Glasgow: 0141 221 5562 Edinburgh: 0131 220 7660

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations ? What RSLs need to do

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations ? What RSLs need to do

In June 2014 the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) confirmed that the Environmental Information Scotland Regulations applied to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) based on the level of supervision/direction exercised by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and RSLs responsibilities to providing/managing etc. social housing including the requirements of the Social Housing Charter, SHQS and EESH in matters such as noise, energy efficiency, heating installation, and use of appropriate building materials.

The decision was challenged earlier this year but was again upheld by SIC. Accordingly like local and

Changes to the way leases can be signed

Changes to the way leases can be signed

On 1 July 2015, the Legal Writings (Counterparts & Delivery) (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force marking a significant change in the way that residential leases can be signed.

Although there have been arguments within the legal profession regarding whether or not counterpart signing has always been possible, this point has not been widely accepted. Prior to 1 July 2015, the general consensus was that all parties to a lease must sign one principal document. This caused issues, for example, when joint tenants resided abroad

When is rent in advance a deposit?

When is rent in advance a deposit?

The case of Cordiner v Al-Shaibany at Dundee Sheriff Court has again looked at the issue of whether rent paid in advance can be deemed to be a security deposit. In this case the Pursuer, Miss Cordiner, was the tenant under a Short Assured Tenancy with the landlord, Mr Al-Shaibany. At the start of the tenancy, the tenant paid £1,050 as payment for the first and last month's rent. At the end of the tenancy, the tenant raised an action against the landlord on the

The importance of a social media policy for employees

The importance of a social media policy for employees

Do you have a social media policy for employees? Employee use of social media is on the increase and so too are the number of cases going to employment tribunals on this area! The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in a recent judgement that it was fair for an employer to dismiss an employee that made derogatory comments about his employer on Facebook.

In the recent case of British Waterways Board v Smith, the EAT considered whether it was fair to dismiss an

Awarding a Public Contract- What Happens Next?

Awarding a Public Contract-  What Happens Next?

Registered Social Landlords are ?contracting authorities? for the purposes of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012. When awarding a public contract - what happens next? The Regulations apply to:

- works contracts with a value of ?4,322,012 or more;

- supplies and services contracts with a value of ?172,514 or more.

Contracting authorities must ensure that when advertising public contracts in excess of these thresholds, evaluating bids and selecting the successful party, they follow the rules set out in the Regulations.

Having identified a contractual

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

On the 14th July, the Government launched a consultation on the implementation of gender pay gap, 'Closing the Gender Pay Gap'. This gender pay gap consultation is important for a number of reasons.

Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 contains a power for the government to require private and third sector employers with more than 250 employees to publish information relating to the differences in pay between male and female employees.

Guidance on the "Think, Act, Report" framework has also been re-published. This

The Budget 2015: How inheritance tax changes affect you

The Budget 2015: How inheritance tax changes affect you

The Budget announcement saw the Chancellor George Osborne unveil inheritance tax changes to the current regime. George Osborne confirmed that the inheritance tax threshold is set to increase from ?325,000 to ?500,000 for a single person and from ?650,000 to ?1million for a married couple or civil partnership.

What is the current Inheritance Tax regime?

Inheritance tax is currently charged at a rate of 40% on the value of an estate above the tax free threshold of ?325,000 per person.

Married couples and civil partners

Employment implications of the 2015 budget

Employment implications of the 2015 budget

The Chancellor George Osborne delivered the first Conservative Budget in almost 20 years this week and there were some interesting announcements which will have employment implications.

Here is a summary of the main points:

  • A new National Living Wage will be introduced for all workers over the age of 25. This will replace the current National Minimum Wage, and it will be at the rate of £7.20 an hour from April 2016, rising to £9 an hour by 2020. It is estimated that this will

New Housing Tribunal for the Private Rented Sector

New Housing Tribunal for the Private Rented Sector

The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 received royal assent on 15 April 2014. The Act essentially creates a framework for housing tribunal reform, and will be implemented in three phases. The first phase sees the creation of a new housing chamber, which will incorporate the current work of the Private Rented Housing Panel and Home Owner Housing Panel, as well as transferring work which is currently dealt with in the Sheriff Court system into the new chamber.

The housing tribunal will have a two tier structure.

