Devolution opportunity for lawyers

Scottish lawyers would have a greater say in the law-making process in a devolved parliament, according to newly-elected Law Society of Scotland president John Elliot.

The Edinburgh solicitor said a Scottish legislature would boost the influence of the country's law society “simply because the Westminster legislature has given us very little time”.

He said the Scottish legal profession had long been frustrated by laws formulated in London that caused problems when they were applied to Scotland's unique legal system.

The Law Society of Scotland is officially neutral in its stance towards devolution, but at the same time wants to have input if the process goes ahead.

Elliot said the Scottish legal profession would continue to play an important part in protecting and representing the public after devolution. “I believe that we are the last bastion of the individual against the state,” he said.

A solicitor since 1971, Elliot has specialised in trusts and tax investments with Lindsays WS and has been an active member of the Scottish Law Society since 1990. He took over the presidency from Grant McCulloch last week after an uncontested election in December.