Legal Services (Competitiveness)

Justice and Law Officers – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 22nd March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party 2:15 pm, 22nd March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has, or discussions it is having, with the legal profession to benchmark and improve the competitiveness of Scottish legal services compared with those in other developed countries. (S2O-12415)

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

Scotland has a long and proud record with respect to the quality of its lawyers and legal services, and we are considering how to maintain and strengthen Scotland's standing, in consultation with legal professional bodies and leading law firms. The research working group's 2006 report provides a starting point. We are also monitoring developments south of the border.

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

"The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline", which is a significant new book by a gentleman called Alberto Alesina, highlights and debates the need to benchmark and improve the speed and cost effectiveness of legal services. Does the minister agree that it would make sense to bring together the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and business organisations to address the speed and cost effectiveness of legal services and to make Scotland a more compelling place in which to invest and in which to source legal services?

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

Several issues must be considered in that respect. We want our legal services to take their rightful place among the range of services that are provided, and we agree that they should be up there among the best in the world. Recently, I met representatives of several top law firms in Scotland to consider how such issues might be progressed. However, those matters are obviously for a future Administration to consider.

Whatever we do, it is important to build on the research that has already been commissioned and to consult law firms and professional bodies. Of course, there are issues for the wider business community and Parliament, but it is important to remember that the reforms that we have progressed in this session were based on work that a previous justice committee had done in the previous session. That work was a priority, but I expect that there will be different priorities for a future Administration. I look forward to being around to debate them.