The Law Society of Scotland has begun a consultation process that aims to overhaul the country’s legal services industry.

With the Legal Services Bill gaining royal assent this week (, 30 October), the society is seeking feedback on whether Scotland’s legal services market should be opened up to other providers.

Law Society of Scotland president Richard Henderson said: “This is one of the most important issues to arise in the history of the Scottish legal profession and could result in far reaching changes for the profession, the society and the public.

“There is a growing demand for change both from within the profession and other interested parties, including consumers, and while we have embraced the need for change and have been active in driving this debate forward, we cannot underestimate some of the challenges that must be addressed to do this.”

Specifically, Henderson said that if the legal services market does open up it will be vital to ensure that the public remains protected by regulations and can access legal advice locally.

“There is a careful balancing act to be done and it’s important that the society seeks the views of all those with an interest in order to develop its policy, which will be published next spring.”