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Consumer Focus Scotland, the lobby group advocating consumer choices and rights, has expressed its disappointment at the apparent lack of regulation of legal services envisioned in the post ABS environment as per the Legal Services Bill.
In a statement the group said it supported the overall principles of the Bill, but is concerned about areas where the bill should go further to protect the interests of consumers.
"Some aspects of the bill do not go far enough in ensuring that consumers receive the same level of protection whatever legal services provider they access,” said Sarah O’Neill, Consumer Focus Scotland’s Head of Policy and Solicitor.
“We are disappointed the Scottish Government is not proposing to put an advisory panel, to advise Ministers on applications for authorisation and to keep the regulatory framework under review, in place on a statutory footing. This is a necessary safeguard for protecting the interests of the public.”
“We also believe that in order to demonstrate clearly that it is acting in the public interest, that the Law Society of Scotland’s Council should comprise at least 50 per cent non-solicitor membership and a non-solicitor chair.”
The Law Society has already been criticised and continues to come under fire from Scottish solicitors who perceive the Society is already representing the "public" interest, ahead of the interests of its members.