Legal Matters Scotland

A free early morning round up of news for legal professionals across Scotland.
Sign up here for your free daily edition

Visitor Levy Bill introduced to Holyrood
Scottish local authorities will have power to charge a levy on overnight stays within their area and use the proceeds to invest in local tourism facilities and services, under a bill just introduced to the Scottish Parliament. The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill would allow a charge based on a percentage of the visitor's accommodation cost. All money raised would have to be reinvested locally on facilities and services substantially for or used by visitors, which ministers believe will enhance the tourist experience and benefit local communities and their economies. Councils would be required to consult communities, businesses and tourism organisations before putting a visitor levy in place. They would also have to consult on how any revenue raised should be spent. "Giving councils the power to introduce a visitor levy is one tool that will provide additional resources to continue to attract visitors to Scotland", said Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur. 
SNP accused of secrecy over FOI laws
Ministers have been accused of "riding roughshod" over Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said one in six requests to the Scottish Government are responded to late. Meanwhile, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of requests passed to ministers for approval since 2020. Mr Sarwar accused the SNP of a "culture of secrecy and cover-up" as criticised Humza Yousaf during First Minister's Questions. He said: "Freedom of Information laws are one of the last defences against SNP cover-up - but ministers are riding roughshod over these laws. New data we are publishing today shows the number of FOI requests the Scottish Government has passed on to ministers for approval has risen fivefold." Mr Yousaf accused the Scottish Labour leader of "trying to throw as much mud as he possibly can to hope that things stick".

Leading by Listening – Why hundreds of Law firms are working with Denovo

Denovo have seen a resurgence over the past few years, with hundreds of Scottish law firms turning to the Glasgow-based legal software provider to help them run their business more efficiently. Denovo’s Head of Marketing, Grant Yuill, has given his thoughts on why so many solicitors are choosing Denovo over other legal tech providers. The interview outlines Denovo’s ethos of truly listening to the issues lawyers face, while treating lawyers as the innovators. As well as touching on how the legal tech world is evolving.

