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Scottish Legal News: Tuesday 23rd February 2021

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Evangelical association’s breach of contract claim for cancelled arena event rejected by Glasgow sheriff

Sheriff Court
Sheriff Court

A sheriff in Glasgow has dismissed part of an action for damages raised by an evangelical Christian organisation against the operators of the SSE Hydro Arena but ordered a proof in respect of quantification of loss concerning a potential breach of the Equality Act 2010.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was due to host an event in the Hydro on 30 May 2020. It sought a contractual remedy or alternatively damages from Scottish Event Campus Ltd for the cancellation of the event and for the “hurt feelings” of the pursuer and its members.

The case was heard in Glasgow Sheriff Court by Sheriff John McCormick. The pursuer was represented by Aiden O’Neill QC and David Welsh, advocate, while the defender was represented by Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop QC and John McGregor QC.

Force majeure event 

The pursuer hired premises at the Hydro for an event involving Franklin Graham, the son of the Association’s founder and a controversial American evangelical preacher. On 29 January 2020, Glasgow City Council, the majority shareholder in SEC Ltd, wrote to the pursuer to request that it cancelled the booking.

In its letter, the Council stated that it was concerned that Mr Graham could make homophobic or Islamophobic remarks that could raise issues for, in terms of its duties under the Equality Act 2010 as well as damage the reputation of the city of Glasgow as a welcoming place particularly for members of the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.

On the same date, the defender wrote to the pursuer to inform them that their hire agreement was terminated by material breach on the basis of recent adverse publicity surrounding the tour the event was a part of. The pursuer interpreted this letter as an anticipatory breach of contract on the part of the defender.

In March 2020, following the raising of the action, the defender’s solicitors wrote to the pursuer’s to state that, assuming the contract was valid, it would be cancelled regardless as the coronavirus pandemic constituted a force majeure event as provided for in the hire agreement. The Hydro was also converted into a temporary hospital facility during the course of the pandemic, rendering it unsuitable for hosting an event.

It was submitted for the pursuer that the original termination letter clearly demonstrated that the defender would not perform its contractual duties, and it was entitled to insist upon performance. Further, there was no basis for the suggestion that Mr Graham would make any sort of hateful comments and he had issued a public statement to that effect in January 2020.

Addressing the COVID-19 argument it was submitted that the defender could not be wholly absolved of wrongdoing as a consequence of the pandemic. The argument was compared to “a doctor wrongfully removing a patient’s spleen arguing that he should escape liability for solatium because the patient subsequently suffers an injury which would have necessitated the removal of the spleen to save the patient’s life”.

The defender conceded that the pursuer’s Equality Act case in respect of religious discrimination against a mainstream Christian sect was relevant. However, the invocation of the force majeure clause made the possible earlier termination of the contract irrelevant, as it was either terminated by the clause or by common law frustration. With the contract at an end, there was no basis on which the pursuer could compel the defender to make the Hydro available to them on an alternative date and therefore no basis for any damages in respect of the cancellation.

Discretion to proceed

In his decision, Sheriff McCormick began by addressing the contractual issues, saying: “The pursuer raised these proceedings seeking an order to use the venue and related facilities in accordance with the contract. The pursuer has never accepted the anticipatory breach of contract. Accordingly the contract subsisted.”

On the effect of the pandemic, he said: “In abstract, where a force majeure event occurs the common law of frustration of contract intervenes unless the contract provides for such an event. Here the contract includes a force majeure clause. Therefore the common law of frustration of contract does not apply.”

He said of the text of the relevant contractual provision: “Clause 11.2 affords to the defender a discretion whereby, although the SEC ‘itself’ may be able to fulfil the substance of its obligations then the SEC shall be entitled to cancel ‘or’ suspend the event hire agreement.”

He continued: “The defender had discretion either to proceed with the agreement as best it could or to cancel the agreement. Therefore, while I agree with the pursuer that the event might have been, for example, postponed rather than cancelled, I do not accept that that option lies with the pursuer.”

Sheriff McCormick concluded on this matter: “[The pursuer’s decision] kept the contract alive. COVID intervened. The defender then exercised its option to cancel the (still subsisting) contract. That decision was within its discretion in terms of clause 11.2. In my opinion therefore, the pursuer’s case founded on an anticipatory breach of contract is irrelevant.”

Substantial averments 

Turning to the pursuer’s Equality Act case, Sheriff McCormick said: “Here the parties dispute many of the facts and, importantly, the true basis and motivation for cancelling the event. The pursuer’s averments are substantial and relevant. The defender’s averments are also detailed and, in my opinion, relevant.”

He continued: “If [the pursuer’s] averments, on balance of probabilities, can be proved, it seems to me that the court should be reluctant to limit the potential remedies available without first hearing evidence on the merits of the available options.”

On whether any compensation for injured feelings could be recovered, he said: “The pursuer seeks damages on behalf of an unspecified number of unnamed individuals who are not parties to these proceedings. Furthermore, damages are compensatory, not penal, in nature.”

He concluded: “It is unclear why the pursuer should be enriched by damages properly due to a third party. If parliament had intended that result, no doubt a provision to that effect would have been included in the legislation.”

For these reasons, Sheriff McCormick ordered a proof before answer in respect of a potential breach of the Equality Act 2010 and the practicality and appropriateness of the remedy sought, with the pursuer’s averments regarding hurt feelings excluded from probation.

Copyright © Scottish Legal News Ltd 2021

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Visible minority groups experience two-thirds of race-related hate crime

Humza Yousaf

A new report into the extent of hate crimes committed in Scotland has highlighted that almost two-thirds of all race-related hate offences had a visible minority ethnic (non-white) victim, a group that makes up around four per cent of the population.

The study, which looked at the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of reported hate crime incidents in 2018-19, also found that:

  • around a third of crimes involved a victim who experienced the incident at work
  • almost two-thirds of hate crime victims and three-quarters of perpetrators were male
  • in the majority (94 per cent) of sexual-orientation aggravated hate crimes, the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the gay and lesbian community
  • in around two-fifths of religion aggravated hate crimes the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the Catholic community
  • in a quarter of such crimes, prejudice was shown towards the Muslim community and in one in 10 cases it was towards the Protestant community
  • there were 1,080 recorded hate crimes in 2018-19 with a police officer victim
  • hate crimes with an aggravation for transgender identity have doubled over the past six years from 48 to 96

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This report provides more detail of how hate crime affects our communities and is a timely reminder that crime motivated by hate is an all too common occurrence, with real-life impacts on victims and those around them. Just from those that are reported, we know that an average 18 hate crimes are committed every day in Scotland.

“The fact that visible minority ethnic groups, which represent four per cent of the population, experience two-thirds of all race-related hate crimes shows we have much more to do to overcome prejudice, while the findings also highlight the need for more to be done to ensure workplaces are an environment free from hatred and from fear. The report also highlights the risk that police face in the line of duty on a daily basis where almost 1 in 5 recorded hate crimes involved a victim that was a police officer.

“As elected representatives, we can help ensure Scotland is a place where there is zero tolerance of hate crime. The legislation currently before Parliament makes clear that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated – and will ensure Scotland’s justice system can bring perpetrators to account and provide protection for individuals and communities harmed by hate crimes.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Scotland is an inclusive and tolerant nation, but we are not immune from the constant threat that prejudice and intolerance can bring to our society. Given the impact it has on individuals and communities it is important that everybody plays their part to challenge it at all times.

