26th November 2010
In its early years the UK Supreme Court appears keen to forge a reputation for itself as an audacious and independent powerhouse of jurisprudence. Not even a month after its judgment in Cadder ―v― HMA sent shockwaves through the landscape of Scots criminal law, now on 24 November, it has pronounced judgment in the case of Royal Bank of Scotland plc ―v― Wilson, with like consequences in the Scots civil law of mortgage repossessions.
The central question for the court related to the form of procedure adopted by a bank in court action for repossession of a mortgage customer’s ...
23rd November 2010
The training handout for this workshop at the SALC Conference on 22 November 2010 is now available on this website by clicking here.
2nd November 2010
The Office of the Accountant in Bankruptcy has announced certain changes to the law of bankruptcy, which shall take effect on 15 November 2010 in line with the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 (in respect of which which Renfrewshire Law Centre took part in the parliamentary consultation). The changes are as follows:—
- New Debtor Application Pack
- New route into Bankruptcy by Certificate for Sequestration
- Exclusion of family home in Protected Trust Deeds
- Extended shrieval powers in respect of family home in bankruptcy
- Abolition of certain requirements to advertise in Edinburgh Gazette
Certificate for Sequestration
The new Certificate ...
26th October 2010
Today the UK Supreme Court pronounced an extremely important judgment with profound implications for Scots criminal law. The case is Cadder —v— Her Majesty’s Advocate, an appeal against conviction based on an argument that Scots police procedure breached his human rights, particularly Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial.
(Technically, Cadder is an appeal against the High Court's refusal of leave to appeal, which was in turn based on another case, McLean —v— Her Majesty’s Advocate; for the full judgment please click this link.)
On 13 May 2007 Peter ...
25th October 2010
20th October 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre and the University of the West of Scotland co-hosted a public reception to launch the new University Law Clinic, ‘Law Wise’, on Friday, 15 October in Brough Hall on UWS's Paisley Campus. UWS has four campuses at Paisley, Hamilton, Ayr and Dumfries, making it the nation's largest new university. The event was a huge success for both institutions, recognising their closer working relationship and the value of their joint Law Clinic. Over 80 delegates attended, representing the local community, the student body, the legal profession, the Law Society, the Faculty of Advocates, the Legal Aid ...
19th October 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Seaumus McDaid as our Official Patron. Professor McDaid is Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland, and was appointed as our Official Patron at our AGM on 15 October 2010. His appointment was publicly announced at the Launch of the UWS Law Clinic, 'Law Wise', a joint venture between these two institutions.
This is an honourary office recognising the contribution made by UWS to the advancement of legal education in the local community. The Law Centre is particularly appreciative of the support given by ...
19th October 2010
This year's AGM saw a number of changes to Renfrewshire Law Centre's Board of Directors, including new appointments to the offices of Chair and Teasurer, and two entirely new appointments as Ordinary Directors. The new Board is as follows:—
- Chair, Elizabeth McIntosh (Renfrew Town Seniors' Forum)
- Secretary, Susan Sludden (Law Wise)
- Treasurer, Margaret Dymond (Maxwellton Tenants' Association)
- Briony Cullin (Law Wise)
- Eric Graham (Williamsburgh Property Services)
- Bill Perrie (Retired Police Officers' Association)
- Dale McFadzean (UWS)
- Shirley McLean (Glenburn Tenants' & Residents' Association)
For personal profiles please click here. No applications for renewal of appointment as ...
19th October 2010
The latest Annual Report for Renfrewshire Law Centre is now online. Please click here to download a copy.
8th October 2010
The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010. This important statute codifies British anti-discrimination law, e.g. the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (it replaces these previous laws).
Receiving comparison with the American Civil Rights Act 1964 and the EU Equal Treatment Directives (which it effectively brings into force in the UK), the Act requires equal treatment in employment and services ...
7th October 2010
After months of planning, Renfrewshire's first ever University Law Clinic is now a reality, with the first crop of 12 students beginning their training on 29 September. The Law Clinic, known as 'Law Wise', will complement the existing range of public advice services available in Renfrewshire. Student participants come from the University of the West of Scotland's BA Law course, and already possess at least two years academic tuition in this discipline. Their experience at the clinic will enhance their existing knowledge and skills by providing practical training in a real-life context under professional supervision from UWS and ...
6th October 2010
New legislation under discussion at the Scottish Parliament proposes reform to the system for registering private landlords.
