The Scottish Paralegal Association


28 Jun

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Rounding up another successful SPA annual conference

Rounding up another successful SPA annual conference including the 2018 Paralegal of the Year Award; the association’s new website; and further planned events this year, including a Dundee conference

Conference highs

One of the Scottish Paralegal Association committee’s biggest tasks every year is to plan and deliver an annual conference for the SPA membership providing useful and accessible CPD. This year’s conference took place at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on 19 April. It was a great success with more than 30 speakers, 150 delegates and 15 exhibitors. It was a very informative and interesting event. The SPA committee would like to thank all of our generous sponsors and in particular our main sponsor First Scottish, our excellent speakers, the staff at Grand Central Hotel and everyone else who participated. Without the generosity of all of our sponsors, the committee would not be able to host events such as this.

With the help of our continued sponsorship, the SPA website is being renewed, and the conference was the perfect opportunity to show delegates a preview of it. At the time of writing the website is now live with more content and features being added all the time, and the committee hope that you will log on to see all the new features that have been added to make your browsing experience more interesting and informative. It is a more powerful website and will let us be more interactive with you. It is a great way to keep up to date with news about your association and will have details of useful upcoming CPD, SPA and networking events. Please check it out and let us know what you think.

The very best

At the conference each year the SPA presents a Paralegal of the Year Award to showcase the fantastic work that we paralegals do. This year the calibre of entrants was exceptional as always. Louise Dallas of TLT LLP was named SPA Paralegal of the Year. Louise commented: “I am very proud to be a paralegal. The level of work undertaken by paralegals is instrumental and I am very encouraged by the recognition being given to paralegals.”

John Paul Sheridan, managing partner Scotland at TLT, added: “Very many congratulations to Louise Dallas for this notable award. As team leader, Louise manages the CDR team in our Glasgow office and, over the past six months, has been instrumental in launching TLT Collect, a debt recovery service, which is handled exclusively within her team. We are delighted for Louise and pleased that her commitment has been officially recognised by this much deserved accolade.”

Fiona Nicoll of Blackadders was awarded runner-up. Fiona said: “A huge thank you also for my award. I am very humbled and honoured to have received such an award from an association which recognises and puts paralegals in such a good light within the Scottish legal profession. I am very proud of my membership with the SPA and even more proud to be recognised for my contribution over the years.”

Lindsay Darroch, partner of Blackadders, observed: “Fiona is a longstanding and loyal member of the firm who has gone above and beyond to give our clients great service and positive solutions. We are delighted that her efforts and dedication have been recognised by this prestigious award from the SPA.”

The committee would like to congratulate again the winners and to thank everyone else who took part.

Still to come

The committee is looking at the possibility of holding an autumn conference in Dundee in October/November this year. Plans are at a very early stage and full details will be shown on our website as soon as they are available. If you would be interested in attending this conference, we would be pleased if you would email us to let us know, and also let us know what practice area you work in so the conference can be tailored to suit those attending.

We have had some very successful “meet and greet” events over the last year and are planning to hold several more in the coming months. These events are free of charge and award a minimum of one hour of CPD. We hope to visit Ayr in the summer and full details will be posted on our website shortly. If you would like us to host a meet and greet in your area please let us know.

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Article appears in and was written by Committee member, Elaine Campbell. 
16 May

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Mental Health Awareness Week May 14-20

How are you, really?

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 14-20 May this year in the UK and this year focuses on stress.

At LawCare we know that life in the law can be challenging and sometimes things can get on top of you.
We also know that people often don’t notice the signs of stress, some of which are:

  • Sleep deprivation: This is a vicious circle: worries about work lead to lack of sleep, which makes it difficult to perform well at work
  • Physical changes: Headaches, skin complaints, frequent colds, aching muscles and digestive problems
  • Drinking and smoking: Many turn to drinking and smoking to cope with the demands of work
  • Eating:  Comfort eating or skipping meals
  • Mood swings: People can become irritated and frustrated, get very angry one minute and feel fine the next. They can be short-tempered or difficult
  • Panic attacks: These can happen suddenly, for no clear reason. It can mean feeling sick, short of breath, shaking, sweating and experiencing a sense of unreality

Chronic stress increases the risk of addictive and damaging behaviour, of developing anxiety, depression and other mental and physical health problems. If you are feeling stressed and want to talk give us a call today.