“Hate crime legislation is only part of our wider programme of work to tackle hate crime and build connected communities. In June 2017, we published the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan and established an action group, which I chair, to take this forward. The key priorities identified by the group are raising awareness of what hate crime is, the impact that it has on individuals and communities and to encourage reporting.

“The action group has also played a key role in ensuring there is better evidence and data around hate incidents and crime and I am grateful for their continued support. This report helps us to understand the key characteristics of both victims and perpetrators and reflects the importance of reporting incidents so that we can best support our communities in Scotland. The report will be instrumental in informing our work as we look to refresh our action plan later this year.”

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Inspection into how Crown Office handles criminal complaints against police gets underway

The terms of reference for an inspection into how the Crown Office handles criminal complaints made against the police have been published.

In 2019-20, there were 286 criminal allegations made against the police.

On receipt of such an allegation, COPFS may direct that further investigation be carried out by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) or by the police service’s Professional Standards Department. Whichever course is taken, the investigation remains under the direction and control of COPFS.

HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's work began in December 2020 and it is due to report in the spring.

It will examine how well criminal allegations against the police are managed by COPFS and the extent to which positive outcomes are being achieved for service users and the public more generally.

This will include consideration of the quality and timeliness of decision making, performance against internally set targets, whether cases progress efficiently, and communication with complainers, the accused and reporting agencies. It will also consider the impact of Covid-19.

Calls have been made for an investigation into COPFS itself over the treatment of the former administrators of Rangers, who were the victims of Scotland's only ever malicious prosecution.

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Douglas J. Cusine: Why is the Justice Secretary so quiet about the malicious prosecution scandal?

Douglas J. Cusine asks why Scotland's Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, has been so quiet about the malicious prosecution scandal.

One has to wonder if Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf is in hiding or is otherwise keeping a low profile over the Rangers case. There was a discussion in the Scottish Parliament on 11 February. Whether he was present on that occasion, I do not know, but, absent or not, one would have expected some comment from him following that discussion.

Not a word of which I am aware. It may be that he agrees with the comment made by Rona Mackay MSP, that "lessons have been learned”. So, then, what’s all this nonsense about an inquiry? Hers is an interesting comment because one would assume that if lessons have been learned, we would all know (a) who authorised the prosecution and its further progress; (b) why that happened; and (c) what provisions have been put in place to ensure, so far as possible, that there is no recurrence.

I may have missed something, but I doubt if I would have missed any observations on these issues. It would not be unreasonable, in my view, to assume from Ms Mackay’s statement that she wants this issue swept under the carpet. Even if Templeton’s carpet factor were still in existence, it would not have the time or the materials to make a carpet big enough.

If the Justice Secretary does not share her view, and no one else who contributed to the discussion seemed to, it is not acceptable for him to maintain this silence. He may be of the view that the Lord Advocate should be in the firing line, but whatever one might think of the Lord Advocate’s comments to the Scottish Parliament, there is nothing else he can say. It is for the Scottish Parliament to decide what should happen next and one would expect something from the Justice Secretary on that. I accept that is not an easy matter, but that is what he is paid for and if the kitchen is too hot, he knows where the door is.

Alistair Bonnington’s view was that the Justice Secretary “doesn’t have clue” what to do. If he wants to demonstrate that Alistair is incorrect in that opinion, it is time he came out of hiding, or wherever he is, and says something about an inquiry, preferably, something constructive. If he hopes, as Ms Mackay seems to, that this matter will disappear, he is not living in the real world.

The failure to move on this means, among other things, that any cloud hanging over those who were and those who are currently in the Crown Office, remains as does any distrust in the minds of the public.

Not fair, in my view, but the Justice Secretary may not agree.

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New senators installed at Parliament House ceremony

Three new Senators of the College of Justice were today installed at physically distanced ceremonies held in Parliament House.

Lord Sandison, Lady Haldane and Lord Richardson will take up their appointments on 1 March 2021.

The Lord President, Lord Carloway, welcomed the news senators.

He told Lord Sandison: “You graduated from the University of Aberdeen and then gained a Diploma in Forensic Medicine from Glasgow. Your enthusiasm for academia undimmed, you then obtained a Masters and PhD from Cambridge University. 

He added: "You also have the distinction of being the only Scots lawyer to have represented a client before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. By appearing for the appellant in the remitted appeal in Campbell v Dugdale in April 2020, you were the first advocate to appear before the Divisions by video link. You have then first-hand experience of the way in which the judges of the court service have adapted rapidly to change. I therefore offer the court’s congratulations on this major step in your legal career and its best wishes for the future.”

He told Lady Haldane: “As a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, you passed advocate in 1996, excelling across a broad spectrum of the civil law, notably in professional negligence, commercial, complex personal injury and public law matters. You took silk in 2010. 

He added: "A broad practice in civil matter together with a sound knowledge of criminal law and procedure will stand you in good stead for the years ahead. These are difficult times which have required extraordinary measures. I am confident that, with your skills and experience, you will be a major asset to the bench. Congratulations, once again. The court wishes you well in this new chapter of your legal career.”

He told Lord Richardson: “You have a law degree from the University of Edinburgh, and a Masters from the University of Leiden, an institution with historic intellectual links to the study and practice of law in Scotland.

"Your talents secured appointments, first, as a standing junior to the Scottish ministers and, then, the same appointment by the Advocate General. Of particular importance, you have served with distinction as an advocate depute, prosecuting serious crime, during which time you took silk in 2017. Although that was not very long ago, you are to be congratulated on your appointment as a senator. The court wishes you a long and distinguished judicial career.”

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Blog: Parental disputes magnified by lockdown

Shona Smith (top)
and Lynne Mulcahy

Couples who split up often have very different views on how to do things and Covid-19 has magnified this enormously, write Shona Smith and Lynne Mulcahy.

We have seen the breakdown of lots of arrangements for shared child care that rubbed along perfectly well until last year.

Never before has the gulf in parenting attitudes been so stark as it has been over what is acceptable in lockdown conditions.

One parent might follow restrictions to the absolute letter, then the kids come back from mum or dad and tell them they went to aunty’s house, played with her kids, saw grandma in her house, then went shopping… or went in to see the neighbours.

Children often say something innocent about what has happened during their time with mum or dad and it sets off a huge rumpus.

This is sometimes made worse because the parent sticking closely to the guidance might have an elderly relative who is unwell, or a medical condition themselves. If they see the other parent as much more lackadaisical, that creates a real problem.

We have been hearing these stories regularly since the first lockdown.

Sometimes, it simply exacerbates underlying tensions about new relationships. The kids might tell dad, for example, that they went round with mum to her new boyfriend’s house, and that his kids were there too. If a new partner has children also in a shared care arrangement, that makes the risk worse in the eyes of the more cautious parent because it’s an additional household mixing.

Generally, parents aren’t complaining to be difficult. They feel sincerely about these issues, they feel anxious.

There have been extreme cases where one parent has refused to return children to the other parent at the agreed time because they genuinely feel their health is being threatened.

Most major problems have occurred where relationships that were already fragile have cracked, and that has definitely impacted on children. Some have spent less time with a ‘non-resident parent’ because the other parent has deemed their behaviour to be ‘unsafe’.

Holidays have been another divisive issue. It was chaotic around the time where you could travel to some countries, with parents looking at differing quarantine restrictions and whether the kids would be back in time to return to school.. For some, the idea of children missing school was terrible. For others, going on holiday was the big thing.

