#ScotGov legislative programme: Welcomed by Law Society and Faculty

A Plan For Scotland: The Scottish Government’s Programme For Scotland 2016-17 ScotGov

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Law Society and Faculty welcome Scottish government legislative programme

The Law Society of Scotland has responded to the Scottish government’s legislative programme announced this week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Eilidh Wiseman, president of the Law Society of Scotland, welcomed the inclusion of proposed legislation on third party rights, child poverty, and the domestic abuse bill along with the intention to abolish employment tribunal fees.

She added:

“We support the principles behind the bills aimed at ensuring an accessible and affordable justice system for people living in Scotland. Once introduced, we will scrutinise the proposals and engage with the government, opposition parties and other key groups to ensure that the resulting legislation is practical and effective.”

The Scottish government programme also confirmed the intention to engage with the legal profession on legal aid.

Ms Wiseman said:

“We have pressed for reform to our legal aid system. Last year we published a series of recommendations for both civil and criminal legal aid to ensure its long term sustainability and we are pleased that the government has confirmed it will engage with the profession on how this can best be done.  It is essential that people can access the legal advice and services they need regardless of where they live or their financial circumstances and that those who provide that advice can continue to afford to do so.”

The Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Gordon Jackson QC, also welcomed the legislative programme.

He said:

“Much of the Scottish government’s programme for justice is to be welcomed, for example the realisation that short prison sentences are counterproductive, and hopefully alternative community disposals will not only be suggested but properly resourced. Attempts to modernise the system are also positive, and we all share the principles of a system which serves the people of Scotland and is both accessible and affordable. As always, the devil will be in the detail and I look forward to the Faculty’s working with the government in a very constructive way.”

A total of 15 new bills will be introduced over the next year:

  • Air Passenger Duty Bill – to reduce APD by 50 per cent.
  • Railway Policing Bill – to confer railway policing power on Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority.
  • Gender Balance on Public Boards Bill – to improve gender representation in the public sector.
  • Social Security Bill – to create a framework for a new social security system.
  • Budget Bill – to set out the Scottish government’s spending plans.
  • Housing (Amendment) Bill – to ensure registered social landlords are classified as private sector bodies.
  • Child Poverty Bill – to eradicate child poverty and ensure a Child Poverty Delivery Plan is published every five years.
  • Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill – to reform current law on contracts relating to third party rights.
  • Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation Bill – to make the civil justice system more accessible and affordable.
  • Domestic Abuse Bill – to make domestic abuse a specific offence.
  • Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill – to allow child abuse survivors access civil justice.
  • Islands Bill – to set out island devolution.
  • Forestry Bill – to complete the devolution of forestry.
  • Wild Animals in Circuses Bill – to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
  • Referendum Bill – to prepare for a second independence referendum should it be agreed it was the best way to protect Scotland’s interests in the EU.  SOURCE

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