Outer House judge reduces Police Scotland decision to hold separate hearings for three officers accused of similar misconduct
Three police officers have successfully challenged the instigation and form of misconduct proceedings brought against them by Police Scotland in judicial review proceedings before the Outer House of the Court of Session.
The petitioners, all still currently serving police officers, argued that their misconduct hearings ought to be heard together, as the circumstances leading to them were broadly the same for each petitioner and the decision to refer them to separate hearings was procedurally unfair. The decision challenged was made by an Assistant Chief Constable in August 2020.
The petition was heard by Lady Wise. Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of Faculty, appeared for the petitioners, while the respondents were represented by MariaMaguire QC.
Concerns prior to decision
On 30 July 2017 a man, Frederick McGettigan, handed a handbag that he said he had found by a canal into a police station. The bag belonged to the wife of a serving police officer, Joanne Threshie, who along with her husband later discovered Mr McGettigan’s identity and began to suspect that he had broken into their house and stolen it.
Mr McGettigan was found dead on 9 August 2017. A cousin of Mrs Threshie, Kirk McIntyre, was found guilty of murdering him, while Mrs Threshie was acquitted of the same crime. Following the criminal proceedings, an Investigating Officer was appointed to investigate allegations against the petitioners, concluding in April 2020 that they had a case to answer.
The first petitioner was accused of suggesting to Mr Threshie that Mr McGettigan had been responsible for the housebreaking and of giving false evidence at trial. The second was accused of giving Mr Threshie information that identified Mr McGettigan as the person responsible for the housebreaking, while the third was accused of failing to take any action when he became aware that such information had been passed to Mr Threshie.
In the summer of 2020, each petitioner was referred to a misconduct hearing with a separate chairperson under the Police Service of Scotland (Conduct) Regulations 2014. The possibility of a single chairperson conducting all of the hearings was considered but rejected on the basis that this would be unfair, with a risk that the evidence, findings, or determination relating to one of the petitioners might impact negatively on the others.
It was submitted for the petitioners that there had been procedural unfairness in the decision to hold the misconduct hearings separately with separate chairs. While concerns had been expressed about doing so by a Scottish Police Association representative for the second petitioner, at the time those concerns were aired no decision had been taken to have a hearing or hearings and no binding agreement was made to proceed in that fashion. In terms of the Guidance on the 2014 Regulations, that decision ought to have been taken after the appointment of a chair and following representations from the parties on the matter.
Counsel for the petitioners further submitted that there was also substantive unfairness as the petitioners would suffer real and substantial prejudice in the event of there being separate hearings. There was a general interest in hearing analogous matters together and there was a risk that witnesses common to all three proceedings might give their evidence differently on each occasion.
In her decision, Lady Wise noted: “I accept that there will be a general expectation of a single hearing in a case involving a single IO and a related set of circumstances. What requires scrutiny in this case is the procedure that led to a different a different approach than the default position of a single hearing being adopted and the reasons given subsequently for that departure.”
She continued: “What appears to have occurred is that ACC Speirs reached his decision largely on the basis of what he understood was a representation on behalf of the petitioners that they did not wish to appear before a single chair at a combined hearing. Even leaving aside the error in the letter of 8 September 2020 where it states that the decision to refer each of the four officers to misconduct hearings had been made before [the] purported representations, it is clear that ACC Speirs relied heavily on what he understood, wrongly, to have been representations made on behalf of the officers.”
Considering the petitioner’s arguments together with the Guidance, Lady Wise said: “If there are separate hearings arising from the same broad factual matrix which were investigated together by a single IO, different decision makers may assess the same facts differently and reach mutually inconsistent decisions. It is indisputable that the potential consequences for the petitioners are of the most severe kind and the risk of inconsistent findings between separate chairs hearing at least some of the same witnesses is a sufficient basis to be satisfied about the decision made causing prejudice to the petitioners.”
She went on to say: “The question of a single or joint hearing was not one for open debate, but one which had to start with the Guidance. ACC Speirs reached his decision on separate hearings after taking an irrelevant consideration into account. In the absence of strong justification for any departure from the Guidance his decision making does not withstand scrutiny.”
Lady Wise concluded: “I acknowledge and understand the respondents’ concern that the outcome in this case could have implications for their well established procedures. However, the errors made in this particular case arose largely from an absence of clarity about when and by whom decisions as to procedure at misconduct hearings are actually taken and the distinction between an SPF official expressing a personal view and representing the view of a police officer or officers on their behalf.”
For these reasons, the petition was granted, and the decision reduced.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has imposed fines totalling over £260 million for competition law breaches in relation to the supply of hydrocortisone tablets.
The fines are the result of a CMA investigation into the conduct of several pharmaceutical firms which found that Auden Mckenzie and Actavis UK (now known as Accord-UK) charged the NHS excessively high prices for hydrocortisone tablets for almost a decade.
To protect its position as sole provider of the tablets, and enable it to continue to increase prices, Auden Mckenzie also paid off would-be competitors AMCo (now known as Advanz Pharma) and Waymade to stay out of the market. Actavis UK continued paying off AMCo after taking over sales of hydrocortisone tablets in 2015.
Tens of thousands of people in the UK depend on hydrocortisone tablets to treat adrenal insufficiency, which includes life-threatening conditions such as Addison’s disease.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive at the CMA, said: “These are without doubt some of the most serious abuses we have uncovered in recent years. The actions of these firms cost the NHS – and therefore taxpayers – hundreds of millions of pounds.
