Scottish independence referendum
The Society provided oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum Bill committee. Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform, said the legislation was “well drafted” and “tailored to Scottish conditions”. Asked about the “purdah” period leading up to the referendum, he stated that the Scottish Government had a statutory obligation to abide by the 28-day rule. While the UK Government was not subject to the same statutory obligation, any infringement would have “political” consequences.
Land and buildings transaction tax
The Society provided written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee on the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Bill – in particular, on the complex issues surrounding commercial and agricultural leases, partnerships and licences to occupy land and buildings. Isobel d’Inverno, convener of the Tax Law Committee, said that it had been challenging to give these issues the proper consideration that they required within the timescales involved, and a working party should be set up to further consider the application of LBTT to partnerships. She added that, if the legislation was to work in Scotland, it should not incorporate any English legal terminology from the stamp duty land tax legislation, as this would give rise to difficulties in interpretation.
Intellectual Property Bill
The Society submitted an amendment to peers concerning the Intellectual Property Bill, recommending that the Court of Session retains its jurisdiction over patent cases under the new Community Unitary Patent system. The bill, once enacted, will pave the way for establishing a Unitary Patent Court system in the UK. The Society said that it considers it important that Scotland is allocated one of the (up to four) possible local divisions of the court. This would ensure that businesses operating in Scotland are not unduly disadvantaged by no longer having a local option to enforce or defend their rights.
Civil courts reform
The Society responded to the Scottish Government consultation on the draft Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. It agreed with increasing the threshold for cases to be raised in the Court of Session, but considered £150,000 to be too high a threshold, stating that it would prefer to see the limit set at no more than £50,000. This would allow cases with a lower value, but which still raise complex issues of fact or law, to continue to be heard by the Court of Session.
The Society provided written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee on the general principles of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill. It welcomed the Scottish Government’s drive towards the simplification of complex regulation. It also supported the adoption of measures aimed to reduce inconsistency and streamline environmental protection regimes.For full details of the above, and further information on the Law Reform Department, visit www.lawscot.org.uk/forthepublic/law-reform-consultations-and-bills
The team can be contacted via email@example.com, or follow us on Twitter: @lawscot
In this issue
- Risk and the duty to inform
- Decrofting back on track
- The long road to qualify
- Scotland scores on “Themis” debut
- Equality and regulatory reform
- Reading for pleasure
- Opinion column: Martin Crewe
- Book reviews
- President's column
- What right of way?
- Gas in the tank
- Scotland on the world stage
- Up there with the best
- The Significant Seven
- Out on 65?
- Gatekeeping the experts
- Fairway failings
- Beware of solvent liquidations
- Passing off update
- Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal
- Holyrood out of bounds
- DPAs: cross-border confusion?
- The road to land reform, but where is it going?
- How not to win business: a guide for professionals
- Information security: raising the bar
- Waste: help sort it out
- Where there's a will
- Ask Ash
- "Reply to all"
- Law reform roundup
- Incidental financial business: amendments ahead
- Times are tough