Eviction appeals are not second chances

Eviction appeals are not second chances

In January 2015, Sheriff Wood heard three rent arrear actions in which clients sought decree for eviction, payment and expenses. Despite the tenants being represented and submitting various explanations for non-payment, Sheriff Wood was satisfied that it was reasonable to grant decree in all three cases. All three cases were appealed to the Sheriff Principal. Here is why eviction appeals are not second chances!

Glasgow West Housing Association Ltd v Danuta Harasimowicz, was one of the cases appealed to the Sheriff Principal and concerned the

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

So just what are parental rights and responsibilities? Parents have the responsibility to look after their children:

- to help them to be healthy

- encourage their growth, development and welfare

- to ensure attendance at school and an opportunity to develop to their full potential

Parents have the responsibility and the right to say how their children should be brought up. This includes:

  • being in charge and saying what they can and cannot do until they are 16;
  • providing advice and guidance until 18;

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

An opinion was given in a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which will interest a number of our clients who have workers who travel regularly as part of their role. The Working Time Directive (the Directive), defines "working time" as any period during which the worker is working, is at the employer's disposal and is carrying out his activity or duties. The Directive defines "rest period" as meaning any period which is not working time. The Directive is implemented in UK law

Financial support following bereavement

Financial support following bereavement

The loss of a loved one can leave families facing a period of financial hardship but there can be financial support following bereavement .

The State offers death benefits which could make things easier. There are currently three potential benefits available - Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance & Widowed Parents Allowance.

Bereavement Payment:

If your spouse or civil partner has died you may be able to eligible for a Bereavement Payment. This is a one-off, tax-free, lump-sum payment of £2,000.

This is available to those

Counter Grievance during Disciplinary Process

Counter Grievance during Disciplinary Process

A question which I am often asked is, "how do we deal with an employee who has raised a counter grievance during disciplinary proceedings?" This is a common occurrence and an issue which many employers are faced with.

Having received notification that they are subject to disciplinary proceedings, many employees react to this news by raising a counter grievance. This grievance could relate to a number of things including the disciplinary process itself or to a completely separate matter. However, unlike grievances which are raised

Life as a Trainee at TC Young

Life as a Trainee at TC Young

I recently began my traineeship with TC Young. I have joined the busy court department and I am enjoying working as a trainee solicitor. Although I have only been at TC Young for a short time, I feel that I have learnt a lot already.

TC Young offers a unique experience compared to other firms of its size, they do not move their trainees around departments in 6 month slots and my entire traineeship will be spent within the court department. This will allow me

Gender Reassignment and Employment Issues

Gender Reassignment and Employment Issues

Her step-daughter Kim Kardashian had hoped to be the one to break the internet but Caitlyn Jenner's well-publicised photo shoot with Vanity Fair magazine, her first magazine shoot as a woman, allowed her to trump her famous offspring for that title. Are there implications of employment issues with gender reassignment?

The great news following this article, was the outpouring of public support for Jenner and her family. We look at the employment law implications for employers of individuals going through gender reassignment, as well for

Installing Solar panels? What you need to know.

Installing Solar panels? What you need to know.

Solar panels are becoming a more familiar sight across Scotland. Current planning permission regulations exist to make installing solar panels and renewable technologies simple. For most domestic properties formal planning permission is not required if certain criteria are met, namely:

  • Panels don't protrude by more than one metre of the roof edge, any outside wall of the house nor protrudes further than the highest point of the roof (which includes any chimney)
  • The property is not a listed building
  • The property is not in a

Moving abroad with children: what you need to know

Moving abroad with children: what you need to know

The Hague Convention on the civil aspects of International Parental Child Abduction 1980 regulates the international relocation of children. However, when parents are planning on moving abroad with children they often overlook the Hague Convention or think that it will not apply to them. Do you need the consent of the other parent? What happens if you have moved abroad and then want to return to Scotland but the other parent doesn't?

  • If you are separated or divorced, what should you do before moving abroad

Common Good Land in Scotland

Common Good Land in Scotland

Summer is almost upon us and, for residents of Edinburgh, there are few better ways to spend a sunny evening than to gather over a barbeque in The Meadows or to hack a small ball around the Bruntsfield Links. To lose the opportunity to enjoy these simple pleasures would be unthinkable, so the knowledge that these are two of a number of areas throughout Scotland that benefit from protection as "common good land" is comforting. So what exactly is common good land in Scotland?

It

Ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

Ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

At the end of May 2015, sections of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 came into force, including the provision which makes the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts unenforceable.