Alex Neil MSP, Housing and Communities Minister, spoke of the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill, commenting that, "Good, lawful landlords have nothing to fear from this bill. This government wants to encourage a vibrant and responsive Scottish private rented sector, which provides good quality and well-managed accommodation.
"I see the private rented sector as more important than ever in providing good quality accommodation given the economic challenges that face the public sector.
"The bill sends a clear message to bad and unlawful landlords ...
4th October 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre is seeking new members and also wishes to invite applications for appointment to its Board of Directors.
Members will receive law centre news and may take part in law centre activities, including training events.
Members may join on completion of the appropriate membership form with payment of £1.
Those wishing to apply for appointment to the Board of Directors should arrange completion of the appropriate nomination form.
Directors are unpaid and sit on the Board of Directors, which convenes every six weeks or thereabouts.
Membership and appointment to the Board of Directors are open to local organisations ...
30th September 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre welcomes interested parties to attend the launch of the UWS Law Clinic, christened 'Law Wise', which will take place at the Paisley campus on Friday, 15 October 2010. Speakers include:-
- Professor Seamus McDaid, UWS Principal
- Professor Donald Nicolson, Strathclyde University
- Mungo Bovey QC
- Trish Godman MSP
- Hugh Henry MSP
Refreshments will be provided.
27th August 2010
The Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, which improves the rights of mortgage borrowers facing repossession of their home on grounds of arrears, is due to take effect on 30 September 2010.
This new law will require mortgage repossession cases to call in open court, just like rent eviction cases, whereas previously lenders could obtain a repossession order by default. It will also impose pre-litigation conditions on lenders, who will have to satisfy courts that they have explored alternatives to repossession, and that repossession is the last resort and reasonable in the circumstances.
Renfrewshire Law Centre and the ...
26th July 2010
On Friday 23 July 2010 Renfrewshire Law Centre took part in meetings with representatives of the Scottish Government's Access to Justice Division then representatives of the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) in a series of engagements set up by the Scottish Association of Law Centres (SALC) lasting the whole day.
Access to Justice Division
In the morning Jon Kiddie (RLC Principal Solicitor and SALC Secretary) and Angus McIntosh (Castlemilk Law Centre) met James Howe, Division Head, Karen MacIvor, Policy Manager, and other members of the Access to Justice Team, which has a largely new membership. The discussion examined such ...
19th July 2010
Ironically, according to recent economic research undertaken by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, as the housing market begins to recover, this may in fact trigger a surge in property repossessions as mortgage lenders adopt a more aggressive approach and enforce court orders that they had previously agreed to suspend during the economic slowdown and recession.
Renfrewshire Law Centre observed an increase in mortgage eviction cases during 2007 and 2008 followed by a drop during 2009 as lenders became more lenient. However, we expect this type of litigation to become more active in early course as the Homeowner & Debtor Protection (Scotland ...
7th July 2010
According to the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) the cost to the public purse for legal aid will increase to £156.7 million this financial year, up 4% on last year when it was £150.4 million.
This represents only slightly over £30 per head of population, compared to UK spending of, for example, £613 on defence, £1,419 on education, and £1,919 on health per head of population.
Criminal legal aid spending is projected at £103.7 million (up from £98.4 million), while civil legal aid (including so called Advice & Assistance) is projected at £61.1 million ...
7th July 2010
In conjunction with the Paisley Snail Conference being planned by Renfrewshire Law Centre, the University of the West of Scotland, and the Murray Stable, there is also to be a School Law Debating Competition, which should culminate in a final match during the week of the Conference.
Plans for the School Law Debating Competition are in the early stages, but interested parties are welcome to register their interest by contacting the Law Centre:- firstname.lastname@example.org
6th July 2010
In the face of dire economic times, Renfrewshire Law Centre is pleased to have the support of local parliamentarians, Wendy Alexander MSP, Hugh Henry MSP, and Douglas Alexander MP, who recognise the importance of our work and recently met Jon Kiddie, RLC Principal Solicitor, to discuss what spending cuts would mean for the Law Centre and the vital services we deliver to the people of Renfrewshire.
The Law Centre is also pleased to have the support of a number of local councillors.
To see the Law Centre's recent funding report, please click here (abbreviated format).
Lynn Jolly, PDE reporter ...
29th June 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre is extremely grateful to Renfrewshire Council for the support it has pledged for its Major International Conference celebrating the famous Paisley legal case of Donoghue v Stevenson, which is planned for 25 & 26 May 2012 (the 80th anniversary of the case). The case is perhaps one of the most famous in the world, and on 24 June 2010 the Council passed the following motion:-
The Council welcomes the Donoghue v Stevenson International Conference planned for 2012. The Council notes support from the Council is already ongoing with Renfrewshire Law Centre and the University of the West of ...
