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Legal System

The Society today

The WS Society is a national body whose membership consists of solicitors qualified in Scotland. The Society occupies a unique place in the Scottish legal system.

College of Justice

As one of the country's oldest institutions, The WS Society is part of Scotland's College of Justice, established in 1532.

Members of the WS Society are automatically members of the College of Justice, whose Senators comprise Scotland's senior judiciary, and whose other members include members of the Faculty of Advocates - the Scottish bar, Clerks of Session and certain other persons.

Solicitors' profession

Solicitors in Scotland were formally known as "writers". The WS Society comprised writers with special privileges in relation to certain types of documentation requiring the Signet - the royal seal of the Scottish kings.

Following the creation of the Law Society of Scotland by statute in 1949, all solicitors in Scotland require to be members of the Law Society of Scotland as the regulatory body. The WS Society is an independent, non-governmental, non-regulatory body of solicitors and membership is voluntary. There is no formal relationship between the WS Society and the Law Society of Scotland, although many members of the WS Society are active participants in the affairs and committees of the Law Society of Scotland.

Other associations of solicitors include the Society of Solicitors to the Supreme Courts (Edinburgh), the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow and the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen. There are also local faculties of solicitors around Scotland.

Illustrative chart

Legal Profession

The WS Society's historic place in Scotland's legal system is shown on the attached illustration.