Recent work of the Law Reform Department, including Victims and Witnesses Bill; Revenue Scotland; Women and Work Inquiry

Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill

The Society provided written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee on the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill. The Society supports the objectives of the bill, but believes certain elements can be improved on. In his oral evidence, Peter Lockhart of the Criminal Law Committee said the Society was uncertain whether a new victim surcharge would bring additional benefits to victims, as Scottish courts already have the power to make offenders pay towards the cost of supporting victims through compensation orders. He also stated that the Society was unclear why the bill limits the use of restitution orders to assaults against police officers, and does not include other emergency service workers who are often exposed to assaults while carrying out their duties.

Revenue Scotland

A new tax collection body, Revenue Scotland, will come into operation from April 2015, responsible for the collection of the new Scottish landfill tax and land and buildings transaction tax. A Scottish Government consultation sought views on the structure and powers for Revenue Scotland, specifically, ensuring tax compliance, tackling tax avoidance, resolving tax disputes, treatment of taxpayer information, and accelerating tax changes. The Society provided a range of recommendations, and members of the Tax Law Committee are due to meet with Government officials to discuss these in further detail.

Women and Work Inquiry

The Society provided written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee as part of its Women and Work Inquiry. In her oral evidence, Joyce Cullen, convener of the Employment Law Committee, said there had been an “incredible” rise in the number of women entering the profession in recent years, with women now making up 60% of graduates coming into the law, and accounting for 48% of solicitors in Scotland. However, she also said that many of the best-paid jobs are male-dominated, and even “the best” private practices only have about 30% of partnership positions occupied by women.

For full details of the above, and further information on the Law Reform Department, visit The team can be contacted via or follow us on Twitter: @lawscot
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