March 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations including the Criminal Verdicts Bill, LBTT Amendment Bill and post-legislative scrutiny of the Family Law Act 2006.

Other key areas are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website

Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

Our Lobbying Working Party welcomed amendments to the bill, which proposes to introduce a statutory register of lobbying activity in Scotland, that mean virtual meetings held using video-conferencing technology will be included. We stated in our written evidence that the bill should include other forms of communications beyond face-to-face meetings if it is to meet the Scottish Government's stated policy aims of ensuring transparency and openness.

We believe the bill could have been further extended to include all forms of communications including letters, emails and phone calls, but this is a step in the right direction in improving transparency and public confidence.

We’re also pleased that the bill will now include communications with special advisers in addition to government ministers and that the definition of special advisers has been clarified within the bill.

Our written evidence and stage 1 briefing paper are available to read on the website