Section 16 — Investigation under section 15: final report and recommendations

Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:15 am on 14th December 2006.

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Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative 11:15 am, 14th December 2006

Group 13 is on handling complaints: recommendations and duty to comply. Amendment 46, in the name of David Davidson, is grouped with amendments 48 to 50 and 52.

Photo of David Davidson David Davidson Conservative

Amendment 46 relates to the fact that the commission should deal with merely service complaints.

As the bill stands, it places no obligation on the professional organisations, which is neither correct nor appropriate. Amendment 48 covers that.

I will not press amendments 49 and 52, because the minister's amendment 50 provides for the same thing.

I move amendment 46.

Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

Amendment 46 would remove the commission's power to recommend that the professional body investigates further or reconsiders a conduct complaint. The Law Society of Scotland believes that the power will trespass too far into the remit of the professional bodies. However, the power has the potential to be important in cases in which the complainer legitimately feels that his or her version of events has not been taken seriously or properly investigated. I will not support amendment 46, and I invite David Davidson to withdraw it.

In other ways, once again consensus seems to be breaking out. David Davidson managed to lodge his amendments 48, 49 and 52 before identical ones from the Executive were lodged. We support those amendments, which should ensure effective compliance with commission directions by the professional bodies. The purpose of amendments 49 and 52 and Executive amendment 50 is to achieve that while avoiding an immediate resort to the concept of contempt of court. The amendments will permit the commission to petition the Court of Session when there is non-compliance with a direction. The court will then be able to order the professional organisation to comply with the recommendation contained in the direction. Of course, breach of the Court of Session's order could itself trigger contempt of court, but that is the case with most court orders of this type, so there is no need to specify as much in the bill. However, I am confident that professional bodies will obey any orders of the court. Amendments 49, 52 and 50 should achieve compliance with commission directions by less coercive means.

Photo of David Davidson David Davidson Conservative

It is a matter of principle, with regard to the history and development of professions in the United Kingdom and in other parts of the world, that professional bodies deal with certain matters relating to their members. The commission is not the appropriate place to deal with complaints other than service complaints. On matters of discipline, the professions are famously firm on their members. Amendment 46 would ensure clarity. I do not want a brand new organisation to be put into a situation in which it does not have the experience to deliver what I think the minister wants it to deliver. I will press amendment 46.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 46 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 10

For: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fox, Colin, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Petrie, Dave, Scott, John, Turner, Dr Jean
Against: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Butler, Bill, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Gibson, Rob, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gordon, Mr Charlie, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Home Robertson, John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McFee, Mr Bruce, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinburne, John, Swinney, Mr John, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watt, Ms Maureen, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 16, Against 85, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 46 disagreed to.

Amendment 47 moved—[Mr David Davidson].

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 47 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 11

For: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Arbuckle, Mr Andrew, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Butler, Bill, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gordon, Mr Charlie, Gorrie, Donald, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Home Robertson, John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peattie, Cathy, Petrie, Dave, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Adam, Brian, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Cunningham, Roseanna, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinburne, John, Swinney, Mr John, Watt, Ms Maureen, Welsh, Mr Andrew

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 81, Against 20, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 47 agreed to.

Amendment 48 moved—[Mr David Davidson].

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 48 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 12

For: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Arbuckle, Mr Andrew, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Butler, Bill, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gordon, Mr Charlie, Gorrie, Donald, Harper, Robin, Home Robertson, John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Michael, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peattie, Cathy, Petrie, Dave, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Adam, Brian, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Cunningham, Roseanna, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, McNeil, Mr Duncan, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinburne, John, Swinney, Mr John, Watt, Ms Maureen, Welsh, Mr Andrew

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 79, Against 22, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 48 agreed to.