We’ve been supporting all branches of the legal profession for 20 years: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, legal executives, paralegals, trademark attorneys, patent agents, costs lawyers, and their staff and families. Our confidential helpline is answered by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. We offer a safe place to talk without judgment.

Last year we responded to nearly 900 calls, with half of those calling citing stress and depression as the reason for calling. 

As well our helpline, we offer one-to-one peer support. If needed we can match you with one of our dedicated team of over 100 supporters who will help you work through your problems over a period of weeks or months.

Call our helpline on 0800 279 6888, 365 days a year. We’re open 9 am – 7.30pm weekdays and 10 am – 4 pm weekends and Bank Holidays.

Useful Resources (PDFs) 

Ten tips for looking after yourself

How are you really?

Additional information, resources and factsheets are available at 

05 May

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What should businesses check to ensure HR processes are GDPR compliant?

With new data protection rules due on 25 May, HR teams in businesses and other types of organisations, including charities, have little time to get up to speed on their new obligations. Breaches could expose them to fines and reputational risk

The new law – the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR – involves two tasks for HR teams. Firstly, they have to deal with data they hold on employees. Secondly, they should train staff to correctly handle data on customers, suppliers and other business contacts.

Know your data

HR departments generally know what data they hold on people, have rules for managing it, and know how to access it. Therefore, auditing the personal and sensitive personal data they handle may be an easier task for HR than for other teams.

In our experience, an area where HR teams have a significant GDPR compliance challenge is their “lawful basis” for holding personal data.

Under the current rules, employers commonly rely on employees’ consent to hold data – probably via a consent clause in their contract. Under GDPR, this is unlikely to be sufficient, and they’ll need to establish new grounds for handling it.

Generally, organsiations will easily establish an alternative lawful basis for holding employee personal data – for example, to meet their legitimate needs as employer. But they need to review contracts, see if they’re relying on consent, identify a different lawful basis and if so, update contracts.

Personal data held on job applicants will also need to be audited – remembering that the lawful basis for holding applicants’ data is not going to be the same as it is for current employees.

For former employees, HR teams should audit what data they hold, looking at their basis for holding it, how it is held, and for how long.

Staff should be updated on changes to data protection policies – not just to assure them about HR compliance with the GDPR, but to bring them up to speed on their responsibilities when handling other people’s data on behalf of the business.

Dealing with requests and breaches

Another challenge for organisations and charities is going to be the expected spike in “subject access requests” (individuals requesting to know what data is held on them) from 25 May onwards. We recommend developing pro forma responses to streamline the process.

Another process to develop is how to monitor compliance with the new law, and report breaches to the regulator (which will be compulsory within 72 hours of an organisation discovering it).

There’s clearly a lot to do here, but there’s plenty of help available – from online guides to tailored advice on exactly what approach to the new law would work best for your organisation.

We advise most companies to designate a data protection manager – even if a formal data protection officer is not required – someone to drive audits and reviews, galvanise everyone into compliance, and identify what outside help might be useful. You can also refer to this useful checklist.

Daunting this task may be for anyone, but businesses will generally benefit from understanding and managing data better, and it will help to safeguard crucial relationships with staff, customers, contractors and other stakeholders.

Download the PDF

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04 Apr

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Charities must tackle vulnerability to fraud

High-profile fraud cases such as last year’s £500,000 vishing scam against the Highland Hospice have put Scottish charities on their guard, but this may not help them spot what the next fraud will look like.

Charities of all sizes are struggling to deal with the tide of attempts to defraud them.  This is a serious and very prevalent risk issue for charity trustees.

Rather than look out for specific types of scam, it’s more important to have systems in place to protect against the unexpected. Fraud can take any number of forms – cybercrime, banking fraud, procurement fraud, grant fraud, data breaches and more.

It can also threaten the fundamental survival of a charity: it’s not just about the money taken, but the loss of future funding as well: donors will be wary of giving money to organisations that can’t look after it.

So every charity and every trustee has to take fraud risks seriously.

The problem for charities is that fraud attacks can come from all sides, not just outside the organisation. Research from the Charities Commission, based on England and Wales, found that a third of charity fraud involved staff, volunteers or trustees.

How, then, can charities protect themselves?