“Auden Mckenzie’s decision to raise prices for de-branded drugs meant that the NHS had no choice but to pay huge sums of taxpayers’ money for life-saving medicines. In practice, the NHS was at one point being charged over £80 for a single pack of tablets that had previously cost less than £1.
“These were egregious breaches of the law that artificially inflated the costs faced by the NHS, reducing the money available for patient care. Our fine serves as a warning to any other drug firm planning to exploit the NHS.”
A spokesman for Accord Healthcare said: “We are very disappointed by the CMA’s decision. Having only inherited the product in January 2017, we have done nothing but continuously reduce the price in the face of significant competition.
“We maintain that the case against Accord Healthcare is flawed legally and in respect of material facts. We are therefore considering all our options and intend to appeal the decision.”
Susannah Donaldson: Impact of pandemic on gender pay gap reporting in construction
Susannah Donaldson considers the impact of the pandemic on gender pay gap figures reported by large construction businesses.
The Covid-19 pandemic has somewhat skewed gender pay gap (GPG) figures reported by large construction businesses for the year 2020-21, with reductions in allowances, and furlough, impacting on the figures reported so far.
Construction has traditionally reported one of the largest gaps in the average earnings of male and female employees and the data underlines there is some way to go. It is particularly apparent that fewer women occupy senior or more highly paid roles within the sector, and it tends to be that the majority of new recruits are predominantly male.
To date, around 118 construction employers have reported their GPG data, including some of the sector’s biggest players, which according to an analysis by Pinsent Masons, showed an average median pay gap between male and female employees of around 20 per cent – a larger average pay gap than reported by the Office for National Statistics for the sector as a whole (11.4 per cent for 2020).
The data also suggested nearly a 20 per cent difference in mean bonus payments to men and women. The GPG at the companies tracked by Pinsent Masons has remained mostly static since the reporting regime was introduced in 2017, only changing by between 1 per cent and 2 per cent in the majority of cases. Many companies have taken advantage of the EHRC’s six-month “grace period” on enforcement action and have not yet reported their data.
The annual 5 April “snapshot date” fell just as much of the UK went into lockdown, with many non-essential workers placed on furlough, while other actions taken to protect financial stability and preserve jobs also had significant, unintended effects on GPG data.
This accounts for some of the anomalies in the reported data. For example, Taylor Wimpey reported a median hourly pay rate in favour of women, with female staff earning £1.18 for every £1 earned by men. The company said this was because predominantly male site staff were furloughed at the time of the snapshot, while predominantly female sales staff were not furloughed until later.
Other companies predicted a “bounce back” in their GPG figures for other reasons. For example, in some businesses, allowances paid to employees working on project sites were temporarily stopped, reducing their earnings and bringing them closer to their base pay levels. This affected more male employees than females and is likely to have contributed to an artificial reduction in their gender pay gap during this reporting period.
Flexible working practices and policies are key to attracting and retaining female staff and improving gender equality, and while there are many roles which cannot be done remotely, it appears that many companies in the construction sector are actively seeking to promote and encourage agile working practices where possible.
Companies have also been engaging with young people through STEM campaigns and outreach programmes, with a view to attracting new talent and increasing the proportion of women recruited for graduate and apprentice roles.
So whilst the GPG 2020-21 data submitted so far may paint a somewhat distorted picture, it is clear that the reporting requirement continues to shine a spotlight on gender equality and keeps up the pressure on infrastructure businesses to address this issue as a strategic priority.
A solicitor’s plea for help: What’s a clearance certificate when it’s at home?
Solicitor Graham Fordyce calls for help over an antiquated law meaning his client cannot access funds due to him.
My client raised an action of division or sale in 2018. The property was eventually sold in November last year and in terms of the ordinary cause rules, the net proceeds were consigned into court.
Last month, the court granted an order for payment to each party, but regrettably, the funds have yet to be released because the court requires to see something called a 'clearance certificate' from HMRC. In over 30 years of practice, I've never heard of such a thing and I am having extreme difficulty in finding someone who has!
It transpires that we are all still subject to the terms of the Sheriff Courts Consignations (Scotland) Act 1893, imposing a duty on the sheriff clerk each year to account to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, which I'm guessing has something to do with the Inland Revenue. I'm further guessing that the certificate confirms that no tax is due on the funds held by the court, but since no one can tell me what a clearance certificate looks like, then my ignorance remains intact.
You can imagine the misery heaped on my client. Can anyone put him out of his misery please? Please don’t ask me to contact HMRC. I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried. I’ve even engaged my client’s local MP to no avail. If you can point me in the right direction, please contact me at: email@example.com.
Scottish and Welsh ministers demand respect for devolution
The UK government will undermine devolution if they establish freeports in Scotland and Wales without reaching agreement with devolved governments, according to Scottish and Welsh ministers.
The devolved governments said that while they were committed to working with the UK government, UK ministers have signalled their intention to move forward without devolved consent and have failed to provide assurances they will not legislate in devolved areas.
Ministers said they are also seeking urgent clarity from the UK government on joint decision-making and funding allocations, as UK ministers have been unwilling to guarantee that funding for ports in Scotland and Wales would match amounts being offered in England.
The Scottish government said it has been trying to work with the UK government to ensure the UK freeport proposal reflects the needs of businesses and communities in Scotland. Adapting UK government proposals, new Scottish green ports would aim to offer a package of assistance to businesses that adopt fair work practices and contribute to Scotland’s just transition to a net zero emissions economy.
The Welsh government has again written to the UK government asking for an urgent discussion on how they can take these plans forward given there has yet to be a formal offer made for a freeport to be established in Wales.
