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Law Society vows to review legal aid

THE Law Society of Scotland has announced plans for a review into its work on legal aid after solicitors threatened to break away from the body.

The society's president and vice-president will lead the wide-ranging review, which will look at alternatives to the organisation's legal aid negotiating team.

It follows concerns from lawyers over the body's decision to accept amendments to controversial legal aid plans despite the majority of its members voting against them.

The society will consult with its members on the issue and meet with Edinburgh and Glasgow Bar Associations, which both warned they would look to make their own representations in legal aid matters in future.

Austin Lafferty, president of the Law Society, said: "The solicitors who volunteer their time and energy to serve on our criminal law negotiating team do a fantastic job, working against a difficult backdrop of shrinking public budgets and a majority Scottish Government which can ultimately push whatever reforms it wishes through Parliament.

"However, I've listened to those members who have raised concerns about the society's existing structure for dealing with criminal legal aid. These are not new issues but came into a sharper focus with the legislation to introduce criminal legal aid contributions.

"That's why we want to ask our members what structure and arrangements they think would best serve their interests and ensure the society is being as effective as it can on legal aid policy and reform."

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