Vote 'No; No' in the Referendum on Alternative Business Structures

All of us hold dear the principles essential to the administration of justice in Scotland: independence, confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest. All of us regard justice not as a product at the sole mercy of profit but as a crucial service that must be available for all our communities in Scotland. All of us now have a chance to re-affirm these ideals. Vote NO; NO to the Law Society Referendum.

To not do so would be to open up control of our legal services to purely commercial organisations. No amount of regulations or regulators stopped the banks undermining our whole banking system. ABS will allow them to now ruin our legal services.

Non-profitable areas will be abandoned - supermarkets and other so called entities are geared solely by profit. No amount of regulation will stop legal services being used as a portal for money laundering and other similar activities - our legal services will be open to criminal control.

There should be no role for the Law Society of Scotland in regulating such people. No Guarantee Fund or Master Policy could cope with this. A NO; NO vote will stop all of this in its tracks.

We need to refocus our legal services on Scotland’s communities and citizens. They deserve better. We need to send a message to the Scottish Government to think again. We must reform our Law Society as it has shown itself incapable of representing all of those trying to render a legal service in Scotland now and in the future.

We must seek to re-affirm, through any such reform, the principles crucial to the administration of justice. We must also ensure that the legal service is preserved and improved across the whole range of needs of the Scottish people and their communities. Join us to begin to make this happen and ensure you vote NO; NO by noon, 7 April 2010.

FRANK MAGUIRE, Senior Partner and Solicitor Advocate, Thompsons Solicitors
JOHN McGOVERN, Solicitor Advocate, President of the Glasgow Bar Association
WALTER SEMPLE, Solicitor, Member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland
MIKE DAILLY, Principal Solicitor, Govan Law Centre
PATRICK McGUIRE, Solicitor Advocate and Partner, Thompsons Solicitors

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Controversial new legislation to introduce so-called Tesco law to Scotland presents a real threat to consumer protection, according to one of the country’s most high-profile lawyers.

Mike Dailly, principal solicitor of the Govan Law Centre, said the Bill going through Parliament, which allows non-lawyers to open legal services, opens the system up to risks and illegitimate interests.

The Herald last week reported that Frank Maguire, senior partner at Thompsons, one of Glasgow’s largest firms, fears the new legislation would increase the risk of money-laundering and allow drug barons to expand their empires.

Mr Maguire is one of a number of solicitors concerned that the changes will undermine his profession’s integrity and independence by allowing firms to raise capital from outside investors. It would also mean banks and even supermarkets could offer a full range of legal services. The proposals have divided Scotland’s 10,500 solicitors.



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