Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill: Fairer Scotland Duty summary
In compliance with The Fairer Scotland Duty as set out in legislation in Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, this assessment considers what more can be done to reduce the 'inequalities of outcome' caused by 'socio-economic disadvantage' in relation to the Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill.
3. Summary of evidence
3.1 Evidence was gathered from responses to a public consultation.
A number of bodies and organisations were engaged in the development of the policy proposals, prior to publication of the consultation, throughout the 12-week consultation process and after. These included:
- The Law Society of Scotland (the Law Society)
- The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC)
- The Faculty of Advocates (the Faculty)
- The Association of Commercial Attorneys (ACA)
- The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
- Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
- The SLCC's Consumer Panel
3.2 There has been extensive consultation and engagement with key stakeholders, alongside the public consultation exercise.
The consultation was open for 12 weeks, running from 1 October to 24 December 2021. A series of eight online focus group events were also conducted to gather feedback.
3.3 The engagement strategy was designed to raise awareness and encourage participation in the consultation. This included asking stakeholders to share the consultation.
3.4 The focus groups were highlighted at publication to individuals who had responded to a previous consultation in respect of legal complaints, but were open to anyone. The focus groups took place over MS Teams and consisted of a mix of those from the profession and members of the public with an interest (our target audience). The SLCC, CAS, and Scottish Women's Aid were asked to promote the focus groups to users with lived experience of legal services or the complaints system.
Eight focus groups took place. A total of 33 individuals attended the focus groups, around 50% of attendees were lay persons and 50% were from within the profession.
3.5 A shorter, summarised version of the consultation paper was also published alongside the main consultation, intended to be free of technical jargon and covering the key areas that may be of most interest to consumers of legal services and the wider public. This was intended to make it easier and quicker to respond to the consultation.
3.6 Following the publication of the Roberton report Scottish Government Ministers and officials met with representatives of a number of private legal firms and in-house legal teams. In addition, the professional bodies the Law Society, the Faculty and the ACA have been engaged in the development of the consultation and in promoting it to their members.
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