TSP Sco Autumn_08 Iss16 _4_ by jizhen1947

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									                                                                             Autumn 2008 Issue 16
                                                                             Scotland Edition
                                                                                           SS45698



The Member Magazine for Qualified Paralegal Practitioners




             LAW AWARDS OF
             SCOTLAND 2008Stephen McGowan is a double winner!

                PLUS - October Graduations: Full list inside
             Special feature: Paralegals feel the economic strain

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In this issue...
Regulars

4            Editorial

5-7          News
             The latest legal news from around the United Kingdom

9            Illegally Blonde
             Diary of the Specialist Paralegal’s girl about town!

14           The Big Interview
             With Catherine Cochrane and Christine Leggat of Bird Semple

15           Coffee Break                                                                                        LAW AWARDS 11
             Autumn recipes from La Bonne Auberge

16-20        Professional Update
             Home Reports: a guide for paralegals
             Employment and Immigration III: Guidance for employers
             Employment Law Update

21           Forthcoming Courses
             Course calendar



Features

8            Graduations Autumn 2008                                    COVER
             Newly-qualified paralegals listed

10           Interview
             Conveyancing from a different angle, with Grace McQueen of Stewart Title

11           Law Awards of Scotland 2008                                     COVER
             Stephen McGowan is a double winner at the annual ceremony

12-13        Special feature: Feeling                                COVER
             the Strain                                                                        GRADUATIONS 8
             Paralegals fall victim to the current economic crisis


             COVER PHOTOGRAPH: by Murdoch Ferguson




         “ The Rolls Royce of Qualifications -
                                                                                                    THE BIG INTERVIEW 14
      the best not only in the UK but in Europe”




                                                                                          Published by the Society of Specialist Paralegals
     CONTACT US:                                                                          5th Floor, 80 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5UB
                                                                                                      Telephone: 0141 225 6700
     EDITOR: Lisa-Marie Ferla
     lferla@centlaw.com
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     THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR CONTRIBUTORS                                                             In Position Media Ltd,
                                                                                              426 Drumoyne Road, Glasgow, G51 4DA
     For details of advertising rates, please contact Lisa-Marie Ferla on 0141 225 6700             Telephone: 0141 810 9000



                                                                                          The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008                3
               editorial
                                        When the going gets tough
                                        Sitting down to write the                 little comfort to those currently        returns with the third part of his look
                                        traditionally light-hearted editorial     facing the daunting prospect of job      at the new points-based immigration
                                        column has been a pretty difficult        searches and interviews, the Society     system in Professional Update, and
                                        task this issue. The past few months      of Specialist Paralegals is never more   award-winning chef Gerry Sharkey
                                        have proved particularly challenging      than an email away.                      of the La Bonne Auberge chain shares
                                        for the legal profession – and              The effect of restructuring and        some exciting recipe ideas to warm
                                        paralegals, it would seem, are bearing    redundancies on the legal profession     those cold winter nights on P15.
                                        the brunt of it. The story is already a   during the recession of the early          On a lighter note, I read with
                                        devastatingly familiar one to             1990s was devastating, leaving a         interest a study reported on the BBC
                                        hundreds of paralegals who,               talent vacuum it took the profession     News website that lack of sunshine
                                        according to Law Society figures,         years to recover from. We at the         (or “vitamin D deficiency”, as the
                                        have been made redundant as a result      Society would hope that employers        scientists put it) could be the cause of
                                        of the ongoing problems in the            take a longer-term view during the       Scotland’s poor health record.
                                        housing market.                           current downturn to avoid losing a       Accordingly, as soon as I press the
                                          This issue, in a special centre-page    motivated, talented workforce. As a      button to send this edition of the
                                        feature, we talk to recruitment           highly skilled, cost effective,          magazine to print I am packing up to
                                        consultants and affected paralegals to    emerging profession, Specialist          attend the wedding of a close friend
                                        get a better idea of the full story       Paralegals would seem to be ideally      in Melbourne, Australia. I’m so
                                        behind the buzzword headlines.            placed to lead the legal profession      excited, I can barely wait.
Lisa-Marie Ferla LLB (Hons) MSc         While the picture they paint is a         out of recession when the market           In the meantime, I hope you enjoy
                                        difficult one, most of our contributors   ultimately reasserts itself.             this issue and I look forward to
Editor, The Specialist Paralegal
                                        allow for a note of optimism as we go       Elsewhere in this issue we welcome     hearing from you with your
                                        forward into the new year. Paralegals,    over a hundred new Specialist            comments and suggestions.
                                        they tell us, possess many                Paralegal Practitioners, who are
                                        transferable skills which will prove      eligible to graduate at the Barony
                                        useful in their search for alternative    Hall, the University of Strathclyde
                                        employment, and areas such as             this month – these are listed on P8.
                                        litigation and debt recovery in           Congratulations, and I look forward
                                        particular are beginning to get           to getting the chance to meet many
                                        increasingly busy. While it may prove     of you on the night. Damir Duheric




news                                               The latest legal
                                                   news from around
                                                   the United Kindom




property

Treasury announces stamp duty
holiday as market feels the pinch
Stamp duty is to be suspended for a     be exempt from the duty – up from         Nationwide monthly house price           • Bringing forward spending from
year on houses costing less than        one third when the threshold was          index.                                       future years to encourage more
£175,000, the Treasury has announced.   £125,000.                                   Communities Minister Hazel                 social housing to be built.
  The payment holiday raises the          The Council of Mortgage                 Blears unveiled an additional three-       Blears said that plans to help
threshold at which 1% stamp duty        Lenders said the measure was too          point plan designed to help first-       people struggling with mortgages
is paid from £125,000, and will         timid, and that fewer buyers are          time buyers in England and those         were not aimed at those who had
save eligible homebuyers up to          expected to be affected by stamp          struggling to pay their mortgages        been reckless in their borrowing
£1,750. The scheme applies only         duty this year because of the slump       and facing repossession. The             but at “decent” families who might
to buildings intended entirely for      in house prices.                          measures include:                        find themselves in difficulties.
residential use.                          People buying homes worth               • “Free” five year loans of up to          The moves come as property
  The move, intended to kick-start      between £125,000 and £250,000                 30% of a property’s value for        website Globrix announced that
a stagnating housing market, is part    pay 1% in stamp duty. The rate is             first time buyers of new homes       most properties for sale in the UK
of a package of measures to help        3% on properties worth more than              in England;                          have now been on the market for
first-time buyers and families at       £250,000, and 4% if the house is          • Extension of powers for                more than ninety days without
risk of losing their homes.             worth more than £500,000.                     councils      and       housing      finding a buyer.
  The Treasury estimates that the         The Treasury said the relief on             associations to be able to pay         The proportion of properties
one-year stamp duty freeze will         homes worth less than £175,000                off debt for homeowners who          unsold after ninety days has risen
cost the government £600m in lost       would apply to transactions on or             can no longer afford mortgage        from 25% at the start of the year to
revenue – suggesting that it            after 3rd September 2008, and                 payments and then charge rent;       53% in August.
expects about half a million home-      before 3rd September 2009.                • Shortening from 39 weeks to 13           The UK’s largest mortgage
buyers to benefit from the change.        The average price of a home in              weeks the period before Income       lender, the Halifax, said that UK
  The government estimates half of      the UK was just under £165,000 in             Support for Mortgage Interest        house prices had dropped by 11%
all property transactions will now      August,     according      to    the          is payable;                          in the past year.

 4   The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
legal profession                                                                      legal profession

Law Society                                                                           Mandy sets off for
welcomes Legal                                                                        new life Down Under
Profession reform                                                                     A founder member of the Society of
                                                                                      Specialist Paralegals is leaving rainy
                                                                                      North Berwick for a new life in
The Law Society of Scotland has          and other stakeholders to ensure             Australia.
welcomed confirmation that there         that these reforms will benefit                 Mandy Thomson, a qualified
will be a Legal Profession Bill in the   those who require legal services,            conveyancing paralegal formerly of
Scottish Government’s programme          and it will continue to promote              Lindsays Residential, leaves this
for the next parliamentary session.      access to justice as a key issue.”           month.
  The Bill, one of fifteen bills           The introduction of alternative               Writing to The Specialist
announced by the First Minister          business structures could lead to external   Paralegal, Mandy said: “I wish to
last month, will propose the first       ownership or capital for law firms, or       take this opportunity to say
significant changes to the               partnerships between solicitors and          goodbye to all who know me, I will
profession since 1980 and aims to        non-solicitors or other organisations        miss you.
“introduce alternative business          providing legal services.                       “I’m a very proud Specialist
structures… while maintaining the          Richard Henderson, president of the        Paralegal and Fellow of the Society.
profession’s independence and            Law Society, said at the May 2008            It’s been a pleasure.”
strength”.                               AGM: “This is a historic decision. The          Best of luck, Mandy!                   Aussie Rules Mandy Thomson
  The Law Society published its          profession has been asked by the
policy paper “The Public Interest:       Scottish Government to decide on its
Delivering Scottish Legal Services”      future direction, and I think that we        employment
on alternative business structures in    have risen to that challenge by voting in
April this year, and believes the
proposal          will
competiveness and service to
                            improve
                                         favour of change.
                                           “There has been a great deal of
                                         thought and discussion surrounding
                                                                                      Points-based migration
clients in the Scottish legal
profession.
  Michael Clancy, Director of Law
                                         alternative business structures. The
                                         Society’s council consulted the
                                         profession, and it was apparent from the
                                                                                      system unveiled
Reform, said: “We are very pleased       responses that there was an appetite for
that the Legal Profession Bill is in     change within the legal profession.”         Jockeys and sheep shearers are            exceptions of Bulgaria and
this year’s legislative programme          It is proposed that a public               among the list of workers from            Romania, to work in the UK
and look forward to this important       consultation on alternative business         outside the EU who could be               without restrictions. Unskilled
measure being introduced in              structures will take place in time to        welcomed into the UK as part of a         workers from other parts of the
parliament.                              introduce the bill to the Scottish           new “points based” migration              world are currently banned, but
  “The Society will continue to          Parliament in June 2009, and that the        system.                                   highly qualified migrants or those
work closely with Scottish               legislation will be in place by summer         A panel of experts was asked by         with substantial sums to invest are
solicitors, the Scottish Government      2010.                                        ministers to work out which types         allowed to live and work in the UK.
                                                                                      of jobs had shortages in the UK.            The       Migration      Advisory
                                                                                        The list also includes skilled          Committee (MAC) list refers to
legal profession                                                                      nurses and consultants, some              “skilled workers” – those with the
                                                                                      engineering jobs and maths and            equivalent of two A Levels or NVQ
                                                                                      English teachers.                         Level 3. They must also have a
Registered Paralegal                                                                    But Conservative said the list was
                                                                                      “pointless” without an annual cap
                                                                                      on the number of immigrants
                                                                                                                                good grasp of English, a job offer
                                                                                                                                with potential earnings of £24,000
                                                                                                                                and enough money to support
scheme welcomed                                                                       entering the UK.
                                                                                        The new rules are expected to
                                                                                      come into force at the end of
                                                                                                                                themselves until their first
                                                                                                                                paycheque if they want to work in
                                                                                                                                the UK.
throughout the                                                                        November, and will make it harder
                                                                                      to employ other skilled workers
                                                                                      from outside the 30-nation
                                                                                                                                  Among the occupations on the list
                                                                                                                                are:
                                                                                                                                • Consultants and specialist
profession                                                                            European Economic Area.
                                                                                        Border and Immigration Minister
                                                                                      Liam Byrne said: “Our new
                                                                                                                                    nurses
                                                                                                                                • Some        engineering
                                                                                                                                    including chemical and civil
                                                                                                                                                                jobs,