This is likely to continue this year. Parents are already using holidays as a bargaining chip, saying things like: “I’m not even going to talk about summer holidays unless he/she does X & Y.”

We’ve always told people that they will parent in different ways, because they are different human beings - but that’s OK. Everyone will adapt; your children are flexible. But in a health crisis like this, things are very different.

Guidance has changed a lot over the last year and much of it is about interpretation. We find ourselves trying to keep up with the briefings to make sure we are at least fully up-to-date about what the guidance says when we are speaking to parents.

We advise them it’s vital to communicate effectively and act reasonably and sensibly in the light of the Government guidance in place at that time - but it can be uncomfortable finding middle ground when people have such strong views and when the guidance is changing. As lawyers, we are used to rules that apply in a fixed way for a lengthy period. Guidance over the last year has often only lasted for weeks at a time.

The pressure on governments to set out roadmaps will continue. In an ideal world, it would be very helpful for guidance on summer holidays to be clear and definitive, given well in advance and not changed regularly – but we accept that we are where we are.

The next challenge will come with the Covid-19 vaccination programme. We know there are strongly-held opinions on vaccines and in the event that they are rolled out to children, it’s likely to be a big issue where parents have totally opposing views.

Shona Smith is head of family law and Lynne Mulcahy is a family law partner at Balfour and Manson

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Eddy Winters joins Gilson Gray as business development director

Eddy Winters

Gilson Gray has recruited Eddy Winters as business development director.  

Mr Winters comes from a professional services background and worked latterly in the Middle East for legal giants Al Tamimi & Company

In this role, he specialised in the oil and gas sector, working throughout the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait in offshore energy.

Mr Winters joins Gilson Gray directly from IKM Consulting, experts in engineering, environmental and surveying, where he was head of business development.

Glen Gilson, group chairman and managing partner, said: “Eddy brings the perfect blend of sector experience for Gilson Gray as we seek to continue to make waves in the oil and gas sector over the coming years.

“In addition to his extensive industry knowledge and tender experience, Eddy is also a consummate networker who I’m sure will thrive building both internal and external relationships and I look forward to working closely with him towards our goal of making the firm Scotland’s leading, multi-service law firm.”

Mr Winters is currently working towards an MBA at Heriot-Watt University and will be continuing his studies alongside his full-time role at Gilson Gray, striving to complete the course next year. Due to the lockdown, he will initially join Gilson Gray virtually from home but will be predominantly based in the firm’s central belt offices once it is safe to return.

He said: “Gilson Gray has been on my radar for a few years now and when you find out just how rapidly it has grown, it really is phenomenal. The firm has achieved in seven years, the size and reputation that other firms take decades to reach, so it is a testament to the dynamism of the team that have made it happen and I’m looking forward to playing a part in carving out its next chapter.”

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Melanie Sangster appointed Employment Tribunal judge

Melanie Sangster has been appointed by the Lord President, Lord Carloway, to the panel of judges of Employment Tribunals (Scotland).

​Ms Sangster qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and has specialised in employment law throughout her career.

She was appointed as a fee-paid employment judge in January 2018 and her new appointment, which will take effect from 1 June, is as a salaried judge. She will be based at the Edinburgh Office of Employment Tribunals.

Ms Sangster's appointment brings the number of salaried employment judges in Scotland to its highest ever level.

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Major conference to look at civil business in Scotland after Covid

Lord Carloway

A virtual conference is to provide a forum for discussion about how civil business might be conducted after the pandemic.

The Lord President, Lord Carloway, has asked the Judicial Institute to organise a conference, to be held virtually, to provide a forum for a discussion amongst interested parties about how Court of Session and Sheriff Court civil business might be conducted once the pandemic is over and once courts do not require to operate amidst physical distancing restrictions.

Covid-19 has forced significant changes on the justice system. A number of those changes have involved an increasing use of virtual technology, both video and telephone.

The conference will provide an opportunity for those attending to exchange their experiences and evaluations of virtual and digital processes and to identify which would be worth retaining once the pandemic is controlled.

The conference is an all-day event, scheduled for 10 May and there will be presentations by Scottish judicial office holders, members of Faculty and solicitors.

There will also be contributions from Professor Richard Susskind OBE, who, amongst other roles, has been IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales since 1998, and Lord Justice Flaux, who was appointed Chancellor of the High Court in February this year.

The Lord President is interested in hearing views from all relevant parties, including the media and members of the public, and general attendance is welcomed on the day.

More details of the arrangements for the conference will be issued shortly, but in the meantime those interested in attending may wish to note the date.

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UK racks up nearly £6m legal bill over Chagos Islands

The UK government has racked up a £5.8 million legal bill in its bid to keep control of the Chagos Islands, which the international community recognises as part of Mauritius.

British authorities retained possession of the islands after Mauritius gained independence in 1968 and now refers to them as the "British Indian Ocean Territory".

In 1971, about 1,500 natives of the islands were deported so that the largest island could be leased to the US for an airbase. The islanders have never been allowed to return to their home.

In an advisory opinion issued in February 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said the UK has an obligation to bring its administration of the archipelago to an end "as rapidly as possible".

Eminent human rights lawyer Philippe Sands QC, who represented Mauritius in the ICJ proceedings, has described the UK as an "illegal occupier" whose refusal to abide by the ICJ judgment represents a "crime against humanity".

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea also ruled last month that the archipelago is part of Mauritius rather than the UK.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has spent £5,841,662 on "external legal services relating to disputes concerning the British Indian Ocean Territory", minister of state Nigel Adams said in response to a parliamentary question.

Mr Adams added: "This includes Government Legal Department costs, as well as counsel fees, in respect of the arbitral proceedings brought by Mauritius under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the advisory proceedings before the International Court of Justice, as well as relevant domestic litigation.

"It also includes the UK's contribution to the cost of the tribunal established for the arbitral proceedings brought by Mauritius."

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Plea made to UN over human rights abuses of Indian farmers

A plea has been made to the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to India over alleged human rights abuses of farmers in the Punjab.

Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating for more than two months for the repeal of farm laws which were passed last September and which protestors argue leaves them at the mercy of corporations when it comes to selling their produce.

The Deol Foundation said the Indian government has breached numerous articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as its own constitution.

In a statement, the foundation, whose patron is Lord Singh of Wimbledon, said: "We have grave concerns regarding the government of India's use of propaganda, the media, the judiciary, and the police and paramilitary forces. 

"Over 230 people have died during this current crisis and if the national government does not change direction in its response against protest and dissent this will likely run into the many thousands in the coming months."

There are currently tens of thousands of farmers encamped at the three protest sites in India's capital, Delhi.

The statement added: "They are now surrounded by barbed wire, barricades, spikes, and scores of police and paramilitary officers. Ambulances and vehicles are being restricted in their access to the sites."

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CMS and business experts to deliver March ESG series

Jae Fassam

CMS is joining forces with experts in the Scottish business community to deliver ESG Exchange, a series of free to attend discussions focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Throughout March, CMS partner Jae Fassam will be joined by specialist guest speakers to discuss the real-world implications of ESG through a series of five weekly conversations.

The 30-minute sessions are designed to help company directors and senior management grasp practical ESG-related issues including the sustainability agenda, supply chain issues, business ethics, social justice concerns, employment practices, and board diversity and accountability.