A key part of the Conservative's election campaign was a promise to ban clauses in zero hours contracts requiring exclusivity from the worker and they have been quick off the mark in bringing in this piece of legislation into force.

A zero hour contract is traditionally used for casual working, it

Safety tips for lone workers

Safety tips for lone workers

A number of our clients either have employees that work alone or are lone workers themselves. Therefore the question of safety regarding lone workers comes up a lot. This blog outlines the main safety tips for lone workers' for employers and workers to think about.

Working alone is not in itself against the law and will often be safe to do so. It is important that employers understand what they need to do in order to comply with their legal duties towards lone workers under

The CDM Regulations 2015 are now in force

The CDM Regulations 2015 are now in force

The Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 came into force on 6 April and replace the 2007 Regulations. They govern health and safety in construction projects. Some of the main changes affecting 'clients' who are commissioning construction work are:

  1. Clients' duties

The client must make suitable arrangements for managing a project which ensure that construction work will be carried out without risk to the health or safety of any person affected by the project. The management arrangements must include how clients will ensure that

Zero hours workers legal rights

Zero hours workers legal rights

The number of zero hours contracts has increased rapidly in the past few years. Although these types of contracts can bring benefits both to employers and workers, a recent employment tribunal case involved a zero hours contract worker and her fear of reporting allegations of sexual harassment, in case her hours of work were limited. So just what are a zero hours workers legal rights?

The claimant in S v. Britannia Hotels Ltd and another worked in a hotel bar on a zero hours contract.

Scottish Government's Second Consultation on Private Rented Sector Tenancies

Scottish Government's Second Consultation on Private Rented Sector Tenancies

In October 2014, the Scottish Government published their first consultation on the introduction of new tenancies for the private rented sector. Receiving over 2,500 responses from parties including tenants, landlords, letting-agents and other organisations, the Scottish Government have now issued a second consultation paper on?private rented sector tenancies.

The new consultation paper amends, and in some cases, builds upon the initial proposals outlined in the previous consultation by drawing on responses received.

Unchanged Proposals:

  • Removal of the ?No-Fault? Ground

Any Scottish Government Bill going forward

My spouse has cheated on me! What next?

My spouse has cheated on me! What next?

According to a recent study, 50% of married men find their mother-in-law attractive. As unlikely as that seems, it perhaps comes as no surprise that a significant number of marriage breakdowns occur when one spouse engages in an extra marital relationship with another man or woman. We are often told - my spouse has cheated on me! Our clients then want to know what they can do.

The questions we are often asked by clients reflect their hurt and anger at this emotionally difficult time.

Do your Management Agreements meet Consumer Contracts Regulations?

Do your Management Agreements meet Consumer Contracts Regulations?

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 replaced the Distance Selling Regulations & Door Step Selling Regulations. They make it an obligation for 'traders' to give 'consumers' certain information. Do your management agreements meet consumer contracts regulations?

From 13 June 2014, all distance, off-premises and on-premises contracts made will be subject to the 2013 Regulations. Contracts which pre-exist 13 June 2014, are governed by Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax comes into force

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax comes into force

As we have discussed in recent blogs, 1st April marks the first day of the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) coming in to force in Scotland. LBTT replaces Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of property in Scotland.

SDLT remains in force for the rest of the UK.

The threshold for paying LBTT on residential property purchases has been set at ?145,000 meaning no LBTT would be due on any purchase under this value. The threshold for SDLT is ?125,000.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme - Scottish landlord loses further appeal

Tenancy Deposit Scheme - Scottish landlord loses further appeal

In the case of Tenzin v Russell & Clark the landlords appealed to the Sheriff Principal against a decision to hold them liable to pay their tenant three times the deposit taken, having failed to lodge the deposit in a 'tenancy deposit' scheme. At the Appeal, Sheriff Principal Stephen upheld the previous decision and deemed the penalty reasonable to promote compliance with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

Following Sheriff Principal Stephen's decision, Russell and Clark appealed further to the Inner House of the

Making reasonable workplace adjustments

Making reasonable workplace adjustments

This blog will briefly look at the obligation on employers in making reasonable workplace adjustments for any employees with a disability.

The definition of disability is found in Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 and states that a person has a disability if:

  1. they have physical or mental impairment; and
  2. the impairment has a substantial and long term adverse affect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies in recruitment and during all stages

Mandatory Electrical Check Requirements

Mandatory Electrical Check Requirements

Issued under sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, the Scottish Government has recently published guidance on mandatory electrical check requirements which shall come into force from 1st December 2015.