                                                                                      Australian-style points system is             engineers
Solicitors and paralegals alike are      very positive step forward.                  flexible to meet the needs of British     • Quantity surveyors
strongly behind the Law Society of         The scheme will initially be               business, while ensuring that only        • Maths and English teachers
Scotland’s proposed scheme for a         voluntary, and will provide a basic          those we want and no more can             • Ship and hovercraft officers
“registered paralegal” status, a         structure of competency for                  come here to work. This tough new         • Veterinary surgeons
consultation on the proposals has        paralegals. Society of Specialist            shortage occupation list supports         • Sheep shearers
revealed.                                Paralegals members, who have                 that.”                                    • Jockeys and horse trainers
  The scheme, which would award          undertaken training far in excess of           Habib Rahman, chief executive of          Doctors from outside Europe will
the status to paralegals who can         the baseline level outlined in the           the Joint Council for the Welfare of      no longer be able to work in Britain
demonstrate skills in a particular       competency map provided as part              Immigrants, said the proposals            as salaried GPs under the new rules.
area of law through a combination        of the arrangements, will be eligible        unfairly discriminated against              About 700,000 people currently
of a recognised academic paralegal       for Registered Paralegal status in           migrant workers from developing           work in the professions listed – less
qualification and a minimum period       the initial stages – providing they          countries.                                than the million covered by the
of supervised office practice, was       meet the work-based experience                 But Nur-Ur Rahman Khondaker,            existing system, of which about 7%
supported by 90% of the survey’s         criteria.                                    secretary general of the Bangladesh       are non-EU workers.
respondents.                               The results of the consultation            Caterers Association, welcomed the          MAC chairman Professor David
  The Society of Specialist              will be used, alongside responses to         inclusion of chefs who meet the           Metcalf said the list was not “set in
Paralegals has long championed the       a separate project involving in-             additional salary criteria on the list,   stone”, and a new one would be
formal recognition of academic           depth interviews with firms and              as he feared ethnic restaurants           published every two years.
paralegal qualifications, a concept      employing organisations, to draft            would be permanently barred from
pioneered some fifteen years ago by      final proposals and regulations for          hiring non-EEA staff.                     I For more on this developing area of
the University of Strathclyde, and       the new scheme - which may be                  Current immigration rules permit        law, turn to Part 3 of our Professional
we are delighted to welcome this         ready for launch by Spring 2009.             citizens of other EU states, with the     Update series on Immigration on P18.

                                                                                                                           The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008       5
                          news
licensing                                                                                    news in brief
                                                                                              MINIMUM WAGE                                  TRAFFIC OFFENCES
Under-21 booze ban                                                                              New national minimum wage
                                                                                              increases came into force on 1st October.
                                                                                                                                              New road traffic offences including
                                                                                                                                            causing death by dangerous driving are
                                                                                              From that date, the minimum wage for
on the rocks after                                                                            those aged over 22 rose to £5.73 per
                                                                                              hour. Those aged 18-21 are now entitled
                                                                                                                                            now in force. Causing death by driving
                                                                                                                                            while     uninsured,      unlicensed     or
                                                                                                                                            disqualified will also be a special offence
                                                                                              to £4.77 per hour, and the minimum for        under provisions of the Road Safety Act
“thousands” oppose                                                                            16 and 17 year olds is now £3.53.

                                                                                              POTTER COPYRIGHT
                                                                                                                                            2006. The maximum penalty for causing
                                                                                                                                            death by dangerous driving will be five
                                                                                                                                            years in a prosecution on indictment, and
Controversial plans to ban the sale            young people and infringes on the                Author JK Rowling has won her legal         two years for the other new offences.
of alcohol to under-21s are set to be          rights of the responsible majority of          battle in a New York court to get an          Disqualification will be mandatory.
reined in following massive protests           young adults who would be trusted              unofficial Harry potter encyclopaedia
from retailers, students and political         to go to war, get married, and even            banned from publication. Ms Rowling           OPEN HOUSE
parties.                                       run a pub at 18, but could not have a          sued Michigan-based publishers RDR              With Home Reports due to become
  Senior Scottish Government                   glass of wine over dinner with                 Books last year to stop publication of        compulsory before the end of the year,
figures are considering a less                 friends or family.”                            The Harry Potter Lexicon, based on a          a “definitive” online solution has been
draconian approach, allowing local               The Scottish Government said                 popular fansite. Judge Robert Patterson       launched by major market players SPM
authorities to raise the drinking age          schemes trialling the policy, such as          said in his ruling that the work, by          (Surveyors Panel Management) and
in areas where underage drinking is            “Stop the Supply” in Larbert and               Steven Vander Ark, would cause Ms             Millar and Bryce. OpenHouse – a name
found.                                         Stenhousemuir, had been successful.            Rowling irreparable harm as a writer.         signifying “open for business” – aims
  Other measures announced in the                A spokeswoman said: “We                                                                    to provide a one stop, straightforward,
government’s legislative programme             welcome all engagement with the                ASBESTOS DEBATE                               information resource to estate agents
for the next year include setting a            consultation process, because                    Scottish Government plans to help           and legal professionals, available at
minimum price for alcoholic drinks             alcohol misuse costs Scotland at               compensate people suffering from              www.openhouse.co.uk.
in an attempt to stop cut-price                least £2.25bn every year.                      past exposure to asbestos have been
booze deals, the introduction of                 “It’s affecting our health service,          heavily criticised at Holyrood. New           NO COMPARISON
separate checkouts for alcohol sales           our criminal justice system and our            laws, as reported in our last issue,            Price     comparison       website
in      supermarkets,      and     the         economy, and we need to take                   aim to overturn a House of Lords              moneysupermarket.com is to start
introduction       of     a    “social         action now to rebalance our                    ruling blocking damages in pleural            selling legal business sales leads to
responsibility fee” for some retailers.        relationship with alcohol.                     plaques cases, but insurance                  law firms involved in conveyancing,
  The plans were unveiled earlier                “When we have clear evidence of              companies and health and legal                probate and employment. Consumers
this summer, following figures which           successful pilots – which carried the          experts claimed the move was an               visiting the website will be asked if
showed that alcohol abuse is costing           full support of local off-license              expensive       mistake.     Despite          they want advice from participating
Scotland £2bn a year.                          sellers, and resulted in a significant         opposition, the bill – which also             firms if they have searched for
  But campaigners have claimed that            decline in anti-social behaviour – we          covers pleural thickening and                 information on related topics
more than 10,000 people had signed             have a responsibility to consult on            asbestosis – is likely to be passed           including mortgages and wills. The
a petition against the proposed age            spreading the benefits across                  with Labour Party backing.                    company intends to launch a
rise.                                          Scotland.”                                                                                   personal injury leads service later in
  The Coalition Against Raising the              Meanwhile, Scotland’s biggest                LEGISLATIVE                                   the year.
Drinking Age in Scotland (Cardas),             train operator has been urged to               PROGRAMME
whose members include the                      consider introducing “dry carriages”             The Scottish Government has set out         FORCED MARRIAGES
National Union of Students                     to crack down on drink-fuelled                 its plans for the next year, including          The rules for people bringing in
Scotland and the Scottish Youth                antisocial behaviour.                          scrapping the council tax in favour of a      spouses to the UK from overseas are to
Parliament, claimed it was a “bad                First ScotRail managing director             local income tax of 3p in the pound.          change, in an attempt to tackle forced
policy” that could even increase               Mary Grant has been asked to                   Other plans, some of which are                marriages. The age limit will be raised
alcohol misuse.                                examine the case for banning                   reported elsewhere in this section, are       from 18 to 21, and the foreign spouse
  Cardas co-ordinator Tom French               alcohol in certain coaches following           the much-debated ban on under-21s             will have to sign an agreement saying
said ministers seemed determined to            protests from passengers in the                buying alcohol from off-licenses and          they will learn English before coming to
implement the plans “even though it            north-east.                                    the introduction of alternative business      the UK. UK citizens who are going to
flies in the face of the evidence, is            Regional MSP Nigel Don wrote to              structures to the legal profession. In        marry foreigners will also need to
deeply unpopular amongst the                   Ms Grant, advising her that                    total, fifteen planned pieces of new          register their intention before leaving
public, every other political party in         travelling next to people who are              legislation will cover a wide range of        the UK, meaning a young person will
the Scottish Parliament, and even              drinking heavily and rowdy is                  areas including criminal justice, the         know in advance that a marriage is to
some of the SNP’s own MSPs.                    unpleasant, particularly for young             environment and public service reform.        take place and who their partner will be.
  “It is a policy that demonises               families.

legal profession

Firms consider outsourcing as credit crunch bites
  Two major UK law firms have                    Critics of the scheme argue that           flat or possibly fall a little as leavers are   commercial contracts that are too
announced that they are to begin               outsourcing legal work is inappropriate      not replaced.”                                  expensive to carry out in the UK or in-
outsourcing paralegal work to India.           given the complexities of the English          By 2009 the firm, which currently             house.
  Eversheds and Clifford Chance, both top      language and legal system, and the risk of   employs around 110 paralegals in                   The scheme could then be expanded to
10 law firms in The Lawyer UK’s annual         exposure of client’s private data.           London, wants to employ 20 paralegals           cover larger-scale work such as due
analysis of the profession, cite lower costs     Clifford Chance already has an Indian      and 300 business services staff at the site     diligence.
as their main reason, and promise to pass      service centre just outside Delhi, which     in Gurgaon – equivalent to almost 10 per           Commercial group head Jonathan
those savings along to clients.                the firm uses for business support           cent of its global business services staff.     Guest, behind the initiative, said: “Clients
  Outsourcing is becoming increasingly         services.                                      The offshore centre supports practice         like the concept [of outsourcing] but want
common in the US, following an American          Global managing partner David Childs       areas including litigation and capital          someone to establish the process and
Bar Association ruling which allows for the    denied that the move would affect the        markets by covering routine tasks such as       provide verification. From our perspective
move where firms sending work overseas         number of traineeships offered at its        research, document review, database             we are bringing a solution to a perceived
ensure all work done beyond US borders is      London head office, calling it the firm’s    creation and proofreading.                      client need – we will hopefully be
done according to domestic law –               “principal recruitment source”.                Eversheds is now considering a similar        introduced to new clients through this,
including the protection of confidential         However, he added: “[It’s] likely          initiative, and has signed a contract with      and it will lead the way for the firm to act
information.                                   paralegal numbers in London will now be      a third-party provider to outsource small       for them on larger scale work.”

