(661) OFT AND TESCO LAW IN SCOTLAND
The Office of Fair Trading in Scotland published a report on 31 July 2007 calling for an end to restrictive rules preventing solicitors from practising in partnership or other forms of joint activity with non-solicitors, hindering businesses from offering legal services along with other products, and limiting non-solicitors from instructing advocates directly. If implemented, the report would open up the prospect of supermarkets such as Tesco and banks moving into the legal services market, as well as the introduction of multi-disciplinary professional partnerships (MDPs). The OFT noted that another implication of such deregulation would be a question-mark over the self-regulation of the legal profession by the Law Society of Scotland and, presumably, the Faculty of Advocates. For the full text of the report see http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/super-complaints/oft946.pdf. Reactions varied: big Scottish law firms welcomed the report, but worries were expressed by others about the future of smaller and out-of-town ones. Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, who has three months to respond formally, indicated that while the status quo was not an option, he wanted distinctively Scottish solutions” to the issues identified in the report; a lifeline which the Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates appeared likely to seize.