26th June 2010
The Scottish Association of Law Centres (SALC) and its English & Welsh counterpart, the Law Centres Federation (LCF), have spoken to each other with regard to possible future closer cooperation and joint working.
On 25 June representatives of each organisation took part in an informal conference call to discuss various options, which they will now take to their respective boards for further consideration.
While obviously Scottish law centres operate in Scotland which has its own distinct jurisdiction, legal system and Parliament, nonetheless law centres on either side of the border share common aims, needs and challenges, therefore may gain much from ...
18th June 2010
Difficult choices for difficult times
The Council has made a public announcement in respect of its strategy for spending and cuts in the face of a likely reduction in financial support from central government. The announcement, which is available to view on the Council website, states as follows:-
The UK recession we're only now emerging from has significant consequences for all of us, and the public sector is no different. Scotland receives a share of UK public spending in the form of a block grant, which is then allocated by the Scottish Government to fund the NHS, local government ...
15th June 2010
LAWYERS SEEK ADVICE ON NEW CAREERS AND REDUNDANCY
Originally published in Scottish Legal News e-bulletin, 15 June 2010
A charity that provides health support and advice to solicitors has reported a surge in the number of lawyers seeking information on redundancy and alternative careers due to the recession.
Figures for the beginning of 2010 from LawCare show that by far the most popular downloads from its website are those giving advice about potential new jobs for lawyers and job losses.
The charity has also received a rise in calls from every branch of the profession, including those employed in private ...
14th June 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre's busy Volunteer Program recently received attention in the local press. Our volunteers are currently working towards the launch of a Law Clinic, which RLC hopes to run together with the University of the West of Scotland starting in October 2010.
Kenneth Speirs, PDE Reporter, has interviewed some of our volunteers for his recent article:-
LEGAL experts at Renfrewshire Law Centre have spent 12 years living up to their Justice for the Community slogan.
The team of legal eagles and volunteers, in George Street Paisley, offers free advice to people struggling financially, those facing eviction and anyone ...
28th May 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre's Principal Solicitor, Jon Kiddie, while acting in his capacity as Secretary of the Scottish Association of Law Centres (SALC), has submitted SALC's formal response to a consultation being undertaken by the Scottish Government in conjunction with COSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
The consultation examines the provision of publically funded legal assistance (PFLA) in Scotland, and is relevant to law centres, legal aid solicitors, citizens advice bureaux, welfare rights officers, debt advisors, and other types of third sector organisations that provide advice and information on people's rights ...
25th May 2010
The UK Supreme Court today begins hearing a human rights appeal that challenges the lack of a right to a lawyer when detained by the police in Scotland. As the law now stands, the police may detain a suspect for questioning for up to six hours without legal advice. Some critics say this breaches the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly Article 6, the right to a fair trial.
The case Is brought by Peter Cadder, a Scotsman who was convicted of assault partly for answers he gave in police interview before legal advice.
Last year the Scottish Criminal Appeal ...
15th May 2010
On 14 May 2010 RLC Principal Solicitor, Jon Kiddie, and RLC Volunteers, Joe Bryce & Briony Cullin, attended Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini’s conference on pro bono legal services, held at Victoria Quay in Edinburgh.
Generally speaking, the event was well attended, and in particular a number of law centres were specifically represented.
Speakers took the stand to put the case for pro bono work from the perspectives of several different kinds of legal services providers, e.g. large commercial law firms (McGrigors, Pinsent Masons), small firms (Ian Smart, Law Society President, spoke of his own experience as a sole principal ...
1st May 2010
From the BBC's influential Wednesday Play series, Cathy Come Home, directed by Ken Loach, tells the bleak tale of Cathy, who loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system. The film led to the formation of housing charity, Shelter.
22nd April 2010
On 20 April 2010 the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland erupted, pouring a vast ash cloud into the sky over Europe, and causing havoc for travelers across the continent.
Airlines’ Duties to Travelers
If you are flying with an airline based in the European Union, then the company will be obliged by law to try to put you on an alternative flight or to find an alternative way home for you, and to refund you for any cancellation.
If your airline is based outside the EU, then you may not have the same level of protection but should nonetheless check ...
22nd April 2010
At a Special General Meeting of the Law Society of Scotland held yesterday, 21 April 2010, Scottish solicitors voted against the introduction of alternative business structures (ABS) in Scotland.
