Scottish courts and the law
Scottish courts and the law

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Scottish courts and the law

3 The legal profession and the future

As the legal system changes the professionals who work within the system have adapted to change. Watch the following video which explores how the Law Society of Scotland draws on expertise to provide support for and responses to legal consultations both within Scotland and the wider UK.

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The law plays an important role in the lives of Scottish people, whether it relates to how we drive on the road, our social and our working lives, or how our children are protected. As part of the work we do in the public interest, the Law Society of Scotland helps to make sure that new laws being introduced are fit for purpose and workable.
We are a non-partisan organisation, which means that we act independently of government and political parties. Our focus instead is on whether or not proposed new laws are legally sound. Will they work in practice, and will they deliver what they set out to? So how do you do this?
We have a network of expert groups, each of them specialising in a specific area of Law, from employment and family law through consumer, property and inheritance law. These experts volunteer their time and are mainly solicitors. But we also work with other professionals like accountants, surveyors, clinicians and academics. They meet regularly to scrutinise, debate and respond to government proposals for new laws.
Our expert groups work alongside our small highly skilled staff team, who shape their comments and discussions into written responses and briefings, which are sent to members of both the Scottish and UK parliaments. They may also propose specific amendments to legislation to help to improve the law. We submit these amendments to MSPs, MPs and peers and explain to them why we think they're necessary.
Parliamentarians will often ask to meet us to discuss our proposed amendments in more detail. This helps them to explain to Parliament why we think they're necessary, which improves the chances of the amendments being agreed and adopted.
It's probably not apparent to the public, but the movement of issues through the Parliament is extremely fast. So we have a very limited period to understand the depths of a problem before it's debated in the chamber and a law is made. So briefings from the law society at key moments are invaluable, because they get to the heart of some of the legal issues. And although I'm not obliged to agree with the position that the society takes, I can always trust the integrity of the briefing and know that in legal terms, they've researched it.
We are regularly invited to give oral evidence to parliamentary committees at both Holyrood and Westminster. This gives us an opportunity to expand on and explain our written briefings. A member of one of our expert groups will attend to give evidence on our behalf.
I think the Law Society has got amongst the most effective when it comes to having a look at legislation, particularly as it goes through the House of Commons. And there is a number of organisations that do get in touch with members of parliament, just to give their view about the various legislation that goes through. But you could always count on the Law Society of Scotland to be there to make sure that we have got their view about things as they go through.
And I think it's just something that we now come to rely on when it comes to the legislation that goes through. And something that is obviously quite a nice feature is you regularly see members of the Law Society down in the House of Commons observing some of our proceedings and helpfully directing us towards some of the things that they've presented to us.
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