The first session, Mindset, opportunity and culture: an introduction to ESG will be available online on 2 March. It introduces an overview to ESG and features Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, chair in business and sustainable development at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Mr Fassam said: “The risks and opportunities presented by the integration of ESG factors is an issue for all aspects of a business and is critical to long-term value and business resilience requiring a strong focus at board level. The pandemic has accelerated the ESG agenda making climate risk and responsible business principles an increasingly important feature as we begin to rebuild our economy.”

Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, University of Edinburgh, added: “I’m delighted to be supporting CMS’s ESG Exchange programme. In the opening session we’ll be exploring how businesses and organisations are engaging with ESG principles, the role of law and regulation, and what action is needed to translate good intentions into meaningful action.”

More information and registration details for the free to access ESG Exchange events can be found here.

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Thorntons raises £1,000 for SAMH

Mental health charity SAMH has received £1,000 from Thorntons after staff completed a physical virtual challenge.

Staff at Thorntons were tasked with walking, jogging or running 8,000km in just four weeks to boost personal mental wellbeing and fundraise for a charity of their choice. The team smashed their target in January and their chosen charity SAMH received the funding boost.

In addition to SAMH, smaller donations were also pledged to CHAS, Women’s Aid, Trussell Trust and Social Bite, which are charities Thorntons has worked with in the past.

Craig Nicol, Thorntons’ managing partner, said: “Physical activity, even just a short 30 minute walk, can provide a real boost for our mental wellbeing so we continue to actively encourage our teams to take some time out of their day to get fresh air.

"For me personally, getting outside even for a short time has been extremely important. We have shared various challenges with our teams, particularly over the winter months, but added incentives like this charity donation are a great way for our people to aim for something together while working remotely.

Emma Gray, SAMH corporate partnerships fundraiser, said: “Our programme called ‘Living Life to the Full’ aims to help young people and the adults in their lives. Part of this involves a dedicated SAMH worker assigned to work across primary and secondary schools, training teachers to embed a cognitive behavioural approach into the curriculum that will support children and young people’s wellbeing. We hope to roll this out to many more schools in the future.

“Projects like this simply would not happen without the fundraising efforts of people and companies like Thorntons, so it is with huge thanks that we received this generous donation of £1,000."

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Quote of the day

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

André Gide

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And finally… from ruffs to riches

Police dogs will benefit from a state pension for the first time under proposals from the Polish government.

Retiring service animals in Poland are typically adopted by their former handlers, sold or cared for by charities.

However, a new bill would secure lifelong state benefits for dogs who worked for police, border guards and fire services, The Times reports.

Interior minister Mariusz Kaminski said the bill would "finally solve all the problems" with caring for ex-service animals.

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Ampersand establishes itself as a leading set in Scotland for qualified mediators

Five members of Ampersand have successfully completed a professional mediation qualification, enhancing the set’s offering of counsel specialising in different forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The set now offers eight counsel qualified in mediation.

Susanne Tanner QC, Vinit Khurana QC, Una Doherty QC, Euan Mackenzie QC and Brian Fitzpatrick undertook training and assessment with International Mediation Institute (IMI) and Civil Mediation Council (CMC) registered mediation training provider, Phoenix Dispute Solutions Limited. Following their successful completion of the assessed training course, all five have been certified by the IMI as qualified mediators. Ms Tanner, Ms Doherty and Mr Mackenzie have undertaken a further assessment and are also now CMC-qualified mediators which makes them eligible to apply for CMC Associate Membership in England and Wales.

Mr Khurana explained why he was interested in developing his practice to include qualification as a mediator.

He said: “The pandemic has changed the way we work. Having been involved in several successful mediations in England over the past year (all done remotely from Scotland), I saw the value in the skills of the mediators before whom I appeared. This motivated me to learn that skill set, which I saw as being complementary to that of a court practitioner (with considerable overlap to the skills acquired during my previous career as a medical GP). Mediations continue to be more popular in England than in Scotland, in my experience thus far. However, the significant advantages in having a party led, confidential ADR process with a high success rate and limited costs make mediation an attractive proposition wherever we are in this new, smaller world.”

Ms Tanner QC, stable director, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed undertaking the course and learning new skills to complement my existing ADR and litigation practice. It was a good opportunity to see how technology can be effectively used to facilitate the mediation process, with the use of virtual rooms for sessions, which can be replicated in practice if face-to-face meetings are not the preferred option, either because of the pandemic, or because of the parties’ preferences or environmental considerations.

"Ampersand is already an extremely strong set for ADR work, offering a wide selection of arbitrators, mediators, adjudicators and expert determiners, as well as counsel specialising in representing clients in ADR processes. With the pandemic continuing to cause delays across the justice system, it is important that Ampersand can offer solutions which are tailored to clients’ needs. Mediation is a good example of a facilitated process which may assist in resolving disputes at an earlier stage. All of our mediators also bring to the mediation process the skills which they have developed in their legal practices and an in-depth knowledge of the litigation process.”

Una Doherty QC, said: “I believe that the knowledge and skills learned on the mediation course will supplement and enrich my existing practice. In some cases, mediation can be a useful alternative to seeking a final resolution of a dispute by a judge. Building on my experience of participating in mediation as counsel, I can now be appointed as mediator to facilitate the resolution of disputes. My improved knowledge of the mediator’s role and the process of mediation will also benefit my appearance at mediations as counsel”.

For details of all of Ampersand’s mediators, who also include Lauren Sutherland QC, Michael Stuart QC and Roderick Campbell, please click here. You will also find details of all of Ampersand’s ADR practitioners here too.

Alan Moffat, and the clerking team can assist in identifying the most suitable mediator or ADR counsel for your needs. To contact them to discuss instructing any of Ampersand’s members, please click here.

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What the best High St Law Firms do – Part 1 – Going Paperless in Court

SMART way to work

If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there has never been a better opportunity to trial working a bit smarter. Even the unyielding court lawyer has started to join the tech revolution.

One reason lawyers love their mobile devices is because they’re convenient, help them work/communicate on the go and for the most part increase productivity. I don’t think anyone could really argue with that.

When you can work from numerous locations, you must be able to make the most of the very little time you have in your day. Many lawyers we partner with see using devices as the “smart” way to work. They maintain that working from a mobile device like a smart phone or iPad makes it easy to be a more mobile, productive lawyer. By using the likes of an iPad to manage your tasks, you can easily track your productivity and ensure that work gets done, whether you’re at home, in the office, visiting a client or in court. At least, that’s the goal. However, if your law firm doesn’t use iPads, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority when it comes to court lawyers in this country.

Going paperless in court for real

Carrying bundles of case files to court can be disorganised, time consuming and unsecure. Lawyers are taking files between offices, courts, prisons, and home. What if somebody told you that all of your file notes, witness statements, productions, correspondence and everything else you need could be available electronically on an iPad, would you do it?

The team at McGovern Reid Court Lawyers in Glasgow did it. That’s right, they bit the bullet and one day just stopped producing paper files. Was it easy? No. Was there some apprehension and trepidation about walking into court with a bit of tech instead of the ever reliable mountain of tangible paper files? Absolutely yes! But the proof is in the pudding. When a lawyer tells you that something is “revolutionising” the way they run their business that’s normally when ears prick up. So, in this case, it’s not the fancy tech company spouting a line to get you to buy their product, it’s coming from the guys at the coalface, the ones in the trenches. But now they’re armed with a powerful weapon – technology!

We reached out to Matthew McGovern and asked him about how him and his partner, Bobby Reid, are changing the game in court…

Click here to read the full interview with Matthew McGovern.