Read more

Stirling whisky distillery plans rejected
Stirling Council has rejected plans for a £20m whisky distillery and visitor centre on a site at Craigforth. Wolfcraig Distillers had hoped to create over 50 jobs at the site, but the council's Local Review Body denied permission. Wolfcraig co-founder Jamie Lunn said the firm is "now looking at alternative locations for Wolfcraig to contribute to Scotch whisky's rich legacy in Scotland".
Gerard O'Hare to lead WorkNest's Scottish legal team
WorkNest has promoted Gerard O’Hare to legal director for Scotland, leading the UK firm’s Legal and HR teams comprising over 25 employment solicitors, trainee solicitors and HR professionals across its Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen offices. Mr O'Hare's promotion completes his rise from trainee to country director. He trained at Maclay Murray & Spens, which then owned employment law specialist Law at Work. Joining Law at Work, he rose to senior employment solicitor, then became head of team following its acquisition by Marlowe and merge into the new WorkNest brand in 2021.
Dangerous driver jailed after woman lost unborn child in Glasgow
A driver who hit a pregnant woman who then lost her unborn child and needs constant care has been jailed for two years. Darren Morrison, 20, struck Julie Welsh in Glasgow's Springburn in December 2020. As well as losing the baby, both of the 40-year-old's legs were amputated below the knee. Morrison was found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Sheriff Joan Kerr told Morrison: "Julie Welsh was unable to participate in the trial but her family provided victim impact statements. They make it plain that life as she knew it as an active young mum is over. Her family and her young child have lost her to society. The only appropriate sentence to reflect the gravity of the offence and the harm caused by you is a custodial one".
Ayrshire subsea cable factory to create 900 jobs
North Ayrshire Council has granted planning permission to cable manufacturer XLCC for a major manufacturing plant at Hunterston that will manufacture high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables to allow power from overseas renewable energy facilities to be transmitted to the UK. The factory, which is expected to begin production in 2026, is set to create 900 direct jobs along with thousands more in the wider supply chain. XLCC's first order is for cables to link solar and wind energy projects in the Sahara to the UK as part of the Xlinks Morocco-UK project. XLCC CEO Ian Douglas thanked the council and local community "for their constructive engagement and support".
Police Scotland chief says force is institutionally racist
The chief constable of Police Scotland has admitted that the force is institutionally racist and discriminatory. Sir Iain Livingstone, who is set to retire on August 10th, said prejudice and bad behaviour within the force was "rightly of great concern". He also said that acknowledging the issues exist was vital for real change to happen. Sir Iain's statement is believed to be the first of its kind by a police chief and comes amid ongoing controversy about policing culture in the UK. But he stressed that his admission of institutional discrimination did not mean that individual officers and staff were racist or sexist and expressed pride and confidence in their work. Speaking at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority, Sir Iain said: "Publicly acknowledging these institutional issues exist in our organisation is essential to our absolute commitment to championing equality and becoming an anti-racist service. It is also critical to our determination to lead wider change and support wider change in society". 
SNP pressured to introduce new tax band
SNP ministers are facing pressure from their Green coalition partners to introduce a new tax rate on higher earners due to a £1bn funding gap. The proposed new band would affect those earning between £75,000 and £125,000, effectively splitting the higher band into two. Deputy first minister Shona Robison warned that the shortfall could double over the next three years. The Greens did not specify what the rate of tax would be. The Scottish Fiscal Commission has published new forecasts suggesting the economy should avoid a recession this year, but living standards are expected to decline again in the 12 months to March 2024.
Net migration reaches record 606k
New figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed that net migration to the UK reached a record 606,000 in 2022, with approximately 1.2m people arriving in the UK and 557,000 people emigrating from the UK. Of the arrivals, 925,000 were non-EU nationals, 151,000 were EU nationals, and 88,000 were British people returning to the UK. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, appearing on ITV's This Morning, said the numbers were "just too high", but rejected suggestions that immigration to the UK is out of control. The backlog of asylum claims awaiting processing has also hit a record high, with 172,758 people waiting for an initial decision as of the end of March, up 57% over the last year.
Five banks broke competition law over gilts, UK watchdog provisionally finds
The Competition and Markets Authority has provisionally found that traders at Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada unlawfully shared sensitive information when trading British government bonds in the wake of the financial crisis, consequently denying “the full benefits of competition” to those they were trading with. The information exchanges took place in one-to-one Bloomberg chatrooms between a small number of traders. The CMA’s findings are provisional. Deutsche Bank and Citi have admitted to participating in the alleged one-to-one conversations that apply to them. HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada have not admitted any wrongdoing. The CMA’s probe is ongoing.
UK has 122,000 people living as modern slaves
The UK has been ranked 145th out of 160 countries for prevalence of modern slavery, according to a report by human rights organisation Walk Free. The report found that there are an estimated 122,000 people living as modern slaves in the UK, down from 136,000 in 2018. The UK is estimated to import $26.1bn worth of products at risk of being made using forced labour annually. The report states that the UK's shift towards a more hostile and discriminatory environment around migration has made it increasingly difficult for vulnerable people, including modern slavery victims, to access essential support and services.
UK crypto fraud losses jump 40%
Data provided by Action Fraud show UK losses to crypto fraud increased more than 40% over the past year, surpassing £300m for the first time.

Legal Matters Scotland is designed to help you stay ahead, spark ideas and support innovation, learning and development in your organisation.

The links under articles indicate original news sources. Some links lead directly to the source material. Others lead to paywalls where you may need a subscription. A third category are restricted by copyright rules.

For reaction and insights on any stories covered in Legal Matters Scotland, join the discussion by becoming a member of our LinkedIn Group or Business Page, or follow us on Twitter.


This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe