PracticeConsultingScots institute looks south of the border

Scots institute looks south of the border

The Scots institute is seeking talks with the English and Welsh Law Society following the Scots Law Society's refusal to allow fee-sharing partnerships with accountants.

In contrast, the English Law Society’s council agreed in principle last year to allow its members to enter into multidisciplinary practices with accountants. But, it is delaying its inception in a bid to ‘ensure safeguards are in place for the public’s protection’, said a spokesperson.

‘We are also looking for guidance from the government on how to move forward,’ said a spokesperson.

The accountancy profession says its main objective in developing MDPs is to offer clients a one-stop shop. But, lawyers claim it will endanger the independence of the legal profession.

The English Law Society is not expected to make any concrete announcements about how it plans to structure MDPs until later this year.

The news of the Scots Law Society’s rejection was met with disappointment at the Scots institute. ‘We’d been working with them [Scots Law Society] and didn’t expect such a resounding ‘no’,’ said David Wood, deputy director of the accounting and audit at the Scots institute.

‘We understand their arguments, but some of the issues are outdated,’ added Wood.

Wood still holds out hope that they will change their minds claiming that it would not be sustainable for the Scots Law society to refuse MDPs if the English Law Society introduced them.

‘I’ve written to the secretary [of the Scottish Law Society] and we are still hoping to get in touch with them,’ said Wood.

The Office of Fair Trading inquiry into the legal profession might turn out to be the driver to force the Scotland’s Law Society to change.The American Bar Association last month also rejected moves to allow fee sharing partnerships with accountants.

www.icas.org.uk

Scots Law Society remains opposed to MDPs

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