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Modernise your legal software to shape your firms success in 2021

Did you know that the average life of a legal practice management system is 13 years? If you use one you will definitely know that law firms replace these core systems very infrequently.

Imagine the first generation iPhone you picked up back in 2007. It was exciting and for most of us it was the step up from the Blackberry we didn't know we needed. It was easier to use, less clunky - it was a revelation. Now imagine using that same iPhone now. Yes, it has some of the functionality that will help you get through your day, but it's unsupported and could never be as powerful or as useful as the new version or any other modern day smartphone. Legal tech and specifically legal software are exactly the same - you might get by but compared to the current software option available, that version you're using might seem downright primitive.

The prospects of taking the leap to modernise by implementing new practice management software may initially seem far-fetched and a hassle, but proper utilisation with the right team behind you can lead to substantial profitable gains in the long run.

Keep reading here - https://www.denovobi.com/news-events/articles/modernise-your-legal-software-to-shape-your-firm-s-success-in-2021

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DUAL Asset Underwriting & M&B announce new 'A' rated insurer to My Defective Title shop

DUAL Asset Underwriting, in partnership with Millar & Bryce, are delighted to announce a fourth 'A' rated insurer has joined My Defective Title Shop, our online comparison site.

Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited UK Branch joins AXA (XL Catlin), RSA and Norwich Union (Aviva) on our online service that provides a choice of defective title quotes for residential and commercial property transactions in Scotland.

Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited, specialist program manager across Europe, will be offering quotes for all new applications for residential defective title insurance products available through the site.

For the full announcement video click here and for a short demo of the online site click here.

In the time it takes you to go to another insurer and get one quote, you can get four in one place. My Defective Title Shop - the smarter choice.

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Global Language Services Ltd

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.

Call Today on 0141 429 3429 to discuss your Project or email mail@globallanguageservices.co.uk

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Latest Jobs

Solicitor and Paralegal – Stevenson Kennedy

The firm has a vacancy for both a qualified Solicitor and an experienced paralegal specialising in conveyancing and general practice.

The rewards will be good for the right applicants who should be dynamic, hard working and caring Oban has a great community. We may be able to help with somewhere to stay and also with transport. This is a small hands-on practice where we know the majority of our clients well. If you want a great opportunity and lifestyle, please get in touch.

You can telephone  01631 562317  and email gordon@stevensonkennedy.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Associate (Employment) – Clyde & Co

Department: Employment

Job Title: Associate

Location: Glasgow

The Firm

Clyde & Co is one of the UK’s fastest growing law firms with particular strengths in Insurance, Energy, Employment, Trade and Infrastructure. Clyde & Co now have over 400 partners operating across 6 continents worldwide.

Clyde & Co's Glasgow office provides services to insurers, public authorities and emergency services, advising on employer’s, public and motor liability claims, plus a range of employment, health & safety and regulatory issues. The firm was awarded Scottish Law firm of the Year in 2017 and International Law Firm of the Year in 2018.

The Role

Our Employment team provide support in all aspects of employment law from preparing contracts and policies, through disciplinary, grievance and capability issues, to representation in Employment Tribunals, acting for employers and employees.

This would be the ideal role for candidates keen to appear in the Employment Tribunal and develop their oral advocacy skills

The successful candidate will likely be NQ-4 years PQE and will display excellent legal ability and initiative, as well as confidence in managing and prioritising a full caseload. They will be a strong communicator with good attention to detail.

The ideal candidate should have a strong litigation background. Relevant post qualification experience will be an advantage but is not essential. This is an opportunity to take a lead in a growing area where the law is developing and the work is challenging.

In addition, they will have excellent academics and a willingness to learn and develop their knowledge.

Please note that our PQE levels are a guide and all suitable candidates will be considered.

Role Competency Requirements

Technical Excellence

  • Technical legal expertise: the knowledge of the law and ability to apply it
  • Research: the ability to conduct research effectively and apply it commercially
  • Managing legal processes: the ability to ensure all legal processes are followed efficiently and effectively

People and Team

  • Guiding individual performance and development: develops the skills of self and others
  • Teamwork and collaboration: working cooperatively and effectively with others
  • Leadership: creating high performing teams

Client Relationships and Business Development

  • Building business relationships: establishing, maintaining and using relationships to create and develop business opportunities
  • Commercial thinking: understanding the commercial drivers
  • Cross-selling and business development

Finance and Practice Management

  • Finance management and understanding of the business
  • Project management: ensuring projects are delivered
  • Knowledge sharing

Personal Effectiveness

  • Communication
  • Clarity of thinking
  • Personal contribution
  •  

We offer a competitive salary and a contributory pension scheme, together with agile working.

Please note that our PQE levels are a guide and all suitable candidates will be considered.

If you are interested in this role, please send your CV and covering letter to Kerry.higgins@clydeco.com

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Solicitor – Construction – Levy & McRae Solicitors LLP

NQ - 2 PQE

Levy & McRae LLP are a law firm based in Glasgow.

We are seeking to recruit a solicitor to join our Construction team.

This client facing role involves representing clients on a wide range of construction and dispute resolution issues. The candidate will be expected to deliver the high quality service that clients of the firm expect.  

You will work directly with the partners as well as managing your own caseload of varied and interesting cases.

Opportunities for career development and promotion are considerable. Salary and benefits are competitive and are dependent on experience.  

Candidates will require experience of appearing in Court. 

To apply for the position please send a CV and covering letter to info@lemac.co.uk

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Residential/Commercial Conveyancing Solicitor – Archibald Sharp

Due to an increase in the volume of work we seek an assistant or associate experienced in commercial/residential conveyancing for a small chamber practice in Glasgow. Executry and private client experience would be helpful but not essential. No agencies please.

Partnership prospects for the right candidate.

Please send C.V. to:

Michelle Rankin

Archibald Sharp

270 Dumbarton Road,

Glasgow, G11 6TX

or

mrankin@archibaldsharp.co.uk

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Solicitor (Residential and Commercial Conveyancing) – T.F Reid & Donaldson Solicitors

T.F Reid & Donaldson, who are a well-respected and long established High Street practice in Paisley with an excellent client base, are looking to recruit an experienced conveyancing solicitor to join their team.

The role will involve working with other members of the team but will give responsibility for managing your own case load of residential and some commercial property matters.

This is an excellent opportunity for the right candidate who has career progression in mind. The successful candidate will progressively take over a long established client base during the phased retirement of one our partners.

A competitive salary commensurate with experience will be offered.

If you are interested in this position please forward your C.V. by email to Allan Rankin at allan.rankin@reidlaw.co.uk

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Solicitor (Litigation) – West Lothian Council

West Lothian Council is one of Scotland’s most successful local authorities and is based in Livingston.

Legal Services provides comprehensive legal and committee services to the council and is made up of four teams –Litigation, Property/Planning, Licensing and Committee Services.

This is a full time, permanent post although part-time job share may be considered.

This is a varied and challenging role as part of a small and busy team.  As a member of the Litigation team, the post-holder is expected to undertake all types of general litigation and advisory work associated with supporting the functions of the Local Authority, including social work, housing, education, employment, contentious contract/commercial property and procurement advice, and all other areas of work as are allocated to them to assist the Chief Solicitor to ensure that a quality legal service is provided to meet client requirements

The post holder will also be required to act as Clerk to council bodies and undertake such other areas of work as required.

The post is suitable for and will be of interest to an enthusiastic and motivated solicitor seeking a position which brings the unique challenges of being an in-house legal adviser.   The successful candidate will be client focussed and proactive in the identification of issues relevant to council services.