 6    The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
new for 2008                             book now                                                                              coming soon

Legal Feeing Spectacular discounts CLT Webinars
for Support available on Specialist Online!
Staff        Paralegal Practitioner                                                                                            CLT Online, a market leader in online
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designed to provide you with theDisco
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                                                                                                                               series north of the border. Our range of
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understand and obtain an extensive       CLT Scotland is delighted to              Strathclyde, a leading
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completion of the course, you will be    discounts off its popular range of        holding one of the                             Seminars feature expert speakers on
fully proficient in all types of legal   Specialist Paralegal Practitioner         highest ratings for law teaching in the     a variety of topics, who look in depth at
feeing. The course will be divided       Qualifications!                           UK.                                         specific topical areas within a one-hour
into separate areas of feeing as           Book now to receive 20% off any           On successful completion of the           online training session. All seminars
follows:                                 subject, while previous graduates and     course, students will be awarded a          count for at least one hour’s CPD.
• Private Client Feeing                  members of the Society of Specialist      Specialist Paralegal Practitioner Award        Delegates can interact with the
• Commercial Client Feeing               Paralegals can take a fantastic 30% the   at a graduation ceremony held at the        speaker during the sessions by asking
• Preparation for and Conduct of         standard price to requalify in another    University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.         text-based questions, and using other
    Diet of Taxations                    subject area.                               Graduates of the programme will           interactive features such as voting polls.
• Preparation of Judicial Accounts         The Specialist Paralegal Practitioner   also be eligible for full membership of     Course notes are available to download
    in the Court of Session and          Programme is available throughout         the Society of Specialist Paralegals,       from the webinar site.
    sheriff courts                       the year via home study – perfect for     and will be entitled to use the                Seminars take place at lunchtimes
• Time Recording                         those looking to take charge of their     designation MSSP after their names in       and in early evening time slots to
• File Management                        learning needs while keeping up with      recognition of their professional           enable solicitors and other busy
The course will comprise a               work and family commitments.              status.                                     professionals to maximise their office
comprehensive syllabus, assignments        The programme is an advanced level                                                  time while still receiving vital
and guidance notes.                      home study qualification, with an         I For more information, or to make a        knowledge and training.
                                         emphasis on practical issues and what     booking, please contact the Paralegal
I For more information, or to make a     the professional paralegal “needs to      Training Co-ordinator on 0141 225 6700      I More details will be announced
booking, please contact the Course Co-   know”.                                    or via email:                               soon – keep an eye on your mailbox,
ordinator on 0141 225 6700 or via          The course has been developed in        scottishparalegal@centlaw.com,              and our website at www.clt-
email: scotenquiries@centlaw.com.        association with the University of        quoting reference SPM16.                    scotland.co.uk!




 l ow e r in g th e b a r
    The lighter side of the legal profession…
     Debt collection, Spanish style!                     Administration. Spanish law allows a                 was thrown out before tribunal stage after a
       Stephen Cowan of Yuill and Kyle Solicitors,       leisurely 94 days to settle bills, compared          judge ruled that she had no physical or
     Glasgow, whose debt recovery news list              with a European average of 30 days. It can           mental impairment.
     never ceases to inform and entertain, alerts        take three years to pursue a debtor through
     us to this little snippet:                          the courts, during which time the company            Who wears short shorts?
       If you owed a few thousand euros and found        may have gone bust or changed its name. No             A woman in Kansas, USA was ordered to
     your footsteps dogged by a man wearing a            wonder an estimated 60% of creditors write           serve three days in jail after a judge found
     top hat, tails and silken cummerbund,               off their debts.                                     her in contempt of court for inappropriate
     wouldn’t you pay up rather than face the              Embarrassment is the best solution… Other          dress. Kirstie Arnold, 28, had been warned
     humiliation of being shadowed by someone            collectors dress up as clowns, monks,                about her clothing in two previous court
     dressed like Count Dracula?                         bullfighters or masked swordsmen. One                appearances before Garrard Country District
       As Spain’s economy falters, the debt-             always works with his dog and attributes his         Judge Janet Booth, and had been fined $50 in
     collecting business is booming and has              high success rate to the barking that                her last appearance. Her tiny shorts proved
     devised colourful new variants to play on           accompanies his visits. Another plays the            the final straw for the judge, who ordered her
     people’s embarrassment at having their              bagpipes until payment is received.                  to serve three days for “disregard and
     indebtedness paraded in public. El Cobrador           You can sign up to the mailing list and read       disrespect for court proceedings."
     del Frac – “the Debt Collector in Top Hat and       related stories at www.debtscotland.com.
     Tails” – is a nationwide operation which send                                                            A tasty lawsuit
     employees dressed like Hollywood villains to        Lack of English “a disability”, claims                 Cadbury’s operation in America has been hit
     collect debts. To underline the message, the        Polish cleaner                                       by an unusual lawsuit from three of the
     theatrically-clad collector carries a black           A Polish cleaner claimed her lack of English       company’s taste testers who claim to have
     briefcase with his calling spelled out in           should be classed as a disability as she tried       been seriously injured trying a new product.
     capital letters.                                    to sue her employers for alleged                     The three women, from Morris County in New
       …El Cobrador claims a 70% success rate. Its       discrimination. Izabela Smolarek, 30, was            Jersey,     accuse    Cadbury     Adams      of
     Madrid office is decked out in plate glass,         seeking £5,000 in damages from cleaning              exacerbating their injuries by delaying
     black leather and steel, its walls adorned          firm ISS Facility Services Ltd, claiming they        disclosure of the ingredients in the offending
     with hunting trophies. It is busy, with bulky       exploited her inability to understand her job        sample to a dentist. According to their
     men in dark suits. The effect is faintly            contract by paying her less than the minimum         lawsuits, one felt her mouth burning and had
     intimidating.                                       wage for cleaning rooms at a Travelodge in           injuries to her tongue, while another says that
       Spaniards are often slow to pay debts, a          Luton. She said in her claim statement: “Not         she felt burning in her mouth and lower gum
     tendency that does back centuries, says Pere        speaking and not understanding the                   as her lip swelled up and her heart raced. The
     Brachfield, a self-styled “debtologist” at          language is a disability. It’s like being deaf       three are seeking unspecified monetary
     Barcelona’s        School     of    Business        and mute and illiterate.” However, her case          damages for medical expenses and suffering.




                                                                                                                          The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008        7
Graduations
AUTUMN 2008

The        biannual      paralegal       GRADUATING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND
graduation ceremony represents
the culmination of months of             Commercial Property       Jillian Ewings                Rebecca Brookbanks
hard work and intensive study on         Rachel Armshaw            Julie Lamb                    Ashlynne Butler
the part of our paralegals.              Deborah Austin            Rebecca Lowe                  Pamela Carter
Watched by family, friends,              Hannah Gibson             Anne McKenning                Carole Hoare
colleagues and tutors, newly             Joanne Hipkiss            Joseph Palmer                 Janet Molyneaux
qualified paralegals receive their                                 Selina Woodall
certificates    from    university       Company Law Practice                                    Wills, Probate and
dignitaries.                             Olivia Aitken             Family Law & Practice         Administration Practice
  Congratulations to our latest          Emma Breward              Tracy Knott                   Carol Etherington
batch of Paralegal Practitioners         Rebecca Draper            Faye Peacock                  Sharon Heselton
who will graduate at the Barony          Gillian Hackett           Holly Reid                    Andrea Holland
Hall,     the     University    of       Sharon Robinson                                         Karen Kynaston
Strathclyde, on Monday 20th              Claire Tozer              Personal Injury Practice      Barbara Macklin
October. You are now eligible to                                   Rossano Nocera                Coral Milborrow
join an elite band of over 4,000         Employment Law Practice                                 Sharon Morgan
graduates throughout the UK as a         Miriam Camilleri          Residential Conveyancing      Katy Norris
Member of the Society of                 Holly Dale                Practice
Specialist Paralegals.                   Anna-Maria Doggett        Dawn Ashfield



GRADUATING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE
Civil Court Practice                     Employment Law Practice   Licensing Law Practice        Residential Conveyancing
Tracy Dick                               Karen Allington           Alan Black                    Practice
Lisa Houston                             Carrie Annabi             Cheryl Canning                Cheryl Altunboga
Christopher Keir                         Graham Buckley            Bernadette Corrance           Nikki Baillie
Stacey McKay                             Margaret Capanni          Stewart Gailey                Patrick Balfour
Ann Parker                               Arlene Cochrane           Beatrice Hay                  Kirsty Blake
Michael Ross                             Guy Dudley                Sheila Inglis                 Karianne Falconer
Denise Scott                             Lyndsey Freedman          Barbara Anne McLaren          Joanne Ferguson
Stephen Tonner                           Clare Green               G Norman McLean               Louise Goudie
                                         Christine Jamieson        Margaret Morrison             Stuart Hawthorne
Commercial Conveyancing                  Andrew Kane               Roderick Ritchie              Kim Lister
Practice                                 Julie Lewis               Graeme Ross                   Lisa Michie
Iona Adams                               Sylvja Matthews           Pamela Stevenson              Kim Moffat
Morven Duncan                            Robert McComb             Paul Stewart                  Helen Polley
Gillian Dyer                             Anne Marie McGarrity      Kathleen Thompson             Kate Rock
Lynn Easton                              Laura McInally                                          Tracy Smith
Sarah Mouat                              Joanne Moore              Remortgaging                  Rebecca Still
Marie Ramsay                             Pauline Penrice           Colette Irene Brown           Jane Timson
                                         Linda Reilly              David Leishman                Pauline Wright
Company Law Practice                     Bernie Sanderson          Graeme Lyon
Dawn Bellamy                             Emma Stewart              Shona MacPherson              Wills, Trusts & Executries
Fiona MacBean                            Susan Turner              Brian McGowan                 Practice
Catherine Surgey                         Lorna Wilkins             Victoria Samantha McLachlan   Carol Buckner
Suzanne Watt                             Ruth Wilson               Hayley McRorie                Pamela Caldwell
Gail Weir                                Nicola Young              Murray McQuarrie              Sharon Clark
                                                                   Robyn Scott                   Gillian Conn
Criminal Practice                        Family Law Practice       Donna Watson                  Martin Donnelly
Jennifer Clark                           Louise Baggott            Emma White                    Stephen Gray
Jacqueline Hall                          Jill Cowan                Sharon Young                  John Hood
Simone McBurnie                          Carol Blackburn                                         Fiona Keith
                                         Carolanne Clyde           Reparation Law Practice       Leah Kerr
Debt Recovery Practice                   Irene Margaret Donnelly   Norma Erskine                 Caroline Lawson
Supreen Bibi                             Kara Duke                 Naomi Guilfoyle               Sharon MacLennan
Andrew Blinkhorn                         John Graham               Richard MacLellan             Nadine McPike
Lynn Clark                               Nicola Johnston           Siobhan McInally              Katherine Midgley
Nikki Fannan                             Diane Jones               Margaret McLeod               Mariann Mitchell
Craig Stephen Hayton                     Kirsty Lumsden            Heather Miller                Alison O’Hare
Pat Jackson                              Patricia McMillan         Suzanne Rosenshine            Dianne O’Neill
Pauline McGinlay                         Susan Milne               Marie Tillier                 Caralyn Rowe
Elizabeth McGinty                        Susan Ann Muir            Fraser Watson                 Shona Sandison
Valerie Reid                             Martha Mundey                                           Anne Sheffield
Elaine Rose                              Kathleen Nolan                                          Julia Shirreffs
Vicki Sharp                              John Osborne                                            Donna Sutherland
Gillian Wallace                          Yvonne Rome                                             Linzi Taylor



 8    The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
                                                                                                                                                                 www.lyndsaymeager.com
Illegally Blonde




                                                                                                                                                                 Image by Lyndsay Meager
Diary of The Specialist Paralegal’s girl about town!