Business minister Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish government remains committed to working in partnership with the UK government, however we cannot sign up to a UK policy which does not respect devolution, undermines the Scottish economy and fails to provide equivalent funding to what is on offer for ports in England.
"UK ministers have failed to work with us to ensure their proposals best meet the needs of business and communities in Scotland. Should the UK government move forward with a proposal that does not include a commitment on fair work and net zero, the Scottish government will not support this initiative.
“To ensure there is not a race to the bottom on workers’ rights and the environment, the Scottish government will challenge any attempts by the UK government to impose their model in Scotland by legislating in devolved areas, which would be a breach of the spirit of the Devolution settlement. I would strongly encourage the Secretary of State for Scotland and other UK ministers to work with us to ensure we can deliver green ports in Scotland.”
Welsh finance minister Rebecca Evans said: “We have consistently attempted to engage constructively with the UK government and reach agreement on a way of implementing freeports in Wales which is consistent with our priorities and values as a government.
"The UK government is pressuring the Welsh government to redirect its resources to deliver a UK government policy priority. This approach is unacceptable to us, and we have made clear that the UK government needs to demonstrate the same level of financial commitment to freeports in Wales as they have in England.”
Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said: “As a responsible government, we need to see that freeports demonstrate value for money. We also need to have confidence that the potential negative impacts of the UK government’s approach are mitigated.
"We recognise that without our support, a Welsh freeport would be less attractive and less competitive than those in England, but the UK government’s continued refusal to engage constructively suggests that they would rather risk undermining devolution by implementing a flawed freeport without our support than work with us to deliver benefits for Wales.”
The Faculty of Advocates has awarded nine intrants scholarships to assist them financially when devilling commences later this year.
Ruth CrawfordQC, treasurer of Faculty, who chairs the Faculty’s Scholarship Committee, said: “The Faculty is delighted to be in a position to facilitate access to financial support during devilling. We look forward to welcoming the scholars and all their fellow intrants when they begin their devilling in October.”
The four scholarships available are the Lord Reid Scholarship, the Faculty Scholarship, the Lord Hope Scholarships which are provided by the Faculty of Advocates, and the new Scottish Council of Law Reporting Scholarship provided by the SCLR for the first time this year. The Faculty administers the SCLR award on its behalf and looks forward to further collaboration with the SCLR to improve accessibility to the bar.
The Lord Reid Scholarship is awarded in honour of the late Lord Reid of Drem, who bequeathed sums to the Faculty with the intention that they be used for educational scholarships. One Lord Reid Scholarship is usually awarded annually, to the outstanding applicant.
The Lord Hope, Faculty, and SCLR Scholarships have as their aim improving accessibility to the bar. Applicants must demonstrate sufficient ability to merit the award, but greater weighting is given to those in financial need or to those from groups currently under-represented at the Scottish bar.
The size and number of scholarship awards provided by the Faculty are entirely at the discretion of the Faculty of Advocates’ Scholarship Committee, after consideration of the number and quality of applicants as well as the funds available in any given year. This year all those who applied were awarded a scholarship. The nine scholarship recipients are part of a group of 28 intrants who start their devilling later this year.
Previous scholarship recipients include Cat MacQueen, who was called to the bar last month after completing her devilling.
Ms MacQueen said: “I commenced devilling shortly after completing my traineeship, so I had not had the opportunity to save much money prior to coming to the bar. The scholarship has therefore been fundamental in providing me with financial support whilst devilling.
“I consider that the scholarships provide vital support to those who would otherwise have financial difficulties undertaking the nine months of unpaid devilling which is required to become an advocate."
Sarah Trainer, who was also called to the bar in June, last month, said receiving a scholarship had meant she had avoided getting into debt during her devilling. She said: ”As a solicitor, I worked at a small court-based firm and undertook mainly legal aid work. My level of income was not the same as those at larger commercial firms. Although I was able to save a little each month in preparation for devilling, my level of income was not such that I could save a substantial amount."
A new ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) would allow employers to ban the wearing of visible symbols of religious or political belief, such as headscarves.
The court stipulated that such a ban would need to be justified by the employer's genuine need to present a neutral image towards customers or to prevent social disputes.
The CJEU examined the matter after two Muslim women brought cases to their local courts to dispute disciplinary action taken by their employers due to their refusal to remove their headscarves.
The court was asked to examine whether an internal rule of prohibiting workers from wearing any visible sign of political, philosophical or religious beliefs in the workplace constitutes, with regard to workers who observe certain dress codes based on religious precepts, direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.
In its judgment, the court said such a rule "does not constitute direct discrimination provided that it covers any manifestation of such beliefs without distinction and treats all workers of the undertaking in the same way by requiring them, in a general and undifferentiated way, to dress neutrally, which precludes the wearing of such signs".
The court explained that it is a "legitimate aim" for employers to want to present a politically and religiously neutral image to customers, but warned that a ban on employees wearing any signs of their beliefs could only be legitimate if there was a "genuine need" on behalf of the employer.
It was also laid out that measures to prevent wearing signs of a persons belief "must be limited to what is strictly necessary having regard to the actual scale and severity of the adverse consequences that the employer is seeking to avoid by adopting the prohibition".
Furthermore, the court set out that the ruling must not be used to justify rules which would result in a particular disadvantage for persons adhering to a particular belief, such as a rule against large conspicuous signs of belief (such as a headscarf) but allowing small inconspicous ones (such as a crucifix necklace).
The recent judgment has already been met with backlash from those who fear the ruling could lead to discrimination, especially in countries such as France were there are already measures in place to ban women wearing headscarves in certain places.
