Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 Regulations and Order introduced

Scheduled to come into force on 2nd July, the new regulations for the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 will move Scottish law firms one step closer to the ABS model currently in place in England and Wales. From 2 July 2012, the Scottish Government will be able to begin accepting applications from those bodies wishing to become approved regulators, presumably the Law Society and other legal professional bodies.

Legislation referred to in the Scottish Government press release is linked to below:

Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Ancillary Provision) Regulations 2012 (draft)


Licensed Legal Services (Specification of Regulated Professions) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (draft)


Licensed Legal Services (Complaints and Compensation Arrangements) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSI 2012/153) 


Licensed Legal Services (Interests in Licensed Providers) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSI 2012/154) 


Licensed Legal Services (Maximum Penalty and Interest in respect of Approved Regulators) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSI 2012/155) 

Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2012 (SSI 2012/152 (C.14)) 

Keeping (t)ABS on England

It’s all change at the moment in Englandshire law firms, and what happens in England no longer stays in England. Alternative Business Structures (ABS) are all the rage, and after a gradual run up period where firms could register interest in the conversion to ABS status (with mainly personal injury firms (PI) and smaller firms doing so, some large businesses such as BT and the Co-operative group being an exception), now they’re actually real – the first three groups to be approved as ABS’ were announced on the 28th March 2012.
Mid tier and larger firms in England seems to be adopting a “wait and see approach”, watching how the smaller, more adaptable firms (and also therefore possibly those who are more hungry for a cash-injection) fare before committing themselves to any tie-ups with investors. The existing large bodies like the Co-operative Group are big enough, and well funded enough to push on and expand their existing legal services in their own direction.
The reaction to this business option in England is likely to be a good predictor of the impact of the Legal Services (Scotland)Act 2010 in Scottish law firms. The Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 will allow 49% non-solicitor ownership of law firms in Scotland when brought fully into force. The regulations involved in the implementation of the 2010 Act are being drafted at the moment, and will be consulted on in two lots, in the Spring and Autumn of 2012.
The recently concluded Scottish Government consultation on ABS in Scotlandfound that most respondents favoured the inclusion of accountants as “regulated professionals” (those who are authorised alongside solicitors to own the majority, 51% share of the company), which raises the prospect of law firms co-owned by solicitors and accountants. It’s yet to be decided what the actual professions authorised to have ownership of a law firm alongside solicitors will be.
And what sort of changes are likely for cross border Scots/English law firms? Will it be more beneficial to become an ABS under one regime than the other? And how do law firms traditionally owned by, in effect, their staff, change to a culture where they’re partially owned by, and accountable to, external funders?
So, to see what a future Scottish law firm could look like, for the next year, we can watch to see how English firms deal with it…
Popcorn, anyone?

Drifting over drafts

Today, I’m looking for this draft Statutory Instrument:

The Offshore Chemicals (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (oh yes, I know how to live life on the wild side!)

The Stationery Office gave notice of its existence here.

Now, I want to put that information into our Current Awareness service, so I went to the section in OPSI that I’d previously bookmarked, as it held draft SIs.

But that redirected me to the front page of Legislation.gov.uk.

Ok…I knew that the shift of all content to Legislation.gov would be happening soon, so that was fine. Legislation.gov is generally a good, handy site…but unfortunately it still has some glitches.

Before, on OPSI, I could either go directly to the Draft SIs page, or search by the title of the draft. For some reason though, Legislation.gov doesn’t recognise draft legislation if you try and find it via entering its title in the search box – it seems that search is restricted to only enacted legislation, so Draft SIs aren’t findable that way.

Ok…I can go to the Draft SIs page, and find it there. Or not – there are only 15 draft SIs so far for 2011, it’s easy enough to see that my one isn’t there. It looks like, in the case of this SI, there ain’t no 2011 version…so I’ll go and check if there’s a typing error been made somewhere, and it’s really meant to be the 2010 they’re referring to. Now…where’s the 2010 one?