Dear Diary,
I couldn’t believe it. My much-anticipated girlie   electrical engineer.                                       family as I become freshly inspired to improve
day with pal Shauna was about to end in               Now, instead of taking him to school, I take             all their diets. Though after one of my meals,
disaster before it had even begun.                  him to work complete with tool box instead of              some of the family report weight loss not
  For weeks we had planned the event with           his school bag. And I still cried when I dropped           weight gain.
military precision: an afternoon watching           him off for the first time.                                  Speaking of weight loss, I have also begun
Mamma Mia, followed by a Chinese and a few            As part of his induction programme, he had to            power walking with my friend June (yes I have
glasses of wine. No husbands and no kids for a      fly to Manchester to get all his equipment and             two) every evening and the pounds are falling
few hours – utter bliss.                            clothes. It was the first time he had been on a            off. I am also thinking of getting a new dog to
  But as we queued for our seat at our local        plane on his own, but he made the trip there               get me out more and get the fitness levels up.
multiplex the dreaded announcements was             successfully despite my husband putting him in               On the down side, I have been suffering from
made:                                               the wrong check-in queue on the outward flight             a frozen shoulder since Christmas and have had
                                                    from Glasgow.                                              a number of operations and physiotherapy – but
HOUSE FULL.                                           However, he cheered up when he discovered                things are finally getting better. I can tell you it
  It seemed 400 females had had the same idea       one of the other apprentices was accompanied               was the worst pain I have ever had, worse than
to spend their Saturday away from their loved       by his mum as she couldn’t trust him to get                childbirth. On the upside my male physio is
ones, and as we were last in the queue we were      down there on his own.                                     very cute, though a bit on the young side. He
told it was no show. However the manager,             There was more good news when he passed all              also uses too much fake tan and after a session
sensing our disappointment, offered Shauna and      his Intermediate school exams with flying                  with him I truly feel as though I have been
I discount tickets in the padded seats for the      colours. However, as we had promised him                   tangoed.
kiddies’ cartoon movie Wall-E.                      £100 for each A pass, £30 for each B pass and                Talking about shoulders, my 14-year-old has
  Like its subject matter, it was rubbish – there   £10 for each C, with four As and a clutch of B             become a fitness fanatic and goes to the gym
were subtitles, but with only two words being       and C passes I was more than £500 out of                   twice a week. Unlike his mum, he also eats
used in the entire movie we decided that these      pocket.                                                    healthily. However, he says he is not ready to
were not needed! Still, the seats were great and      I also fell out with the hubbie after I bought a         go power walking with his mum as that would
the Chinese and wine also made up for things.       double bed for our youngest son using his credit           just be too embarrassing. Now where is that
Poor Shauna had a loved-up couple next to her       card but forgot to tell him. He’s still baffled as         wine… isn’t it funny how the bottle seems to
– they didn’t see much (if any) of the movie.       to how and when the bed was delivered and put              get smaller or is it the glass that is bigger…
  It has also been a momentous time of change       together. I am just calling it Bedgate – it was            hmmm…
in our household: my sixteen-year-old son left      soon resolved over a game of Scrabble!
school and started his apprenticeship as an           A new series of Masterchef on BBC2 means a               I Illegally Blonde is the pseudonym of a Wills,
                                                    new array of enticing gourmet meals for my                 Trusts and Executries-qualified paralegal.




                                     60 second interview
with Real Radio's Alan Rough                                                   The former Partick Thistle, Hibs and Celtic
                                                                               goalkeeper is a Scottish footballing legend
                                                                               who represented his country at three world
                                                                                                                              Mauritius recently. The weather
                                                                                                                              was great, the people were very
                                                                                                                              friendly and no-one recognised me
                                                                               cups in 1978, 1982 and 1986 and played         and wanted to talk about football.
                                                                               53 times for his country. He has now found     It was also great to go somewhere
                                                                               new celebrity as co-host of the Real Radio     which wasn’t a tourist trap.
                                                                               football phone-in with Ewan Cameron.
                                                                                                                              Most memorable game?
                                                                               Favourite meal?                                The two occasions in 1977 and
                                                                               Fillet steak, medium rare on a bed             1981 we beat England at Wembley.
                                                                               of mash with asparagus. I have
                                                                               eaten it since my playing days.                Toughest opponent?
                                                                                                                              Zico of Brazil. The free kick he
                                                                               Ideal date?                                    scored against me in 1982 at the
                                                                               A romantic night out with my                   world cup in Spain is still rated one
                                                                               partner Maggie at Number 29                    of the best ever in football.
                                                                               restaurant in Glasgow city centre. I           However, Maggie comes a close
                                                                               have got to say that, haven’t I?               second when I get on her wrong
                                                                                                                              side.
                                                                               Favourite drink?
                                                                               As a true athlete I have got to say            Plans for the future?
                                                                               water. But I have been known to                To carry on with the Real Radio
                                                                               enjoy the odd glass of wine or                 phone-in which I have been doing
                                                                               three.                                         now for eight years. It’s the next
                                                                                                                              best thing to playing and the
                                                                               Best holiday?                                  banter with the callers is great fun.
                                                                               Best holiday ever was the two                  They say I have a great face for
Face for radio? Football icon Alan Rough                                       weeks Maggie and I spent in                    radio...!

                                                                                                                         The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008   9
Conveyancing from a different angle
                            The Specialist Paralegal meets Grace McQueen,
                            underwriter with Stewart Title


“When I was 27, I was Assistant              Grace started her new role with          if I knew what, say, a servitude right
Manager in a bar and it was awful,”        Stewart Title in March 2007, after the     of access, or a burden or title
Grace McQueen reminisces at                birth of her son. The title insurance      condition, actually was.
Stewart Title’s Scottish office. “One      company operates throughout the              “It’s definitely helped in my work –
of my customers suggested that I go        UK and internationally, and                when I was doing the course to start
to college or university, and after        processes Scottish and Northern Irish      off with, I’d go along on a
talking it through with my husband I       claims from its Strathclyde Business       Wednesday night and come into
thought it sounded like a good idea. I     Park office. In her role as an             work on the Thursday or Friday with      Grace explains. “The last thing you
went to college and did an IT course       underwriter, Grace deals with              my highlighted notes, looking for        want is to have to tell a client who
– absolutely loved it, it was like going   enquiries from clients facing the          practical examples from the solicitors   needs an answer that you have to go
back to school.                            prospect of losing value through           I worked with. It was a bit more         away and think about it. So we keep
  “I was originally going to do an         defective title documents.                 difficult for me to do the course        abreast of change by attending CPD
HNC, but as the second year rolled           “We’re usually able to tell clients      because I wasn’t involved in paralegal   courses.”
around I decided to stay on and do an      straight away if their problem is one      work per se – had I been working in        Grace lists speaking to paralegals
HND. By the end of the two years, I        we can cover,” Grace says. “We’re          conveyancing I don’t think the course    among her favourite parts of the job.
had gathered enough credits to get         always at the other end of the phone,      would have been easier, as I don’t       “I enjoy the rapport I get to build up
into third year at university.             and will help as much as we can.”          think it was an easy course, but I       with the people at the other end of
  “My whole family encouraged me             Title insurance can cover all sorts of   think it would have been easier to       the phone,” she says. “Paralegals have
to carry on – nothing ventured,            problems, from a missing document          understand.                              been doing very good jobs for a very
nothing gained!”                           to the discovery that a client lacks         “It would be like asking a paralegal   long time, and now that the market
  And Grace didn’t look back. After        title to land.                             to do an underwriting course – we        has taken a bit of a nosedive they
graduating she applied for an office         Grace was already working as an          look at conveyancing from a different    seem to have been the first to suffer.
job with a Glasgow firm specialising       assistant residential underwriter          angle.”                                    “I don’t feel the need to go on and
in remortgages, before moving onto         when, in 2002, her previous                  Recent         changes     in    the   become a solicitor – I’m happy being
to an underwriting job in the              employer suggested she undertake a         conveyancing world, such as the          a paralegal, and being an
defective title department. “In the        Specialist Paralegal Practitioner          abolition of feudal tenure, have had     underwriter.”
space of a few years I’ve gone from        Qualification       in      residential    an impact at Stewart Title. “We have
working in a bar, to IT, to                conveyancing. “They thought it             to stay one step ahead and predict       I For more information about the
administrator, to underwriter – and        might be beneficial as I would             how these changes could affect the       work of Stewart Title, visit their
I’m loving it!” she says.                  understand the legalities of risk better   types of question we are asked,”         website at www.stewarttitle.co.uk.




 10   The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
The Winner Takes It All!
                            Stephen McGowan is a double winner at
                            the Law Awards of Scotland


The leading lights of the legal
profession gathered at Glasgow’s
Hilton Hotel last month to hear the
results of the profession’s “Oscars” –
the fifth annual Law Awards of
Scotland.
   And it was a double celebration for
licensing      paralegal      Stephen
McGowan, who scooped the
Chairman’s Award from a panel
headed by in-house lawyer Janet
Hood in addition to the coveted
Paralegal of the Year title.
   Big winners on the night included
Law Firms of the Year Raeburn
Christie Clark & Wallace and MBM
Commercial LLP, who took the
prizes in the over and under fifty fee
earner categories respectively.
   Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill
MSP accepted his Legal Personality
of the Year award via video
presentation.
   And there was a Lifetime
Achievement Award for legendary
criminal solicitor Joseph Beltrami,
who visibly emotional compere
Donald Findlay QC referred to as his      Lawman Donald Findlay compered the evening
“mentor and friend”.

