Public policy highlights
Recent work of the Society's policy committees, including Scottish Crown Estate Bill; insolvency and corporate governance; prescription; inheritance tax
The Society’s policy committees have had a busy month analysing and responding to proposed changes in the law. Key areas are highlighted below. For more information see www.lawscot.org.uk/research-and-policy/
Scottish Crown Estate Bill
The Society issued a briefing on the Scottish Crown Estate Bill ahead of the stage 1 debate. It is generally supportive of the objectives of the bill and notes the importance of the Crown Estate assets continuing to be properly and coherently managed, with full transparency and accountability of the utmost importance in conjunction with continued consultation, scrutiny and reporting.
Insolvency and corporate governance
The Banking, Company & Insolvency Law Subcommittee considered and responded to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s consultation on insolvency and corporate governance.
Prescription (Scotland) Bill
The Obligations Subcommittee issued a briefing to all MSPs ahead of the stage 1 debate on the Prescription (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament.
It welcomed the introduction of this bill which will modernise and bring greater clarity to the Scottish law of prescription, but called for further consideration of the council tax exemption, outstanding questions in relation to the application of the discoverability test under s 5, and of claims that have prescribed under the existing law but which would not have prescribed under the new rules, or where the commencement of the prescriptive period under the new rules would be fixed at a later date.
Inheritance tax review
The Tax Law and Trust & Succession Law Subcommittees considered and responded to the Office of Tax Simplification’s review of inheritance tax.
They noted that there is scope for simplification of the administration of IHT, for example by making the forms generally more accessible, reducing duplication of information and improving guidance. They highlighted the need for a dedicated Scottish service to deal with matters on which Scots law differs from that elsewhere.
They also suggested improvements to simplify the IHT regime, including the operation of agricultural and business property reliefs, the existence and applicability of transferable and residence nil rate bands, and the levels and range of lifetime exemptions.
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