July 2014

Deregulation Bill

The Society continues to press the UK Parliament with its concerns over the partial authorisation of insolvency practitioners. In its letter to Scottish peers, the Society has highlighted that in Scotland significant parts of corporate insolvency are linked to bankruptcy legislation, and are not separate as in England and Wales. The proposed regime under the Bill will not allow for partial authorisation as an insolvency practitioner because of the linkage between company insolvency and bankruptcy law. The Society is also concerned over the  proposed repeal of the Senior President of Tribunals' duty to report on standard, which removes aspects of oversight of tribunals.

Full details here

Consumer Rights Bill

The Consumer Rights Bill reaches its second reading in the House of Lords in July. The Society welcomes and agrees with the policy intentions behind the Bill which are to strengthen the rights of UK consumers, however highlights its concerns around the inclusion of the term 'consideration' which is not a recognised legal term in Scotland. The Society also questions why the Bill does not provide any right of rejection for digital content, having been considered in a previous consultation, nor makes any reference to continuous payment authorities, sometimes known as 'recurring payments' often used in the payday loan market, and involves the debtor giving the company his or her card details and authorising the lender to take regular payments from his or her account.

Full details here

Infrastructure Bill

The Bill was introduced in June but only two clauses relate to Scotland. Part 4, clause 26, gives the Secretary of State a power to make regulations for a community electricity right. This right will allow residents and groups in a community to buy a stake in a local renewable electricity generation facility that is located onshore or offshore. Part 4, clause 27, permits regulations to be made which confer functions on others in relation to the community electricity right. The principle of community right to buy in respect of renewable energy projects is a matter of government policy, and the Society has restricted its comments to the implementing regulations, the terms of which will need to be consulted on in early course if the government is going to successfully engage both developers and community groups and, which will need to find the correct balance between (a) the political objective of encouraging community involvement in renewable energy projects and (b) encouraging private sector development in renewable energy projects - which is another key government objective.

Full details here

Housing (Scotland) Bill

The Society submitted amendments at stage 3 of the Bill. The Society proposed that there should be provision for the removal of a letting agent from the register on request. A person may wish to be removed from the register for a number of reasons including change of career, retirement or sale of the business. The Society was pleased to see that this amendment was passed. The Society also called for an amendment which would void all contracts for letting agency concluded between a landlord and a letting agent where the letting agent is refused access to or removed from the register. The final amendment it has proposed is to delete s 51 (1) (b), removing the potential for bringing many people into the regulatory net who should not be included such as roofers, painters and decorators, builders, insurance companies, house factors and others.

Full details here