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Law Society of Scotland responds to legislative programme

03 September 2013 | tagged News release

The Law Society of Scotland has today (3 September) responded to the legislative programme announced by the First Minister.

Courts Reform Bill

Kim Leslie, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Civil Justice Committee, said: "The Courts Reform Bill will dramatically change the civil court structure of Scotland.

"Sheriff courts will need to ensure they are adequately resourced to manage this significant transfer of business. Otherwise, court users could face substantial delays."

Currently, the Court of Session can hear all civil cases where the sum sued for is £5,000 or above. The draft Bill proposed changing the requirements, so only cases valued at over £150,000 can be raised in the Court of Session. This will result in a large transfer of business from the Court of Session to the sheriff courts.

Leslie said: "The Scottish Government is right to raise the threshold; however, we would prefer to see the limit set at no more than£50,000."

Conclusion of Contracts Bill

Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform at the Law Society of Scotland, said: "We welcome this Bill. Scots law is renowned for its adaptability and it is right that the law relating to conclusion of contracts is up to date and fit for the 21st century.

"This Bill ought to make it easier for companies to conclude contracts by email, which should result in lower costs and higher efficiency.

"The Bill should make Scotland a good place to do business for people who trade here and for international companies."

Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill

Isobel d'Inverno, Convener of the Society's Tax Law Committee, said:

"The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill marks a significant moment in post-devolution Scotland. It will contain the underpinning arrangements that will apply for all devolved taxes, including the establishment of Revenue Scotland as the tax authority for Scotland's devolved taxes.

"The Bill will create a new administration for devolved taxes. It is hoped that Revenue Scotland will deal with tax law which fits with existing Scottish law and practice."

ENDS

Notes to editors

The other Bills announced in the legislative programme for 2013/14 include:

Budget Bill, Bankruptcy Consolidation Bill, Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, Damages Bill, RCAHMS and Historic Scotland Merger Bill, Licensing Bill, Food Standards Scotland Bill, Mental Health and Adults with Incapacity Amendment Bill, Scottish Welfare Fund Bill, Housing Bill.

All Law Society consultation responses relating to the Bills can be found here

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Julia Brown on 0131 476 8204 or Suzy Powell on 0131 476 8115. For the out of hours service please call 0131 226 7411.

Email: juliabrown@lawscot.org.uk/suzypowell@lawscot.org.uk

03 September 2013

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