Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Petition 1197

This is a video of the Public Petitions Committee considering a petition by Bill Alexander calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to reform the legal system to adopt the Scandinavian system of allowing unrestricted access to legal representation before the court for example by allowing non-lawyers to appear in court on behalf of other parties.   At present only solicitors who are members of the Law Society of Scotland have Rights of Audience.

The Committee agreed to seek responses on the issues raised in the petition from the Scottish Government, Faculty of Advocates, Law Society of Scotland, Scottish Law Commission and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

Nigel Don, Scottish Nationalist MSP who sits on the Justice Committee, appears then to go off on a tangent about party litigants. He said it isn't wise for someone to represent themselves bearing in mind a lawyer is an officer of the court and isn't there just to represent their client, but to assist a court to come the right answer.

I can't help thinking if a solicitor is there to assist the court come to the right answer and not just represent their client what is the point in both parties having a solicitor? Also whilst I agree being a party litigant is not advisable I do believe that the law should be accessible for the ordinary person in the street to represent themselves should they wish.


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