The new requirements will apply to all Scottish privately rented properties covered by the Repairing Standard and will require landlords to have fixed wiring Electrical Installation Condition Report checks carried out at their properties at least every five years. Though the regulations will apply to all private tenancies, the fixed wiring

What is mediation?

What is mediation?

You might have heard somebody mention mediation before but what is mediation? Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves two (or more) parties and a mediator. Mediation provides parties with the opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about a range of family law issues in a neutral environment. Everything that is said during mediation is confidential and the parties have control over any decisions that are made during mediation.

What sort of issues can be dealt with at mediation?

A

Scottish Government consultation on changes to procurement rules

Scottish Government consultation on changes to procurement rules

On 9 February 2015 the Scottish Government launched their consultation on proposed changes to procurement rules. The changes are coming about as a result of a new European procurement directive and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

The Scottish Government has until 18 April 2016 to transpose the provisions of the directive into Scots law, and this will result in the creation of new procurement regulations. These regulations will also comprise further provisions and guidance on the terms of the 2014 Act.

So what are

Can you evict a drug dealing tenant?

Can you evict a drug dealing tenant?

One of the most significant changes being proposed under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 is the removal of the "reasonableness" defence where a landlord seeks eviction based on the tenant being the subject of a conviction in respect of a criminal offence committed in or in the locality of the tenancy. How difficult will it be to evict a drug dealing tenant?

Many eviction actions have been raised using this ground, mainly in connection with offences relating to illegal drugs.

Many Registered Social Landlords (RSLs)

How can Collaborative Law help?

How can Collaborative Law help?

The collaborative law process offers separating couples a non-confrontational way of agreeing the legal and practical arrangements for their separation and divorce. By reaching agreement in a collaborative way, couples are able to come to a good arrangement together through supported discussions.

At its simplest, the collaborative process is all about reaching solutions together.? Sometimes talking things through can seem the hardest challenge of all. When relationships break down, hurt, bitterness and anger are often the strongest feelings.

From the outset parties and their agents

Obesity and Disability Discrimination

Obesity and Disability Discrimination

A recent Northern Ireland Industrial Tribunal (Bickerstaff v Butcher) made a unanimous decision that the claimant was disabled and upheld his claim of harassment. So how does this affect obesity and disability discrimination?

Mr Bickerstaff worked at Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim where he said he was harassed by colleagues, in particular Mr Butcher, because of his weight. Mr Bickerstaff brought an employment claim against Mr Butcher for harassment.

In one instance, Mr Butcher had said that the claimant was 'so fat he

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax - Update on Leases

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax -  Update on Leases

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) is a charge on land transactions in Scotland. It is accepted that LBTT will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Scotland for most land transactions with an effective date of on or after 1 April 2015.

LBTT will make significant changes to the way returns are completed for commercial lease transactions including Assignations (no LBTT is be payable on standard residential leases). New rules regarding notification will be introduced alongside new rates of tax linked more closely to

The Freedom of Information Act is 10 years old!

The Freedom of Information Act is 10 years old!

The Freedom of Information (?FOI?) (Scotland) Act 2002 came into force on 1 January 2005 and creates an entitlement to receive information held by a public authority upon request. The Act applies to public bodies including the Scottish Government and local authorities. However, the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act have never been extended to housing associations.

The Scottish Information Commissioner has recently called for the Act to be extended to cover those bodies which are responsible for social housing. In the Commissioner?s Report,

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Update

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Update

As we have discussed in recent blogs, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of property is to be replaced in Scotland by the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). The change is due to come into force on 1st April 2015. So what will this land and buildings transaction tax update mean for purchasers?

The Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney announced amended the proposed rates at which LBTT will be charged from those originally proposed in October 2014.

The threshold for paying

Fit for Work service - ready for change?

Fit for Work service - ready for change?

The Department for Work and Pensions has finally publishing guidance for employers about the long awaited Fit for Work service. Here we look at what the service provides and what it will mean for employers and employees.

Presently, more than 130 million days annually are lost to sickness absence at a cost to the economy of around £15 billion. Employers face an annual bill of around £9 billion for loss of production and sick pay costs, and individuals face a loss of earnings of £4

Scottish Powers of Attorney confirmed to be valid

Scottish Powers of Attorney confirmed to be valid

Last year, we explained how a decision from Glasgow Sheriff Court raised concerns that many Scottish Powers of Attorney could, in fact, be invalid. In that case, Sheriff Baird at Glasgow decided that a Power of Attorney granted in favour of a bank was not valid as the wording used in the document did not comply with the requirements of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.

