost of Membership: £375.00
Membership is: Compulsory for solicitors
The Law Society of Scotland was established in 1949 and is the governing body of the Scottish solicitors' profession. The objects of the Society include promoting the interests of the legal profession in Scotland and the interests of the public in relation to the profession.
The Society regulates its members, maintains the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland, issues practising certificates and administers the Master Policy for Professional Indemnity and the Solicitors Guarantee Fund.
There are around 10,000 solicitors in Scotland of whom over 8,000 hold current practising certificates. The majority of members are in private practice and around 20% work in central or local government, commerce or industry.
The Society is a recognised Professional Body in terms of the Financial Services Act 1986 and issues Investment Business Certificates. It also promotes professional practice and accounting rules.
The Society has a Council of 50 members who elect annually a President and Vice-President. The Secretary is the Chief Executive of the Society. The Council has the services of a Permanent Secretariat, responsible for the administration, running the committees of the Society and monitoring and developing services.
According to the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 the object of the Society shall include the promotion of a) the interests of the solicitors' profession in Scotland and b) the interests of the public in relation to that profession.
Brief Historical Background
The origins of Scots law are based on the European Roman law systems, but since 1707 when the Acts of Union joined Scotland and England in a political sense it has been influenced by English common law. Historically, Scotland enjoyed close links with continental Europe. The Auld Alliance with France originated in 1295. Until the 18th Century, Scots law students were generally educated in European universities, particularly those in the Netherlands, Italy and France where Roman law was taught. As a result, modern Scots law has a closer affinity to Roman law and therefore to present-day European legal systems than any other United Kingdom system.
Scottish lawyers are known and recognised for their entrepreneurial spirit. In the last 25 years the number of solicitorsĂ? firms in Scotland serving the business community has grown significantly. Increased specialisation within legal firms ensures that Scotland has its own highly qualified experts in specific areas of business law, finance and investment. Property, liquidations and receiverships, planning, banking and securities as well as company law, intellectual property, tax, pensions law, employment law and EC law are all concerns covered by Scottish solicitors.
Internationally too, there have been important developments in recent years. The role of the Scots solicitor increasingly includes a vibrant European dimension. The Law Society and its members actively promote Scotland as a gateway to Europe for inward investors. Scottish solicitors are ideally suited to act as a bridge between other jurisdictions and the European Union. Their expertise on EU law includes competition law, patents and trademarks, employment law and distribution law. The Society has an office in Brussels, which engages in the daily lobbying and monitoring of the European Parliament. Its main roles are to raise awareness of EU law and of opportunities in Europe among Scottish solicitors, to monitor developments in EU law and to promote Scottish solicitors and Scots law.
Programme of seminars covering all aspects of legal practice.
Contact: Ms T Sim at UPDATE Tel: +44 131 476 8182
Journal or Newsletter
The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland is published monthly and free to Members.
Contact: David Cameron - Editor, Connect Publications, Dalvey House, 34 Rowan Road, Dumbreck, Glasgow, G41 5BZ
Also published: Scottish Criminal Case Reports and Scottish Civil Law Reports
The Society provides services to its members and to the public which include: information and advice on specialists and expert witnesses; legal education; continuing education; professional practice; European law; mediation and arbitration; law reform and marketing. It operates a solicitor referral service for the public and Dial-a-Law - a telephone information and referral service, for the public. The Society also takes an active interest in law reform and undertakes legal research.
LLB Degree, Diploma in Legal Practice, 2 year traineeship
Annual License to Practise
Yes Practising Certificate issued by Law Society of Scotland.
Continuing Legal Education Requirements
20 hours of assessed Continuing Professional Development per annum.
Code of Ethics
Code of Conduct, Practice Rules and Guidelines reviewed regularly.
Client Relations Department. Council can prosecute solicitors before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
Practice by Foreign Lawyers
Permitted. Restrictions: Foreign lawyers are not permitted to enter into partnership with Scottish solicitors.