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Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill

CAS briefing for Stage 1 debate

The Scottish Parliament will consider the general principles of the Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill on 22 February 2024. This is an important Bill which seeks to reform the regulation of legal services in Scotland to promote “competition, innovation and the public and consumer interest” in the Scottish legal sector. This briefing outlines the views of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) on the implications of the Bill for consumers of legal services and reflects on recommendations in the stage 1 report.

CAS welcomes the introduction of the Bill in response to longstanding calls for wholesale reform of legal services regulation in Scotland. Voices from across the spectrum of stakeholders deemed the current system too rigid, unsuitable for supporting and engendering a thriving and dynamic legal services landscape, and too complex and difficult to understand and navigate for the public. Throughout our engagement with efforts to reform the regulatory framework CAS has therefore supported changes aimed at placing the interests of consumers and rights-holders at the heart of legal services regulation.

The draft Bill does not provide for the independent regulatory model which we continue to strongly support. In its current form, we have concerns that some of the proposed changes may not be of benefit for consumers and their interactions with providers of legal services as outlined below.

Nevertheless, CAS takes the view that MSPs should support the general principles of the Bill to allow for reform of the current system. Legal services play a vital role in supporting people to protect and realise their rights and freedoms, in upholding the rule of law and providing access to justice. We urge MSPs to strongly consider the implications of the Bill on these essential functions and help to realise a Bill that centres on the public and consumer interest in the regulation of legal services.

Read the full briefing below.

Publication date
February 2024
Publication type