Legal Matters Scotland
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24th November 2022

A free early morning round up of news for legal professionals across Scotland.
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Supreme Court: Holyrood cannot legislate for indyref2
The UK Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a second independence referendum, rejecting the Lord Advocate's argument that such legislation would not relate to reserved matters as it would not automatically bring about the end of the union. Supreme Court President Lord Reed said a "lawfully held referendum would have important political consequences relating to the union and the United Kingdom Parliament", and would have "practical" effects on reserved matters. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she respected the ruling, noting that the Supreme Court "doesn't make law, only interprets it", and said the ruling "exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership". She said the SNP will seek to establish "majority support" for independence, using the next general election as a "de facto" referendum. Constitution secretary Angus Robertson said the party would consider all votes for pro-independence parties, including the Alba Party and the Scottish Greens, as having been cast for independence in such a scenario.

Millar & Bryce Search Capability Integrated into Denovo Legal Software

Millar & Bryce this week announced a full integration with case management specialists Denovo Business Intelligence. The integration will allow lawyers using Denovo’s CaseLoad software platform to order property searches through Millar & Bryce. All ordering, updates and report downloads sync automatically with CaseLoad, including the M&B invoice. Conveyancing teams working within Denovo’s CaseLoad platform can now order core search products from Millar & Bryce, without ever leaving their case management system. 
Denovo Software Integration with Millar & Bryce

Campaigners call for high-rise retrofits
Campaigners in Glasgow have called for the Wyndford high-rise tower blocks to be retrofitted, rather than demolished and replaced, as planned by Wheatley Homes Glasgow, pointing to a report prepared pro bono by non-profit EALA Impacts CIC which suggests that the full environmental impact of demolition and rebuilding would be significantly higher. The report suggests that demolition and rebuilding the blocks would a carbon emissions impact of approximately 22,465 tonnes of CO2 - compared to 12,098 tonnes for retrofitting. Scottish Green councillor Martha Wardrop says the report makes "a strong case for investment in retrofitting".
Councillor calls for higher council tax on second homes
Cllr Jérémie Fernandes has written to housing minister Shona Robison to call for Moray Council and other local authorities to be empowered to raise council tax on second homes - with council figures showing that there are almost 700 second homes in Moray that remain empty for most of the year. Cllr Fernandes says that while there are hundreds of such homes sitting empty, there is "a huge housing shortage in Moray, and despite large scale investment in social housing by the Scottish Government, we still have thousands of people on the council waiting list", while supplies of properties available for rent are also limited.
Justice Secretary has ‘no intention' of 4,000 police leaving
The Justice Secretary says he has "no intention" of overseeing a budget that sees 4,000 police officers leaving the force, or lockdown-type restrictions returning to prisons. Keith Brown told MSPs at Holyrood's criminal justice committee that while the budget is under pressure due to inflation, he will work to ensure such cuts and restrictions do not happen. The Scottish Government proposed a flat cash settlement for the justice sector in its resource spending review published earlier this year. At earlier meetings, the committee heard from Police Scotland officials who warned that the force may have to pull back from key services such as community policing as it eyes budget cuts, with forecasts expecting around 4,400 officer and staff jobs could go over four years. At yesterday's committee meeting, Mr Brown said that he has "no intention of overseeing a budget for the police force that results in 4,000 officers leaving the police force".
Trusts law could be reformed with new bill
The Trusts and Succession (Scotland) Bill, which will consolidate, reform and modernise the law by which the operation of trusts in Scotland is governed, has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament. Community Safety Minister Elena Whitham commented: "Our statutory law on the management and administration of trusts is now over 100 years old and has its roots in a very different era. It is clear the law in this area has not kept pace with how society has changed and developed, which is why we plan to bring the current legislation into the 21st century." She went on: “This bill implements the recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission and will update our law to make sure it is more relevant and can better meet the needs of our modern society.”
Business and unions demand Sunak scraps planned bonfire of EU rules
Over a dozen organisations have called on Rishi Sunak to drop plans to automatically strip EU-derived legislation from the British statute book arguing that it would cause “significant confusion and disruption”. In a letter sent to Grant Shapps, the business secretary, the alliance, including the Trades Union Congress, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “Getting to grips with any resulting regulatory changes will impose a major new burden on business which it could well do without.” The letter says the proposal would overturn “decades of case law” and make the “interpretation of the law highly uncertain”. This could affect holiday pay, safe working hours and laws governing the labelling of meat and eggs. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former minister for Brexit opportunities, has previously praised the Retained EU Law Bill, saying it is vital to create distance between the UK and the EU.
Rangers sued over Hummel kit wrangle
Elite Sports Group Ltd has secured an order forcing Rangers FC to disclose how many team kits made by rival Castore were sold to fans. Elite, exclusive brand partner to sportswear firm Hummel, is suing Rangers for £9.5m, claiming the club breached a contract which allowed Elite to provide the club with Hummel kits.
Boyd Legal acquires Glenrothes firm
Boyd Legal has announced the acquisition of Glenrothes-headquartered Baird & Company. Diana Boyd, managing director of Boyd Legal, commented: “The essence of what we are about is ensuring that we are a large enough business to have a strong management team. This is increasingly necessary for firms to cope with the complexity of money laundering and all regulatory matters.” She continued: “Our management team, including new operations director Shona Black, has played a critical role in the acquisition and, going forward, will enable us to strengthen the business while the legal team continues to deliver an excellent legal service."
Scottish Government seeks spending 'flexibility'
Public finance minister Tom Arthur has told Holyrood's finance committee that the Scottish Government is seeking more budget "flexibility" from Westminster in order to divert money allocated for capital projects into day-to-day resource spending. "Given the circumstances we're facing we are seeking that flexibility from the UK Government", he said, highlighting the impact of rising inflation, including improved pay deals for public sector workers, on the Scottish Government's Budget. The proposal, he said, would only apply for the current Budget period.

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