Exclusive: Roberton Review a ‘grand design’ lacking in credibility and should form no basis for change

Exclusive: Roberton Review a 'grand design' lacking in credibility and should form no basis for change

Fiona Dalton

The Roberton Review fails to appreciate the separation of powers, proposes a regime that will effectively cost the consumer more and is so lacking in credibility that it should “form no basis for any changes” to the regulation of legal services in Scotland, solicitors have said.

The Scottish Law Agents Society (SLAS) has indicated strong opposition to the recommendations made by the Review of the Regulation of Legal Services – whose report was released last October – with the publication of a 12 point summary against its findings.

Under the Roberton Review’s proposals, the regulatory functions of the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates and Association of Commercial Attorneys would be abolished in favour of a single regulator.

Fiona Dalton, president of SLAS, told Scottish Legal News that the Roberton Review “lacks credibility” due to its absence of “consumer evidence from Scotland, failure to consider the rule of law and separation of powers and the huge cost implications for solicitors and the public alike”.

She added: “It does not properly acknowledge that solicitors already have external regulation by the Regulatory Committee created by the Scottish Parliament only nine years ago and which is external to solicitors and government.

“[It] proposes a new single regulator which will vest too much power in one body. This review should form no basis for any changes.”

Ms Dalton said that the problems with the current complaints regime are being sidelined by “grand designs” based on “wishful thinking rather than the difficult task of solving and then legislating for the defects in the system”.

“If the author of the review thought this would be gladly welcomed by solicitors, events discussing this have shown vast opposition.”

She said: “We are happy to discuss our opposition to the Review with any MSPs and to work with any who are alarmed by the lack of serious thinking about the issues we have raised.”

SLAS is holding a meeting on the Roberton Review at 5.30pm on Thursday 20 June 2019 at the Hall of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow.

Read the 12 Point Summary of SLAS Opposition to the Roberton Review here

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