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Book reviews

16 April 12

Reviews of Cohabitation (Malcolm, Kendall and Kellas); Employment Tribunals Handbook (Paine, Waite and Dixey)

by Susan Oswald, Donald Mackinnon, Steve Briggs (Book review editor: David J Dickson)

2nd edition

Kirsty Malcolm, Fiona Kendall and Dorothy Kellas

PUBLISHER: W GREEN
ISBN: 9780414018266
PRICE: £78.75

This is an excellent book, providing clear and full explanations of the new legislation that applies to cohabitants. As well as being a very useful tool for family lawyers, it provides essential information for those involved with property law and private client work.

The first chapter deals with the statutory regime and covers both financial claims and protective measures. As well as a detailed and careful explanation of the relevant sections of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, there are helpful discussions of the relevant case law, including some unreported judgments. In addition to setting out clearly the nature of orders available, the quantification of claims and procedural matters, it also explores how the new legislation relates to existing legislation, including the Matrimonial Homes Family Protection (Scotland) Act 1981, the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

From a practical point of view for practitioners, there is a particularly helpful chapter setting out the content of a cohabitation agreement and identifying potential pitfalls. In addition, there is a companion CD providing files of styles.

In addition to a detailed consideration of the rights and responsibilities of cohabitants themselves, there are chapters dealing specifically with children and cohabitants as well as the recognition of the rights of cohabitants by third parties. This latter is particularly useful in considering issues arising around the rights of cohabitants in relation to property, life insurance policies, pensions, personal injury claims and state benefits. These chapters, together with the chapter on heritable property, provide solid information on all aspects of legal rights and responsibilities, including taxation and wills.

There is also a chapter dealing with cohabitation across the border, which is extremely helpful given the likelihood of practitioners having clients now resident in Scotland who may have had a relationship in England or Wales and may still have property there or, a former partner living there or domiciled there. There is a clear explanation of the different way in which cohabitants are treated in England as opposed to in Scotland.

Given the increase in cohabitation outwith marriage and the introduction of provisions for cohabitants in the 2006 Act, this is an extremely useful book which provides a well laid out and comprehensive guide to the legal rights and remedies available to cohabitants in Scots law.

Susan Oswald,
Sheehan Kelsey Oswald

Practice, Procedure and Strategies for Success
3rd edition

Alan Payne, John-Paul Waite and Jonathan Dixey

PUBLISHER: BLOOMSBURY PROFESSIONAL
ISBN: 9781847666727
PRICE: £60

This is an excellent and reasonably concise guide to employment tribunals. A number of cautions need to be issued, however. First, it is written for readers who appear before tribunals in England & Wales, and while the substantive law is identical in Scotland, tribunal procedures north of the border are different in a number of important ways.

Secondly, despite being published towards the end of 2011, the book is already slightly out of date, and will become more so as 2012 wears on. The maximum compensatory award rose in February 2012, and the qualifying service required to bring a claim for “ordinary” unfair dismissal is expected to rise from one to two years in April. Thirdly, appeals from decisions of the Scottish division of the employment appeal tribunal lie to the Court of Session as opposed to the Court of Appeal.

We say the book is “reasonably” concise, because at more than 500 pages it is not a quick read. Compared, however, to Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law, the practitioner’s “bible”, it falls into the short story category. The current hard copy of Harvey runs to five loose-leaf binders, and costs nearly £1,000.

In 26 chapters and six appendices the book covers all the essential areas that a tribunal representative needs to be aware of, and includes a useful selection of forms and precedents. It also includes the paperwork for a fictitious case study. The lists of dos and don’ts at the end of each section are particularly useful. The book even includes contact details for every tribunal office in Great Britain, in other words those in Scotland as well as those down south.

The authors, barristers from 5 Essex Court, have done an admirable job in dealing with a complex area of law in plain English. In theory, prospective claimants could use this book to run their own cases at tribunal. It is more likely, however, that the book will be of greatest assistance to general practitioners, advice centre workers, and trade union officers.

We were surprised to find more than 100 grounds of claim listed. The relevant Government website lists only 68. The authors’ list, however, is accurate, and illustrates the care and thought they have put into their work. In short, despite the cautions noted earlier, this will be a useful, reasonably priced addition to the libraries of those whose workload includes employment matters.

Donald MacKinnon, Director of Legal Services, and Steve Briggs, Operations Director, Law At Work. Donald MacKinnon is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an employment law specialist.
The Book Review Editor is David J Dickson

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