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Contributors Appeal

 
Past & Present Contributors Appeal
 
I write to ask you, as someone who has contributed to SCOLAG Legal Journal or the Scottish Legal Action Group, if you could help SCOLAG save a valuable legal resource and ensure the group can reorient itself and continue to press for access to justice.
 
As a Scottish Legal Action Group committee member myself from 1996 to 2007 and editor of the journal from 2002 to 2007 I am aware, as you no doubt are too, of the important role that the journal has played in promoting access to justice and providing an opportunity for new and established writers to comment on and explore important issues in relation to access to justice in Scots law. The journal’s cash-flow in the last quarter of each year has always been particularly tight but in the past couple of years the recession has hit the journal and the group very hard. Although membership has stabilised and begun to grow, the membership base has changed a lot. The past couple of years in particular has seen a fall in corporate members as firms merge, courts close, and publicly funded organisations have to operate with reduced budgets. This has led to a large drop in membership income as a consequence. Membership renewals for 2014 appear to continue that trend. Advertising income has also dropped significantly, and postal costs have risen dramatically.  The cumulative effect over a just a few years means that the future of the journal is in serious doubt.
In response to these changes the editor has agreed to set aside his contract and reduce his fee significantly for the whole of 2014. The Board are committed to looking at further changes and to meeting commitments to existing subscribers while addressing how best to pursue the aims and objectives of the group.
 
Would you join with me in making a donation to allow the editor and the Board to explore opportunities to restructure the journal, renew efforts to secure subscriptions and donations and explore the possibility of publishing online? I have made a substantial donation and also completed a Gift Aid form – if we could find another 19 people to donate something like
£100 or £200 then the journal could continue for the next year and the Board could explore restructuring opportunities.
 
While there is no guarantee that a viable format can be developed for beyond 2014 I hope you agree the journal deserves a chance. While the Group has benefited from generous donations of time and effort over the years it has not, to my knowledge, previously asked for direct financial help from its supporters. Would you please consider donating online (see the donations page at https://scolag.workwithus.org/appeal - donations can be anonymous if you wish and the website, which is run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, is secure) and also asking those you know who have been involved with the journal over the years to consider donating.
 
If we don’t act now then it may be that this will be the last year of publication and the Scottish legal scene will be much the poorer; once it’s gone it’s gone.
 
If you have any questions about SCOLAG’s position and future plans please do feel free to email the Convenor, Robert Sutherland (robert.sutherland[at]advocates.org.uk or convenor[at]scolag.org) the Secretary Eamon Keane (eamon.keane[at]brodies.com or secretary[at]scolag.org) or the Editor, Andrew Wilson (editor[at]scolag.org).
 
Thanks for your time in considering this.
 
Yours sincerely,
Brian Dempsey
Lecturer, School of Law, University of Dundee
Past committee member of the Scottish Legal Action Group and past editor of SCOLAG Legal Journal
 
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