Maryam H’madoun, a Belgian campaigner against headscarf bans and a justice policy officer for the Open Society Foundation, said she feared that the ruling could lead to discrimination amid rising hostility to Muslims across Europe.
She said: “Laws, policies and practices prohibiting religious dress are targeted manifestations of Islamophobia that seek to exclude Muslim women from public life or render them invisible.
“Discrimination masquerading as ‘neutrality’ is the veil that actually needs to be lifted. A rule that expects every person to have the same outward appearance is not neutral. It deliberately discriminates against people because they are visibly religious.”
Allen & Overy results reveal £1.9 million earnnings for equity partners
Allen & Overy's financial results have revealed that its equity partners each earn £1.9 million on average.
The practice increased pay for its top tier partners by 17 per cent in spite of the pandemic. It reported yesterday that revenue increased by five per cent to £1.77 billion, which generated pre-tax profits of £822m – up 19 per cent on the previous year.
The figures indicate a significant bounce for the firm, where average pay for full equity partners fell 1.7 per cent last year to £1.63m.
Gareth Price, the firm's global managing partner, pointed out that it had not availed itself of government financial support during the lockdowns.
Scottish care home owner banned for six years for failing to explain £518,000 spend
A Scottish care homeowner has been banned from serving as a company director for six years after his firm went into liquidation with no explanation for the hundreds of thousands of pounds that disappeared from company accounts.
Laurie Gray, 50, from Hamilton, was director of Saltcoats company Seabank Care Ltd, incorporated in 2020 to operate Seabank Care Home. The company traded successfully for several years but began to encounter difficulties in 2016 and 2017.
No new admissions to the care home were allowed, and by 2018 it was recommended that the company cease trading and go into liquidation.
A second care home, Woodside Care Home, also operated by Mr Gray, was also forced to close due to the liquidation.
The liquidator was appointed, and an Insolvency Service investigation found that Mr Gray had failed to preserve or deliver up adequate accounting records for Seabank Care Ltd.
He was unable to explain the company’s expenditure including cheque payments totalling £111,047, other unexplained withdrawals worth £62,887, and payments to a connected party and their companies totalling £343,717. Funds leaving the company accounts totalled almost £518,000.
Seabank Care Ltd had a loan of £50,596 and the liquidator was unable to confirm whether it had been collected for the benefit of the company, only that a further £23,000 was paid out to the loan company.
Mr Gray had also failed to file accounts for the period prior to the company’s liquidation. As a result, on 6 April 2021 the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Mr Gray which means he cannot directly or indirectly, become involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Rob Clarke, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "As director of Seabank Care Home, Laurie Gray was entrusted with looking after the residents in his care, including using the funds they paid on legitimate costs. Instead, he failed to keep records or account for almost £518,000 leaving the company accounts.
"This ban should serve as a warning to other directors that if you fail to meet your obligations, including preserving accounting records, we can take action."
Poland's disciplinary rules for judges break EU law
Poland’s way of disciplining judges falls foul of EU law, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has said.
The court said in a statement that “the disciplinary regime for judges in Poland is not compatible with EU law”.
Marek Ast, head of Poland’s parliamentary commission for justice, criticised the court.
He said: “Firstly, the organisation of the justice system is the sole competence of EU member states. Secondly, the standards that ECJ is drawing from the EU treaties are not in line with Poland’s constitution.”
The CJEU believes the independence and impartiality of Poland's Disciplinary Chamber cannot be guaranteed.
The chamber was established in reforms made last February and has the power to strip judges of immunity and cut their salaries. It comprises judges chosen by the National Council of the Judiciary, whose members are chosen by the country's parliament – where the right-wing governing Law and Justice (PiS) party holds a majority.
Govan Law Centre hails successes in face of ‘challenging’ year
Govan Law Centre (GLC) has published an advance preview of its 2020/21 annual report showing its successes in supporting 4,500 clients despite a "difficult and challenging" year.
Despite its services being reduced due to the pandemic, it was still able to offer free advice and legal representation to 4,500 clients, as well as influence the policy and practice of Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government.
In response to the lockdown restrictions, GLC reconfigured its services to reach people by setting up a digital communications platform to configure messages from across its different social media platforms.
Since March 2020, GLC campaigned to protect tenants from evictions, ensure accommodation for those who needed it, and address homelessness.
On 1 June 2020, the Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament. The bill was drafted by GLC along with all accompanying documents.
On the back of this, GLC, working with the Living Rent tenant's union, identified a private renter who would be affected by the inability of Holyrood to consider the need to strengthen fair rents for tenants in the private sector. GLC managed to secure legal aid for this client and raised judicial proceedings against the Scottish Parliament's corporate body seeking a declaration and reduction of the Local Government Committee's decision not to consider the bill.
The law centre also reported that it worked with a number of other organisations, including Shelter, British Red Cross, and Govan Community Project, to maximise its client outcomes.
In particular, GLC was able to assist the Roma and Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities in Govanhill and has helped many of its clients with questions about leaving the EU and the settled status procedures. It reported that 4 in 10 of its clients are from a minority ethnic background.
The team also worked closely with women and children experiencing domestic abuse and violence and provides a trauma-informed service to support those vulnerable groups.
Children and young people with additional support needs was another vulnerable group that the Govan Law Centre worked closely with over the past year, with over 770 education cases.
Overall, GLC concludes that despite a difficult and challenging year due to the impact of Covid and the lockdown rules preventing its team from meeting clients face to face, it has overcome these challenges and provided vital free advice and legal support.
EU launches legal action against Hungary and Poland over LGBT+ rights violations
The European Commission has launched infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland for alleged violations of the fundamental rights of LGBT+ people.
