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Book reviews

1 December 02

Reviews of Minerals and the Law of Scotland; The Pleader

by Roddy Paisley; Andrew Lothian

Minerals and the Law of Scotland

This is a great book which is much more than useful. Issues relating to minerals rights and workings have troubled practitioners for years. The existing specialist books on minerals are years out of date and the well-established textbooks on land law give sound but only general guidance. This book provides authoritative, clear and concise statements as to how difficult issues relating to minerals should be addressed. More importantly, it enables the reader to get to the heart of the topic quickly and with the assurance that the information given is up to date. The long experience of the author is evident in the discussions of what constitutes “minerals” but the issue is not left at a level of a mere review of the case law. Practical applications abound in the book evidencing a well-balanced mix of academic research and experience. The book progresses with chapters dealing in turn with current issues such as minerals owned by the state, surface damage and compensation, minerals leases, marketability of title and minerals reports. The discussion of licences to conduct coal working may be of most interest to the specialist practitioner but the sections on minerals reports and the Land Register of Scotland are of relevance to all property lawyers as conveyancers are now known. The layout of the book is user friendly and those with a predilection for lists will love the appendices, which are brimming with information. This is a book which should be purchased for any office with a conveyancing or property law practice.

Professor R Paisley

The Pleader

Len Murray’s memoirs will be greeted with pleasure by his many friends in the profession and outside it.  It is a good-natured book ( perhaps paradoxically at its best when at its most serious), combining anecdotes, character sketches and personal testimony. The dangers of this sort of writing – opinion being presented as fact, things funny at the time perhaps not quite  so in the retelling and so on, are well-known but it is good to have these affectionate and informed pen portraits of such characters as Laurence Dowdall, Willie McRae, J. Irvine Smith and Joe Beattie (although his reference to others such as John Halliday  tend to deceive through their very brevity) and his inside stories of the Celtic-Rangers breach of the peace, Paul McCartney’s drugs charge and perhaps best of all the trial for capital murder of Miller and Denovan with which the book begins are worth recording. Lord McCluskey’s comparison in his friendly introduction of  a pleader presenting his client in the best possible light with a hairdresser putting a few highlights into an otherwise boring head of hair is one to ponder

Andrew Lothian