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Centre for Professional Legal Studies

Strathclyde University Law School

Director, Professor Alan Paterson OBE

This think tank was established within the Law School in 2000 to bring together stakeholders from the Judiciary, the Government, the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society, the Scottish Legal Aid Board, Citizens Advice Scotland and academia to discuss and debate issues relating to access to justice, the provision of legal services, the future of the legal profession, professional ethics and the judiciary.

Each May the Centre hosts a Retreat at Ross Priory, Loch Lomond co-hosted by Professors Richard Susskind and Alan Paterson of the Law School. Speakers in 2019 included Liam Brown, Founder and Executive Chair of the Law Company, Elevate; Christina Demetriades, Deputy General Counsel, Accenture; and Lord Neuberger, Former President, UK Supreme Court.

Professor Paterson is one of the leading academics globally in relation to the Quality Assurance of Legal Aid providers and is the professional adviser to the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Aid Board in relation to their Peer Review system for quality assuring legal aid practitioners in Scotland. In 2018-2019 he has spoken by invitation of the EU, the Council of Europe and the UNODC (amongst others ) on Peer Review in China, Kiev, Latvia, Vienna, Brussels, Taiwan and London. 

In May 2019 he attended the launch in Vienna of his co-authored Handbook on Ensuring Quality of Legal Aid Services in Criminal Justice Processes: Practical Guidance and Promising Practices ( 160 pp ) which has been published by the UNODC. In June is he addressed conferences on Access to Justice in Ottawa and Lithuania on Quality Assurance and Peer Review. He also updated the assessment protocol for peer review in Criminal Legal Assistance in Scotland June 2019. In December 2019. The President of Ukraine endorsed the introduction of Scots style peer review in criminal legal aid cases there.