The case concerns a controversial new Hungarian law which has been compared to the UK's Section 28 and Polish authorities' failure to respond to the establishment of "LGBT-ideology free zones" by several Polish regions and municipalities.
Both member states now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. The Commission can then decide to send them a reasoned opinion, and can later then refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
In a statement announcing the move, the Commission said: "Equality and the respect for dignity and human rights are core values of the EU, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values."
The Commission published the first-ever EU Strategy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) equality in November, which sets out actions on tackling discrimination; ensuring safety; building inclusive societies; and leading the call for LGBTIQ equality around the world.
Stan Swamy died on July 5. The Indian government said he died of medical causes, but now, officials from the US and United Nations are expressing concern about the circumstances of his death — and activists hope their pressure could force a turning point for human rights in the country.
Many bad men are rich, many good men are poor. But we will not exchange wealth for virtue along with them. One man has money now, another has money at another time. Money goes around, whereas virtue endures.
Solon, Fragment 4 (West), also attributed to Theognis
The bond between the Sicilian mafia and American crime families is as strong as ever, it has emerged.
Decades after their links were immortalised in The Godfather trilogy, police have swooped in on members of a major crime family.
They arrested 11 members of the Torretta clan, who stand accused of working with New York’s Gambino family.
“The connection is very much alive — the New York mafia still takes pride in its cultural roots in Sicily while ties to the US are a strong point for the Sicilians,” General Arturo Guarino, the Palermo Carabinieri commander, said.
The Torretta clan allegedly hosted Gambino emissary, Ernesto Grillo, in a villa near Palermo in 2018, where he was supposedly offered cocaine and taken to business meetings with senior crime figures.
When Frank Cali, a Gambino boss, was murdered in Staten Island in March 2019, the Torrettas worried he had been the victim of a hit and that the killing would precipitate a blood feud in the US.
The Torretta clan sent their affiliate to New York to meet with Grillo, find out who was heir to Cali and to determine the truth behind the killing.
It transpired that Anthony Comello, 24, a QAnon conspiracist, was behind the murder. He was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.
General Guarino said of the affiliate: “Did he establish who the new Cali was? We can assume there are still connections. They were very worried it would hurt their business because Cali was the connection with Palermo.
“Palermo was looking to import drugs from South America and needed the help of New York since the route is now monopolised by the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia from Calabria.”
Stewart Title: Property Market – A Perfect Storm for Fraudsters?
Many commentators have warned that the restrictions on face-to-face meetings and inspections caused by COVID-19, and the pressure to complete quickly to benefit from advantageous market conditions, can create a “perfect storm” for criminals seeking to fraudulently sell property.
A new report on money laundering activity in 2020 has shown these fears to be well founded, as property fraud was a key theme in £200 Million of criminal activity.
Many of these cases relate to transactions where a criminal purports to sell a property without the knowledge or consent of the proper legal owner. Where they are successful, a legitimate buyer and their lender can face enormous losses.
Protection against this type of loss is provided by Stewart Title’s Fraud Solution Policy. This policy offers safeguards against losses arising from fraud for buyers and their lenders where a criminal successfully impersonates the owner of a property. Cover of up to £1,000,000 is available for residential properties in England, Wales and Scotland with premiums starting at £28 (inclusive of IPT).
Solicitors acting for buyers are also protected as all rights of subrogation are expressly waived so their Professional Indemnity Insurance is protected.
Policies can be ordered online at: www.stewartsolution.com. Where cover is required for all of a firm’s buyer and lender clients, it is also available as a Block Policy.
Technology in the 21st Century is providing us with the means to communicate our thoughts and ideas across the planet in a way that would have been unthinkable, even 10 years ago.
However good the technology is, it cannot pick up the subtleties of a language, the culture that underpins it, or even the humour that oils many of our conversations.
For this reason there has always been a need for skilled interpreters and translators and probably always will. That’s where Global Language Services Ltd can help you.
Not only do we have the language service talent that you are likely to need, we also have a track record that spans Government, health, justice, commercial and private sector contracts.
So, whatever you want to achieve in a different language, we’re on your side from the word ‘go’.
We go out of our way to help with any translation and interpreting requirements and you can test that simply by picking up the phone and getting in touch. Calls are answered by trained operators with no call centres – just real people determined to help you achieve your language service requirements as quickly as possible.
If you’ve been searching for Professional Translation or reliable Interpreting Services at competitive prices, we like to think that Global will be your long-term partner after your first project with us.
With offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen we are committed to finding local interpreters and translators wherever possible. Our reach, however, goes much further than Scotland and we are happy to take translation projects from across the world.
Dispute Resolution Associate/Senior Solicitor (4+ years PQE) – SKO
Full time position
This is an excellent opportunity for a litigator with a commercial, corporate or contentious wills & trusts background who wants to move into family law. The role will involve complex litigation, primarily in the Court of Session, and will allow you to gain experience of other dispute resolution models and non-contentious work. You will have lots of client contact and responsibility.
We are looking for someone who wants to help find creative solutions that are commercially realistic, tax-efficient and effective - in a family law context. The clients you will be working with will usually have shareholdings in private limited companies and/or interests in partnerships; they will often be company directors or partners and there will be tax implications inherent in the resolution of their affairs.
You will be working daily with a wide variety of other professionals- family and commercial counsel, corporate and private client lawyers, forensic and tax accountants, actuaries, family offices and reputation managers- in Scotland and elsewhere. You will be the lynchpin for the client - they will trust your judgement and wisdom, and expect you to have brought together a team that will sensitively and efficiently deliver a resolution.
