The Scottish legal system is in the centre of much tumultuous change. An era of globalisation and the advance of artificial intelligence across the West makes it difficult to defend the centuries old independence of Scots Law and even the traditional role of the Scottish solicitor. Many of their proposals though seem out of time.

The frustration of the Law Society of Scotland in their submission to the Scottish Government’s review of legal regulation is palpable and to an extent justified. Large international law firms with no organic link to Scotland have set up here in the last few years. Mainly based in England, the Law Society has no jurisdiction over them. Yet calling for legislation to allow the Law Society power to regulate cross border firms seems to be wishful thinking, and probably beyond the Scottish Parliament’s powers, as there are strict geographical limits over where Scottish legislation can apply.

Trying to police the use of the word “lawyer” again seems unfeasible. In truth, lawyer has always been a generic description of people working within the legal system with no more meaning than that. The more specific jobs of solicitor, advocate or even judge are regulated and cannot be used in an ad hoc fashion.

The control of language in this way is also borne of frustration as many companies now claim to proffer “legal advice” without employing solicitors qualified in Scots Law. It is doubtful whether or not allowing them to call themselves “lawyers” would prevent this phenomenon.

One of the drivers in April 2017 for this review were rumblings around the complaints system against Scottish legal professionals. For members of the public, the system was labyrinthine. For solicitors and advocates, the 12.5% increase in fees by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) announced last year was a step too far.

The SLCC was actually created in 2008 as new approach to legal regulation. It replaced the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman which was viewed as remote from the public and too close to the profession. A return to such a model would be unthinkable.

Dr Nick McKerrell is a lecturer in law at Glasgow Caledonian University