September 2015

Committee Updates for September 2015

Land Reform (Scotland) Bill

The Society’s Property and Land Law and Rural Affairs committees submitted written evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Land Reform Bill.  We are of the view that the Bill lacks sufficient detail or clarity in a number of areas to enable stakeholders to understand the changes and act or prepare accordingly.  Much of the proposed legislations serves only to provide a framework for important changes and leaves the detail of these changes to be made via regulations at a later date.   We also raise concerns that agricultural holdings legislation has been included - there are significant changes within Part 10 of the Bill that ideally would have been dealt with separately to land reform.  We are pleased to see however, that section 68 of the Bill amends s75 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975 to provide the ability for a local authority to apply to the sheriff or the Court of Session for authority not only to dispose of, but now also to appropriate land forming part of the common good. 

We will be giving oral evidence on Part 10 of the Bill to the Scottish Parliament on 16 September. 

Our full written evidence is available on our website

Succession (Scotland) Bill

The Trusts and Succession committee submitted written evidence on what is likely to be the first of two bills. The first is quite technical in nature while the second, on which the Scottish Government is currently consulting, will address issues such as intestacy, protections for disinheritance and protections for cohabitants. While there may be more to say on the second measure, we made the general point that the opportunity to amend succession law does not arise very often, and we have a collective responsibility to ensure that it is done efficiently and effectively. The committee recommended that the government brings forward consolidating legislation to provide practitioners and members of the public alike with clarity on this important area of law.

We will be giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament on 15 September. 

The full written evidence can be found on our website

Community Justice (Scotland) Bill

The Criminal Law committee submitted written evidence on the Bill.  The committee envisages that the proposed community justice model will help to create a stronger community justice system, based on local planning and delivery with support at a national level.   The introduction of a new national body, Community Justice Scotland, should raise the profile of community justice and support the model outlined above, including making improvements in areas such as leadership and identification of best practice.  The committee questions whether or not the definition of community justice could be expanded to include the prevention of crime, rather than just focusing on the reintegration of offenders back into the community, with the aim of preventing people from being drawn into the criminal justice system in the first place.

The full written evidence available on our website

Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care)(Scotland) Bill

The Health and medical law committee provided written evidence on Parts 1 and 2 of the Bill.  The committee is supportive of Part 1 of the Bill, which has the potential to address health and well-being and reduce the risk of harm caused by smoking and smoking related disease.  The committee, while recognising that e-cigarettes may be a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, believe that more information is still required on the risks and benefits to public health in general, and particularly young people.  Part 2 of the Bill relates to a duty of candour.  It is the committee’s view that some of the proposals will be resource intensive and impractical to apply, and a balance needs to be struck between providing patients with an apology if something happens to them, without requiring doctors to report every ‘near miss’. 

We will be giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament on 22 September. 

The full written evidence is available on our website

Other News (September)

During September, the Society will also be giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee on the Scotland Bill, and the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster on English Votes for English Laws

Further information available from