Legal Matters Scotland
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13th February 2024

A free early morning round up of news for legal professionals across Scotland.
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Law Society accredited as a Leader in Diversity
The Law Society of Scotland has been accredited as a Leader in Diversity, recognising its achievements and commitment to lead workplace best practice in Scotland. The gold status Leader in Diversity accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity builds upon the Law Society’s initial award as an Investor in Diversity in 2022 and recognises the progress the Society has made to further embed fairness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion, and engagement (FREDIE) at the heart of all its work. Alongside the Leaders in Diversity award, the Law Society has also jumped up the rankings of the National Centre for Diversity’s Top 100 Most Inclusive UK Workplaces, rising from 97th in 2022 to 84th this year. “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement for the Society, showing our ongoing commitment to our people and playing a leading role on FREDIE for the profession", said Society chief executive Diane McGiffen. “Gaining this accreditation does not mean that our work on FREDIE stops. We are already closely analysing the National Centre for Diversity’s feedback in order to prioritise the areas it highlighted for us to develop further. There is always more to learn and do, but we are incredibly proud of our journey so far and what we have achieved".

Improving Your Law Firms Client Communications: Strategies for Working with Challenging Clients

As a lawyer, effective communication with your clients is essential for providing effective legal representation. Unfortunately, not every client is simple to work with, particularly when it comes to communication. Regardless of your practice area, you will undoubtedly encounter difficult clients during your legal career. Dealing with demanding clients is a part of your job, whether they are dissatisfied with your representation or openly disregard your legal advice. Effective solicitor-client communication is sometimes essential in resolving these issues before they escalate to the level of malpractice litigation or other less-than-ideal consequences. Good communication can help you weather a difficult client encounter and prevent a problem from getting worse.

Fortunately, there are methods you can use to strengthen solicitor-client relationships, allowing you to give effective legal representation to your client and resolve issues swiftly. This post will go over excellent practices and tactics for dealing with tough clients.

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Lawyer claims conversion therapy ban beyond Holyrood's powers
A leading lawyer has stated that a proposed ban on conversion therapy in Scotland is beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament. Aidan O'Neill KC, in a legal opinion commissioned by The Christian Institute, argued that the recommendations of an expert group would be beyond the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. The proposed legislation aims to criminalise the most serious and harmful forms of conversion practices in Scotland. O'Neill's legal opinion analyses the recommendations of an Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices , which was set up by the Scottish Government in 2022 and informed the consultation document. He said the Expert Group's recommendations are “fundamentally illiberal in intent” and would criminalise parents who seek to caution their children against seeking gender affirming care.

Last Chance to Join the Winter Plug & Play Law Waitlist

Plug & Play Law gives you more of the fees you generate; complete freedom of how, where and when you work; and allows you to focus on doing the legal work that you love to do. Inksters is the foremost fee-sharing law firm in Scotland with by far the largest number of consultant solicitors and the greatest geographical reach. Inksters are shortly launching a new approach to Plug & Play Law. If you want early access to this latest innovation, register your interest and you will be part of Inksters' inner circle community who get priority access and information. You will find out if Plug & Play Law is a good fit for you. The winter waitlist closes on 18 February 2024. Don’t miss out, join it today.

