The purpose of the Section 31 Committee is to determine whether to exclude a solicitor or counsel from giving legal assistance in accordance with the procedure for Consideration of Exclusion of Solicitor or Advocate under Section 31 of Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986.

Separately, and in addition to the powers to exclude under Section 31, we may refer the conduct to other relevant bodies where appropriate, including the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC).

Committee Members

Board Members

Ray Macfarlane

Chair of the Board; Convener of Section 31 Committee

Executive Team

Colin Lancaster

Chief Executive and Accountable Officer

CEO@slab.org.uk

Exclusion decisions

James Reilly, Solicitor, Glasgow

The Section 31 Committee of the Scottish Legal Aid Board has ordered that James Reilly, formerly of Messrs Reilly Cassidy & Co, Glasgow, be excluded from the provision of legal aid for a period of two years with effect from 1 September 2019.

This means that he cannot provide legal aid or advice and assistance during this period.

The removal follows an investigation which found that Mr Reilly’s conduct was wholly inconsistent with that required or expected of a solicitor delivering publicly funded legal services.

The investigation found there had been recklessly inaccurate recording of time claimed to have been spent by Mr Reilly perusing case related documents or considering, viewing or listening to other evidential material.

It was found that he had routinely created records some time after undertaking work, rather than at the time of the work, and that when creating records he had reckless disregard for the accuracy of the detail recorded and the resulting fee claims.

A hearing accepted Mr Reilly’s explanation that several background business and personal factors contributed to an approach to record-keeping that was materially inadequate.

However, it was considered that these could and should have been addressed, and that Mr Reilly’s failure so to do was highly reckless. Mr Reilly’s submission that no dishonesty was intended was accepted.