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The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, has addressed a key group of legal professionals at the Scotland Office, during the course of her visit to the Commonwealth Law Heads Conference held this week in Edinburgh.
Miller Samuel solicitors assisted in organising the event, and a group of their key personnel including partner Marie MacDonald, Managing Partner Diane Cairney, Chairman P.Michael Samuel and partner Lorna Bennie attended the event and drinks reception which followed.
"The rule of law is not just a term of art. It has to have real meaning," Baroness Scotland told the audience, in an address that explored her personal commitment to fairness and equality in the practice of law.
"Fairness in the application of the rule of law must logically be conditional upon fairness in the appointment of those who enter into the legal profession to apply the rule of law. Ensuring that the legal profession itself - and specifically those members of it who act for the Government- is representative of the community, is a vital foundation stone in working toward fairness everywhere. Arguably, fairness in the legal profession is where it all starts,"
"I am extremely proud to have launched the attorney general’s strategy and expectation statement, and the aim of the strategy is to raise standards and raise awareness; to enable joined up thinking and mutual learning; to facilitate efficiencies and best practice, and to monitor developments. We will be providing mentors for those who want to come forward to do our work."
Baroness Scotland also encouraged members of the profession to extend their commit to pro bono work, which the Government strategy was attempting to consolidate nationally.
"Lord Gilson has started the Attorney General’s pro bono committee to try and create a coordinated mechanism for all the disparate pro boo activity that was going on across the country. That committee has gone on in leaps and bounds, and I took it over in June last year. Since then we have created an international pro bono committee, and we have been able to garner huge support, not only from the profession, but form business and local authorities that have legal departments, from solicitors, barristers, charities and others, to pool that expertise and make sure there is better advice and support."
Baroness Scotland's address can be read in full in the next edition of the Firm magazine