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Robinson: UK should resist ‘over-regulating' AI
Richard Robinson, the founder of tech start-up RobinAI, believes the UK should resist over-regulating AI, arguing that it would be unwise “to create a bespoke regulatory body whose sole purpose in life is to regulate AI.” Mr Robinson, a former Clifford Chance lawyer, said: “I think in general, we don’t want to over regulate this industry,” adding that embracing the technology offers UK a chance “to actually produce generational companies.” “I really don’t want us to make the classic European mistake of getting excited about regulation when we should be excited about innovation,” he added. This comes after the Government said watchdogs including Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority are set to take an “agile” approach to AI regulation.
Lanarkshire legal firms support St Andrew's Hospice Make a Will Month campaign
Lanarkshire legal firms have pledged to support the 11th annual St Andrew's Hospice Make a Will Month campaign. Throughout March, participating solicitors will waive their fee for writing a basic Will in return for a suggested donation to St Andrew's Hospice. The suggested donation for a basic Will is £120, £200 for a pair of basic mirror Wills or £80 for a basic codicil to an existing Will. Make a Will Month also aims to raise awareness of the importance of legacies to the Lanarkshire charity. Lorna McCafferty, trusts, legacy and individual giving manager at the Hospice said: “I am delighted that so many legal firms have agreed to take part in our Make a Will Month campaign again this year. Every gift, large or small, helps families to celebrate the life of their loved one while they are together, no matter how long or short the time may be".
Hundreds of service personnel sue Ministry of Defence over asbestos exposure
Hundreds of current and former service personnel are suing the Ministry of Defence for 'knowingly' exposing them to asbestos. A group of 260 have launched legal proceedings against the ministry, claiming they were exposed to the deadly material while on training exercises in Latvia in 2018 and 2019. It is alleged that the MoD breached the Human Rights Act by 'knowingly' exposing them to the substance. Former marine Ross Forbes dismissed the MoD's claim of taking health and safety seriously as a 'lie'. The case is being brought at the High Court in London by personnel from Arbroath's 45 Commando and Plymouth's 30 Commando. Of the 260 claimants, only 38 remain in service. The claim seeks compensation for breaches of the Human Rights Act and trespass to the person.
Steve Archibald awaits court decision in battle against billion-dollar energy firm
Former Scotland International Steve Archibald awaits the outcome of his court battle against Nexus Energia, a billion-dollar energy firm. Archibald claims to have been the victim of an "abusive" hostile takeover, which forced him out of the Spanish energy firm he built after retiring from football. He hopes to be compensated for the financial and personal strain caused by the takeover. Archibald launched renewable energy firm FC Energia in 2018, aiming to link the sector with football clubs. However, he was removed as CEO and his 50% shareholding in the company was significantly reduced. Archibald's battle with Nexus Energia is now awaiting the judge's decision.
India urged to 'speed up' over detained Jagtar Singh Johal case
The foreign secretary has urged the Indian government to "speed up" the case of a Scottish man detained in India for more than six years. Jagtar Singh Johal, a 37-year-old Sikh activist, faces terror charges in connection with political violence in the north of the country. Mr Johal's brother, Gurpreet Singh Johal, met with Lord Cameron on Monday. However, he said he "expected more" from the encounter with the former prime minister. "The UK government could bring my brother home tomorrow if they really wanted to," he added. Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, was arrested in India in November 2017, just weeks after his wedding there. A cross-party group of MPs has said that having arrested him, "interrogators electrocuted him, and threatened to douse him in petrol and set him alight". They also said that to make the torture stop "Jagtar recorded video statements and signed blank pieces of paper". These allegations have been denied by the Indian authorities. 
Man arrested after woman, 24, found dead in Shetland
A man has been arrested after a 24-year-old woman was found dead in Shetland. Police were called to a disturbance at a house in the village of Sandness just before 17:00 on Sunday. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. A 39-year-old man was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment. Emergency services remained at both locations on Monday morning, where police cordons were in place. Det Insp Richard Baird said: "Our investigation remains ongoing and a visible police presence is likely to remain in the area for the coming days. While our work is ongoing, we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident".
Scottish fishing industry warns of impact of new skilled worker visa rules
The Scottish fishing industry is at risk of being "mortally wounded" by new skilled worker visa rules, according to Aberdeenshire councillor Ann Bell, chair of the North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership. The industry, which landed fish and shellfish worth £617m in 2022, is currently facing acute labour shortages. The minimum salary threshold for a skilled worker visa is set to rise from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum, making it difficult for the industry to recruit non-UK workers. The new requirements could lead to a 33% rise in prices paid by processors or wholesalers to vessel operators, as well as a 14.5% and 15.6% increase in prices charged by processors to retailers and foodservice sector buyers, respectively.

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