For the right person there is also the opportunity to do other creative things like writing, lecturing and potential for involvement in firm management and business development.
SKO is Scotland's largest niche family firm, top ranked in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. We are focused solely on meeting the needs of clients accessing Scots Family Law advice, advising individuals and other lawyers in the UK and abroad. As well as having Solicitors accredited by The Law Society of Scotland as Specialists in family law, child law and as family mediators we have four family Arbitrators and knowledgeable and experienced support staff. We are close knit team and pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients and to excellence in our specialist field.
Who we are looking for
You will be a dispute resolution lawyer who has experience of both negotiation and litigation, primarily in the Court of Session, and who is confident interacting with clients.
We are not expecting the successful applicant to have any experience in family law although potential applicants with a background in family law should not count themselves out if they have the key skills and experience we seek.
A significant proportion of the matters you deal with will also involve you working with lawyers in other jurisdictions and if you have an interest in PIL/IPL that would be an advantage.
You will be a strong team player with excellent interpersonal, client and commercial skills. You will work well as part of a close-knit team.
You will have a flexible approach to meeting client demands and priorities and show a commitment to excellence in client service.
We are a small firm so you will be someone who is adaptable and enthusiastic about assisting and supporting your colleagues.
You must be intellectually able, motivated to learn and interested in dealing with varied, often very complex and/or legally novel work.
You will be someone who feels comfortable acting as main point of contact for clients and as an ambassador for the practice. You will be acutely aware of the need for privacy and sensitivity in dealing with clients who are often experiencing anxiety and distress.
You will have integrity, sensitivity and empathy and value the fact that we are an equal opportunities employer and we recruit the best possible people regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief.
The successful candidate will have very strong written and oral communication skills, be a good listener and have excellent attention to detail.
Part-time Sheriffs/Summary Sheriffs – Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland
The Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland (JABS) invites applications from suitably qualified individuals who wish to be considered for a part- time appointment to the office of Part-Time Sheriff and Part-Time Summary Sheriff.
This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to justice in Scotland and to assist with the court recovery programme. Potential applicants should note that there are anticipated to be a higher number of sitting days, up to 60 days, within the first year of their appointment and should ensure they are able to commit to 60 days before applying. Thereafter the expectation is that each Part-Time Summary Sheriff and Part-Time Sheriff will sit for a minimum of 20 days annually.
For further information please see the JABS website here.
We welcome applications from civil and criminal practitioners alike. We encourage diversity and particularly welcome applications from groups currently under-represented in the judiciary. The principles of fair and open competition will apply and recommendation for appointment will be made solely on merit.
Applications must be submitted by noon on Wednesday 10 August 2021.
Commercial Property Solicitor (3+ Years’ PQE) – Balfour and Manson
We are looking to recruit an experienced commercial property solicitor to deal with a wide variety of work in a small, very busy team.
We deal with both vacant possession and investment purchases and sales, leases for both landlords and tenants, of industrial, warehouse, office, retail, leisure and rural property, as well as development sites.
Our clients range from private individuals to quoted companies, and include many charities. The successful applicant will be expected to deal with a wide variety of work, and to have at least 3 years’ PQE. The role will also involve covering a partner’s maternity leave for a period giving them exposure to a wide range of clients and higher level work.
This is a full-time position and will be based in our Edinburgh office with the opportunity to work from home.
Friends Legal is looking to recruit a private client solicitor with 1-3 years' PQE.
Location: Glasgow, Edinburgh, and homeworking
Friends Legal is a new name in the Scottish legal market with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We have just launched our new Wills, Trust and Afterlife Legal Services team with the focus on service delivery at a transparent, market leading fixed cost. The aim is to dispense with legal jargon and treat people who need legal help fairly.
We invest heavily in our people, IT and case management systems.
We are committed to making the process affordable and straightforward for all our clients. No jargon. No barriers. Just proactivity, sensitivity and commerciality. Our staff are trained to exceed exacting service level agreements and deliver exceptional, individual client care.
We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic solicitor 1-3 PQE to join our new and quickly growing team mainly based in Glasgow. The role shall involve managing a caseload of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Executries. Some Trust experience would be useful but not essential. You will be expected to manage your work with minimal supervision, and to assist in supervising other members of the team.
The role involves significant client contact. You must have excellent client skills, together with a pragmatic and results orientated approach. Candidates should have a proven passion for private client work,and be able to deal with clients at vulnerable stages in their lives with sensitivity and compassion.
Case management experience would be desirable although a willingness to learn and adapt is more important. We aim to offer an expanded hours service and you may be required to work accordingly.
We offer a competitive salary, benefits package and the opportunity to develop your career according to ability and aptitude. This is a fantastic opportunity to join and shape a new team in a successful, growing firm who like to approach legal services differently.
The firm is committed to providing a non-discriminatory and harassment free working environment for all its employees. All staff are expected to have due regard for those policies when carrying out their duties.
All offers are subject to satisfactory Criminal Records Bureau, Credit Check and professional/personal referee checks.
Reporter to the Professional Conduct Sub Committee – Law Society of Scotland
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Law Society of Scotland's professional conduct team for a Reporter to the Professional Conduct Sub Committee – Temporary (up to 12 months), £39,000pa.
The professional conduct team handle all conduct complaints against Scottish solicitors, executry and conveyancing practitioners. We investigate and report on the conduct complaints, and the Professional Conduct Sub Committees (PCSCs) make the decisions on whether the complaints should be upheld or not. The PCSCs may impose sanctions on the solicitor if a complaint is upheld, or refer them to the independent Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal for prosecution.
