WITH the starting gun for the Scottish Parliament election campaign now fired, the Law Society of Scotland is to host two hustings events for the first time allowing Society members to question and challenge political leaders on justice issues and other issues.
Representatives from each of the five political parties currently represented in the Scottish Parliament will be in attendance to debate on the core issues pertinent to the solicitor profession.
Confirmed speakers at the Edinburgh hustings include Cabinet Secretary for Justice and SNP representative, Kenny MacAskill; Scottish Labour justice spokesperson, Richard Baker; Mike Pringle from the Liberal Democrats; Bill Aitken from the Scottish Conservatives; and Peter McColl, candidate for the Green Party in the Lothians region.
Jamie Millar, president of the Society, said: “All elections matter but this upcoming Scottish Parliament election really counts. The legal profession is a major economic generator in its own right which requires a pro business and pro growth government if it is to grow. The wider justice system itself has a key role to play in helping set the conditions for a prosperous and sustainable economy.
“The Society wants justice issues to be centre stage in this election campaign and we will work hard to ensure the interests of the profession and the interests of the public are heard loud and clear by parties in the run up to the elections on 5 May 2011. That is why we felt it was important to host these free hustings events for our members.”
The hustings will be held in Edinburgh and Glasgow and will take the form of a question time debate independently chaired by David Lee the Law & Legal Affairs editor for The Scotsman and Brian Currie group political editor for The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times, respectively.
Candidates will have three minutes to outline their key policies on justice. Members will then have the opportunity to grill candidates on these issues and any other areas of interest.
Mr Millar added: “This is an important opportunity for members of the Scottish solicitors’ profession to voice their concerns on justice and other areas of interest to the key party representatives.”
The election hustings are free to attend but members must book in advance. They take place on Wednesday 13 April at Law Society , 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, from 6-8 pm and in Glasgow at the Radisson Blu Hotel , 301 Argyle Street, on Thursday 14 April, from 6-8pm .
There are limited spaces available and places are filling up fast. To register your interest, please visit the law society website: www.lawscot.org.uk and register your place online using your website login details. Questions to the panellists should be emailed by Friday 8 April to firstname.lastname@example.org
ENDS 28 MARCH 2011
Notes to editors
The Society has published a manifesto, the first since the inaugural Scottish Parliament election in 1999, calling for legal education in secondary schools, urgent changes to the civil courts, maintaining proper access to Scotland’s justice system and promoting Scotland as an internationally recognised centre for arbitration: http://www.lawscot.org.uk/manifesto
Confirmed representatives from each political party:
Edinburgh election hustings
Labour Party – Richard Baker
Liberal Democrats – Mike Pringle
Conservatives – Bill Aitken
SNP – Kenny MacAskill
Green Party – Peter McColl, candidate for the Lothians region
Glasgow election hustings
Labour Party – James Kelly
Liberal Democrats – Robert Brown
Conservatives – David Meikle
SNP – Annabelle Ewing
Green Party – TBC
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Emily Young on 0131 476 8204. For the out of hours service please call 0131 226 7411.
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