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Book reviews

18 March 13

Reviews of Scottish Trusts: A Drafting Guide (Gabraith), Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnership in the Sheriff Court (Bennett), Scots Law Tales (eds Grant and Sutherland)

by Peter Littlefield, Kathryn Wilson, David J Dickson (review editor: David J Dickson)

Scottish Trusts: A Drafting Guide

2nd edition

H Reynold Galbraith

PUBLISHER: W GREEN

ISBN: 9780414017696

PRICE: £93 (+£3.72 VAT on CD-ROM)

Mr Galbraith is one of the most experienced trust, tax and succession solicitors in practice in Scotland and it is a credit to Greens that they were able to persuade a practitioner such as Mr Galbraith to become involved in this project.

This book is not just a trust drafting guide. Its nine chapters include an introduction to trusts and an informative section on trust taxation (income tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty land tax, inheritance tax, pre-owned asset tax and the tax pool). The author also covers areas such as the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, ante-nuptial agreements, SLCC complaints, style letters of engagement, and how to avoid outdated legal expressions.

It is pitched as a guide for qualified professionals who are engaged in the practice of banking, accountancy and financial services, together with solicitors and advocates and everybody dealing with trusts in Scotland whether beginner, intermediate or advanced. As a result of this broad remit, perhaps the content suffers slightly.

For example, pilot trusts are covered and the writer explains that, if skilfully used, a pilot trust can be used to bring about additional nil rate bands. Whilst it is useful to point this out, I would have anticipated that in a drafting guide, there would be an explanation of exactly what is required in order to carry out that planning rather than simply an indication of planning being possible. The book also includes a CD-ROM of styles in Microsoft Word which can be easily uploaded. However, I was surprised to find that, of the 19 style documents on the disc, there is only one full deed of trust.

If I was to be critical, the focus of the book is perhaps too broad. There are a number of topics that I did not expect to see in a specialist trust drafting book, and others that I would like to have seen covered in more depth. In my view, this book will therefore be a useful text for any solicitor who occasionally provides advice in this area and who is looking for a practical introduction to trust law and drafting. There is certainly a gap in the market for a comprehensive textbook on Scottish trusts, and Greens should be congratulated, not only for publishing a second edition of this book, but also for finding an experienced practitioner willing to put his considerable knowledge on paper.

Peter Littlefield, Turcan Connell

                                                            

Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnership in the Sheriff Court

9th edition

S A Bennett

PUBLISHER: BARNSTONEWORTH PRESS

ISBN: 9780953415274

PRICE: £55

This is the ninth edition of what has become an essential book for family law practitioners. The book is well laid out with separate chapters on procedure, merits, protective measures, property orders, children and money.

Each of the chapters is set out such a way that the information sought is easy to find.

There are also helpful chapters on miscellaneous topics including jurisdiction and publicity.

Whilst the chapters themselves are well set out and contain the relevant information, it is the appendices which are extremely impressive. It would be very hard to find a situation which is not dealt with by way of a specimen crave and associated plea in law, and the styles attached are very helpful. Appendices 6, 7 and 8 are worthy of particular note in that they provide reported cases dealing with s 11 orders, s 9(1) principles, and expenses.

A further appendix deals with pension sharing in far greater detail than a lot of other books, which can only be of assistance.

For the solicitor starting out, there are tables showing how matrimonial property and resources should be laid out.

Put simply, this is a very handy little book that incorporates everything that could ever be needed in relation to a divorce or civil partnership. Having not had the opportunity of reading earlier editions, this latest version has impressed and is definitely a book I would recommend.

Kathryn Wilson, Melrose and Porteous

                                                            

Scots Law Tales

(Eds) John Grant and Elaine Sutherland

PUBLISHER: DUNDEE UNIVERSITY PRESS

ISBN: 9781845860677

PRICE: £20 (e-book £4.97)

This book seeks to continue the "long tradition in Scotland of publications telling the story of major cases", of which the best known author is William Roughead, an Edinburgh solicitor who wrote 38 books telling the story of major criminal trials.

The approach of such publications is to bring an added dimension, the story behind the legal argument and, of course, the impact on legal development. Grant and Sutherland take the genre to pastures new, and range widely over the legal landscape from the trial of Oscar Slater, the Lockerbie trial, the story of May Donoghue and her snail-tainted bottle of ginger beer, to the Orkney enquiry and the civil jury trial of Tommy Sheridan.

Gavin Little recounts the constitutional, legal and personal issues that lay behind the, ultimately fateful, decision of Glasgow solicitor and founder of the forerunner to the SNP, John MacCormick to challenge the designation of the Queen as Elizabeth the Second on her accession to the throne in 1952, which led not only to an unsuccessful litigation but to the end of MacCormick's legal career, such was the antipathy to his cause.

In the National Museum of Scotland a small plaque records the finding of the eighth century St Ninian's treasure on Orkney on 4 July 1958 by schoolboy Douglas Coutts. Professor Carey Miller delightfully recounts the story behind the litigation brought by the Lord Advocate, as Queen and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, to claim the find as the property of the Crown for the benefit of the people of Scotland, resisted by the court of Aberdeen University as they wished it displayed in a future museum in Orkney. The cast of characters in that litigation included the redoubtable Professor T B Smith.

Professor Grant recounts the Lockerbie trial under the title "Not our Finest Hour", and he offers a robust analysis of the issues and bodies involved while observing that the work of Crown Office officials in keeping families apprised of developments "provides a model for how we should treat all victims of crime and their families”. The level of research varies, but in some cases, especially the St Ninian's case, is extensive.

A second volume illuminating more cases from the rich seam of Scots law deserves to be mined.

David J Dickson, solicitor advocate

 

 

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