The first way is to deploy common sense and caution. OSCR’s Fraud and Cybercrime factsheet reminds charities to check bank statements, change passwords, and not give out information over the phone.

One banking vulnerability many charities need to patch is having systems based on business practices that are out of date. For example, the standard practice of requiring two signatories for cheques is insufficient if an individual staff member can authorise large payments online.

Charities must also look at their wider governance arrangements. In particular, they must anticipate the possibility of fraud by trustees (including office bearers) and staff, volunteers or other individuals who know how their processes work.

Trustees should implement a range of checks and balances including: risk assessment procedures around the charity’s structure and financial accountability; controls on access to electronic information; and systems for staff or volunteers to report anxieties around possible fraud.  Written procedures and policies should be updated and reviewed by professional advisors.

Charities may also want tighten up their accounting or scrutiny arrangements. One Scottish charity only found out a staff member had embezzled £220,000 over a seven-year period when it brought in an outside firm to set up a pension scheme.

Reviewing governance systems around fraud prevention is uninviting when charities are hard-pressed for time, and more engaged with their mission and activity than administrative processes. But fraud prevention is essential for every charity’s financial and reputational health.

Having trustees with relevant financial and accounting skills can be useful here. They don’t have to be involved in the day-to-day financial minutiae, but will know how to ask the right questions and implement robust processes.

Secondly, trustee training and governance reviews (which we regularly undertake for a range of charity clients) can be helpful for shining the spotlight on all corners of the organisation, making it harder for fraudsters inside or outside to exploit weaknesses.

Fraud’s always going to evolve, and fraudsters will always be creative. So charities need to evolve their own practices too. The Tackling Charity Fraud Checklist, from the Fraud Advisory Panel, is a good starting-point.

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12 Mar
Review of the regulation of legal services

Review of the regulation of legal services

The form Review of the regulation of legal services is no longer accepting responses.

 We will advise of future surveys in our newsletter.
01 Mar

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Annual Conference 2018 – Tickets on sale!

Our 2017 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130 paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 conference.

Annual Conference 2018
Thursday 19th April 2018
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

05 Feb
Annual Conference 2018 – Tickets on sale!

Our 2017 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130
paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on
Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 conference.

Annual Conference 2018
Thursday 19th April 2018
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

If you wish to exhibit at the conference or if you are interested in sponsoring the event then please contact Sandra at for further details.

19 Sep
Leading Legal Excellence: For the Greater Good – Law Society of Scotland Annual Conference 2017

Tuesday 19 September, 9.15am – 5.30pm, Edinburgh International Conference Centre


This year the Law Society of Scotland’s Annual Conference places the power of the law to work for the greater good and the motivations – simple or inspirational – with which we all started out in the legal profession firmly in the spotlight.

Keynote speakers include the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC on maintaining the rule of law and the interests of justice in a time of change; Lord President of the Court of Session Lord Carloway reflecting on the future of the Scottish courts; Burness Paull chairman Philip Rodney asking just where Scottish businesses go from here in a world of seemingly unsolvable problems and Olympic gold medallist Dame Katherine Grainger sharing the secrets of her incredible success.

Away from the main stage, there is a wide variety of panel sessions to choose from, addressing topics from workplace revolutionising legal technology; helping the vulnerable and those in most need; and equality and diversity with panellists including Karyn McCluskey, Aamer Anwar, Paul Brown and Jolyon Maugham QC to mention just a few.

The conference provides six hours of verifiable CPD and there will also be the opportunity to visit the Law Society of Scotland’s Accredited Paralegal stand, as well as many other exhibitors.

To celebrate the launch of the Law Society of Scotland’s Accredited Paralegal status, Accredited Paralegals can save 20% on the cost of their conference ticket. Accredited Paralegals should email to request the required booking link.


For the full details of theconference or to book your place visit

05 Sep
Modern Thinking in Conveyancing 2017 – Millar & Bryce

To view details about this event click the Image below:

17 Jul
SPA Annual Conference 2017 – Tickets ON SALE!

Our 2016 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130
paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on
Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2017 conference.

Annual Conference 2017
Thursday 20th April 2017
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

If you wish to exhibit at the conference or if you are interested in sponsoring the event then please contact Sandra at for further details.

Save the date.pdf