Date lodged: 9 November 2017
To ask the Scottish Government when it will activate the provisions of the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 to allow communities, charities and other groups to establish their own legal practices.
Answered by: Annabelle Ewing 22 November 2017
The Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (the 2010 Act) put in place provisions for solicitors to establish businesses with other professions, creating alternative business structures.
Solicitors and/or other regulated professionals i.e. non-solicitor professionals such as accountants will require to hold at least a 51% majority stake in the business.
Bespoke regulatory schemes are required for these businesses and the 2010 Act allows for up to three regulators to offer regulatory schemes to such businesses. The 2010 Act requires such regulators to be approved by Scottish Ministers with the agreement of the Lord President.
The Law Society of Scotland submitted an application to Scottish Ministers on
16 December 2015 to become an approved regulator of licensed legal services providers, under the 2010 Act. I wrote to the Law Society of Scotland on 17 January 2017 approving them as an approved regulator of licensed legal services providers, as the first part of a two stage process.
The Scottish Government is now working with the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission on the second stage to ensure that the regulatory scheme complies with the requirements of the 2010 Act and supports a modern, progressive system for regulation and complaints handling.
Regulations may be required to make further provision on complaints made about approved regulators; and these may be expected in 2018.