For more information and to apply click here

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Conveyancing / Property Solicitor – McCash & Hunter LLP

McCash & Hunter LLP is a well-established firm based in Perth. We assist individuals and families with all legal matters and take pride in our client focused approach.

We are looking for an enthusiastic solicitor to join our conveyancing team.

This role would be suitable for a solicitor (0-5 years' PQE) or experienced conveyancing paralegals.

The position will involve all aspects of conveyancing including, residential, commercial, rural and land.

Conveyancing experience is essential as is client care and management. The ability to manage your own case load is favourable but all levels of experience will be considered.

Our experienced team of conveyancing solicitors and colleagues are more concerned that the right person joins the firm.

The position is based in Perth and would be a great opportunity for someone who wants to gain experience in the field of conveyancing. The role would also suit someone who lives within a commutable distance.

If you think you would be a good fit for the firm and are interested in applying please send your CV to admin@mccash.co.uk by 31 March 2021.

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Senior Solicitor – Renfrewshire Council

FINANCE & CORPORATE SERVICES

SENIOR SOLICITOR – LITIGATION AND REGULATORY SERVICES

GRADE: GRK (£39,931 - £43,654)

Working within Legal and Democratic Services you will be part of our Litigation and Advice team.

You will undertake litigation, advocacy and advisory work in connection with all the Council’s functions or on behalf of any other body for which the Council provides legal advice. In particular you will focus on providing licensing and planning advice and representation.

You must hold a current Practising Certificate, be able to carry out a range of tasks within a broad litigation based remit and manage a demanding workload with minimum supervision. It is also essential that you have effective interpersonal, communication and report writing skills, together with the ability to work as part of a team.

Experience of other areas of Litigation would be beneficial such as: Debt Recovery, Education, Employment, Housing and Social Work.

A minimum of 2 years post qualifying experience, good IT skills, experience of supervision of administrative/paralegal staff and a willingness to be involved in designing and delivering training for client services is also desirable.

Placing on the salary scale will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

If successful, you will be required to undertake a Disclosure Scotland check, the level of check will be determined by the duties of the post. If you would like further information in relation to the Disclosure Scotland checks, please visit www.disclosurescotland.co.uk.

For an informal discussion about the role contact Nairn Young on 07483 390908 or email nairn.young@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

For further information and to apply please visit www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

Closing Date: Thursday 4 March 2021.

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Solicitor – MML Legal

We are a general practice established 35 years ago with a staff of over 30.

The successful applicant will be expected to take charge of a small team dealing in mostly residential property but some commercial transactions.

We pride ourselves on a friendly and flexible working environment and consequently have a very low turnover of staff.

We are looking for commitment, dedication and someone who enjoys the job.

There are partnership prospects for the right candidate.

We won’t bore you with a list of what you are expected to do and the type of person we want on the basis that if you are applying we are going to meet and we will get a feel for each other and whether it will be a mutually beneficial fit.

So if you have ideas and feel you have more to offer than where you are now please apply.

Salary £50k plus bonuses.

Apply to:

MML Legal

Meadowplace Building

Bell Street

Dundee

DD1 1EJ

legalservices@mmllaw.co.uk

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Solicitor/Contracts Manager – University of Glasgow

Ref: 050285

Salary: Grade 7, £35,845 - £40,322 per annum.

Contract Type: Full time, open ended.

An exciting opportunity to join World-Changing University of Glasgow!

The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of the top 100 universities in the world. While international in outlook, and with a global reach, it remains grounded in its local community. As those familiar with Glasgow’s leafy West End will know, the University is undertaking an exciting campus redevelopment to further enhance its world class research and teaching environment.

Working as part of a busy in-house legal and contracts team, the successful candidate will draft, review, negotiate, and finalise a wide range of contracts with other academic institutions, government and other public bodies, commercial entities, and individuals, and will provide a broad range of legal advice and support to colleagues across the University.

The post will suit an individual with a good grounding in commercial contracts and intellectual property law. However, training will be provided.

The successful candidate should be hardworking, organised, flexible, and should have a genuine interest in the HE sector. They should have excellent communication and people skills, be committed to building strong relationships and be able to work well both independently and as part of a team.

Apply online at www.glasgow.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: 7 March 2021

The University has been awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award

The University is committed to equality of opportunity in employment.

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401

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Senior Associate and Associate – Clyde and Co

Department: Professional and Financial Disputes

Job Title: Senior Associate and Associate

Location: Edinburgh

The Team

Our professional liability team supports and defends a wide range of insurers and professionals across all disciplines, in relation to all aspects of professional liability claims from policy response, to litigation and disciplinary matters. We provide dispute resolution support through mediation, arbitration and litigation which also extends to commercial disputes. We also specialise in representing professionals before their regulators.

A consistent and ever-growing client base has led to a fantastic opportunity for a bright and ambitious litigator to join this recognised market-leading team within Clyde & Co's worldwide and highly regarded specialist professional negligence practice group.

The Role

We are seeking a Senior Associate and an Associate to work on a varied workload covering professional negligence and commercial dispute resolution work based in our Edinburgh office. This is an exciting opportunity to work within a highly respected Band 1 team and to gain exposure to some of the most challenging and interesting claims in this practice area.

All levels of PQE will be considered.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on claims for a broad variety of professionals (including solicitors and construction professionals) in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session and will also gain exposure to ADR. There will also be an opportunity to become involved in business development.

The role will involve: (1-5 years' PQE Associate)

  • Running a case load of files in a manner compliant with our service level agreements with insurers
  • Assisting in the defence of high value and complex claims
  • Communicating with clients effectively and complying with deadlines and clients' reporting requirements
  • Capturing and recording management information
  • Sheriff court advocacy
  • Instructing experts
  • Instructing counsel
  • Playing a role in business development activities

The role will involve the above but with this additional skill set: (6 years PQE + Senior Associate)

  • Running a case load of files in a manner compliant with our service level agreements with insurers
  • Assisting in the defence of high value and complex claims
  • Communicating with clients effectively and complying with deadlines and clients' reporting requirements
  • Instructing experts and counsel
  • Overseeing junior members of the team
  • Taking the lead in business development initiatives

The successful candidates will display an excellent legal ability, initiative, confidence in managing and prioritising a full and varied caseload and be a strong communicator with attention to detail.

We offer a competitive salary and a contributory pension scheme, together with agile working.

Please note that our PQE levels are a guide and all suitable candidates will be considered

If you are interested in this role, please send your CV and covering letter to Kerry.higgins@clydeco.com

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Residential Conveyancing Solicitor – Russel + Aitken

Russel + Aitken Edinburgh is recruiting a part time Residential Conveyancing Solicitor for their Edinburgh office. The role is to deal with the legal aspects of purchase and sale transactions, including examination of title, and completion of missives, supported by the residential property team, comprising paralegals and purchase and sales negotiators. The successful candidate will also provide legal support and guidance on remortgage and transfer work. Hours are flexible, and salary dependent on experience.

If you are interested in applying for the above position please send your CV to:

Dianne Paterson, Partner: dianne.paterson@russelaitken.com

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Associate Solicitor - Commercial Property – Blackadders

Blackadders presence in Glasgow has continued to grow over the last few years and our strategy is to offer a full service for business and private clients from each of our 5 city centre offices. An opportunity has arisen in our commercial property team based in Glasgow but the candidate we are looking for will form part of a team that serves our clients all over the country.

