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The Glasgow Bar Association have been approached by many members and non-members in Glasgow and by representatives of several other faculties regarding their concerns over issues relevant to ESTO Law Ltd.
The Directors of said company have four past members of the Law Society of Scotland’s Criminal Legal Aid Negotiating Team and one current member. The concerns that arise are fairly obvious in respect that we now have a situation where past and present negotiators for the profession have been involved in the negotiations which lead to the current Regulations that are in place. In such circumstances it seems reasonable to call upon said Directors to provide details of the agencies they have met with and to provide information relevant to the timing of those meetings.
It is often said in a court room that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. Perception is everything when matters of integrity are at stake. No doubt the Directors will wish to ensure that there is no inappropriate perception on the part of their colleagues.
It is equally important that the Law Society of Scotland confirm their part, if any, in discussions leading to the set up of this company. The commercial activities of this company will impact upon the income of other solicitors in certain situations and we consider that a Professional body should not engage in a series of meetings with private firms/individuals, relevant to the incorporation of a company set up to provide specific services, where there is a real risk of a detriment of other solicitors.
Enquiry will also be made with SLAB regarding their part in these matters.
Bernadette M Baxter
Glasgow Bar Association
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