The 2010 draft SI section is split into 12 pages. There’s no option to show them all on a single page, so if you’re unsure of exactly what it’s been categorised under, you’re going to be clicking through each page, unless you know what exact heading your draft SI could be found under…no quick “find” option, just scanning each heading and entry.

For this one, after clicking through various pages, I found that it’s listed under the “Environmental Protection” category. Now, I don’t know the Legislation.gov headings – therefore I couldn’t tell whether my SI would be listed under Chemicals, Offshore, Utilities, Health and Safety, or any other possible headings. Making me search by a heading, when I don’t know what the headings are, nor whether the SI I’m looking for will be categorised by them under that heading isn’t very helpful! If they can categorise the headings alphabetically, why can’t they categorise the draft SIs alphabetically? After all, usually I have the title of the SI, and want to be able to find it from that: I don’t really care where they decide to place it within their categories.

So, from the information on the Draft SIs page, I now know that what I’m looking for is a draft that replaces a previous draft, which itself was a replacement of a previous draft.

Unfortunately, the Daily List entry makes clear that the 2011 draft is replacing the second 2010 draft…but the 2011 one draft is nowhere to be found.

Gah!

So, basically, my brain is melted, and I’m glaring at the Legislation.gov website, for making what used to be a simple process into a multi-step pain, and am still no closer to knowing the proper title for these draft Regulations, or where they are.

Excuse me while I go to a quiet place to whimper for a while.

Not quite the same

In response to my pitiful plea about RSS feeds from OPSI, Scott pointed out that they could be found here: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/whatsnew.htm

So, I signed myself up for the ‘All Legislation’ feed, assuming it’d come in in the same format as on the Daily List, eg:

47
The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008. – 2p.: 30 cm. – Enabling power: Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986, s. 12 (3). – Issued: 26.02.2008. Made: 20.02.2008. Laid before the Scottish Parliament: 21.02.2008. Coming into force: 07.04.2008. Effect: S.I. 1996/2447 amended. Territorial extent and classification: S. General. – £3.00 – 9780110815145. Order here

Instead, they come in like this:

The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008: Web Version

By KENNY MACASKILL

These Regulations amend the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996 to provide that a solicitor’s right to prior payment of fees and outlays out of any property recovered or preserved for a client in respect of advice and assistance shall not apply to the first £5,009 (increased from £4,821) recovered or preserved by virtue of certain family proceedings.

It’s a direct link to the legislation, which is good (if it works – at the moment it’s varying between taking me to a blank Bloglines page, or opening a duplicate of the Bloglines page I’m on, I know not why). And it’s nice that it’s giving the text of the Explanatory Note (not something usually included in a Daily List listing). But what’s not so good is that it’s stripped out all of the essential information I need to use – the legislation it’s been made under, its into force date, it’s effect…

Basically what’s being sent out then, is the title and Explanatory Note part of new legislation.

So, I’ve removed that subscription, and I’m back to trawling the Daily List, daily.
Acht well, it was a nice dream!

RSS feeds from TSO – a sweet dream

In keeping with discussions on law.librarians of legal publisher RSS feeds, I have decided I want The Stationery Office to be nice to me and do an RSS feed of the Daily List.

I already pick up the press releases of Government departments such as Defra, DCLG, DBERR, HM Treasury, the Scottish Government etc…it would be lovely to be able to have a feed of the Daily List in alongside them, to save my daily website visit for legislation.

It would be even nicer if it was a feed for JUST legislation…I don’t really need to know about Command Papers, House of Commons and House of Lords papers, the Parliamentary debates. We get that info from other sources if it’s needed, but it’s me that selects the legislation that’s relevant to our core business, and uploads that material to our Current Awareness service.

So if there were a feed for Bills / Acts, UK SIs, SSI, and SRs, I would be such a happy bunny!