Law reform update
Recent work of the Society's Law Reform Department, which continues to consider numerous consultations despite the election period
The Constitutional Law Committee continues to be active with this bill, which is currently awaiting report stage in the House of Commons. This is likely to take place after the Scottish Parliament elections on 5 May.
The Pensions Subcommittee is considering a number of consultations including the Pensions Bill, currently progressing through the House of Lords, in relation to which the subcommittee is looking at proposing amendments.
Mental Health & Disability Law Subcommittee
The committee has recently submitted a response to the Scottish Government consultation on the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Bill, following a meeting attended by representatives of the Scottish Government and others with an interest in the bill.
Olympic Games trading
The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments are developing secondary legislation to regulate advertising activity and trading in open public places around Olympic and Paralympic events during the 2012 Games. This consultation is being considered by the Intellectual Property Law Subcommittee and the Equalities Law Subcommittee.
Defamation and the deceased
The Obligations Subcommittee is currently finalising a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, which has also had input from the Society’s Civil Justice Committee.
Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill
The bill passed stage 3 on 16 March. The Family Law Subcommittee has been actively involved from giving oral evidence before the Justice Committee and proposing amendments at stage 2. The Society recommended, along with others, that the bill should not include a definition of domestic abuse. The Society also raised concerns that the provision which called for the removal of a means test for legal aid for alleged domestic abuse victims, created an inequality between pursuer and defender. This provision was removed at stage 2.
Forced Marriages etc (Scotland) Bill
The bill passed stage 3 on 22 March. The Family Law Subcommittee has played a prominent role in its development over a number of years and has been part of the Scottish Government’s Forced Marriage Network since it was set up in 2005. The committee gave oral evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee and suggested amendments at each stage of the bill. A number of the amends suggested by the Society and others have been incorporated into the final bill, including the addition of a civil partnership provision. The Society has also highlighted the need for an education programme to accompany the legislation, to help reduce the instances of forced marriage.
Similar fact evidence and the Moorov doctrine
Discussion paper 145 from the Scottish Law Commission considers revising the law relating to the admissibility of evidence of bad character or of previous convictions, and of similar fact evidence, and the Moorov doctrine. The Criminal Law Committee is reviewing this paper and will submit a response shortly.
Lord Carloway’s review published a consultation paper on 8 April, reviewing the law and practice in light of the UK Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Cadder v HM Advocate and the subsequent passage of the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 2010.The Society’s board working group is considering this consultation and will submit a response.
World IP Day
Members of the Society’s IP Subcommittee, along with the Faculty of Advocates, are working on the final preparations for World IP Day. A conference will be held at the MacKenzie Building on Thursday 21 April, focusing on designing the future with respect to branding and intellectual property. To register, please visit the Society’s website. Members will require their website login details to book online.