Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reaction to Review

Not much I can write about Lord Gill's Civil Law Review Report yesterday that has not be written elsewhere but I was relieved to see that the recommendations to introduce McKenzie Friends include a provision that, unlike England & Wales, the McKenzie Friends are not to be entitled to remuneration.

THE most far-reaching reform of Scotland's civil justice system in nearly two centuries has been proposed as part of a landmark review of the country's court system.
Full Article Source The Scotsman
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "A strong and independent legal profession is part of the institutional framework of a modern democracy.

"The legal profession contributes an estimated £1bn in turnover to the Scottish economy annually. This new legislation will help it grow and compete in the UK and internationally."

The new business structures have been branded "Tesco law" in England but Mr MacAskill denies this will be the case in Scotland.

Mike Dailly, principal solicitor at the Govan Law Centre, said: "This Bill seeks to commodify access to justice in Scotland, and in so doing strikes at the heart of justice, the rule of law and the principles of a fair and democratic society."

Full Article
Source The Herald
Ian Smart, President of the Law Society, said: “The Society has been active in driving the debate on alternative business structures (ABSs) and I am very pleased that the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill has been introduced into Parliament.

“The Society believes that Scotland’s legal profession should be able to adapt to best meet the needs of modern society and a global economy. Scots lawyers are well respected around the world and we want to ensure that our members have access to the opportunities that ABSs could present to adopt new practices, to deliver the services their clients expect and develop their businesses in Scotland, as well as elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

 "However it will be vitally important that the Bill ensures the independence of the legal profession, promotes access to justice and maintains robust consumer protections and high standards among those delivering legal services. Effective regulation will be key to any plans for change.”
News Release Source Law Society of Scotland
Scotland’s foremost consumer organisation has welcomed the publication of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill today, Thursday 1 October, as a step forward in widening choice for users of legal services.

Sarah O’Neill, Head of Policy and Solicitor at Consumer Focus Scotland, said: “We have long campaigned for a more open market in legal services in Scotland and the creation of new ways of delivering them. The Legal Services Bill paves the way to open up competition in the market and widen choice for users of legal services.”

Press Release Source Consumer Focus
FORTY YEARS after McKenzie Friends were first introduced in England & Wales, the long awaited Civil Courts Review, undertaken by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, has finally ended the decades long discrimination against Scottish court users, by recommending the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland as well as a whole range of much needed improvements for Scots access to justice, including the introduction of simplified court procedures, more advice on legal rights, increased use of mediation, and finally and end to the infamous exclusion of Class Action litigation in Scotland’s antiquated civil courts system.
Full Post Source A Diary of Injustice

See also Jonathan Mitchell QC and The Journal


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