Of the 15 bills detailed in the speech delivered on 9 May, 14 will have some application to Scotland. These include: Banking Reform, to establish an independent commission to look at the separation of retail and investment banking; Crime and Courts, to establish a National Crime Agency to address organised crime and cyber crime; Pensions, to reform the state pension system; House of Lords Reform; and a Small Donations Bill, to boost the income of charities, especially smaller ones, by streamlining the Gift Aid scheme. The relevant committees will examine these measures as they arise.
Land Registration (Scotland) Bill
The bill was passed by the Parliament on 31 May. The Property Law Committee had continued to push for the removal of the criminal sanction in s 108, but an amendment tabled was not successful and the provision remains in largely unamended form. Amendments at stage 3 to provide clarification of the position regarding inhibitions registered against a seller after missives are concluded were withdrawn.
The convener of the Mental Health and Disability Law Subcommittee gave evidence to the Health and Sport Committee on the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Bill on 15 May. The bill provides for adults and children to be given choices and control over how they are provided with community care services and support. The Society welcomed the basic principle of empowerment, as well as the removal of certain provisions in the previous draft bill about which it had expressed concern. Some concerns remain, including a lack of clarity on the bill’s application to adults with incapacity. The Society suggested that there should be an initial assessment of capacity before considering options for self-directed support. The committee intends to publish its report on the bill by the end of June.
Stage 2 of the Criminal Cases (Punishment and Review) (Scotland) Bill was completed on 15 May. The Criminal Law Committee has proposed amendments for stage 3 to simplify the sentencing framework when a non-mandatory life sentence is passed: the Society maintains the bill will not provide a clear legislative solution to the anomaly identified in the Petch and Foye case, whereby a life prisoner will be eligible for parole earlier than a non-life prisoner.
Alcohol (minimum pricing)
MSPs passed the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill on 24 May. It is predicted that implementation of the Act, which sets a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as a condition of licence, as well as the formula for calculating that price, will begin no earlier than April 2013. The Society has reiterated its stance that the introduction of a minimum price may or may not be compatible with EU law.Further information on the current work of the Law Reform Department can be found at www.lawscot.org.uk/forthepublic/law-reform-consultations. The team can be contacted on any of the matters above at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on twitter @lawscot
In this issue
- Prescription and title to moveable property
- Gold-plated pension liabilities – what next for law firms?
- Getting your fix
- A trainee perspective on business development
- Embedding ADR in the civil justice system
- From death to life
- Reading for pleasure
- Appreciation: Alistair Hamilton
- Who shares in the common grazings?
- Opinion column: Mev Brown
- Book reviews
- Council profile
- Why the dual role works
- Rights both ways: a contrary view
- President's column
- Property reports relaunched
- Equality in austerity
- How old is too old?
- Expanding the country file
- The social side of practice
- Judicial minefield
- Program protection
- Life bans just not sporting
- Coleman revisited
- Never mind the reasons
- Another year in focus
- Law reform roundup
- Business checklist
- Banks: POA campaign continues
- Ask the experts
- Ask Ash