Legal Matters Scotland News Summary View this email in a browser
 
 
Letter of the Law
 
 
Friday, 16th August 2019
 
 
A free early morning round up of news for legal professionals across Scotland.
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INDUSTRY

 

New "Fellow" membership category opened by Society

The Scottish solicitors' professional body has launched a new membership category called "Fellow of the Law Society of Scotland", which comes with an opportunity to join committees, become a mentor, attend the Society’s annual conference and receive the Journal and tailored newsletters, among other benefits. The Society's chief executive, Lorna Jack, remarked: "As we commemorate our platinum year, we want to celebrate the contribution our members make to their communities and wider society.” She went on: “Whether that’s mentoring, playing an active role on our committees, attending the annual conference or meeting colleagues in a more social setting, the Fellow membership can provide those opportunities and offers a range of other benefits.”

Law Society of Scotland

 

Legal Ombudsman pilots use of formal mediation

The Legal Ombudsman is running a “proof of concept” pilot of mediation, as another route to settling dispute between lawyers and their clients. The results of the pilot will be analysed in terms of the level of take-up, the success rate of any mediation, and the types of cases which successfully mediated. “We already resolve a significant proportion of our cases through getting an agreed outcome rather than a formal ombudsman decision,” commented Rebecca Marsh, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the service. “We know that agreed outcomes, where people have more involvement and choice, lead to greater customer satisfaction.” Ms Marsh said LeO has been talking to other organisations to see what it could learn from them. “Colleagues at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and Scottish Mediation have been very generous in sharing their time, knowledge and experience.”

Legal Futures

 

Top 10 law school list includes four Scottish universities

The Daily Telegraph has ranked Glasgow at number three, Edinburgh at seven, Aberdeen at nine and Dundee at 10 in a list of "10 best universities to study law" in the UK. The ratings were said to be "based on the latest 2020 data from the Complete University Guide, which ranks university courses according to graduate prospects, entry standards, research quality and student satisfaction”, with the top places taken by Cambridge and University College London. The biggest advantages of the Scottish schools were said to include opportunities to study abroad, proximity to the courts, law clinic experience and mooting opportunities.

Law Society of Scotland

 

SEMLA hosts networking event with RBS

The Scottish Ethnic Minorities Lawyers' Association has announced a networking evening in collaboration with the Royal Bank of Scotland. The event will take place in the Banking Hall of RBS’s flagship branch at 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh at 7pm on Thursday 5 September 2019, providing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) professionals with an opportunity to come together to expand their network. Sir Geoff Palmer, the first Black professor in Scotland, will give a keynote speech on how "Justice, Inclusion, Career and Leadership go together", while speakers from RBS and SEMLA will talk about diversity in the workplace.

Law Society of Scotland

 

Councils’ legal bills under scrutiny

Figures provided by 270 of 480 UK councils show that £322m was spent last year on in-house legal teams and £142m on external legal services. Around a third of respondents spent more on external legal advice in 2018-19 than in any of the previous four years. Deborah Evans, chief executive of Lawyers in Local Government, said rising council legal costs were down to recruitment issues in the public sector, major redevelopment projects that needed expert advice and Government funding cuts.

BBC News
 

 

 
 

 

 

THE LAW

 

Teenager wants 'pet bereavement law'

A Scottish teenager who says she was sacked from her job at a fast food restaurant because her dog died has now started a petition calling for a “pet bereavement law”. Emma McNulty, 18, is asking for bereaved pet owners to be given the same sort of consideration as employees who have lost relatives.

Daily Star

 

 

CASES

 

MSP presses Lord Advocate over handling of FAI

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has written to the Lord Advocate about the findings of the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) describing the death of Allan Marshall, an inmate of HMP Edinburgh in 2015. Mr McArthur’s raised concerns about the time taken for the FAI to conclude and for the facts to be made public, as well as the lack of criminal prosecution. Mr Marshall was an inmate of HMP Edinburgh in 2015 and died of a cardiac arrest. Evidence heard during the inquiry indicates that prison officers used violent means to restrain the Mr Marshall.

Scottish Liberal Democrats

 

Man imprisoned after Edinburgh Royal Infirmary grounds attacks

David Milligan, a 21-year-old who tried to rape a woman at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in February and assaulted another woman, has been jailed for three years and nine months. Lord Mulholland said: "You pled guilty to attacking two women who were strangers to you. In the second attack, you tried to violently rape a woman. If a member of the public had not been passing, you would have carried out your intention. By your actions, you are a danger to women." Milligan's lawyer Niall McCluskey claimed the accused "did not know what came over him".

