Law Society chief in listening mode

SOLICITORS from across the Borders have had discussions with the president of the Law Society of Scotland.

Cameron Ritchie met with members at sessions in Duns and Melrose as part of a Scotland-wide tour by the society’s chief to gauge opinion on changes facing the legal profession.

All practising lawyers have to be members of the society which acts as a link between the profession and Holyrood, and also has disciplinary powers.

After the meetings Mr Ritchie told ‘The Berwickshire’: “One of the biggest benefits has been to meet so many local solicitors and to listen to the issues they and their clients are facing.

“A whole variety of issues were raised, including legal aid, conveyancing and powers of attorney. I heard about some of the particular challenges that come from working in rural areas.

“A number of in-house lawyers working in the public sector also raised concerns about the recent developments in the European Court which risks restricting their rights.

“Overall, I was reminded of just how important the role that solicitors play and the services they provide to communities across the Borders. That is why the Law Society needs to work hard to support them and ensure their continued success.”

Prior to the meetings Mr Ritchie had stated: “I have made it one of my aims during my year as president to meet with as many practitioners and in as many parts of Scotland as possible so that we can discuss issues that are particular to them and also share ideas and information.

“The past few years have been a time of rapid change for the legal profession, coupled with the ongoing economic downturn which has meant severe restrictions in public spending and cutbacks in the private sector. There will be no let-up in the pace of change for the profession as next year will see the first alternative business structures, following the Scottish Parliament’s legislation passed in the last year, which will allow solicitors to set up in business with other professionals to provide legal services.”