Former Law Society of Scotland president to head European Council of Law Societies

Ruthven Gemmell

Ruthven Gemmell, partner at Murray Beith Murray and past president of the Law Society of Scotland, has been elected as president of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

Mr Gemmell, who was president of the Law Society of Scotland 2006-07, was selected to join the CCBE as the society’s representative on the UK delegation in 2007. He headed the UK delegation from 2010 to 2013 when he was elected as vice president. He will take up the role of president on 1 January 2017.

The CCBE is the representative organisation of more than one million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies from 32 full member countries, and 13 further associate and observer countries. It provides opportunities for bars and law societies to work together, exchange information, and share expertise.

Mr Gemmell said: “It is a tremendous honour to have been elected as president of the CCBE, representing more than a million lawyers across Europe.

“It’s important that we have the opportunity to come together to share information, discuss common issues and develop an understanding of neighbouring jurisdictions, particularly during this time of enormous economic and political change.

“The CCBE has worked with law societies across Europe, including the Law Society of Scotland, to highlight key issues such as the protection of client confidentiality in the digital age, the protection of lawyers and the rule of law around the world, and the effect of new technologies on the role and function of the legal profession. We have supported a range of initiatives, including the ‘Find a lawyer’ project, which helps clients or lawyers who are looking for cross-border legal expertise to find European lawyers in their own language, and the European Lawyers in Lesvos Project which was launched in July this year. This is an important project which sees lawyers from right across Europe travel to the Greek island to provide first instance legal assistance to migrants requiring international protection there.”

Eilidh Wiseman, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Ruthven. He is a superb advocate for the Scottish legal profession and will bring his wealth of talent, insight and experience to his role as CCBE president, representing lawyers in over 40 countries.

“The legal profession now operates on a global basis and, following the UK vote to leave the EU, it is important to ensure that we maintain links with our colleagues across the different European jurisdictions to share knowledge and best practice as well as continuing business interests.”

Ms Wiseman has been appointed to join the CCBE as the Law Society of Scotland representative on the UK delegation. The UK has six delegates in the CCBE.