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Scottish Law Reform

Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2012

I am publishing today a consultation paper that sets out the proposed reform of Scots law on two topics: unincorporated associations and criminal liability of partnerships.

The consultation document seeks views on two topics: first, the proposal to attribute legal personality to non-profit making unincorporated associations where they meet certain statutory criteria; and secondly, reform of the law on criminal liability of dissolved Scottish partnerships and their partners, with the principal intention to address a loophole in Scots law that allows Scottish partnerships to escape prosecution for potentially serious offences by dissolving.

The main proposals for unincorporated associations are that becoming a Scottish Association with Legal Personality (SALP) should not be dependent on any registration requirement and that office-bearers and members will not incur any personal liability by acting as an office-bearer or member. Accordingly, SALPs will have limited liability.

The proposals are based on work by the Scottish Law Commission which led to a report and draft Bill in 2009 on reforming the law on unincorporated associations in Scotland and a report and draft Bill in 2011 on reforming the law on criminal liability of dissolved Scottish partnerships.

The commission has indicated that it supports the consultation process and will continue to work with the UK Government to finalise a Bill that it is hoped will come before Parliament within its current term.