This is the opposite of the result obtained by a referendum of the profession as announced earlier this month.
In its current form the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill proposes ABS be allowed to set up and operate in Scotland. An ABS is a business managed by lawyers and other kinds of professional, e.g. accountants, bankers etc. Traditionally law firms could only be run by solicitors, and this is how many ...
16th April 2010
4th April 2010
The Scottish Legal Aid Board recently published proposed reforms to the procedure for applying for certain types of legal aid for civil cases. The reforms, if given effect, would likely represent a significant retrograde measure, which would hinder or prevent access to justice in this country for thousands of people of limited financial means who need it most.
For the response by the Scottish Association of Law Centres to the proposal, click here.
11th March 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre & the University of West of Scotland are to join forces to plan a celebration of the case of Donoghue v Stevenson, a local Paisley tale and one of the most famous law cases in the English speaking world. The event, provisionally scheduled for 26 May 2012, should attract lawyers, judges and legal academics from across the globe. It is also hoped to encourage other events to run at the same time, bringing visitors and investors to the town from all over.
Above, from left to right, Dale McFadzean from UWS Law School, Jon Kiddie from the Law ...
24th February 2010
Skipton Building Society faces a legal challenge to its plan to raise the ceiling on its standard variable rate mortgage for over 60,000 customers from 3.5% to 4.95% when their current mortgage deal reaches its end.
The building society, the UK’s fourth biggest, claims it may do so in exceptional circumstances.
However, the legal challenge will proceed on the basis that the change is unlawful in terms of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, and that the recent economic downturn does not constitute exceptional circumstances.
24th February 2010
In the case of Sharp v Bank of Scotland, a client of Govan Law Centre succeeded in persuading Glasgow Sheriff Court to admit a challenge to bank overdraft charges in terms of the Consumer Credit Act.
This follows a decision of the House of Lords in November 2009 to reject a general challenge brought by the Office of Fair Trading, when it was ruled that a scale of bank charges was not susceptible to challenge under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
However, the new case proceeds on the basis of section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act ...
22nd February 2010
The Property Factors (Scotland) Bill appears set to become law as it has received cross-party support from MSP’s. The proposed law would require all Scottish factors and property managers to register and to be accredited.
The Bill’s sponsor, Maryhill Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson, commented, "I am delighted that so many colleagues have recognised the need to legislate so that factors can be properly regulated, and I am grateful to them for their support. I am looking forward to being able to bring forward the legislation and to give MSP colleagues the opportunity to discuss the issues raised by ...
18th February 2010
12th February 2010
The Homeowner & Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. The new law has already featured in a number of news articles on this website, and Renfrewshire Law Centre was involved in government consultation on the proposed legislative reforms.
Housing and Communities Minister, Alex Neil MSP commented that, "One of the most significant consequences of the economic recession is that too many Scots find themselves caught in a debt trap, putting family homes - and families - at risk. Our response, embodied in this bill, has been to act quickly to introduce more protection for home owners and to ...
11th February 2010
Scottish councils stand before floodgates of litigation over incidents related to the severe winter weather of late 2009 to early 2010, particularly personal injury and vehicle damage.
Hospital A&E wards dealt with three times the usual number of patients with broken bones sustained in falls on icy pavements and roads, while insurance companies have received hundreds of claims in respect of collisions caused by treacherous driving conditions.
Moreover, the thaw revealed an additional, hidden cost in the form of countless potholes created as snow on untreated roads was allowed to turn to ice, expanding cracks in the surface. The ...
3rd February 2010
Today Jon Kiddie of Renfrewshire Law Centre and his colleague, Angus MacIntosh of Castlemilk Law & Money Advice Centre, travelled to the Scottish Parliament to represent the Scottish Association of Law Centres at a consultation with Government and Opposition MSP's and civil servants on the Homeowner & Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill.
The new law, which has already featured in articles on this webiste, will introduce important, welcome changes in the procedure for banks and other lenders applying to repossess the homes of mortgage customers. Court actions will require to call in open court, and lenders will require to satisfy the sheriff ...
3rd February 2010
Jon Kiddie, Principal Solicitor of Renfrewshire Law Centre, has accepted appointment as Secretary of the Scottish Association of Law Centres (SALC), assuming the role from Angus MacIntosh of Castlemilk Law & Money Advice Centre, who has served SALC in this capacity since 2007.
