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Alterations to 'Tesco law' bill after outcry from solicitors

The Scottish government has moved to head off a rebellion in the Scottish legal profession, as it dropped controversial measures in a bill to bring in so-called "Tesco law reforms".

The new bill will allow non-lawyers to set up legal firms. Its name comes from the supermarket chain who could operating legal branches in their stores.

The Legal Services Bill's proposals had sparked resentment among solicitors, with some saying they threatened the independence of the profession.

Opposition came to a head last week when 50 members, unhappy at the Law Society's handling of the proposed reforms, forced a vote on whether it should continue as the representative body for solicitors.

It was proposed that in section 92 of the bill a greater number of lay members could be appointed to the council of the Law Society of Scotland, a measure that would reflect the body's statutory duty to promote the public interest, as well as the interests of the profession.

The Law Society will face a potentially hostile special general meeting this week, at which its policy on the proposed reforms will be discussed.

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