BBC News
 

 

 
 
 

PROPERTY

 

Council tenants who rent out homes face eviction

Council tenants have been warned that if they are found offering Airbnb, they could face eviction for a breach of their tenancy conditions. Highland council's head of housing, David Goldie, told members on the environment, development and infrastructure committee that the council was actively investigating cases of tenants offering Airbnb, with fraud inquiries taking place. The councillors were talking about the authority's response to a Scottish Government consultation looking at the rise in use of short-term lets and the online platforms that are supporting them.

The Press and Journal   The Scotsman

 

Homeowners rush to remortgage before Brexit

Homeowners have rushed to cash in on reduced interest rates to remortgage throughout June, while buyers have held back amid Brexit uncertainty. According to UK Finance, a total of 16,880 remortgages were agreed, up 8.3% from the same time last year. However, loans to first-time buyers slipped 1.5% to 32,760, and home mover mortgages fell 3.6% to 31,000. Rates are close to record lows and customers are scrambling to lock in these deals. “We’ve been flat out, driven by people taking advantage of stupendously low remortgage rates. Paradoxically, the growing likelihood of a No Deal Brexit and the uncertainty that could bring has created a lot more activity,” said Andrew Montlake, of mortgage broker Coreco.

Daily Mail
 
 
 

 

 

FIRMS

 

CMS makes series of promotions

Some 22 promotions have been announced by international law firm CMS across its three Scottish offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Alan Hughes of the firm’s Glasgow real estate team and Frances Reilly of the energy practice in Aberdeen, have both been promoted to the role of Of Counsel, among other moves. Allan Wernham, managing director of CMS Scotland, remarked: “I’m pleased to announce these promotions which underline our commitment to nurturing and developing our people across Scotland. I applaud my colleagues’ hard work and dedication to their clients which has led to their well-earned progression within the firm”.

Insider.co.uk
 
 
 

 

 

TAX

 

Highland tourism tax consultation launched

A Highland tourist tax could raise up to £10m pounds a year, according to council officials. The estimate was released as Highland Council began a public consultation on the plan. Supporters claim it could raise funds to support local infrastructure but some businesses are worried it could deter visitors. Approximately 4m overnight visitors come to the Highland Council area annually as well as about 2m day visitors. Council leader Margaret Davidson said: "The consultation has been shaped by lots of research and engagement with the public and tourism industry to ensure we are asking the right questions. It does not simply gather information on people's support or opposition, it gives respondents lots of opportunity to help us shape what a levy might look like were it to be implemented."

The Scotsman BBC News The Press and Journal The Times
 

 

 
 

 

 

DATA PRIVACY

 

Cybersecurity Incidents at 70% of financial firms

Around 70% of financial companies in the UK have experienced a cyber security incident in the past year, according to research by data security company Clearswift, with nearly half originated from employees failing to follow security protocol or data protection policies. “The financial sector is the lynchpin of the UK’s economy and a vital part of our nation’s Critical National Infrastructure, so it is alarming to see such high numbers of security incidents within financial organisations,” said Dr Guy Bunker, CTO, Clearswift. “Unfortunately, in this day and age it’s a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ a firm is breached so the financial sector needs to shift gears and speed up the innovation and deployment of effective data protection and threat mitigation strategies.”

SC Media

 

 

WESTMINSTER

 

Corbyn: Westminster should not block Indyref2

Westminster should not block a second referendum on Scottish independence, according to Jeremy Corby. However, the Labour leader said he opposed the breakup of the UK. Mr Corbyn endorsed remarks by his close ally John McDonnell last week where he said a Labour government would not obstruct a fresh independence vote if there was sufficient support for one in the Scottish parliament. The shadow chancellor had said Mr Corbyn agreed with him, fuelling a bitter row with Scottish Labour, which has campaigned vigorously against staging a second independence vote. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon has called Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson “daft” for ruling out bid to put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street to stop no-deal Brexit.

The Guardian

 

 

OTHER

 

Over £10m brought to Dundee economy in seven months by V&A

The V&A Dundee boosted the city’s economy by over £10m in its first seven months, according to a new report by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Dundee City Council’s leadership of the project is praised in the document, while Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, remarked: “Building and opening Scotland’s first design museum is an extraordinary achievement and something that has already had a hugely positive impact on local communities and the city’s economy.”

Dundee Courier Dundee Evening Telegraph

 

 

 

 
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