Law Society: Rule changes to bolster complaints process and modernise accounts rules

Law Society: Rule changes to bolster complaints process and modernise accounts rules

The Law Society of Scotland’s Regulatory Committee is set to take forward changes to solicitor practice rules that aims to further strengthen the sector’s standards by bolstering the legal complaints process and modernising its accounts rules.

The changes were considered at the Law Society’s special general meeting, held online last night.

The Regulatory Committee will introduce a new conduct rule formalising the long-held requirement for solicitors to cooperate with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, including if they are the subject of a complaint. The new rule mirrors an existing requirement to cooperate with the Law Society.

Accounts rules are in place to ensure the protection of client funds lodged with a solicitor firm, for example if someone is buying a property.

The changes aim to modernise the current rules, address weaknesses which have been identified and where possible, simplify requirements on members. They also provide scope to assess cashroom managers to ensure they have the required level of knowledge of the accounts rules.

Rachel Wood, executive director of regulation at the Law Society, said: “These changes are incremental improvements to our robust regulation of the Scottish legal sector. They show our strong commitment to a just and efficient complaints system acting in the public interest, and to ensuring that clients’ money held by firms is protected.

“It’s important that the practice rules for Scottish solicitors continue to evolve to ensure they serve the needs of the profession and the people, businesses and organisations they serve. The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has a key role in ensuring there are robust protections in place for the public and solicitors must co-operate with its important work.

“The Scottish government’s plan to bring forward new legislation to reform the regulation of legal services is an encouraging sign that we’ll be able to make more significant improvements in the future. The current legislation is an impediment to a fully modernised regulatory system Scotland needs, and we’re waiting keenly to see the details. New legislation will allow us to better protect consumers while ensuring the legal profession continues to thrive.”

The amended rules will go before the Lord President for authorisation.

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