Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow

Faculty Leaders' Forum (1 July 2020)

Summary of discussion at the LSS facilitated Faculty Leaders’ Forum on 1 July 2020 (the next Faculty Leaders’ Forum is pencilled in for 25 August at 2pm please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if there are any points you would like to see raised). - 


 
•    Courts – there was a lengthy discussion where SCTS heard and responded to concerns around: heritable court cases; security of video / teleconference lines; lack of facilities / space; backlog in cases; difficulties in taking instructions from clients in a virtual forum; lack of consultation with practitioners and limited advance notice of new procedures; and a general concern around the virtual custody pilot schemes. In particular, the clarifications we received from SCTS included: 
         o    Simple procedure: no paper-based simple procedure claims submitted to date will be returned and while it is “highly desirable” that simple procedure claims are lodged in electronic format via Civil Online, paper-based claims will continue to be accepted. SCTS made it clear that a move towards digital submission is preferred. All court practitioners who have subscribed to our mailings would have received an update to this effect from Iain Nichol, convener of the Civil Justice Committee at the Society. The SCTS news release on this is here
         o    Heritable cases: Sheriff Principals met on 1 July and agreed to direct all sheriffs / clerks to process these cases, ensuring time bar not an issue. If there are any ongoing issues around these types of cases, please let us know. 
 
•    Virtual custody court survey – our policy team have a working party looking at the issues raised by the Police Scotland / SCTS initiative to introduce virtual custody hearings from some police stations. The team is currently running a survey on the pilot scheme, to understand how this is working from a practitioner perspective: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JP96PPY. If relevant to your area, please complete the survey and encourage colleagues and faculty members to do so as well. The survey closes on Thursday 9 July and relevant practitioners should already have received an email on this middle of last week. If you have any questions about this or want to follow up with additional points which aren’t covered by the scope of the survey, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
•    Conveyancing – 
      o    Easing of restriction on housing moving from 29 June. The Scottish Government guidance is here https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home/pages/advice-to-the-public/. An email was sent to members from the Property Law Committee (PLC) Convener, John Sinclair (as attached). Members of the PLC were part of a Scottish Government Working Party, with other industry bodies, to produce this guidance. We have not issued our own guidance because PLC felt that this was clear and comprehensive and having our own would likely cause confusion. 
      o    Registers of Scotland - feedback has been good on the Digital Submission Service for the Land Register and RoS are now working on digital submission for the Sasines Register. We were previously advised that this would was likely to be publicly available week beginning 6 July, /but await further confirmation from RoS as to the exact launch date. RoS have intimated a fee increase of £10 for statutory fees (including registration dues) from 6 October 2020. 
      o    Books of Council and Session (referred to on RoS’ website as Register of Deeds) – this Register reopened on 1 July. RoS have staff back in their offices to deal with this Register (as this cannot be done remotely). Deeds however must be sent via a dedicated DX address and you can find information on their requirements here - https://www.ros.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/updates/register-of-deeds-to-open-1-july. Please note that this is for the Register of Deeds (Books of Council and Session only) and therefore deeds to be registered in the Land Register must continue to be submitted digitally.
 
•    Trainees  - Amanda asked about the current traineeship market, particularly for high street firms. Many thanks Fiona from GBA for sharing your comments on this. If others had points to add, either from a personal perspective or from your wider faculty base, please could you share with me and I’ll pass on to the team. Colleagues in our Education, Training & Qualifications would find it extremely helpful for their planning if they had a more complete picture of what traineeship recruitment is going to look like in the next few months.
 
•    Law Society strategy  - Lorna briefly outlined the Society’s proposal for a two year strategy focussing on recovery and resilience in the legal profession.  She left you with the broad question: what do members, firms and faculties want to see in such a strategy, particularly from a high street perspective? Feel free to send any comments on this to me and I’ll pass on, or you can contact Lorna / Amanda directly. 
 
•    Wellbeing, inclusion and technology – Amanda touched briefly on the importance of some of these areas. If you’d like more information on any of these, please just let me know. Meantime, a couple of links that may be useful:
 
o    Wellbeing resources: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/wellbeing/ 
o    Lawscot Tech initiative: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/business-support/lawscottech/
o    We’re running a series of drop-in sessions for solicitors juggling caring commitments with work during this time. The first will be on 9th July.  For more information email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Linked to this, there is an event on 22 July for managers / employers of parents and carers on how to offer practical support: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/events/virtual-roundtable-on-how-employers-can-support-parentscarers/ 
 
•    We’re also running a conference specifically tailored for sole and high street practitioners on Wednesday 29 July. This is free and fully online. More information here: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/events/sole-practitioner-and-high-street-firm-conference/ 

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