December 2015

Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill

Our criminal law committee submitted written evidence on the bill in November. 

In its evidence, the committee highlighted that while supporting the policy objectives of the bill and that it would welcome any measure which helps to improve how the justice system responds to abusive behaviour including domestic abuse and sexual harm, that it had reservations as to whether the bill as drafted would help improve the justice system to do so.

The committee also highlighted its concerns around proving aggravation of an offence, as set out at section 1, and questioned why existing measures were not adequate and whether or not the increased use of statutory aggravations were improving the criminal justice system. 

On the ‘revenge pornography’ provisions, as set out at section 2, the committee is of the view that there is a strong argument for modelling the offence on the English legislation, rather than operating different regimes north and south of the border. 

Grazia Robertson also gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee on 17 November.

The full response and link to the oral evidence session is on our website

Footway Parking and Double Parking (Scotland) Bill

The criminal law committee submitted a call for evidence to the above bill.   The bill creates the offences of parking on footways (Section 2) parking at dropped footways etc. (Section 3) and double parking (Section 4) without the need to establish that there is in fact an obstruction.  While noting that other organisations may be better placed to respond to the bill, and the exceptions to parking on footways, dropped kerbs and double parking, there were a few issues that the committee raised, such as the consideration of a statutory defence the basis that the parking was, in all the circumstances, reasonable.  The committee also suggested a further exception to be considered, where it is necessary to park on the footpath to avoid obstruction to other vehicles in circumstances where there is a very narrow lane, part of which has a footpath.  The committee also highlighted the potential resource issues for the police and local authorities in the enforcement of the provisions of the bill. 

The full response can be found on our website

Apologies (S) Bill amendments

Following the submission of our stage 1 report in October, this month we proposed two amendments to be tabled at stage 2 of the bill.  The amendments supported our main concerns that we highlighted in previous briefings, specifically to  exempt the use of an apology in any medical negligence related proceedings, and to exempt an apology given in accordance with the duty of candour as set out within the Health, (Tobacco, Nicotine etc, and care) (Scotland) Bill.

The amendments can be seen in full on the website

Unjustified threats on intellectual property rights

The Intellectual Property committee responded to the IPO’s consultation.  The committee welcomes and is supportive of the proposed Bill, and agrees that legislation in this area has become outmoded and requires to be changed and modernised to reflect current needs and issues.  The Committee has not identified any specific areas which would render the proposals “contentious” from a Scottish perspective, and agrees that the bill is suitable for the Parliamentary procedure designed for uncontroversial Law Commission bills. 

The full response is available on our website