ARDL Seminar: “The Role of the Legal Adviser and the Legally Qualified Chair – the same or different?”

Date: Thursday 13th June 2019 at 5.00pm at Anderson Strathern offices, Edinburgh

Speakers: Kay Springham QC, Robert Frazer, Advocate and Maree Allison, Director of Regulation at the Scottish Social services Council

Chair: Christine O’Neill, Partner, Brodies



In the third in the ARDL Scotland Seminar Programme 2019 we will look at role of those giving legal advice to professional disciplinary panels and discuss the responsibilities of the legal adviser as compared to the newer role of the legally qualified chair. The Scottish Social Services Council has been one of the first regulators in Scotland to introduce the legally qualified chair, following on from regulators such as the GMC who have already moved from the separate legal adviser to the legally qualified chair. What are the similarities and the differences? What is it like to be a legal adviser, advising and sitting in on the panel’s decision making? And how difficult is the combined role of both chairing and advising the panel? What does the law tell us about the role of the legal adviser? We’ll hear from those on the front line with the opportunity for the audience to join in a panel discussion and Q&A after the presentations.


Christine O’Neill: Christine is a Partner, Solicitor Advocate and also the Chairman of Brodies.  As well as being ranked by the legal directories as a Star Individual in Administrative & Public Law and acting for a wide range of clients, including the BBC, the Gambling Commission and the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, Christine is the first Solicitor Advocate to be appointed as First Standing Junior the Scottish Government.   Christine also has longstanding professional regulatory experience having sat as a legal adviser to the committees of the Scottish Social Services Council and acts for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in Scotland.  She has been involved in a number of key PSA appeals in Scotland, including PSA v NMC [2017] CSIH 29 and PSA v GDC [2016] CSIH 58.


Kay Springham QC – Kay called at the Bar in 1999 and took silk in 2016. Kay was previously a Standing Junior to the Scottish Ministers and is on the A List for the preferred counsel for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Kay sits as a lawyer member on the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and sits as a legally qualified chair on the committees of the Scottish Social Services Council.

Robert Frazer, Advocate – Bobby called at the Bar following a career in private practice where he was a litigation partner at Drummond Miller. He is an experienced legal adviser, sitting with and advising panels across the regulatory sphere in Scotland and throughout the UK, including the Nursing & Midwifery Council, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Farriers Registration Council.   Robert’s interest in sport also sees him sit as a member of Cricket Scotland’s disciplinary panel.

Maree Allison – Maree is the Director of Regulation at the Scottish Social Services Council.  After an initial career in private practice, Maree joined the SSSC in 2010 as a solicitor and in recent years has overseen the transition of the regulatory function from a misconduct to a fitness to practise regime.  She has seen the SSSC’s register grow from initially registering social workers to now being responsible for registering and regulating over 200,000 social care workers in Scotland across care homes, children’s nurseries and many other local authority services.  The SSSC now has a significant in-house legal team. Most recently, Maree oversaw the move from legal advisers to legally qualified chairs at the SSSC.    

Date: Thursday 13th June 2019; Time: Registration & tea/coffee – 5.00pm; Seminar: 5.30pm – 6.30pm followed by refreshments; Venue: Anderson Strathern LLP, 1 Rutland Court, Edinburgh, EH3 8EL. ARDL seminars qualify for CPD. Please remember to sign the relevant CPD sheets at the seminars.

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