Recent work of the Society's Law Reform Department, featuring EU contract and property; devolution; "red tape"; trusts and succession; compulsory purchase; and more

The Red Tape Challenge

In April, the UK Government began a new initiative through BIS to review a significant amount of secondary legislation, the majority being statutory instruments, which it considers create unnecessary red tape to business. A number of the Society’s subcommittees will consider the legislation contained within this review, including the areas of pensions, equalities, company and employment law.

Consumer insurance

The Consumer Law Committee is currently considering the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill. A Westminister bill, it stems from a discussion paper produced by the Scottish Law Commission and aims to reflect industry best practice to give consumers greater confidence in the insurance industry.

EU Green Paper on Contract Law

The Obligations Law Committee is reviewing the EU feasibility study on the green paper, with input from other committees via a working group. This review follows on from the green paper, on which the committee submitted a response at the beginning of the year. An expert group established by the European Commission compiled this study, which covers the most relevant practical issues in a contractual relationship, such as legal rights for faulty goods and rules on which contract terms may be unfair.

Trust law

The Trust & Succession Law and Pension Law Committees are currently considering the SLC Discussion Paper on Supplementary and Miscellaneous Issues relating to Trust Law. The paper seeks views on a wide-ranging review of trust law. The committees will submit a response in July.

Financial limits in succession

The Trust & Succession Law committee also submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the review of financial limits of prior rights and confirmation to small estates. This sought views on the potential for uprating financial limits regarding prior rights of a surviving spouse or civil partner on intestacy, and confirmation to small estates. The committee agreed with the suggested levels and suggested that the confirmation threshold could be lifted further.

Pension and Equalities Subcommittees

Both committees remain busy this month, having recently submitted a joint response to the UK Government’s consultation focusing on ending age discrimination in services, public functions and associations. Pension Law are also considering a paper regarding a compulsory transfer of staff, and Equalities Law have recently submitted a response to the Building a Fairer Britain consultation.

Devolution issues

The Constitutional Law Committee submitted a response in May to a paper by the Advocate General for Scotland seeking comments on draft clauses for inclusion in the Scotland Bill currently before Parliament. The committee restated its view that the devolution procedure relating to appeals should continue to apply to the Lord Advocate as prosecutor, to ensure compatibility with EU Law and Convention Rights.

Carloway Review

The Society’s Board working group submitted a response at the beginning of June.

Property regimes

The European Commission published two proposed regulations concerning jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters concerning matrimonial property regimes and the property consequences of registered partnerships. A consultation paper sought views on the position the UK should take during the forthcoming negotiations. The Family Law Subcommittee noted that it is not in the national interest for the Government to opt into negotiations before considering the content of the proposals or prior to opting into the Succession Regulation.

London 2012

The IP and Equalities Law Committees submitted a response to a paper by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport seeking views on the proposed regulation of traders in and around London and Glasgow during the 2012 Olympics. The committee raised concerns in its response that a number of the regulations appear to favour not-for-profit bodies, not only in relation to their seeking donations and distributing benefits but also as economic operators engaged in business activities in competition with for-profit enterprises.

Compulsory purchase

The Planning Law Committee submitted a response to a Scottish Government consultation seeking views on two draft circulars containing guidance on the use of compulsory purchase. One will provide guidance to authorities on using compulsory purchase appropriately and effectively. The other will amend the Crichel Down Rules, which set out the circumstances and basis on which surplus land that was compulsorily acquired is offered back to the former owner.

Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

A consultation sought views on the tribunal’s proposal that its power to decide a case without a hearing under rule 58 be amended. Depending on the results, the Scottish Government would look at laying any amending statutory instrument in June. In its response the Mental Health & Disability Law Subcommittee noted its support for any move to make the rules more user-friendly.

  • We are keen to receive comments from our wider membership on the consultations our committees are considering. To view the consultations we are considering and past responses please visit:


Share this article
Add To Favorites