When you are not looking as your attention is fixed elsewhere, that is exactly the time that you need to be looking at what is being done and slipped through behind your back and out of your sight!
An article by a Scottish Solicitor in the Scotsman grabbed my attention.
The matter it pertains to has not been commented upon elsewhere in the media as far as I am aware. Yet it is such a matter that potentially could drive a coach and horses through a major part of the Acts of Union! That of the Independence of Scots Law!
Michael Sheridan, a Glasgow solicitor says in the article
“Last week, the CMA launched an astonishing attack upon the solicitors profession in Scotland. According to reports, I and my colleague solicitors may not be delivering good outcomes, need to do a better job, do not provide high quality, good value legal services, short-change clients, do not make price information available in an accessible manner and provide information which exacerbates the complexity of legal services. What a bunch.”
These groundless allegations were published two weeks into the coronavirus emergency while most solicitors affected by these allegations were struggling to close down their offices while continuing to provide emergency services from home to the public and to meet the stringent requirements of professional practice including safeguarding clients’ funds, papers and information without the benefit of the staff, superior internet efficiency and office equipment normally available.
Moreover, the CMA is fully funded by taxpayers in publishing these allegations, while solicitors in Scotland have to rely upon private resources to examine and respond to these allegations at a time when the income from their practices is all but drying up. Is it possible these factors were not taken into account by the CMA when choosing the time to launch their broadside ?”
Now lets take a moment to consider this, who are the CMA?
The CMA are the Competitions and Marketing Authority, a branch of the UK Government responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities directly reporting to the Department of Business.
Michael Sheridan goes on to say
“It is clear the CMA seeks to recast the Scottish legal system in the mould of the system in England and Wales without insight or regard to the different tradition, size and nature of the Scottish jurisdiction and, incidentally, without regard to the Treaty of Union of 1707 in which articles XVIII and XIX guarantee in all time coming the separate entity of the Scottish legal jurisdiction.
That Treaty may be very old but has been regularly visited and, for the most part, faithfully applied throughout the three centuries since its creation. The CMA seeks to replace the Law Society of Scotland with a new statutory regulator along the lines of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales and to make the ownership of solicitors’ practices available to non-solicitors including commercial entities subject to shareholder ownership.
Perhaps the most extreme contravention of the Treaty of Union is the proposed replacement of Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord President of the Court of Session, with Parliament as the head of the regulation of the solicitors’ profession.
This last proposal contravenes also the doctrine of the separation of powers in arguably the most savage attack by the legislature upon the judiciary since the removal of the head of the judiciary (Charles I) by the (English) Parliament in 1649. Hence the need for the CMA to find fault with the current system in Scotland and, in particular, with the solicitors’ profession in Scotland.”
Lets be clear about what is being said here. This is a direct attack on the Independence of Scots Law and an attempted power grab by Westminster.
“Perhaps most unwelcome to Scottish solicitors is the fact that, while the Law Society of Scotland has responded to the iterations of CMA, it is reported to have offered no challenge to the inaccurate, damaging and, at places, irrational assertions made by the CMA against Scottish solicitors.
As these solicitors struggle and strive to keep going under the pressure of the coronavirus emergency, they might ask why they do not have any institutional means of standing up to assaults such as this by the CMA”
Be in no doubt that this is an extremely serious attack on the Independence of Scots Law and possibly the first stage of attempting to make our Justice System and Laws answerable to Westminster control.
It is chipping away at the Acts of Union to make Scots subservient and answerable to English Law. It is an assault on all of us, not just Scots Solicitors.