Campaign by South of Scotland MSP Prompts Law Society Review of “unfair” rule

A campaign led by Joan McAlpine MSP to scrap a new rule allowing solicitors to hold on to interest accrued while they deal with inheritance money has won a review of the practice.

In a letter to Ms McAlpine, a representative of the Law Society of Scotland confirmed that:

“We have been looking at this issue for some time now and will be consulting externally to ensure the current interest threshold is reviewed. A full response on the issue will be prepared once this work is concluded.”

Ms McAlpine raised the issue with the legal body after being approached by a constituent for help in May. Mr James Clarke of Mossblown, Ayrshire, contacted Ms McAlpine with concerns over a rule introduced in 2011 which allows solicitors to retain interest on estates’ investments if the payback is estimated to be less than £100. 

The decision to review the worrying rule comes after Ms McAlpine wrote again to the Law Society in August demanding action be taken.

Ms McAlpine said:

“I welcome the fact that the Law Society of Scotland is giving further consideration to the important points raised by my constituent and I await with interest a more substantive response in the near future.

“I cannot think of any other instance where a financial services provider can legitimately conceal where a client’s money is deposited, and refuse to reveal such details even when pressed.

“I will continue to campaign for this unfair rule to be changed.”