October 2014

Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill

The health and medical law committee responded to Ann McTaggart MSP’s proposed bill on organ and tissue donation.  The proposed measures would reverse the current law where a person has to expressly opt in to the system, to one where a person would be deemed to have opted in to organ donation unless they had expressly opted out.  The Society’s response centres around the need for clarity and a high profile publicity campaign and warned that this new system could have the potential to lead to conflict between clinicians and family members, who may be opposed to organ donation or severely distressed.  The committee agrees with the proposal that automatic opt in should take effect at 16 years of age, and that those between the ages of 12 and 16 will retain their right to authorise transplantation under the Human Tissue Act 2006. 

The full response will be available here on 02 October. 

Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill

The licensing law committee submitted written evidence at stage 1 of the parliamentary process at the end of September.  The bill is far reaching and covers a number of areas, including the licensing of alcohol, scrap metal dealers and air weapons.  The committee suggests that as it stands the proposals for air weapon licensing will not have the desired effect of the cutting down air weapon crime, as the licence will cover the person, not the weapon, and will not provide for the individual listing of each single item.  The committee also comments on the missed opportunity the bill had to address some long standing issues surrounding the transfer of premises licenses, particularly when a tenant disappears leaving the premises closed, and the introduction of a time limit for alcohol licence applications, which it welcomes, however states that the proposed 9 month time limit is too long. 

The full response can be found on our website

Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill

On 30 September the Society gave oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee.  The Society is supportive of the Bill, which will modernise the law relating to legal documents, speeding up transactions and allowing traditional documents to be delivered by electronic means.  It will enable a more efficient process for execution where parties are based in different locations.  We believe that enabling execution in counterpart will bring Scots Law into line with many of the other international jurisdictions, including England and New York, both of which are often considered to be two of the world’s key legal centres, and will precipitate an increase in the use of Scots Law to govern transactions.

The Society’s full response to the bill can be found on our website

Scottish Independence Referendum – impact of the ‘No’ vote

The Commission chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin will soon begin taking evidence on what additional powers should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.  The Society’s law reform committees are currently considering what additional powers they would wish the Scottish Parliament to have, and will report to the Commission by the end of October.

Administrative Justice Committee

The newly established Administrative Justice Sub-Committee will monitor developments in administrative justice in Scotland. In particular, it will review and comment on draft legislation, on practice and on policy initiatives across devolved and reserved areas that impact on administrative justice in Scotland.

The committee is convened by the Society’s past president Richard Henderson and Richard Whitecross of Napier University has been appointed sub-convenor.  The other committee members are Anne Hastie, Caroline Gordon, Chris Gill, David Crossan, Michael Adler, Paul Smith and Paul Smith (Yes there are two of them!)