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2nd August 2022

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Miners' Strike (Pardons) Act takes effect
The Miners' Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Act 2022 has taken effect from 27 July 2022. The Act provides a collective and automatic pardon to former miners, household members of a miner, parents, siblings and children of a miner who were convicted in Scotland for a breach of the peace, breaching bail conditions, or an offence under s 41(1)(a) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 such as police obstruction during the 1984-85 miners' strike. The offence must have related to conduct which took place between 12 March 1984 and 3 March 1985 inclusive and while the individual was: engaged or participating in activity supporting or opposing the miners’ strike; or assembling before or after such activity; or travelling to or from such activity; or responding to such activity. Conduct relating to personal matters not connected to the strike is excluded from the pardon. A pardon is also given to the offence of theft committed to relieve economic hardship arising from participation in the miners’ strike.
Law Commission proposes law reforms to better acknowledge crypto assets
The Law Commission of England and Wales has said personal property law should be reformed to better recognise digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The Commission has published proposals that suggest creating a new category of personal property be created within the law to accommodate crypto-based assets. The commission identifies a gap in the legal status of digital assets: as intangible pieces of information, they are not considered 'property' in private property law. The property law relating to such assets could be clarified by declaring them 'data objects', it suggests. It would also see judges handed the ability to award damages in these tokens.

Edinburgh's short-term lets control plan approved by ministers
Proposals aimed at limiting the number of Airbnb-style lets in Edinburgh have been approved by Scottish ministers. The city council had asked for permission to establish the country's first short-term let control area. This means that in most cases, planning permission will be needed to change the use of an entire residential home to short-term letting. The City of Edinburgh Council has said the move will prevent short-term lets being set up where it is not appropriate. Housing Secretary Shona Robison said government approval was a major step forward for the council's plans. "The Scottish government considers that the council has adequately considered and responded to concerns raised before seeking approval of the control area designation."

Scottish Rugby respond to Siobhan Cattigan legal proceedings
Scottish Rugby says a written offer of support "remains open" as the family of Scotland international Siobhan Cattigan, who died last year, launch legal action against the sport's governing bodies. Cattigan died in November aged 26. Her parents, Neil and Morven, have said that brain injuries sustained through the sport caused deterioration in their daughter’s mental health, which ultimately led to her death. They have now launched legal proceedings against Scottish Rugby and World Rugby, after they said that protocols on injuries and after care were not properly implemented. Scottish Rugby that in respecting medical confidentiality and with reference to the legal claim they were not in a position to communicate further on the details of the player's care.
Greenpeace lodges legal bid to halt Jackdaw gas field in North Sea
Greenpeace has lodged a legal challenge over consent being given to develop a large North Sea gas field. Regulators gave the go-ahead in June for Shell to develop the Jackdaw field, 150 miles east of Aberdeen. The environmental charity believes that in granting consent, the UK government failed to consider emissions from burning the gas. The Greenpeace challenge has been lodged with the Scottish courts. It will be the second time in recent years that the group has used the law to try and overturn a decision of the UK government over the consenting of oil and gas projects.
Jail for gamekeeper who kept trophy photos of fighting dogs
A gamekeeper who kept trophy photos of dogs he used to fight and bait wild animals has been jailed for eight months. Rhys Davies tried to treat serious injuries the animals had sustained by himself to avoid being caught. Davies, 28, worked at Turnabrae House on Millden Estate in Angus when animal welfare officers executed a warrant in 2019. Davies now been banned from keeping or owning animals for 15 years. He had been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs, and training dogs for fighting. Davies, who was living in Wales before being jailed at Forfar Sheriff Court, was also fined £1,800 for firearms offences.
Shepherd and Wedderburn reports 5% turnover growth
Shepherd and Wedderburn reported 5% turnover growth to £62.2m in the year to April 30th, with net profits before partner distributions rising 3% to £26m. The past year has seen Shepherd and Wedderburn invest in its office footprint, ensuring premium, highly connected and easily accessible facilities for clients and colleagues, while aligning with the firm’s ambitions to be net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The firm has relocated to a new Aberdeen office with capacity to double the firm’s headcount in the region, and has agreed to relocate its Edinburgh headquarters to M&G’s Haymarket Edinburgh development in a major investment that will offer a flexible and dynamic working environment for colleagues and allow for continued growth.
Tony Jones QC called to the bar
Tony Jones QC, of Brodies LLP, has been called to the bar in a ceremony conducted at the Middle Temple. Already a Queen's Counsel solicitor advocate with rights of audience in Scotland, as a barrister he will now have sufficient rights to represent clients in all courts in England and Wales. Tony is the only QC in Scotland to be accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an expert in both Professional Negligence Law and Construction Law. He frequently represents clients in property, professional negligence, construction, corporate and contact disputes.
Gillespie Macandrew appoints Michael Shaw as chair
Gillespie Macandrew has announced the appointment of former RBS/NatWest Group General Counsel Michael Shaw as its new chair, succeeding Fiona Morton, who retired from the role in early July after five years with the firm.  Michael spent over 20 years in private practice at Herbert Smith Freehills and Clifford Chance, before becoming Deputy Group General Counsel at Barclays in 2009, and then RBS/NatWest Group General Counsel in 2016, prior to retiring earlier this year. 
Treasury rejects funding bid to boost public sector pay
The Treasury has rejected a request from Deputy First Minister John Swinney for an increase in funding to cover the cost of public sector pay rises. Mr Swinney, who is standing in for Finance Secretary Kate Forbes while she is on maternity leave, said the impact of inflation on "spending power across public sector budgets is deeply worrying for our public services and our capacity to respond to the cost of living crisis, which will undoubtedly bring renewed challenges through the coming autumn and winter period". The Times quotes a UK Government spokesperson as saying the Scottish Government "is receiving around £126 per person for every £100 per person of equivalent UK government spending in England over the next three years".
HMRC suspects big firms are underpaying £1.4bn in employment taxes
HMRC believes large businesses could be underpaying £1.4bn in tax by classifying workers as self-employed when they should be classed as employees for tax purposes, according to Pinsent Masons. The report suggests firms may be classifying staff as self-employed to avoid making Employers’ National Insurance contributions. The tax office has been clamping down on the so-called ‘hidden employees’ loophole, with Pinsent Masons partner Steven Porter saying off-payroll workers “are one of HMRC’s biggest priorities at the moment.” Tax regulation for off-payroll workers changed in April 2021, with the new rules imposing tax and compliance risks on large and medium sized businesses when engaging individuals through a personal service company.
Inquiry into deaths of three babies in Lanarkshire
The deaths of three babies in Lanarkshire will be investigated in a fatal accident inquiry. Leo Lamont, Ellie McCormick and Mirabelle Bosch died in "circumstances giving rise to serious public concern", according to court papers. NHS Lanarkshire has confirmed it will take part in the inquiry into their deaths. A preliminary hearing will take place at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 5 September. It is not known when or where the babies died. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said they would "seek to establish whether there is learning that could minimise the risk of future death in similar circumstances".
Eight Scottish politicians banned from Russia
Eight Scottish politicians - including the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, and Scottish Green co-leader Lorna Slater are among dozens of politicians, officials, business people and journalists to be banned from entering Russia in a fresh round of sanctions. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, who was also named on the list, said he would "wear this ban as a badge of honour" until Vladimir Putin's government is "swept away by the tides of history".

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