All regulated legal practitioners are officers of the court, whether they appear in court or not, and owe certain duties to the court and to the public. The rules regulating the profession are based on independence, impartiality and integrity. The rules applying to each branch of the profession apply equally to all members and inform every piece of advice given to a client. Those values remain as some members of the legal profession become members of the judiciary. The judicial oath requires judges to “do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”. On appointment, any ties with a political party or organisation must be cut. Judges must also recuse themselves (step down from legal proceedings) if there is a conflict of interest. Read more about judicial ethics.
The Court plays a role in shaping the standards expected of legal professionals, for example, in deciding negligence actions and highlighting in its judgments (rulings) good or bad practice by lawyers. Statutory appeals against determinations of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission are heard and decided by the Court of Session (its Inner House). Regulation by the Court ensures strong and effective oversight of the professions by experts and frank, frequent and respected dialogue with the professional bodies. The Lord President is the figurehead of the Scottish legal system. The authority and status of the office is well-respected across the professions and in other jurisdictions. It fosters effective regulation through its strong ethical leadership.