"Just amazing"
Stephen McGowan, a Fellow of the
Society of Specialist Paralegals
whose achievements to date include
becoming the first paralegal to
become a Specialist Paralegal
Practitioner Qualification course
tutor, was “delighted” to be
nominated for Paralegal of the Year.
“I didn’t know if I was in with a shout
– there were six or so other
candidates,” he says. “To win that
award was a great feeling, but I had
absolutely no idea that I would go on
to win the Chairman’s Award!              Winner Stephen collects his first award from Lisa-Marie Ferla      Double Delight The Chairman's Award makes it two
   “When Donald Findlay read my
name out I didn’t even notice, but my     paralegal as “a rollercoaster”, saying:    how friendly everyone is, both in the       needs are the very attributes needed in
wife Angie was jumping up and             “With the new laws, it has been an         Edinburgh and Glasgow offices,” he          today’s demanding market for legal
down and I saw my name on the             exciting but difficult time for those      says. “I’m currently doing civil            services.”
screens. I was lost for words! I still    involved. In terms of specific             litigation in Glasgow where my new             As for the future? “At the moment
haven’t taken it in, to be honest – to    examples I was lucky enough to be          departmental friends Siobhan, Gillian       I’m focussed on doing my best in my
be picked as the single best              involved, at the ground level, in the      and Lynne are keeping me right – and        traineeship with Tods,” Stephen says. “I
submission from every other               successful challenge to the Aberdeen       of course, I’ve been given a bundle of      am quite enjoying litigation, probably
nominee was just amazing.                 Licensing Board’s minimum pricing          licensing work as well!”                    because it’s a similar environment to
   “I think part of the reason I was      scheme, reported in the SLT (2005)             The firm are certainly proud of         licensing – all deadlines, court
nominated was because of my book,         as Mitchells & Butler v City of            their “rising legal star”, with Executive   appearances and making sure all the
Gaming in Pubs & Clubs: The New Law,      Aberdeen Licensing Board.                  Partner David Dunsire sending a             right bits of paper are in place.
which was published in April 2008.           “However, in terms of personal          delighted email round the firm. “I am          He adds: “One thing that’s for sure is
To be able to write a legal textbook      satisfaction, I was involved with a        delighted that Stephen has now              that I will continue to be involved in
whilst a paralegal was an excellent       new hotel licence for a large city         joined us,” he said in a statement. “His    licensing law – I still retain a good
achievement.”                             centre complex. It was a very difficult    determination to succeed in the legal       working relationship with my old boss
   Stephen first became interested in     application with many twists and           profession is abundantly clear, and I       Jack Cummins and assist with his
the law, and licensing law in             turns, and took almost two years           hope that he will enjoy his time with       magazine, ‘Scottish Licensing Law &
particular, while working in a pub in     before the license was finalised, so it    us.”                                        Practice’. I’ve also been asked to speak
Glasgow. “The proprietor at the time      was very gratifying to eventually              There was praise too from old boss      on upcoming conferences for the BII
was fighting what’s known as the          cross the finish line.”                    Jack Cummins, who Stephen worked            and Law Society.”
‘beer tie’ on competition law                                                        with as a paralegal at R&JM Hill Brown         With another book on the way – a
grounds, and he would often talk to       Traineeship                                & Co. “Stephen has real enthusiasm for      practical guide to the Licensing
me about it after closing time,” he       Stephen, who completed the                 licensing and deserves enormous             (Scotland) Act 2005, which will be
says. “He would also talk to me about     Diploma in Legal Practice over the         credit for achieving so much, so            published by Avizandum in 2009 – one
the licensing laws, and so it all         summer, is a couple of weeks into his      quickly, including authorship of his        thing is for sure: the licensing world
spiralled from there.”                    traineeship with Tods Murray. “What        gaming textbook,” he said. “His             hasn’t heard the last of Stephen
   He describes his time as a licensing   struck me most about the firm was          passion, energy and focus on clients’       McGowan.

                                                                                                                            The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008      11
special feature
Feeling the Strain
               Paralegals fall victim to the
               current economic crisis


They say there is an old Chinese
curse: May you live in interesting times.
And times, of late, have certainly
been interesting for the legal
profession. The double whammy of a
housing market plummeting into
sudden decline and the effect of
summary justice reforms on legal aid
work has conspired to make an
impact on legal firms throughout the
country. The story behind those
“credit crunch” headlines is already
devastatingly familiar to hundreds of
paralegals.
   Research by The Lawyer magazine            “The residential conveyancing          scrappy piece of paper, and mumbled        experienced paralegals in the
reveals that the UK’s top 100 firms         sector has suffered the most, and I’ve   about how times were not good and          personal injury sector – in every
have made more than 300 staff               heard stories about conveyancing         that I was being made redundant. It        economic downturn litigation
redundant since November, while the         teams at larger firms laying off up to   was totally unprofessional – I was         increases as insurers become more
Law Society of Scotland estimates           ten people at a time. Wills and          very angry, and my husband and             motivated to defend claims and
that hundreds of paralegals and             probate has suffered collaterally, as    family were disgusted at how I had         protect their funds. We also
support staff have been made                many firms offering this service         been treated.                              anticipate continued demand for
redundant with others losing hours or       relied on work referred from the           “I was made redundant along with a       good employment practitioners,
put onto short-term working. The            conveyancing practice.                   couple of secretaries. I realised that I   particularly     those     from      a
Law Society also reports at least 40          “Commercial property has also          had to move very quickly to find a         predominantly             respondent
redundancies       among       Scottish     been affected, particularly markedly     new job, and within two days had           background.”
solicitors, with 36 traineeships also       on the acquisition side. The             made an appointment with a                   Lisa McGill notes a little more
cancelled, postponed or cut short. A        reticence of commercial banks to         recruitment       consultant.     They     movement in the recruitment market
spokesperson admits that these              lend for site development or to          managed to secure two interviews           as the summer ends. “Conveyancing
figures may not even reflect the full       purchase existing developments has       with other legal firms within a week,      paralegals who have unfortunately
picture, as they don’t take into            led to this downturn and had a           and I also managed to secure two           been made redundant have, on the
account the 10,000 currently on the         knock-on effect on the amount of         other interviews within the banking        whole, been able to secure
roll who have taken early retirement        new landlord and tenant work and         sector. The job I opted for was my         alternative employment and many
or left the profession.                     property litigation.”                    favourite choice and I am very happy       are retraining outwith law altogether.
   Some firms have felt the pinch             “We have found in the last six         where I am. Unfortunately three            Paralegals possess many transferrable
more than others, with the ongoing          months that the credit crunch and        months into my new job I was, along        skills and should be able to find
squeeze on mortgages and financial          subsequent drop in house purchase        with all other staff, given redundancy     temporary employment at least until
providers      meaning      residential     and sales has resulted in a high         notice again but thankfully I have         things pick up again,” she says.
property specialists have been badly        volume of redundancies across            escaped this time, although I have to      “Firms, as a result of these
hit. As a specialism which has              Scotland       for      conveyancing     say a few of my new colleagues were        redundancies, have been less likely
traditionally made prominent use of         paralegals – residential conveyancing    not so lucky.                              to recruit but we are beginning to see
paralegals, the situation is an             in particular,” adds Lisa McGill of        “I feel fairly safe in my job at the     more movement with recruitment
alarming one.                               Search Legal. “There also seems to       moment and will just have to               and areas such as litigation – debt
   “We have seen a big increase in the      have been a knock-on effect with         weather the storm. It is really tough      recovery in particular – should get
number of residential conveyancing          paralegals working in other areas of     out there at the moment for                increasingly busier.”
paralegals looking for work,” admits        law such as private client.              paralegals, but we are a professional
Charlene Morrison, a recruitment              “These redundancies have been          body which lawyers cannot afford to        What should you do?
consultant with Ellis Fairbank in           most keenly felt across the central      do without. The profession has to          Perhaps the most important thing
Glasgow. “And there seems to be             belt with the Highlands being more       maintain a high quality of paralegals,     that paralegals facing an uncertain
little activity in other areas where        cushioned, perhaps due to a large        or else those people will retrain in       future should do is not to panic, and
historically there was always some          proportion of their transactions         other professions and then there will      to ensure that they are prepared.
movement – commercial, corporate,           relating to more rural/agricultural      be a shortage in the future – we know      Stay informed, with a finger on the
etc.                                        sales, which largely have been           this has happened in the legal world       pulse at developments at your firm,
   “The number of paralegal vacancies       unaffected by the credit crunch.”        before.”                                   and ask questions of your supervising
has definitely decreased over the last                                                                                          partner to ensure any rumours are
few months, with residential                The harsh reality                        The bright side                            dealt with before allowing them to
conveyancing particularly affected –        “When I was made redundant there         There is, however, a note of cautious      spiral out of control. Don’t be shy to
for worse. However, there is always a       was no warning at all or any mention     optimism among our interviewed             lend a hand in departments
slowdown in the summer months,              of what was going on in the office to    recruiters. “Well-managed and funds-       struggling under an increased
coupled with firms being reluctant to       anyone,” says one unfortunate            rich firms see economic downturns          workload while things are quiet –
recruit just now.                           paralegal. “The partners never called    as an opportunity to invest or “up         extra work taken on will reflect your
   “There has been a definite impact        a staff meeting to make staff aware of   skill”,     offering    employment         ability to diversify on a future CV.
on the paralegal recruitment market,        the fact that the business was being     opportunities to quality practitioners       Now is a good time to ensure that
seemingly in all geographical               affected by the credit crunch, for       that lack job security at less             your CV is up to date, and you
locations,” agrees Stuart Ellis, of         example.                                 prosperous firms,” says Stuart Ellis.      should ensure that it is refreshed to
Chadwick Nott Legal Recruitment in            “I was called down to see the staff    “We have seen a steady demand              provide      the     most     accurate
Birmingham. “Those disciplines              partner in his room at about 4.30pm,     across the Midlands region for             assessment of your current skill set
relying on transactions, as opposed to      and in the room with him was             quality paralegals in certain sectors.     and responsibilities every couple of
litigation, have been hit the hardest.      another partner. He read from a          Opportunities exist for good,              months. A good CV cannot be

 12   The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
thrown together in a matter of            and the Society’s Education and
hours, but should be regarded as a        Training department is also offering
constant work in progress. If you are     support to those concerned about
unsure as to whether yours is as          traineeships.
strong as it could be, run it by a          Mr Stevenson added: “As the
recruitment consultant.                   representative body for solicitors,
  “You have to be positive and use        and working closely with paralegal
the excellent recruitment agencies        colleagues, we share the profession’s                  DEBT RECOVERY & CREDIT CONTROL LAWYERS
out there,” adds our interviewed          concerns and will continue to
paralegal. “Don’t forget that the         monitor the situation closely and
more rural legal practices offer great    provide support to our members.”
opportunities too, and that local
councils have openings for                The future
                                                                                   DEBT RECOVERY PARALEGAL
paralegals.                               Forecasts vary as to how long the             An opportunity has arisen for a
  “I know it’s not easy being made        current turbulence and uncertainty
redundant, and I also know that it’s      in the recruitment sector will last.     Debt Recovery Paralegal to join our busy
not easy finding another job,” she        “Around nine months seems to be                Debt Recovery Department.
adds. “Interviews are daunting and        the most common prediction,” says          The preferred candidate should have
stressful, but remember that nothing      Chadwick Nott’s Stuart Ellis. “A lot
is impossible to a willing heart. We      of the problems the conveyancing           experience of any of the following:-
have to be positive and keep our          sector has faced are because banks
profession strong and at the              no longer have the confidence to         telephone recovery, letters before action,
forefront of the legal world. Keep        lend to each other to provide             issuing, serving and minuting on Court
knocking on doors.”                       mortgage funding. Hopefully, cash           actions and enforcement of Decrees.
                                          injections by central banks to
Law Society                               increase the amount of inter-bank        This position would suit somone interested
“Legal firms, like many other             loans will steady the mortgage
businesses in Scotland, are feeling       market, leasing to more transactions     in further developing their Debt Recovery
the effects of the current economic       that require conveyancers.”               Paralegal skills. Although experience of
climate,” said Neil Stevenson, Head         Charlene Morrison of Ellis               operating a case management system
of Strategic Change for the Law           Fairbank agrees. “Hopefully we will
Society of Scotland.                      see the housing market slowly                would be advantageous, this is not
  “While at present relatively few        recover and the demand for               essential. Salary dependent on experience.
solicitors have informed us of being      experiences paralegals increasing,”
made redundant, we have had               she says.
reports of significant numbers of           As our interviewed paralegal
support staff from firms across the       hinted above, the last time the UK        PLEASE FORWARD YOUR CV TO:
country having lost their jobs, which     economy went through recession in        Anne Rourke, Debt Recovery and Insolvency Manager
is a real concern.                        the early 1990s the knock-on effect
                                                                                   Yuill & Kyle, 79 West Regent Street, Glasgow G2 2AR
                                                                                    Tel: 0141 572 4256 Email: AnneR@yuill-kyle.co.uk




  “We met with leaders of the local       in the legal workforce was that
solicitor faculties earlier this month    people retrained in other areas,
to discuss the picture across             resulting in not enough candidates
Scotland, and while the challenges        for many roles up until very recently.
faced by firms were significant there     There is concern that if employers
was also a determination to ensure        do not take a longer term view,
that wherever possible, clients and       paralegals may be scared away from
staff were retained in some capacity      the profession leaving a gap in the
for when the situation eases.”            workforce when the market
  Mr Stevenson added that the Law         ultimately reasserts itself. As cost-
Society was just one of many              effective and highly skilled
organisations to be affected by the       individuals, paralegals would seem to
uncertainty of the property market,       be ideally placed to lead the legal
and pointed out the delay in the          profession out of recession.
planned relocation from their               It’s true that these are interesting
Drumsheugh Gardens headquarters           times for anyone in the workforce,
as evidence of this. He added: “The       but it is worth bearing in mind that
development        work      for    the   the Chinese word for “challenge”
Registered Paralegal scheme has also      also means “opportunity”. If you stay
been slowed down, so that this            alert, maintain your professional
initiative is not launched at a time      contacts and memberships and keep
when firms are rightly concentrating      your CV up to date, you may be
on other issues.”                         ideally placed when the next
  The Law Society is currently            opportunity arises.
working on a number of initiatives to
support solicitors and their staff,       I The charity LawCare can also
including a conference to provide         offer advice and support to
information and business advice           solicitors and their staff facing
specifically for high street firms. The   difficulties and additional stress.
Professional Practice team can help       Contact them on 0800 279 6869,
support with advice and guidance,         or at www.lawcare.org.uk.

