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Wider choice and better protection: A consultation paper on the regulation of legal services in Scotland

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Annex B: Responding to this consultation

We are inviting written responses to this consultation paper by Friday 3 April 2009. Electronic comments would be preferred but all responses, whether electronic or written, will be carefully considered.. The Scottish Government has a number of consultation questions on which it would welcome views. Please do not feel obliged to answer all the questions. Equally, if you would like to comment on any other aspects of the proposals, the Scottish Government would welcome your views.

We would be grateful if you could use the separate consultation questionnaire, provided at annex A, to answer the questions posed throughout the consultation paper.

Please send your completed response and, Respondent Information Form (see "Handling your response" below) to:

Julie.Muir@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

or

Legal System Division
Constitution, Law and Courts Directorate

Scottish Government
Area 2W
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG


If you have any queries contact Julie Muir on 0131 244 8242.

This consultation, and all other Scottish Government consultation exercises, can be viewed online on the consultation web pages of the Scottish Government website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations. You can telephone Freephone 0800 77 1234 to find out where your nearest public internet access point is.

The Scottish Government now has an email alert system for consultations (SEconsult: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/seconsult.aspx). This system allows stakeholder individuals and organisations to register and receive a weekly email containing details of all new consultations (including web links). SEconsult complements, but in no way replaces SG distribution lists, and is designed to allow stakeholders to keep up to date with all SG consultation activity, and therefore be alerted at the earliest opportunity to those of most interest. We would encourage you to register.

Handling your response

We need to know how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are happy for your response to be made public. Please complete and return (electronically if possible) the Respondent Information Form which forms part of the consultation questionnaire as this will ensure that we treat your response appropriately. If you ask for your response not to be published we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.

All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.

Next steps in the process

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public in the Scottish Government Library. Please ensure that you complete the attached Respondent Information Form. You can make arrangements to view responses by contacting the Scottish Government Library on 0131 244 4552. Responses can be copied and sent to you, but a charge may be made for this service.

What happens next?

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us reach a decision on the terms of the Legal Profession Bill. We aim to issue a report on this consultation process [by the end of the summer of 2009. The aim is that the Bill will be introduced shortly before summer 2009 with Stage 1 taking place in the spring of 2010.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them to:

Julie Muir

Legal System Division
Constitution, Law and Courts Directorate

Scottish Government
Area 2W
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG


Julie.Muir@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

The Scottish Government consultation process

Consultation is an essential and important aspect of Scottish Government working methods. Given the wide-ranging areas of work of the Scottish Government, there are many varied types of consultation. However, in general, Scottish Government consultation exercises aim to provide opportunities for all those who wish to express their opinions on a proposed area of work to do so in ways which will inform and enhance that work.

The Scottish Government encourages consultation that is thorough, effective and appropriate to the issue under consideration and the nature of the target audience. Consultation exercises take account of a wide range of factors, and no two exercises are likely to be the same.

Typically Scottish Government consultations involve a written paper inviting answers to specific questions or more general views about the material presented. Written papers are distributed to organisations and individuals with an interest in the issue, and they are also placed on the Scottish Government website enabling a wider audience to access the paper and submit their responses .. Consultation exercises may also involve seeking views in a number of different ways, such as through public meetings, focus groups or questionnaire exercises. Copies of all the written responses received to a consultation exercise (except those where the individual or organisation requested confidentiality) are placed in the Scottish Government library at Saughton House, Edinburgh (K Spur, Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh, EH11 3XD, telephone 0131 244 4565).

All Scottish Government consultation papers and related publications (for example, analysis of response reports) can be accessed at: Scottish Government consultations at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations).

The views and suggestions detailed in consultation responses are analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:

  • indicate the need for policy development or review;
  • inform the development of a particular policy;
  • help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals; and
  • be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented.

Final decisions on the issues under consideration will also take account of a range of other factors, including other available information and research evidence.

While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.