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Scottish Law Commission (Legislative Proposals)

Volume 928: debated on Wednesday 23 March 1977

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38.

asked the Lord Advocate concerning which further proposals of the Scottish Law Commission the Government intend to introduce legislation during the present Session.

Appendix III to the Eleventh Annual Report of the Scottish Law Commission, published on 1st February 1977, shows that only four of the 32 reports mentioned still await implementation. Bills to implement two of these four—dealing with presumption of death and avoidance of liability—are at present before Parliament. Furthermore, a Bill implementing the Eighth Report on Statute Law Revision of both Law Commissions, which is not included in Appendix III, is at present under consideration in another place. The Government do not intend to introduce legislation this Session to implement the two remaining reports relating to interpretation of statutes and liability for antenatal injury.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that much useful legal reform is still required in Scotland? In the present climate, could he not collaborate with other parties to see whether agreed measures might be brought forward?

I accept that there are still useful measures of law reform in the pipeline, particularly in respect of the studies that the Scottish Law Commission is making on aliment and financial provision, corporeal moveables and products liability.

It is also working on the law affecting minors and pupils, the law of evidence, bankruptcies and liquidations, diligence, private international law and the law of incest. Work on these subjects is continuing, but we are not yet in a position in which legislation could usefully be introduced.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that there will be considerable disappointment in the North-East of Scotland that there are no proposals in the list to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to deal with tenants at will? [Interruption.]

Order. Right hon. and hon. Members who come in to listen to Scottish Questions want to hear what is being said.

I am grateful for that warm reception for my question. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that it would be more to the point to bring in legislation to deal with tenants at will than to introduce amendments to the law on incest and the other matters to which he referred?

I do not agree with the last point made by the hon. Gentleman. It is highly desirable that there should be a reform of the law of incest, but I have very much at heart the interests to which the hon. Gentleman referred. I have had correspondence and conversations with him on this subject. I hope that he will be a little patient, because the Government are endeavouring to meet this point, which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is not without its complexities.