                                                                                                         The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008   13
                                                                                                 CATHERINE COCHRANE and
                                                                                              CHRISTINE LEGGAT of BIRD SEMPLE

  Bird Semple is a five-partner private client firm based in
  Glasgow, which in their own words “specialises in helping
  clients acquire, retain, manage and pass on family wealth. The
  Specialist Paralegal recently caught up with two of their                            but it just didn’t stretch me enough,”    with experience comes the
                                                                                       she says. “In my previous firms I did a   knowledge that what you’re saying to
  paralegals at the firm’s Blythswood Square office.                                   little bit of everything, but the work    the client is the right thing.”
                                                                                       was       always      dominated     by      Catherine studied the Specialist
                                                                                       conveyancing.                             Paralegal course at the same time as
Each of the paralegals in the small         address, every two years. When you            “That I’ve ended up in                 the abolition of feudal tenure
firm assists in a particular niche, “but    consider the type of clients we have,      conveyancing         full   time     is   brought great changes to the practice
obviously there is a lot of back-and-       some of them are ladies in their           coincidental to a certain extent, but I   of conveyancing in Scotland. “That
forth between different areas –             nineties who have never been               like the variety of the work. In my       was beneficial to me, because the
property and asset protection               anywhere and so don’t have a               first couple of jobs we had estate        course was very much dominated by
departments in particular, when             passport or driving licence – so it can    agencies attached to the firms, so        those changes,” she says. “It also
dealing with estates with houses to         be quite difficult!”                       you were really involved at the           meant that the partners were coming
sell,” explains executry paralegal            “Bird Semple, as a firm, really help     absolute beginning of the process.        and asking me how things were
Christine Leggat.                           staff to grow,” says conveyancing          Before the financial regulations          done! Which certainly put a big onus
   Christine attended secretarial           paralegal Catherine Cochrane. “It’s a      changed, we could chat a little about     on you to make sure you were
college straight from school, and           privilege to work for a forward-           mortgages with the client too.            learning everything properly.”
started with a local firm in her home                                                                                              Much of Catherine’s work centres
town of Helensburgh who were                                                                                                     around development work with
looking for an office junior soon                                                                                                builders. “I really enjoy putting those
afterwards. “I then went on to                                                                                                   together – deeds of conditions, and
become a word processor operator in                                                                                              all of that onerous stuff,” she says.
the days when we only had one word                                                                                               “There’s a huge sense of achievement
processor,” she says with a smile. “I                                                                                            at the end, when the plan is finalised
got all the wills, dispositions,                                                                                                 and you can say, I did that. I still get
discharges and everything else to                                                                                                a big buzz from that. I also like the
type up.”                                                                                                                        fact that the clients have the
   Arriving at Bird Semple in 2003 as                                                                                            confidence to come to me and ask
PA to Elspeth Talbot, now a                                                                                                      what I think they should do – we’ve
consultant to the firm, Christine was                                                                                            got some people sharing this path,
put forward for the Specialist                                                                                                   have we done it the right way?”
Paralegal Practitioner Qualification                                                                                               Catherine has taken a particular
in Wills, Trusts and Executries –                                                                                                interest in issues affecting the
which she completed in 2005. “The                                                                                                paralegal profession for a number of
course was good, quite interesting                                                                                               years, and is a strong advocate for the
and definitely along to lines of the                                                                                             Law Society of Scotland’s proposed
kind of thing we were looking for,”                                                                                              Registered Paralegal scheme. “I think
she says. “It’s given me much more                                                                                               it will be a boost for the profession to
confidence when dealing with client                                                                                              have that backing, because I think for
queries. As for keeping up with                                                                                                  a long time the Law Society and
changes in the law – I went to a CLT        Experienced Christine Leggat (left) and Catherine Cochrane (right)                   solicitors in general were a bit
course just yesterday! The courses                                                                                               dismissive of paralegals,” she says. “I
are very useful, and partners in the        thinking firm who pay for paralegal                                                  think the profession has now evolved
office also tend to pass round              staff to attend CPD courses that will                                                to the extent that solicitors do now
information about changes in the            improve their knowledge and                  "With experience comes                  recognise that good paralegals are
law.”                                       ultimately benefit the firm.”                the knowledge that what                 worth their weight in gold, and
   Christine assists partner Pamela           Catherine joined Bird Semple as a                                                  provide a good backup service – a
Niven, dealing with phonecalls and          conveyancing paralegal in 1991. “I’ve           you’re saying to the                 knowledgeable resource. Good
audio typing. She also drafts wills,        been with them since that time, with         client is the right thing.”             paralegals are good workers,
powers of attorney and related              the exception of a brief period of                                                   dedicated, enjoy what they’re doing
documents. “Every day is different –        about five or six months when I                                                      and make sure that have the
some days you’ll get a lot of               decided to see if the grass was                                                      knowledge to impart to the client
phonecalls with clients who are on          greener elsewhere,” she says with a                                                  because they don’t want to be caught
the phone for forty minutes!” she           wry smile. “I was asked to come back,        “Working in a secretarial capacity,     in the only a paralegal, what would
says. “Talking to clients is actually my    at which time I realised the grass         as I was at that time, everything had     you know scenario that you still
favourite part of the job – you hear        wasn’t greener after all – I really        to be referred to a partner,” she adds.   occasionally come across.”
so many things, they’ll tell you their      enjoy this job, and the people I work      “Coming to Bird Semple, my
life stories which can be really nice,      with.”                                     responsibility has grown: the
to get that human connection.”                Her background is primarily a legal      partners have confidence in me, and        For more information about
   As for her least favourite part of the   one, with roles with three other firms     having done both the Advanced
job: “I think we all hate trying to get     before joining the city firm. She also     Property Law course at the                 the work of Bird Semple,
money laundering ID!” she says,             spent a couple of years with a             University of Strathclyde and then         visit their website at
laughing. “Under new regulations,           management consultancy: “I really          the        Specialist         Paralegal    www.bsemple.com.
we have to see a piece of                   enjoyed the work, which was very           Qualification, I have confidence in
photographic ID, and proof of               varied and involved a lot of travel,       myself. Like Christine was saying,

 14   The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
Autumn recipes from
La Bonne Auberge
                                                                                                                   CHICKEN LIVER PARFAIT
                                       Gerry Sharkey, Executive Chef with the La
                                                                                                                   This has been on the menu at La Bonne Auberge
                                       Bonne Auberge chain, shares recipes from the                                for over 10 years. Due to continued levels of
                                       award winning restaurants exclusively                                       demand from diners in East Kilbride, Glasgow
                                       with readers of The Specialist Paralegal.                                   and Edinburgh, we just simply can’t take it off the
                                                                                                                   menu.

                                                                                                                   And as it’s so popular, here’s our simple recipe for
LA BONNE AUBERGE PIRI PIRI CHICKEN                          plastic bag. Add half the piri piri sauce, spreading   you to try at home.
                                                            it evenly over the chicken.
Ingredients                                                 Seal and marinate in the chicken for about an          Ingredients
For the Piri Piri sauce:                                    hour in the fridge.                                    1 kg Fresh Chicken Livers, Cleaned
6-12 fresh red chillies                                     Preheat the oven to 200c/390f gas mark 6 .             3 Fl oz Port
1tbsp garlic, blanched and chopped                          Preheat a pan on the stove with a little olive oil     1/2 Tablespoon of Fresh Crushed Garlic
1tsp rock salt                                              Season the marinated chicken, and cook it in the       4 Fl oz Fresh Whipping Cream
½ tsp oregano                                               pan for 2-3 mins on each side until golden             330 gms of Unsalted Melted Butter
½ tbsp paprika                                              brown. Transfer the chicken into the oven until        3 Small Whole Eggs
100ml/3 ½ fl oz olive oil                                   cooked through.                                        Salt and Pepper to taste
50ml/1 3/4fl oz red wine vinegar
2x large chicken breasts                                    To Accompany:                                          Method
                                                            Spring onion mash                                      Liquidise the livers, eggs and garlic with a stick
Method                                                      Sautéed Mediterranean vegetables                       blender
To make the Piri Piri sauce:                                Pesto sauce                                            Add the cream and port
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4, place the                                                                Add the melted butter
chillies on a tray and roast them for 10 mins.              Heat up the mashed potato, cut the spring              Pass through a strainer
Cool and roughly chop the chilles                           onions, season and place the mash on the plate in      Season to taste
Place the chillies, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, olive   the middle giving some height.
oil and vinegar in a saucepan and simmer for 2-3            Sautee the vegetables in a little olive oil, add a     Cook in a terrine in a water bath in the oven @
mins                                                        tsp of pesto and season to your taste, top with        150° C for approx 1 hour 30 mins, until a core
Allow the mixture to cool, then blend it to a puree         the chicken and finish with a drizzle of the piri      temperature of 75°C is achieved.
and store it in a lidded container. Shake well before       piri sauce. Garnish with a little flat parsley.
use                                                         Add a grinding of cracked black pepper if you          Cool quickly
Place 2 large breasts of chicken in a sealable              like and ENJOY!
                                                                                                                   Coat with some clarified butter and cool quickly
                                                                                                                   and store in fridge, use within three days.

                                                                                                                   This Pate is great served with some fruit chutney
                                                                                                                   or cornichons, buttery brioche and salad.




Hot stuff Piri Piri chicken is a delightful mix of spices                                                          Delicious Chicken liver paté


     Feeling peckish now but don’t have the energy to make these yourself? Well, log onto www.labonneauberge.co.uk and book a table!

                                                                                                                           The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008     15
professional update
Home Reports:
a guide for paralegals
                            With the introduction of Home Reports due to
                            commence before the end of the year, Ian Ferguson
                            takes paralegals through the basic structure of the
                            scheme – and the reasons behind solicitor opposition.


