January 2014

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill

Grazia Robertson, from the Society's Criminal Law Committee, gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee on solemn procedure reforms. The Society supported proposals for procurator fiscals and defence agents to get together to try to resolve cases, as envisaged by section 66 of the Bill, but warned that there would be significant resource implications.

The Society continues to voice concerns over the proposal to abolish the requirement for corroboration, stating that without introducing alternative safeguards, it will result in the risk of increased miscarriages of justice. The Society has called for a review of the law surrounding corroboration and backed Lord Gill's suggestion that corroboration should be taken out of the Bill and looked at separately. In early 2014, the Society will host a roundtable event with groups for and against the proposal.

Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill

The Society reiterated concerns to MSPs ahead of the stage 1 debate, in particular, proposals to extend the debt repayment period from three to four years; the removal of judicial involvement of the sequestration process from the Scottish courts to the Accountant in Bankruptcy; the extended role of AIB and potential for conflict of interest; and the unnecessarily cumbersome and lengthy appeal process that the Bill will introduce.

Agricultural holdings

Mike Gascoigne, Convener of the Society's Rural Affairs Committee, gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the proposed draft Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 Remedial Order 2014.

Land registration

The Society responded to the Registers of Scotland consultation on the implementation of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012, which will reform the law in relation to the registration of rights to land in the Land Register of Scotland. The Society supported many of the proposals; however, did not agree that the date of entry should no longer be included in the title sheet. The Society considers that the date of entry can be helpful, particularly in asserting prescriptive periods in insolvency situations.