Commercial Property

Our experienced and busy commercial property team currently acts for Banks, SIPP providers, investors, developers, landowners and tenants. In addition to working for the firm’s existing clients, the successful candidate will have a role in developing the growing business of the firm in Glasgow.

Requirements

A Commercial Property Solicitor with at least 4 + years' PQE. A strong commercial background with excellent client skills.

Salary

Competitive

Job Description

Job Title: Associate Solicitor - Commercial Property
Division/Unit: Business Division / Business Unit
Responsible to: Partner, Head of Unit

Job Purpose

To provide high quality, legal advice and support service to our clients across the Commercial Property sector. To assist the firm in achieving its stated professional and commercial objectives by developing the commercial property business unit.

Key Responsibilities

• Meeting and interviewing clients to establish the firm's suitability to provide the necessary advice and services
• Explaining the firm’s fees to clients
• Advising clients on legal issues.
• Taking the clients’ instructions
• Commercial lease agreements
• Researching and analysing information, including, legal documents and local authority land reports, as relevant to the matter in hand
• Corresponding with clients and other solicitors
• Working in a team within the firm, sometimes referring files to the head of department
• Mangement and supervision of assistants, trainee solicitors and paralegals
• Raise the profile and promote the growth of the Commercial Property unit, and generate own business
• Making cross referrals to colleagues
• Liaising with outside agencies
• Undertaking necessary administration, e.g., completing time recording so that charges for work can be calculated, billing clients for work done on their behalf
• Taking referrals from other firms of solicitors when a conflict of interest arises, or if they have no specialist practitioner available.
• Keeping up to date with developments in law and practice
• Keep CPD records up to date and comply with the compulsory CPD requirements
• Adhere to Blackadders policies and procedures and Law Society of Scotland Regulations, including Money Laundering, Client Charter etc.
• To ensure that Safe Working Practices are adhered to, in accordance with Health and Safety Legislation and Blackadders LLP
Professional Standard
• To work and behave in a professional manner and within the highest ethical and other standards of the profession
• Comply with procedures set out in the office procedures manual, professional standards and any requirement set by the Law Society of Scotland
• To ensure monetary transactions are dealt with efficiently and in accordance with Anti money laundering regulations
• To maintain the strictest standards of client confidentiality at all times
Performance Measured By
• Conducting matters on behalf of clients to their satisfaction
• Careful file management and the keeping of detailed contemporaneous attendance notes of all work done on behalf of our clients
• Compliance with time recording requirements and reaching financial targets
• Working knowledge and use of Commercial property
• Efficiency in dealing with work and accuracy of work produced
• Ability to work with initiative; maintaining a flexible and responsible approach
• Personal development and contribution to the overall objectives of the firm
• Good attendance and timekeeping

Other Duties
There may be the requirement to perform duties other than those given in the job description for the post. The particular duties and responsibilities attached to posts may vary from time to time without changing the general character of the duties or the level of responsibility entailed. Such variations would not of themselves justify the re-evaluation of a post. In cases, however, where a permanent and substantial change in the nature of the duties and responsibilities of a post occurs consistent with a higher level of responsibility, then the post would be eligible for re-evaluation.

To apply please click here.

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Chair, Fitness to Practise Panel – Scottish Social Services Council

We are looking to recruit five or six additional chairs for our Fitness to Practise Panel hearings. This important role contributes to the work of the Scottish Social Services Council, which is responsible for protecting and enhancing the safety and welfare of people who use social services and maintaining public confidence in the social service workforce.

As chair, you will take part in hearings and make decisions about workers’ fitness to practise. You will provide legal advice and chair the hearings to make sure the hearings are both legally compliant and fair. You will be expected to apply the Nine Principles of Public Life to your work.

To be eligible for this role you must currently be practising as a solicitor or advocate in Scotland and have extensive litigation experience in regulatory, civil or criminal law. You must also have practised as a solicitor or advocate in Scotland for a period of at least ten years.

Hearings are usually held at our offices in Dundee or online. On occasion hearings may be held in other locations throughout Scotland. Chairs will be paid a daily rate of £600 (exclusive of VAT). There will be no additional payment for travel or subsistence expenses in connection with hearings (although certain expenses will be authorised in relation to hearings taking place outwith Dundee).

The time commitment varies depending on the number of hearings and the number and availability of chairs. Chairs need to be available for between 15 and 30 days each year. The appointment is for a period of three years with a potential for extension for up to a further four years.

To find out more and to apply, visit our website at: https://news.sssc.uk.com/news/chair-fitness-to-practise-panel

Closing date for applications: Sunday 7 March 2021.

Interviews and assessment: from 29 to 31 March 2021.

Mandatory training dates: 7 and 8 June 2021.

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General Conveyancing Solicitor – Taits Solicitors & Estate Agents

Taits Solicitors & Estate Agents is a long established two-partner law firm with offices in Kelso and Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. The practice has a large client base of individuals and small businesses, including developers and farmers.

An opportunity has arisen for an experienced Solicitor to join our conveyancing department on a full time basis. The successful candidate will work with the conveyancing team in all aspects of property work. Experience with commercial conveyancing transactions, and an interest in rural property and agricultural law would be advantageous.

The successful candidate should have a minimum 3 years' PQE in a conveyancing role.

The position offers opportunities for advancement to partner level and would suit candidates interested in the quality of life a rural location offers.

A competitive remuneration package will be offered to the right candidate.

Apply for this vacancy by sending an up to date CV and covering letter by email to:

Bruce.lees@taits.co.uk

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Private Client Solicitor – Stewart & Watson

Buckie

We require a private client solicitor to deal with Wills, Powers of Attorney and Executries within a busy and friendly branch office of a long established and sizeable rural practice operating in nine towns throughout the north east.

The successful candidate will be responsible for their own caseload and have a substantial degree of autonomy but with support provided. Mixed home/office working patterns are possible so commuting might be possible. Salary negotiable and potential prospects. If interested please apply with cover letter and CV to hcumming@stewartwatson.co.uk

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Head of Education, Judicial Institute – Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Location: Central Edinburgh, (with remote working during Covid, and the possibility of flexible work patterns) 

Contract type: Permanent, subject to satisfactory completion of probationary period.

Hours of work: Full time

Number of posts: 1

Starting salary from: £48,662 per annum

Outline of job role and purpose - The Judicial Institute is a world-leading organisation dedicated to the provision of education to Scottish judicial office holders – judges, Sheriffs and summary Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace and Tribunal members. It plays a critical part in the administration of justice in Scotland, ensuring we have a modern, responsive, well-informed and skilful judiciary. Further information about the Judicial Institute and its work can be found at https://www.judiciary.scot/home/publications/judicial-institute.   We are looking for a Head of Education to lead the development of the Judicial Institute’s programme as it continues to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, and at a time when law and practice in the courts and tribunals continues to change at a very fast pace. The Head of Education will be the senior official in the Institute, leading a substantial team of highly skilled and dedicated staff, and acting as the principal adviser to the Director and Deputy Director (who are both Sheriffs) and to the JI’s Board, chaired by a Senator of the College of Justice.   

Outline of candidate profile –

The successful candidate will be an excellent leader, with a clear understanding of adult education theory and practice, particularly in respect of the education and training of professionals. You will combine creativity and innovative thinking with strong skills in managing teams, projects, budgets and strategic plans. You will also have the ability to motivate others and to gain the trust and respect of senior professionals.   This is an opportunity to play a major part in helping Scotland and its justice system meet the challenges of the pandemic and the demands of an ever-changing society.