The Home Report is a creation of        before a copy is provided                     Persons who may prepare this          That responsibility ceases when
the Scottish Parliament and is due      1. Pay a charge as above                      are the seller of the house or a     • the house is sold or taken off the
to commence on 1st December             2. Accept any terms specified in              person authorised by the seller        market or
2008.                                      writing which are proposed by              to act on the seller’s behalf e.g.   • the seller has ceased to take any
                                           the seller, or in pursuance of the         the seller’s Solicitor or Estate       action which makes public the
The Legislation                            seller’s instructions, and relate to       Agent.                                 fact that the house is on the
1. The Housing (Scotland) Act              use or disclosure of the copy or         Date to which information on a           market, and
   2006 – Part 3                           information contained in, or           prescribed document relates must         • any such action being taken on
2. The Housing (Scotland ) Act             derived from it.                       be no earlier than the date at the         behalf of the seller has ceased
   2006 (Prescribed Documents)                                                    beginning of the period 12 weeks
   Regulations 2008 and                 Anti-avoidance provisions                 before the date on which the house       Enforcement
3. The Housing (Scotland) Act             Section 101 applies to a person         is put on the market.                        A Local Weights & Measures
   2006      (Penalty   Charge)         acting as Agent for the seller of a         Where the house is not sold, is        Authority is enforcement authority
   Regulations 2007                     house where                               withdrawn from the market for a          in its own area in respect of these
                                        (a) The house is not on the market,       period or periods not exceeding 4        provisions.
The Legal Duties                            or                                    weeks at a time and is put on the          The Authority may require the
1. A person who is responsible for      (b) The house is on the market but        market again, the date to which          responsible person to produce a
   marketing a house which is on            the person so acting is not           information in a prescribed              copy of any prescribed documents
   the market must possess the              responsible for marketing.            document relates when the house is       within 7 days beginning with the
   prescribed       documents      in     Such a person must possess the          put on the market again remains no       day after that on which it is
   relation to the house i.e. The       prescribed documents when any             earlier than the date at the             requested.
   Home Report                          qualifying action is taken by or on       beginning of the period of twelve          A person need not comply with
2. A person who is responsible for      behalf of that person.                    weeks before the original market         the requirement if the person has a
   marketing a house which is on          Qualifying action means action          date.                                    reasonable     excuse    for    not
   the market must comply with          taken with the intention of                 There are exceptions for certain       complying with it.
   any request by a potential buyer     marketing the house which                 kinds of sales mentioned later.            A Penalty Charge Notice can be
   for a copy of any or all of the      (a) Communicates to any person                                                     issued by an authorised officer of
   prescribed documents within 9            the fact that the house is, or may    Responsibility for marketing             the Authority if duties are
   days.                                    become available for sale, but          Only the seller or a person acting     breached.
   The Section does not apply if        (b) Does not put the house on the         as Agent for the seller may be             They may not be given after 6
   the person responsible for               market                                responsible for marketing the            months beginning with the day on
   marketing the house reasonably                                                 house.                                   which it appeared to the officer
   believes that the person making                                                  A seller is not so responsible if      that the duty was breached.
   the request                                                                    any person is acting as Agent for          The 2007 Regulations prescribe
   (a) Is unlikely to have sufficient                                             the seller.                              the penalty charge is £500.00 for
   means to buy the house                     Only the seller or a                                                         each breach.
   (b) Is not genuinely interested in       person acting as Agent                Responsibility of Agent
   buying the house, or                                                             A person acting as Agent becomes       Multiple Survey effect of the
   (c) Is not a person to whom the
                                             for the seller may be                responsible for marketing the house      sellers or single survey
   seller is likely to be prepared to           responsible for                   when action taken by, or on behalf       1. 60% of Solicitors poll by the
   sell the house.                           marketing the house.                 of that person results in the house         Law Society think the shelf life
  Home Reports apply to auctions                                                  being on the market.                        should be no more than 3
as well, not just private sales.                                                    Responsibility ceases when                months and 40% said the shelf
  The person responsible may                                                      (a) the house is sold or taken off the      life should be one month. The
charge a sum not exceeding the                                                        market or                               Law Society will publish
reasonable cost of making and, if       The Prescribed Documents                  (b) each of the following                   Guidance.
requested, sending a paper copy of        These are specified in the 2008             conditions are satisfied i.e.        2. Lenders are unlikely to accept a
any prescribed documents.               Regulations and comprise                  • The person acting as Agent has            report over a certain age
  A person does not comply with         1. A Survey Report containing (a)             ceased to take any action which         (probably 1 month) and they
the duty by providing a copy in            the information in, or as nearly           makes public the fact the house         may also require their own style
electronic format unless the               as may be in the form in Part 1            is on the market, and                   of report to be prepared and it’s
potential buyer consents in writing        of Schedule 1 and, (b) the             • Any such action being taken on            not clear whether the surveyors
to receiving it in that form. No           information       on      energy           behalf of the person acting as          providing the single survey will
incentive to be green!                     efficiency in Part 2 of Schedule           Agent has ceased.                       agree to this.
                                           1
Conditions imposed on                      Persons who may prepare this           Responsibility of Seller                 Reliance on the sellers survey -
provision of information                   (at present) are surveyors               A seller becomes responsible for       Your Advice
  A potential buyer making a               registered or authorised to            marketing the house when action            Purchasers and their Solicitors
request for information may be             practice by RICS.                      taken by, or on behalf of the seller     may be distrustful of the seller’s
required to comply with either or       2. The Property Questionnaire per         results in the house being on the        choice of surveyor as the seller can
both of the following conditions           the Form in Schedule 2.                market.                                  shop around for a surveyor who

16   The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
gives the highest value. Most            put the property on the market, so       market. In a better market it is still      above what another surveyor
surveyors have a range and some          that it is as up to date as possible.    unlikely to be relied upon by               might have given the purchaser
will have higher rather than lower         With regard to completion of the       purchasers as lenders will need             will have no comeback.
tendency within that range.              Client Questionnaire I think legal       them to get an up to date
  Acting for a purchaser, one has to     professionals should try to “stay        valuation.                                  5 Conflict of Interest
treat with some reserve how good         out of it” and leave it for the client                                                 Normally demarcation is quite
the survey and valuation are. Most       to complete this with the relevant       2 Dated Information                         clear as to the surveyors
solicitors are likely to take the view   provider. However, it would be             As the market is slow the                 responsibility to his purchasing or
that a separate valuation should be      useful to see a copy of it so that the   information will be out of date             lending client but this report will
obtained to obtain a second              Title Deeds can be obtained and if       especially the Survey Report.               be ordered by the sellers, not
opinion on the valuation. It may be      there are any discrepancies these                                                    purchasers. It is true that a
that the lender will require this.       could be addressed at an early           3 Home Report is Mainly                     surveyor will know that he should
Not all lenders are signed up to the     stage.                                   Opinion not Fact                            temper the remarks in his survey
scheme and others still have to set      (2) Acting for a Purchaser                 Most of the Home Report                   since purchasers will be relying on
their criteria.                            Should the purchaser’s solicitor       information is opinion and not              it as well.       Nevertheless the
  The scheme is defective in that it     incorporate         the      Property    fact. The valuation is a surveyor’s         surveyor is open to pressure from
is not possible to question the          Questionnaire (PQ) into the offer?       estimate of value. The legislation          the seller at the time of instruction
seller’s surveyor who will not be          I recommend that they do not for       assumes that all surveyors will             or the seller may shop around for a
able to answer other queries about       the following reasons.                   come up with the same report.               surveyor who values high rather
the survey. That is a great              1. Most is non legal in content.         The truth is that not all surveyors         than low and the purchaser if he
disadvantage. That may mean that         2. We now have simplified                will give the same valuation. A             accepts the report will have no
in addition to a valuation report            Standard Missives and do not         10% range is not unusual. The               choice. Conflict of interest is
the purchaser may require to                 want to increase length              grading of repairs in the new               normally recognised as a bad thing
instruct a house buyers report.              unnecessarily.                       survey is either Category 1, 2 or 3         by most professional organisations
                                         3. It may conflict with correct          depending on the need for repair is         but I understand politicians have
Avoidance Measures                           information with the Titles. The     opinion not fact. There will be             difficulty with the concept.
1. Sell before 1st December 2008             missives contain their own           little listing of faults as there are on
   or place it on the market before          questions most of which are          existing styles of survey reports.          6 Increased Repossessions
   that date.                                much more relevant than the            You cannot question the surveyor            The seller may not be able to
2. Various exceptions in the 2008            PQ.                                  regarding his comments unlike               afford the up front fee and feel that
   Regulations                           4. It     distracts     focus    from    with the present Scheme 1 and 2             he has no alternative but to hand
   2.1 Exception for portfolio of            important title and related          reports.                                    in his keys to the lender to sell.
   properties                                matters in standard missives.          The PQ is said to give
   2.2 Exception for seasonal and                                                                                             7 Not Popular with Sellers
   holiday accommodation                                                                                                        The singly survey pilot was a
   2.3 Exception for mixed sales                                                                                              disaster for the Government. The
   2.4 Exception for dual use (i.e.                                                                                           Scottish Consumer Council do not
   residential and non residential                                                                                            appear to have carried out any
   use.)                                                                                                                      proper        market       research
   2.5 Exception for unsafe                                                                                                   themselves. I think that once
   properties                                                                                                                 Sellers learn the facts about them
   2.6 Exception for new housing                                                                                              (which are only now becoming
   2.7 Exception for properties to                                                                                            fully apparent to us as a profession
   be demolished                                                                                                              and through us to our client
   2.8 Exception for newly                                                                                                    sellers) the likelihood is that
   converted premises                                                                                                         Sellers will quickly fall out of
3. Off- market sale. If a property                                                                                            favour with Home Reports.
   is not marketed then the
   regulations do not apply.                                                                                                  8 Increased Costs
                                                                                                                                The new home report is
Evasion and its consequences                                                                                                  estimated to cost an average of
  It is understood that some Estate                                                                                           £600.00 to £700.00 plus VAT for
Agents in England have not put the                                                                                            the seller. Despite the suggestion
property on their books but tell                                                                                              by the Scottish Government and
people “this is not on the market        Safe as houses but some solicitors are opposed                                       the Scottish Consumer Council
but I could arrange a viewing”. This                                                                                          that the purchaser therefore will
looks like evasion caught by the         STRUCTURAL FAULTS OF                     information but mainly gives                not have to pay the likelihood is in
anti-avoidance provision above.          HOME REPORTS                             opinion not fact. These have to be          practice that the purchaser will
                                                                                  completed by clients with different         have to pay for his own survey
The danger of market collapse            Why are solicitors opposed to            levels of understanding as to what          whether Scheme 1 or Scheme 2 in
  The market is in a perilous state      Home Reports?                            the questions mean and levels of            addition to the cost to the seller of
at present with many houses taking                                                patience in filling up the PQ.              this Home Report.
many weeks or months to sell. The        1 Creates Multiple Surveys                 “Don’t know” is a valid answer so
effect of the introduction may well        The existing single survey system      is likely to be used where                  I Ian C Ferguson is a Senior
to be to knock the market flat.          devised by lawyers to avoid              something is difficult to answer or         Property Lawyer with Mitchells
There may be a rush to sell pre          multiple surveys by use of subject       the client simply cannot be                 Roberton, Glasgow.
1/12/08 leaving the market dead          to survey offers is being replaced.      bothered.
thereafter.                              Under the present arrangements
                                         the survey is normally instructed        4 The Question of
Changes to marketing and                 once an offer has been submitted         Independence of Surveyor
conveyancing procedures                  and the offer has been verbally            With existing Scheme 1 and 2                    As we went to press, the Law
(1) Acting for a Seller                  accepted so the survey is done at        valuations, the responsibility of
                                                                                                                                Society had written to the Scottish
  There are various providers            the point of sale. Now the survey        the surveyor is clear that it is to the
springing up who are prepared to         is to be instructed at the time the      purchaser and his lender and no                 Government to ask for a delayed
provide home reports. The Law            property is put on the market and        one else that the surveyor is                   introduction to the Home Report
Society of Scotland and SPCs are         so in a slow market the report will      accountable.                                  scheme to reduce uncertainty in the
in talks with various providers.         become dated. Lawyers are likely           Home reports are instructed by                 housing market in the current
  From 1 December 2008 there will        to advise their clients that the shelf   sellers but purchasers have no                economic climate. We will keep you
be an increased need to identify if      life of such reports will be in the      choice in the selection of that               posted of developments as they are
clients are about to put their           region of 1 - 3 months and in fact I     surveyor. Can they treat the                   announced, in future issues of the
property on the market so that at        understand the latest information        report as independent? They may                 magazine and on our website at
an early stage the information is        from CML is that the period will         be able to sue for loss. However,
                                                                                                                                  www.specialistparalegals.co.uk
put together. However sellers            be 1 month. Accordingly, both            since there is a range of opinion if
should delay the commissioning of        seller and purchaser will pay for        the report is within that range but
the survey until just before they        survey reports especially in a slow      say at the high end of it e.g. 10%