The Association, which represents the views and interests of law centres throughout Scotland, proposes to develop its profile in the future by attracting new law centres to join as they emerge all over the country, by campaigning for legal reform, and by rolling out a training program for lawyers and legal advisors.
27th January 2010
The final proposed version of the Property Factors (Scotland) Bill was proposed last week on 22 January.
The new law would introduce minimum standards for property managers as well as an accessible, cost-effective dispute resolution process.
Govan Law Centre was involved in drafting the legislation.
27th January 2010
Recent publicity has highlighted the importance of new rules applying to tradesmen and professionals who conduct business at customers’ or clients’ homes or event their place of work.
The Cancellation of Contracts Made in Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 became effective as of 1 October 2008, and enhance previous consumer protection legislation by giving consumers the right to cancel a contract for the supply of goods or services made during a visit to their home or place of work.
The trader/professional is carrying out his business, but the consumer is not. Therefore, the regs ...
22nd January 2010
Despite representations made by the Scottish Association of Law Centres and Renfrewshire Law Centre, the government has decided not to amend the new bill to re-introduce a reasonableness test for homeowners facing repossession by their mortgage lenders.
However, the Labour opposition party has taken up SALC's case and agreed to propose an amendment that would include such a test. Mary Mulligan MSP, Labour Housing Spokesperson, will submit the amendment today.
SALC and RLC support the bill in principle, but believe its current drafting would be inadequate to guarantee homeowners the kind of protection they need.
The bill proposes amending ...
21st January 2010
The Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Communities Committee requests consultation on the new Housing (Scotland) Bill.
The primary aims of the bill are:-
‘To improve the value that social housing delivers for tenants and taxpayers, to safeguard the supply of that housing for the benefits of future generations of tenants, and to improve conditions in private housing’.
- Modernising the regime for regulating social landlords;
- Reforming the Right to Buy social housing;
- Amending the law on registering private landlords, licensing homes in multiple occupation;
- Addressing disrepair in private housing.
Written submissions should be lodged by 4 March 2010.
21st January 2010
Today independent MSP, Margo MacDonald, has introduced a member's bill into the Scottish Parliament that proposes giving people a right to assistance to end their life.
The End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bil aims to help those for whom life has become intolerable by reason of incurable terminal or degenerative illness subject to certain legal criteria.
21st January 2010
While expressing overall support for Lord Gill’s recent Scottish Civil Courts Review, the Faculty of Advocates has nonetheless submitted a response which criticises the particular proposal to raise the financial threshold for cases suitable for the Court of Session. The limit is presently £5,000, but the Review proposes to increase this to £150,000, effectively bestowing on the Sheriff Courts exclusive jurisdiction on all cases worth less.
The Faculty describes the proposed new limit as ‘inexplicably high’, being three times the equivalent threshold applied in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (which operate different court systems).
It would mean ...
19th January 2010
Further to RLC's participation in talks with Ministers in December, on Monday and Wednesday of this week solicitors from the Scottish Association of Law Centres (SALC), including a representative of RLC, will take part in the consultation process for the Home Owner & Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
The new law will improve the rights of mortgage borrowers who face financial difficulties, by forcing banks to call cases in open court. It should also make Protected Trust Deeds more accessible by introducing the possibility of excluding the applicant's principal residence.
SALC and RLC are ...
7th January 2010
Renfrewshire Law Centre has launched the True Grit Blog as a platform for our campaign for safe winter roads in Scotland.
Contributors are invited to post comments on the blog.
7th January 2010
"GET A GRIP - IT IS TIME TO GET SOME GRIT" WENDY Alexander MSP (Paisley North) calls for more support for people in the winter freeze...
Wendy Alexander MSP said, "It is time to get a grip - and get some grit". Since Sunday Renfrewshire Council's website admits that only main roads are being gritted and local grit bins are not being refilled so people who want to help by spreading some grit in their own streets can't. But in other parts of Scotland other roads are also getting attention. So why has Renfrewshire given up on other roads due ...
6th January 2010
Following Renfrewshire Law Centre's news article of 22 December, Both Wendy Alexander MSP (Paisley North) and Douglas Alexander MP (Paisley & Renfrewshire South) have voiced concern over the state of our roads in the midst of the current icy weather spell.
In an article published in today's Paisley Daily Express, Ms Alexander calls on Renfrewshire Council to approach the Scottish Government for help as a matter of emergency.
Both parliamentarians report a sharp rise in the number of complaints from local constituents regarding the problem.
To read more about the Law Centre's campaign, please follow this link.