Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +044 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.

Legal services reform in Scotland - regulation, international competitiveness and seizing opportunities for innovation

Morning, Wednesday, 2nd September 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference looks at the next steps for legal services in Scotland.

It will be an opportunity to discuss key issues The Scottish Government consults on the future of legal services regulation.

The agenda includes a keynote contribution from Ash Denham MSP, Minister for Community Safety, The Scottish Government.

It also follows recent recommendations from the CMA, for:

  • an independent body to regulate legal services in Scotland moving forward, in order to increase trust in the sector and improve regulation, and
  • the Law Society of Scotland to establish a review of existing price and transparency guidance.

Also taking part as a keynote speaker is Sheila Scobie, Director, Nations, Competition and Markets Authority.

Areas for discussion include:

  • regulatory reform - including the potential creation of a single independent regulator for all providers of legal services,
  • international competitiveness - priorities for the sector going forward, and
  • legal technology - the impact of innovation, and what it means for legal services providers.

Key areas for discussion:

  • Regulatory reform - practicalities and outcomes - looking at:
    • legislative changes that would be needed to introduce the single regulator and to provide a flexible and efficient system of regulation,
    • latest thinking on how consumer protection can be improved,
    • options for reform to improve consumer experience of the legal sector and develop increased competition, and
    • other measures to address concerns in the Independent Review that the current framework of regulation and redress is too complex and inaccessible to both professionals and consumers.
  • A single overarching regulator reporting to the Government - what scope and powers of the body should be, as well as:
    • its code of conduct and ethics,
    • costs of setting up the new system,
    • issues around potentially granting the regulator power to set educational and entry qualifications, and
    • the impact on the legal sector and its workforce in Scotland.
  • Competing in the international legal market, looking at:
    • how law firms can retain and improve the global attractiveness of the Scottish legal sector,
    • priorities for ensuring access to the EU27 and recognition of qualifications, and
    • how any reform can guard against the creation of barriers for the ability of Scottish legal services to operate with the rest of the UK and abroad.
  • Lawtech and innovation - next steps for adoption by firms and practitioners in Scotland, looking at:
    • investment and partnerships with businesses, universities, and others,
    • what any market disruption means for the sector, including both established law firms and new entrants,
    • priorities for managing innovation whilst preserving quality assurance, and
    • options for future-proofing the regulatory system - as the CMA investigates the potential impact of regulatory reform on the entry of new business models to the market.

Why this is relevant - the context:

The agenda:

  • The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland - key findings;
  • The next steps for The Scottish Government - independent regulation, entry into the market and competition;
  • The impact of legal regulation reforms on stakeholders - the new regulatory model, consumer protection and competition in the sector;
  • Exporting Scotland’s legal services - international competitiveness, investment and the impact of Brexit;
  • Innovation in law - legal technology, skills and business partnerships; and
  • Enabling a healthy legal services market.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of The Scottish Parliament and senior officials from The Scottish Government, regulators and other agencies, representatives of law firms, chambers, paralegals, courts businesses, law centres, universities, recruitment firms, trade unions, think tanks, charities, academics and consultants, together with reporters from the national and trade media based in Scotland and elsewhere.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Ash Denham MSP

Minister for Community Safety, The Scottish Government

Christine McLintock

former President, Law Society of Scotland and Member, Review Panel, Report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland

Sheila Scobie

Director, Nations, Competition and Markets Authority

Keynote Speakers

Christine McLintock

former President, Law Society of Scotland and Member, Review Panel, Report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland

Sheila Scobie

Director, Nations, Competition and Markets Authority

Roddy Dunlop QC

Vice Dean, Faculty of Advocates

Ash Denham MSP

Minister for Community Safety, The Scottish Government

William Macreath

Chairman, Legal Defence Union


Liam McArthur MSP

Member, Justice Committee

Rona Mackay MSP

Deputy Convener, Justice Committee


Mike McGlinchey

Head, Client Consulting, Pinsent Masons

Paul Hilton

Chief Executive Officer, ESPC

Thomas Docherty

Head of Public Affairs, Nations and Regions, Which?

Alison Hook

Chair, International Trade in Legal Services Committee, International Bar Association

Craig Cathcart

Convener, Regulatory Committee, Law Society of Scotland

Iain Mitchell QC

Chairman, Scottish Society for Computers and Law

Neil Stevenson

Chief Executive, Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Paul Carlyle

Chair, Scottish Legal International