We are looking for an applicant with an LLB, or equivalent, to investigate and report on complaints about the conduct of Scottish solicitors. Experience of working as a solicitor, handling complaints and regulatory matters would be an advantage.
We are seeking an individual who is self-motivated, highly resilient, enjoys working as part of a team, is organised and confident interacting with people who are in stressful situations. They should have excellent verbal and written communication skills and sharp analytical skills.
What will I receive in return?
35 hour working week
25 (pro rata) (rising to 30 after 5 years' service) days holiday plus bank holidays
Extensive training is available for the successful candidate
As an organisation our values are respect, openness, progress, inclusion and integrity. We strive to embed these in all our interactions with colleagues, members, stakeholders and members of the public.
Further information on the vacancies can be found on our website. Please note that only applications submitted in the correct format will be considered.
This vacancy will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 21 July 2021.
It is anticipated that interviews will take place on 10 & 11 August 2021. All interviews will be via video conference.
Incapacity and mental health solicitor – Legal Services Agency
Legal Services Agency (LSA) has an opportunity for an enthusiastic and committed individual to join our team. We are seeking a fully qualified solicitor holding an unrestricted Scottish practicing certificate with experience in Adults with Incapacity and Mental Health law.
Salary: £27,082 to £38,447 p.a., SP 27- 39 (dependent upon experience)-plus pension contribution Contract: 35 hours per week Location: Glasgow (Due to COVID-19, currently operating blended office based and remote working service)
Closing date: 23 July 2021 at 5pm Interviews: 6 August 2021 (to be confirmed)
LSA is Scotland’s largest Law Centre. Through its solicitors and other staff, operating as Brown & Co. Legal LLP, LSA has a 30-year legacy of serving individuals, families and communities across Scotland, addressing unmet legal need and the effects of poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. LSA’s legal service has developed pioneering legal remedies through test cases and campaigns on issues such as dampness, housing repair and evictions, Criminal Injuries Compensation, mental health law and asylum and immigration law. LSA also delivers a wide range of seminars and training programmes and publications on legal themes.
LSA’s Mental Health Legal Service provides a high-quality legal advice, assistance and representation service to those with mental ill health, their relatives and carers on all aspects of civil law. The work includes detentions, Financial and Welfare Guardianships, Powers of Attorney, community care, medical consent issues, family, housing, Criminal Injuries Compensation, reparation claims and a number of social welfare and public law issues. The service, from time to time, may undertake other areas of work or of relevance to their clients, including employment law, homelessness, discrimination and relevant matters. The work is rewarding, and the expertise of the Service is highly regarded and nationally recognised. The position offers considerable scope and opportunity for personal and long-term professional development.
You will be a highly motivated and resilient individual who welcomes challenges. You will be accustomed to dealing with a range of clients, including vulnerable people. You will be an excellent team player with a commitment to equality and diversity. Knowledge of the voluntary sector and successful delivery of projects will be advantageous.
Please submit your CV with a covering letter addressing the job description and person specification stating why this post is of interest to you to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include details of your current salary, notice period and a note of two referees one of which should be your most recent employer. For equality purposes, please do not include your full name on either the covering letter or CV, only in your email. The personal information in your email will not be made available to the selection panel.
Please indicate whether you are eligible to work in the UK and if you require a work permit/visa to work in the UK. Please also indicate if you have you any convictions (other than spent convictions) under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. If yes, please give details.
Legal Services Agency is an equal opportunities employer. Legal Services Agency Ltd. is a registered charity no SC017160 and a company limited by guarantee, registered no. SC12391.
£38,447 to £42,472 p.a., SP 39-43 (dependent upon experience) plus pension contribution Contract:
35 hours per week
Glasgow (Due to COVID-19, currently operating blended office based and remote working service)
Closing date: 30 July 2021 at 5pm
Interviews: 16 August 2021 (to be confirmed)
An exciting opportunity has arisen at Legal Services Agency (LSA) for an enthusiastic and committed individual to join our Senior Management Team. We are seeking an experienced civil practitioner holding an unrestricted Scottish practicing certificate knowledgeable in areas of social welfare law and keen interest in public law and judicial review.
LSA is one of Scotland’s largest Law Centres. Through its solicitors and other staff, operating as Brown & Co. Legal LLP, LSA has a 30-year legacy of serving individuals, families and communities across Scotland, addressing unmet legal need and the effects of poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. LSA’s legal service has developed pioneering legal remedies through test cases and campaigns on issues such as dampness, housing repair and evictions, Criminal Injuries Compensation, mental health law and asylum and immigration law. LSA also delivers a wide range of seminars and training programmes and publications on legal themes.
We provide high-quality legal advice, assistance and representation in areas of housing law, preventing homelessness, mental health, discrimination, welfare benefits and social security, community care, criminal injuries compensation and employment law.
The work is rewarding, and the expertise of the Service is highly regarded and nationally recognised. The position offers considerable scope and opportunity for personal and long-term professional development.
You will be a highly motivated and resilient individual who welcomes challenges. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to lead, motivate and manage staff in an inclusive, empowering and supportive manner. You will be an excellent communicator with a commitment to equality and diversity.
You will have at least three years’ post qualifying experience of handling your own caseload and accustomed to dealing with a diverse range of clients. You should have a strong track record in civil litigation, experience of legal aid with excellent fee consciousness and an eagerness to tackling the unmet legal needs of those in disadvantage. Knowledge of the voluntary sector and successful delivery of projects will be advantageous.
