EU update on the working time rules

In April 2009, after years of negotiation, the EU institutions failed to agree on proposals to update the existing EU working time rules. The proposals fell but concerns over the treatment of on-call time and the use of the individual opt out from the 48-hour working week were left unanswered.

On 24 March the European Commission re-launched the discussion, issuing a consultation document with a six-week deadline. While treating the outstanding issues mentioned above, the paper seeks to provoke a broader debate about rules on working time and whether they meet the needs of increasingly diverse working arrangements. In parallel the Commission has undertaken to carry out an impact assessment of the legal application of the directive in EU countries and a study of the related social and economic elements.

OPG caps “access to funds” fee

The Office of the Public Guardian has provided this note on the access to funds scheme:

In recent times a number of applications under the access to funds scheme in terms of part 3 of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 have included a request for payment of professional fees where a solicitor has been instructed to prepare such an application.

The access to funds scheme was designed as a low cost option for simpler estates; it is non-court based, administered by the Public Guardian. To limit the cost to the estate of the incapable adult the Office of the Public Guardian has a dedicated access to funds team who provide advice, guidance and assistance, where necessary; this service is offered free of charge. Legal expertise is not necessary to advise how the scheme operates or to complete the application form; however, it is recognised that some clients may wish to pursue such an application via their legal adviser. Consequently, the Public Guardian has agreed that a one off capped fee, currently £330 inclusive of VAT but excluding outlays, may be requested from the adult’s estate towards the legal costs. Any fees in excess of that will require to be negotiated personally between the client and legal adviser.

SYLA career seminar

The next seminar in the SYLA series “So you want to be a lawyer?” covers the daily life of the property lawyer. Presented by Tanya MacLeod and Alan White, associates in Brodies’ property department, it takes place on Wednesday 28 April at Brodies’ office, 15 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, from 6pm.

LLB and Diploma students, trainees and solicitors up to two years qualified are welcome, but numbers are limited, so please contact by 23 April if you would like to attend.

Dewar Debate finalists announced

Four schools have won through to the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

Craigmount High School from Edinburgh, The Glasgow Academy, Madras College of St Andrews, and St Margaret’s School for Girls, Edinburgh, will compete in the event on Thursday 17 June, which once again will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament, chaired by the Presiding Officer.

This year’s competition has been run in partnership with the Scottish European Educational Trust.

Paralegal launch dates

Stage 1 of the Society’s Registered Paralegal scheme will launch on Monday 16 August 2010, and stage 2 on Tuesday 16 November. You are encouraged to find out how it might affect your paralegals, solicitors, and your business at More on the scheme will follow in forthcoming issues of the Journal.


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