The Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society Scotland adopted their position on the Commission’s proposal for a mandatory lobbying register from September 2016. 

The Law Societies welcomed the move towards a mandatory system and the proposal to include the Council in the scope of the new register. They added that at the same time, any new regulation must be proportionate to its objectives in order to achieve the intended results.

They also supported the idea of including ‘interactions’ in the scope of the register thus focusing on direct lobbying. Such a definition provides greater legal certainty for registrants and makes it easier to decide whether someone is or is not a lobbyist. They insisted on clear exemption for legal work which is the core activity of most law firms and it should not be impacted by the transparency rules.

Finally, the Societies underlined the EU decision-making process shouldbe as transparent as possible to allow for its proper scrutiny and to ensure that the Union’s institutions are accountable. They added that lobbying is a vital part of the democratic process, as it helps inform politicians and decision-makers of key concerns and the potential impact of proposed policies and legislation as well as options that may not have been considered.