Thomson Review’s final report published

The Review of Rights of Audience in the Supreme Courts in Scotland, chaired by banker Ben Thomson, was published on 17 March 2010.

The conclusions of the report remain much as they were when published in draft form in January (see here): that is, in the words of the executive summary, "standard qualifications, codes of conduct, monitoring and complaints procedures, whilst maintaining separate business models."  The summary also makes the following interesting comment on possible links to the Gill Review:

In coming up with these recommendations, we have been mindful of the publication during our review, of the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review. Its recommendations are equally far reaching. We have also not constrained our thoughts on appropriate recommendations by our perception of the likely cost or availability of funding to support our recommendations. The Civil Courts Review may, if implemented, release time and resource that may be able to be made available to implement our recommendations. A consultation on the combined effect of that review and our recommendations would make considerable sense.

Our review is not recommending that the branches of the legal profession are fused. On the contrary, we recommend that they are not fused. Competition is to be welcomed, and we consider that the separate branches each provide a valuable service to litigants and potential litigants in Scotland. However, there must be value in achieving a common level of qualification and standards, and we have heard no reason why standards and quality would go anywhere other than up as a result of our recommendations.

One wonders whether in the current climate ignoring costs and funding sources means that all this is going to be a non-starter.  We shall see.