The potential effect of this was wide reaching as the wording used in the Power of Attorney in

Employment and HR New Year Resolutions

Employment and HR New Year Resolutions

As January is the time for make resolutions and setting goals in our personal lives, it might be an idea to do the same in our professional lives also. So many things go to the bottom of a to-do list and can be forgotten easily. So what are your employment and HR New Year resolutions?

We have suggested a few targets which you might wish to set yourself over the coming 12 months:

  1. Put in place an effective appraisal system

This is something which can

What to expect in Employment Law in 2015

What to expect in Employment Law in 2015

As we approach the end of what has been a very busy year for employment law, it is time to start thinking about what changes are coming in employment law in 2015.

  1. As mentioned in our previous blog parents of children born on or after the 5 April 2015 will be able to share their parental leave depending on their own individual requirements. This change will have a potentially huge impact for employers who will have to manage employees? requests and respond to them appropriately.

Changes to Land Registration in Scotland

Changes to Land Registration in Scotland

More than three decades after the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 entered into force in 1981, the law governing the registration of title to property in Scotland is being modernised. So how will changes to land registration in Scotland affect you?

As of Monday 8th December 2014 the relevant law will be the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012, which aims to:

  • update the law surrounding the registration of rights to land in the Land Register
  • introduce electronic documents into the conveyancing process

Autumn Statement 2014 - Stamp Duty Land Tax Reform

Autumn Statement 2014 - Stamp Duty Land Tax Reform

As we discussed in a recent blog, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of property is to be replaced in Scotland by the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). The change is due to come into force on 1st April 2015.

Yesterday, however, the Chancellor announced immediate changes to the current UK SDLT regime which will affect Scotland from now until the introduction of LBTT in April. Both new regimes will use a graduated system similar to the current UK

Christmas Party Problems

Christmas Party Problems

The list has been made, the shopping begun and Band Aid has become a familiar song in our lives once more. It can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming! However, all too often the festive season can put many employees and some employers, on Santa's naughty list as a result of their behaviour at office Christmas parties or failure to address Christmas party problems.

Here are some handy hints to think about before heading off to the office party and to let you get

Shared parental leave - getting it right

Shared parental leave - getting it right

New rights for employees who are parents to take shared parental leave (SPL) in the first year of their child's life come in to force on 1 December 2014. The scheme will apply in relation to children whose expected week of childbirth begins on or after the 5 April 2015 or who are placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015. This blog sets out some information for employers to think about and what steps they should take next.

For births, a mother who

Minute of Agreement, Joint Property Ownership

Minute of Agreement, Joint Property Ownership

Cohabiting couples who buy a property together need to consider whether having the title in joint names adequately reflects the financial contributions each is making. Should you enter into a minute of agreement when buying a property jointly?

It is often the case that one party commits to paying a greater share of the required deposit than the other, even where subsequent mortgage payments are divided equally between the purchasers. Sometimes a parent or other relative provide a gift or loan to one individual to

Employers Winter Checklist

Do you have an employers winter checklist?? With the clocks turning back?a few weeks ago and the mornings and evenings getting darker, it seems an appropriate time to start thinking about an employer?s obligations towards employees during winter.

Many people will remember the extreme weather conditions that the country suffered in the past?and it is important that during any period of adverse weather an employer has thought ahead and has an understanding of what is needed in order for the business to continue and function

What do I need to know when selling my property?

Are you considering selling your property but perhaps don't know where to start or what paperwork may be required? Selling your property can be a stressful time. However, this process can be made less stressful if you know the issues which commonly arise during this process. So what are the common things to be aware of?

Do you know where the title deeds to the property are?

This is especially relevant if you have been in your property for a long time and are unsure

Procurement Reform: Could your Community Benefit?

Procurement Reform: Could your Community Benefit?

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent on 17 June 2014. It sits alongside existing public contracts regulations, and will increase regulation for public bodies seeking to award contracts for works, services and supplies. The Act applies where contracts have a value of £50,000 or more, except works contracts where the threshold is £2m.

Most public bodies have, for many years, sought to include community benefits provisions in their procurement processes, as a way of using their purchasing power to benefit their local area,

Page 7 of 14