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 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

Legal services reform in Scotland - regulation, international competitiveness, innovation and the impact of COVID-19

TO BE PUBLISHED September 2020

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

This conference examines the next steps for legal services in Scotland.

As the Scottish Government prepares to consult on the future of legal services regulation, it will be an opportunity to discuss options for reform to the sector and how these should be shaped.

The agenda includes a pre-recorded keynote contribution from Ash Denham MSP, Minister for Community Safety, The Scottish Government - and the minister has kindly agreed to arrangements whereby questions from delegates can be submitted, which will be forwarded to 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
  • the Law Society of Scotland to establish a review of existing price and transparency guidance

Keynote speakers include Sheila Scobie, Director, Nations, Competition and Markets Authority, as well as Roddy Dunlop QC, Vice Dean, Faculty of Advocates and William Macreath, Chairman, Legal Defence Union.

Overall, 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
  • legal technology - the impact of innovation, and what it means for legal services providers

Of course, we expect a focus on the day to be the impact of COVID-19 on law practices and those who work in them, and how the sector is adapting and moving forward. Areas to consider include options for supporting practices - with the Law Society of Scotland reporting reduced incomes for law firms, and 25% of solicitors having been furloughed.

The agenda:

  • The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland - key findings - with Christine McLintock, Member, Review Panel, Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland
  • The next steps for policy - independent regulation, entry into the market and competition - with Ash Denham MSP, Minister for Community Safety, The Scottish Government (pre- recorded)
  • Priorities for the sector in implementing reforms to regulation - with Roddy Dunlop QC, Vice Dean, Faculty of Advocates
  • The impact of legal regulation reforms on stakeholders - the new regulatory model, consumer protection and competition in the sector
  • Priorities for the profession in responding to the challenges of COVID-19 - with William Macreath, Chairman, Legal Defence Union
  • Exporting Scotland’s legal services - international competitiveness, investment and the impact of Brexit
  • Innovation in law - legal technology, skills and business partnerships
  • Enabling a healthy legal services market - with Sheila Scobie, Director, Nations, Competition and Markets Authority

The discussion in detail:

  • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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 now - the context:

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

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Scotland Policy Conferences seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates