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Legal Matters Scotland
Tuesday, 14th September 2021

A free early morning round up of news for legal professionals across Scotland.
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Faculty/SEMLA event aims to increase bar diversity
An event aimed at increasing the diversity of practising advocates is to be held jointly by the Faculty of Advocates and SEMLA, the Scottish Ethnic Minorities Lawyers Association. Taking place virtually on September 30th, “How to become an advocate”  will seek to demystify the process of becoming an advocate, covering topics such as the admission process, compulsory exams, available scholarships, the devilling period, and finding devilmasters and stables. The event will be chaired by Usman Tariq, advocate and co-founder of SEMLA, and attendees will hear from Richard Pugh, the Clerk of Faculty, who is responsible for admissions, and other members of Faculty about the process and their experiences.
The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland  

Lord Advocate announces changes in senior Crown Office team
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC has announced a number of changes at senior level within the Crown Counsel team. Alex Prentice QC, Principal Crown Counsel for the last 10 years, will take on the new position of Senior Trial Counsel and director of advocate depute training. In this role he will oversee the training and professional development of advocate deputes. Stephen O’Rourke QC will become Principal Crown Counsel. He previously served as an advocate depute from 2010-2013, and from 2013-2017 served as a standing junior counsel to the Advocate General for Scotland. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2017. Finally, Richard Goddard QC will become Assistant Principal Crown Counsel, succeeding Jane Farquharson QC following her appointment as a sheriff.
The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland  

What the best High St Law Firms Do: Are you an Agent of Change?
Every great business has an agent of change driving it forward, is that you?
I’m a firm believer that in business you are only one smart decision away from completely changing your working life. I also believe that you can learn from those who have driven their business forward. Emma King, Director at Clarity Simplicity, did exactly that. She’s taken on the mantle of spearheading a change in her firm. She recognised that change was required to allow her business to grow, move forward and prosper. We asked Emma about the change process.
Read More


Minute to vary applies to refusal of s 11 order, says Sheriff Appeal Court
The minute to vary procedure in a family action applies to the refusal of an order relating to a child, as well as the grant of such an order, the Sheriff Appeal Court has ruled. Sheriff Principal Aisha Anwar, with Appeal Sheriffs William Holligan and Andrew Cubie, so held in refusing an appeal, which was no longer insisted on, by AND, the mother of a seven year old boy, who was seeking a specific issue order to relocate her son to Istanbul. AND and the child's father, KWL, were divorced in March 2019, with no order then being sought in relation to the boy. In May 2020 AND was made redundant from her job in the oil and gas industry, but in December she got a new job working in Istanbul. She sought a specific issue order which was refused after proof, the sheriff being concerned that her proposals for accommodation and schooling were rushed and not properly thought through, as she had not yet visited either building, nor was he satisfied of arrangements for childcare.
The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland  


Scottish tenants increasingly solving deposit disputes independently
New figures from SafeDeposits Scotland show that more landlords and tenants are opting to solve disputes independently, avoiding formal processes. Between April and June, SafeDeposits Scotland saw the percentage of self-resolution cases completed increase by 11% – accounting for 9% of total dispute cases in April, 17% in May, and 20% in June. Over the same period, the number of dispute cases entering alternative dispute resolution (ADR) decreased by 10%. Overall case numbers increased by 20%, indicating that despite the rise in disputes during the same period, more are being resolved independently.
The Scotsman  

Glasgow's Riverside could host well-being attraction
STV looks at plans for a water park and spa resort close to Glasgow's Riverside transport museum. The attraction, proposed by Therme Group, could include therapeutic mineral pools, warm water lagoons and botanical gardens, and Glasgow City Council is considering applying for funding to prepare a site for the project through the Government's Levelling Up Fund.