Please submit your CV with a covering letter addressing the job description and person specification stating why this post is of interest to you to: email@example.com. Please include details of your current salary, notice period and a note of two referees one of which should be your most recent employer. For equality purposes, please do not include your full name on either the covering letter or CV, only in your email. The personal information in your email will not be made available to the selection panel.
Please indicate whether you are eligible to work in the UK and if you require a work permit/visa to work in the UK.
Please also indicate if you have you any convictions (other than spent convictions) under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. If yes, please give details.
Rollos Law LLP have a vacancy for an ambitious solicitor interested in a challenging and varied position in St. Andrews - one of the most desirable places to live and work in Scotland.
Post qualifying experience is preferred but not essential. The successful candidate will be an efficient all-rounder, capable of managing a busy caseload of residential and commercial conveyancing, a wide range of private client matters, and landlord and tenant matters.
The successful candidate will enjoy a high degree of direct client contact and will be expected to work under his/her own initiative.
Excellent prospects and commensurate rewards.
If you are interested in applying for the position, please send your CV and a covering letter to the practice manager, Heather Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Dundee are seeking an exceptional candidate to enhance student experience in law within the School of Social Sciences.
Law at Dundee offers a successful portfolio of undergraduate LLB (Scots Law / English Law / Dual Qualifying streams), taught LLM and PhD programmes.
The successful candidate will work closely with the head of law as well as staff across the School and University to provide leadership and direction for the enhancement and delivery of support to our students, particularly those coming from overseas.
The role holder, in addition to developing, managing and delivering pastoral, academic and employability support to current students, will work with academic and professional service staff in student recruitment and marketing activities.
The role may involve some working outside of standard hours and regional/national travel.
The role holder will assume an ambassadorial role to enhance the reputation of the discipline and the University through effective engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, external and internal, and thus support income generation.
Candidates should have a strong academic background in law as well as excellent communication and inter-personal skills.
Law recruits significant numbers of international students, many of whom will be learning through English for the first time. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing strategies for ensuring that this growing cohort of students is well supported during their studies and engages with all aspects of University life.
The deadline for applications is midnight (UK time) on 19 July 2021.
The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee one of the top universities in the UK. Family friendly policies, staff support networks for BME and LGBT staff, membership of Athena Swan and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.
Employment law solicitor/associate (2+ year's PQE) – Balfour and Manson
Balfour and Manson are recruiting for an experienced solicitor / associate to join its busy and respected employment law team.
We’re looking for individuals with 2– 6 years’ PQE and experience in employment law is essential. The work is a mixture of contentious and non-contentious and we are ideally looking for candidates with tribunal advocacy experience.
The successful candidate would be exposed to a variety of high-profile clients, ranging from individuals to SMEs and charities and would have the opportunity to manage their own workload. Those with an existing client following would be preferred.
This is a full-time position and will be based in our Edinburgh office with the opportunity to work from home.
Personal Injury Solicitor (2 years + PQE) – UnionLine Scotland
Due to continued expansion UnionLine Scotland are seeking to recruit a solicitor to join its hard working and dynamic personal injury team. Experience of dealing with disease claims from either a Pursuer or Defender background is essential.
UnionLine is a law firm owned by two of the UK’s leading trade unions and operates in Scotland as UnionLine Scotland, managed by DJ Mackay Solicitors, LLP. The model has proved highly successful and the firm has expanded year on year since inception in 2016.
The aim of UnionLine Scotland is to continue to provide the highest quality services to trade union clients. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for our trade unions clients and their members, requiring expert legal advice and support, especially from our disease team. The legal challenges, however, also provide opportunity thus necessitating our current recruitment drive.
The successful candidate, as well as demonstrating the necessary skills and experience, will be a highly motivated litigator, ambitious both for themselves and UnionLine Scotland.
Excellent terms and conditions offered for the successful candidate.
We have an exciting opportunity for a junior solicitor to join BTO’s Corporate team in Glasgow.
The role will support the Corporate team with a broad case load in corporate law including mergers and acquisitions, reorganisations, commercial contracts, corporate governance, and shareholder investment agreements.
Candidates must have knowledge of general corporate law with experience of drafting transactions. High levels of initiative, motivation and commercial acumen are essential, together with well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to build strong relationships with clients and other team members.
For further information please visit the Careers page on our website: http://www.bto.co.uk/careers.aspx
To apply, please forward your CV to email@example.com along with a covering letter and details of your salary expectation.
Commercial Contract Law Conference | Law Society of Scotland | 17 & 18 August Sponsored post
Join us online over two mornings to discuss the nuances of negotiating and drafting in different circumstances and to take a look at commercial contracts in practice, hearing about a range of topics from arbitrations, data protection, contract and client management.
On both days you’ll have many opportunities to engage with the speakers and ask the questions most relevant to your work.
Our expert speaker lineup includes:
Iain McDougall, director, MBM Commercial Laura Irvine, partner, Davidson Chalmers Stewart Valerie Allan, partner, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang
Bookings made by Friday 23 July will receive a 20 per cent early bird discount.
For more information or to book your place please visit the Law Society website here.
Sole Practitioner and High Street Firm Conference | Law Society of Scotland | 27 & 28 July Sponsored post
As the virtual-working and financial challenges of the past year continue to cause ripple effects, take this opportunity to come together for peer guidance and in-depth analysis of issues affecting your practice.
Join us for key legal updates, strategic insight and practical debate facilitated by our expert speakers. You will have plenty of opportunities to engage in lively and extensive discussions over the two mornings of this online forum. We will be joined by Ken Dalling, our incoming President, for an opening address looking at the future of the profession and thoughts for the coming year.