Candidates will be expected to have a graduate or postgraduate qualification in Adult and/or Legal Education, or advanced workplace training in this field.

In return we offer an interesting work environment, flexible working arrangements; various policies aimed at helping you balance the needs of your work and home life, exclusive offers and discounts, access to funding for further education, vocational qualification, 25 days holiday entitlement, 11.5 days Public and Privilege holidays and a civil service pension. Opportunities for career progression are also excellent.

If you are interested in this challenging and rewarding opportunity, you may apply online at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/recruitment. For further information on the post please contact Tim Barraclough at tbarraclough@scotcourts.gov.uk.

The closing date for the post is Friday 5 March 2021

Interviews will be held week commencing Monday 22 March 2021

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union work in partnership so we have open, collaborative and positive working environments, that make SCTS a great place to work, learn and develop, engaging fully with fair work principles and encouraging membership of our recognised trade union PCS.

By virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusion and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2013 (as amended), the protections of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) are disapplied to this appointment in the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. This permits us to ask applicants to disclose details of all unspent convictions, unspent cautions (from England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and spent convictions for an offence listed in Schedule A1 of the 2013 Order but only if: 15 years have not elapsed since the date of your conviction if you were aged 18 or over on that date; or 7 years and 6 months have not elapsed since the date of your conviction if you were under 18 on that date.  Any spent conviction that is a ‘protected conviction’ does not require to be disclosed.  Individuals without existing security clearance will require a standard level Disclosure check completed before employment can commence.  Further information on the different types of convictions that should be disclosed in this application form and which are included in a Standard Disclosure can be found at https://www.mygov.scot/standard-disclosure/.

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Solicitor (0-2 years' PQE) – Residential Property – BTO LLP

Glasgow

We have an exciting opportunity for a Solicitor to work within our Residential Property team based in Glasgow.

The role will support the Residential Property department with the full range of conveyancing procedures from commencement to completion of transaction.  A high volume case load will be anticipated with work generated from existing and new clients, estate agents, and from ‘in house’ referrals.

Candidates must have conveyancing experience, good knowledge of residential property processes and confidence in managing transactions.  It is also essential to have the ability to work in a team orientated environment, as well as independently, and have high levels of initiative and motivation.

For further information please visit the Careers page on our website: https://www.bto.co.uk/careers.aspx

To apply, please forward your CV to hr@bto.co.uk along with a covering letter and details of your salary expectation.

Closing date: Friday 26 February 2021

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Solicitor (Clinical Negligence Department) – Drummond Miller LLP

Edinburgh 

We have an exciting new opportunity for a Solicitor based within our well respected and experienced Clinical Negligence Department in Edinburgh.

Working in one of Scotland’s most recognised and leading practices in this area the successful candidate will have exposure to a wide range of clinical negligence cases in both the Sheriff Court and Court of Session.

The role requires a strong team player who is confident, approachable and has excellent communication and client care skills.  You will demonstrate an excellent academic record, be well organised, able to prioritise and work to demanding deadlines and demonstrate meticulous attention to detail. Candidates would ideally have some civil litigation / personal injuries experience with the potential and desire to specialise in clinical negligence (prior clinical negligence experience would be an advantage but not essential).

This is an excellent opportunity to work within our prestigious practice which offers a supportive working environment and attractive salary and benefits package.

Please apply by sending full CV and covering letter, giving details of your current or most recent salary to Sam Leek (HR Manager) sleek@drummondmiller.co.uk by 28 February 2021. Please note if you have not been contacted regarding your application by 30th March 2021 you have not been selected for interview.

Agencies need not apply.

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Events

Employment Law Conference | Law Society of Scotland | Monday 1 & Tuesday 2 March Sponsored post

Join us across two afternoons in March for a timely update and authoritative guidance on current challenging employment law issues.

Our expert speakers will reflect on key topics ranging from Trade Unions and Industrial relations, employee grievances, TUPE regulations, Advocacy in Employment Tribunal and much more.

The speaker line up includes:

  • Barry Nichol, Partner, Anderson Strathern           
  • Donna Reynolds, Partner, Blackadders LLP          
  • David Morgan, Partner, Burness Paull LLP            
  • Katy Wedderburn, Partner, MacRoberts
  • Simon Mayberry, Senior Associate, LexLeyton    
  • Andrew Brown, Partner, Anderson Strathern LLP             
  • David Hughes, Partner, Addleshaw Goddard       
  • Musab Hemsi, Partner, LexLeyton           
  • Joan Cradden, Partner, Brodies

For full details or to book your place please visit the Employment Law Conference page of our website.

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CLT launch new Residential Conveyancing Conference Sponsored post

CLT Scotland has launched an important new Residential Conveyancing Conference which will take place online on 22nd April.

Sponsored by First Scottish, the conference brings together speakers drawn from private practice, lenders, housebuilders, searchers, insurers, academia and the Registers of Scotland and will provide delegates with 6 hours' CPD.

The conference will focus on new approaches to the practice of residential conveyancing, the challenges these bring and how the profession can continue to adapt to remain commercially astute while meeting clients’ needs.

Roy Spiers, CLT Scotland’s Director of Programmes, said: “The residential conveyancing market has seen unprecedented demand at a time when practice has had to evolve rapidly. Many of these changes will stay with us and develop further and I am delighted that we are able to provide an opportunity for discussion and debate at such a key moment for the profession.”

For more details and to register for the conference, visit https://www.clt.co.uk/scot/legal-training/the-residential-conveyancing-conference/ or email enquiries@clt.scot.

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Family Investment Companies – an ETN & CIOT Webinar Sponsored post

The Edinburgh Tax Network, in conjunction with CIOT and Terra Firma Chambers, will present a talk entitled What the FIC! - A practical walk through the setting up and running of a Family Investment Company from a tax and accounting perspective on 24th February 2021, from 1pm to 2pm.

The speakers will be Alex Docherty and Billy Cleland of Johnston Carmichael.

They will discuss:

  • Financing
  • Share structure
  • FICs for Property
  • Accounting issues
  • Tax efficiency
  • End game

There is no charge for attendance but registration is required. To sign up, please click here.

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Annual Conference 2021 | Law Society of Scotland | Monday 26 April to Friday 30 April | Online Event Sponsored post

This year Scotland's premiere legal event will be taking place online across five days in April. As ever, we will have a host of exceptional speakers and a lively topical programme of talks, workshops and breakout sessions.

Over the past week we have confirmed a plethora of high profile speakers including:

  • Naeema Yaqoob Sajid, Solicitor, Founder Diversity+, Co-founder of SEMLA
  • Tracy Black, Director General, CBI Scotland
  • Dominic Grieve QC PC
  • Christine O’Neill QC, Partner and Chairman, Brodies LLP Solicitors  
  • Iain Smith, Keegan Smith and Scottish Lawyer of the Year 2020
  • Jeff Langlands, General Counsel, BT Global; Director EE Limited
  • Kate Dowdalls QC

To see the full speaker line up please visit the Annual Conference Speakers page of our website.

And please note, you book for the full week before Friday 26 February, you’ll save 20% with our early bird offer. Visit our event webpage to learn more and book your place.

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Send your events to Scottish Legal News Sponsored post

Get your events listed on Scottish Legal News by contacting our advertising manager, Jeff Anderson, on jeff@scottishnews.com.

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