Burness Paull adds Grace McGill's immigration practice
Burness Paull has added a high profile immigration team to its ranks as Grace McGill and her team from boutique immigration practice McGill & Co join the commercial firm. They will combine with Burness Paull's existing immigration practice. “With borders closed during the pandemic there was a significant impact on immigration instructions. The opportunities have not disappeared but are simply backed up, with changes to rules regarding movement of skilled workers also creating new opportunities", said Ms McGill, who becomes Head of Immigration at Burness Paull. 
The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland  

Gillespie Macandrew strengthens its offering with a series of hires
Gillespie Macandrew has bolstered its planning, property and energy teams with a number of recent hires.  Gordon Clark has joined the firm’s planning team from Dentons, while Ross Baron and Catherine Wylie have joined the energy sector team from Watermans Legal and Raworths respectively. Elsewhere, the commercial property team added Kevin Sturgeon, formerly of Harper Macleod to their ranks. "These appointments bring further depth to core areas of our practice in planning, energy and commercial property in line with our medium-term growth strategy," said chief executive Robert Graham-Campbell.
Press Release  

The gender pension gap begins with the gender pay gap
Because the amount people save for a pension is usually a percentage of their salary, the 15.5% gender pay gap could immediately mean that, on average, women have less salary to put into their pension — and that’s before aspects like career breaks, caring responsibilities and part-time working are even brought into the equation.
Plus, the lower salary means that it takes women who started university after 2006/2007 an average of five years longer to pay back student debts.  This may mean that women often start saving for their pension later as their salary is going into paying off their student debts for a longer period.
Read the article in full


HMRC probes 153 people suspected of aiding tax evasion
HMRC has confirmed it is investigating 153 suspected enablers of tax evasion, including unregulated tax advisers. Law firm RPC says that with HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service having been given additional resources to recruit more staff, the number of investigations into tax fraud enablers is likely to increase. Adam Craggs, head of tax disputes at RPC, comments: “HMRC is determined to clamp down hard on anyone who aids in tax crimes, not just the perpetrator themselves.” He added: “The Revenue has been effective in identifying traditional tax evasion, with the result that would-be evaders are becoming more sophisticated and are increasingly turning to third parties to assist them”.
City A.M.  


Registration is now open for the virtual STEP UK Tax, Trusts and Estates Conference.

The Virtual STEP UK Tax, Trusts and Estates conference returns this year and will bring you the same programme you would have experienced at the live event with eight leading industry experts covering the latest current and future developments in tax, trusts and estates- all in one day, this is the must-attend virtual conference of the year!
Register Now



Council rejects claims of cleansing staff 'hospitalised' by rat bites
Glasgow City Council official Stephen Egan, who has responsibility for the cleanliness of the city's parks and streets, has rejected newspaper reports and claims from the GMB trade union that cleansing staff have been "hospitalised" after being "bitten" by rats in "attacks" while carrying out their duties. The council says it has no official record of a worker being bitten by a rat in recent years, and that of five incidents involving rats since 2018, five involved staff who were scratched on their arm when a rodent ran across them after being disturbed, while the sixth worker twisted his ankle after being startled by a rat.
Herald Scotland  


MSPs back increase in unpaid carer's allowance
MSPs on Holyrood's Social Security Committee have unanimously backed plans to temporarily double the £231.40 Scottish Carer's Allowance supplement given to unpaid carers to £462.80. The committee had heard evidence of the impact that caring responsibilities place on unpaid carers, with the pandemic having limited access to respite and support services and brought other challenges. Convener Neil Gray said MSPs had heard it "demonstrated that unpaid carers feel isolated and exhausted", and that the increase in the allowance "will go some way towards supporting them and I am pleased carers are getting this recognition of their extraordinary efforts".
Herald Scotland  


Impersonation fraudsters steal £130m in H1
A report from UK Finance shows that in the first six months of 2021, losses from impersonation fraud more than doubled to £129.4m compared to the same period last year. Impersonation fraud sees scammers contact victims while pretending to be from a trusted organisation, such as banks and building societies. They often claim the victim has to verify a payment or action a refund, tricking the customer into transferring money or handing over personal details. UK Finance said there were 33,115 impersonation fraud cases in the first six months of this year - more than twice the 14,947 reported over the same period in 2020 when £57.9m was stolen.
Daily Express   Daily Mirror  


Larger venues could spot-check vaccine passports
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said that the Scottish Government is considering allowing spot checks of COVID-19 vaccine passports for larger events, rather than requiring venues to check every attendee's certification. Mr Yousaf said ministers "acknowledge you're going to have to have probably different rules depending on that setting and you wouldn't want any adverse impacts for example, lots of people queuing and then potentially any crowd trouble that would follow on from there". "We're happy to engage and will engage of course with the likes of the SPFL with event organisers and others", he added, "So there may well be proportionate measures, measure that can be taken at large scale events which would be different to smaller for example, nightclubs."
The Daily Record  

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