                                                                                                                         The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008    17
professional update
Employment and Immigration iii:
Guidance for Employers - Checks -
Prevention of Illegal Working
                             In previous issues of the Specialist Paralegal, Damir Duheric examined the new point-based system and
                             Tiers 1 and 2 in more detail. In this issue, he examines new offences relating to the employment of
                             illegal immigrants or immigrants lawfully in the UK but without permission to work. He also addresses
                             the checks required of employers, and identifies the documents immigrant employees should provide.


On 29 February 2008, sections 15-         combination of documents from                prospective or current employee;      result of a Transfer of Undertakings
25 of the Immigration, Asylum and         List A (see below). The checks must          and                                   (Protection       of    Employment)
Nationality Act 2006 came into            be made before they are employed         •   check that the expiry dates of any    Regulations (TUPE) transfer are
force.      Under section 15 an           and the excuse will then be                  limited leave to enter or remain in   provided with a grace period of 28
employer who employs someone              established for the duration of the          the UK have not passed; and           days to undertake the appropriate
over the age of 16 who is subject to      individual’s employment.                 •   check any stamps and visas to see     document checks following the date
immigration control will be liable to       Where the leave to enter or                if your prospective or current        of transfer.
pay a civil penalty of up to £10,000      remain in the UK granted to an               employee is able to do the type of      Employers presented with a false
per illegal worker. The Secretary of      individual is time-limited, the              work you are offering; and            travel document or visa will only be
State is empowered to issue a             document or documents provided           •   satisfy    yourself     that    the   required to pay a civil penalty if the
penalty notice which will be served       will be specified in List B. If an           documents are genuine and have        falsity is reasonably apparent. The
by the UK Border Agency. The              individual provides a document or            not been tampered with and            falsity would be considered to be
new provisions apply only to              documents from List B, employers             belong to the holder; and             ‘reasonably apparent’ if an individual
individuals     who       commenced       should carry out specified document      •   if your prospective or current        who       is   untrained      in     the
employment with their employer on         checks before employment begins              employee gives you two                identification of false documents,
or after 29 February 2008. The            and carry out follow-up checks at            documents which have different        examining it carefully, but briefly
previous provisions apply to              least once every 12 months. These            names, ask them for a further         and       without     the     use     of
employees       who       commenced       repeated checks are required to              document to explain the reason        technological aids, could reasonably
employment prior to this date.            retain the excuse. If employers do           for this. The further document        be expected to realise that the
  There is a sliding scale of             not carry out the follow-up checks,          could be a marriage certificate, a    document in question is not
penalties. Which scale is applied         then they may be subject to a civil          divorce decree, a deed poll           genuine.      Equally,      where      a
will depend on:                           penalty if the employee is found to          document         or       statutory   prospective employee presents a
• how many times an employer has          be working illegally.                        declaration.                          document and it is reasonably
   been found employing illegal             To establish the excuse and avoid                                                apparent that the person presenting
   migrants                               being liable for payment of a civil      Step 3                                    the document is not the person
• whether the employer is                 penalty for employing a person             Employers need to make a copy of        referred to in that document, then
   cooperating with the UKBA              illegally it is recommended that         the relevant page or pages of the         the employer may also be subject to
• whether the employer has                employers conduct checks as              document, in a format which cannot        legal action, even if the document
   reported any suspected illegal         follows:                                 be subsequently altered, for              itself is genuine. If the falsity is not
   migrant                                                                         example, a photocopy or scan. In          reasonably apparent, or a valid
• the nature of the employer’s            Step 1                                   the case of a passport or other travel    document is presented by the
   checks                                  A prospective employee must             document, the following parts must        named person, then the employer
  Under the new law, employers will       provide:                                 be photocopied or scanned:                can expect not to be subject to the
be able to establish an excuse and        • one of the original documents          • a copy should be taken of the           payment of a civil penalty.
may not have to pay the civil               alone, or two of the original             document’s front cover and any           If an employer knows that a
penalty, even if it transpires that the     documents in the specified                page containing the holder’s           person who is working for them is
employee was working illegally. To          combinations given in List A ; or         personal details. In particular, you   not permitted to do the job in
establish the excuse employers will       • one of the original documents             should copy any page that              question they will lose their right to
have to check and copy one, or a            alone, or two of the original             provides details of nationality,       the excuse and could face
specified combination, of original          documents in the specified                photograph, date of birth,             prosecution under section 21 of the
documents        for      prospective       combinations given in List B.             signature, date of expiry or           2006 Act. On conviction following
employees before their employment                                                     biometric details; and                 indictment the maximum penalty is
begins. The excuse will not be            Step 2                                   • any page containing UK                  two years imprisonment and / or an
available if employers knowingly            To establish and retain an excuse,        Government          endorsements,      unlimited fine.         On summary
employ an illegal migrant worker.         if List B statutory documents have          noting the date of expiry and any      conviction, the maximum penalty is
  Although employers are not              been presented, employers are               relevant     UK       immigration      12 months imprisonment in
legally required to conduct these         required to check the validity of the       endorsement which allows your          England and Wales and six months
checks, it is recommended all             document and establish that the             prospective or current employee        in Scotland or Northern Ireland or a
prospective employees are checked,        identity of a prospective, or existing      to do the type of work you are         fine up to the statutory maximum or
as this will establish a statutory        employee, is the same as the person         offering;                              both. This allows the UK Border
excuse. Additionally, this will           named in the documents presented.          Other documents should be               Agency to tackle the minority of
enable employers to demonstrate an        Employers should do the following:       copied in their entirety.                 employers who deliberately employ
open and transparent recruitment          • check that any photographs               The copies of the documents             illegal workers and use false or
process which does not discriminate          contained in the documentation        should be kept securely for at least      forged documents to obtain a false
against individuals on racial                are     consistent    with      the   two years after employment has            excuse.
grounds.                                     appearance of the employee; and       ceased.       When a follow-up              Section 21 (3) of the 2006 Act
  If an individual is not subject to      • check that the dates of birth          documents check is undertaken (at         empowers immigration officers to
immigration control, or has no               listed are consistent across          least every 12 months), the specified     arrest, enter and search in relation
restrictions on their stay in the UK,        documents and that you are            steps given above should be               to this offence.
they should be able to produce a             satisfied that these correspond       repeated.                                   For the purposes of section 21(1) a
document        or      a    specified       with the appearance of your             Employers who acquire staff as a        body (whether corporate or not)

18 The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
shall be treated as knowing a fact         UK Border Agency to a national of         Man or Ireland, when produced in            7. An Immigration Status
about an employee if a person who          a European Economic Area country          combination with an official              Document issued by the Home
has responsibility within the body         or Switzerland.                           document giving the person’s              Office or the UK Border Agency
for an aspect of the employment              4. A permanent residence card           permanent National Insurance              to the holder with an endorsement
knows the fact (s22(1)).                   issued by the Home Office or the          Number and their name issued by a         indicating that the person named
  If an offence under section 21(1)        UK Border Agency to the family            Government agency or a previous           in it can stay in the United
is committed by a body corporate           member of a national of a European        employer.                                 Kingdom, and is allowed to do the
with the consent or connivance of          Economic Area country or                    12. A certificate of registration or    type of work in question, when
an officer of the body, the officer,       Switzerland.                              naturalisation as a British citizen,      produced in combination with an
as well as the body, shall be treated        5. A Biometric Immigration              when produced in combination              official document giving the
as having committed the offence            Document issued by the UK Border          with an official document giving the      person’s permanent National
(s22(2)). An officer of a body             Agency to the holder which                person’s     permanent       National     Insurance Number and their name
includes a director, manager or            indicates that the person named in        Insurance Number and their name           issued by a Government agency or
secretary, a person purporting to          it is allowed to stay indefinitely in     issued by a Government agency or a        a previous employer.
act as a director, manager or              the United Kingdom, or has no             previous employer.                          8. A letter issued by the Home
secretary, and if the affairs of the       time limit on their stay in the             13. A letter issued by the Home         Office or the UK Border Agency
body are managed by its members,           United Kingdom.                           Office or the UK Border Agency to         to the holder or the employer or
a member (s22(3)).                           6. A passport or other travel           the holder which indicates that the       prospective employer, which
  Where an offence under section           document endorsed to show that            person named in it is allowed to stay     indicates that the person named in
21(1) is committed by a partnership        the holder is exempt from                 indefinitely in the United Kingdom        it can stay in the United Kingdom
(whether or not a limited                  immigration control, is allowed to        when produced in combination              and is allowed to do the work in
partnership) subsection (2) above          stay indefinitely in the United           with an official document giving the      question when produced in
shall have effect, but as if a             Kingdom, has the right of abode in        person’s     permanent       National     combination with an official
reference to an officer of the body        the United Kingdom, or has no             Insurance Number and their name           document giving the person’s
were a reference to a partner, and a       time limit on their stay in the           issued by a Government agency or a        permanent National Insurance
person purporting to act as a              United Kingdom.                           previous employer.                        Number and their name issued by
partner (s22(4)).                            7. An Immigration Status                                                          a Government agency or a
  Under section 16 of the 2006 Act         Document issued by the Home               LIST B – Documents which                  previous employer.
an employer may object to the              Office or the UK Border Agency to         provide an excuse for up to 12
payment of a penalty to the                the holder with an endorsement            months                                    Documents that do not provide
Secretary of State on the basis that       indicating that the person named in         1. A passport or travel document        you with an excuse:
he is not liable, has acquired a           it is allowed to stay indefinitely in     endorsed to show that the holder           The following documents will
statutory excuse or the penalty is         the United Kingdom, or has no             is allowed to stay in the United          not provide a statutory excuse
too high. With the grounds for             time limit on their stay in the           Kingdom and is allowed to do the          under section 15 of the 2006 Act:
objection the employer will be             United Kingdom, when produced             type of work in question, provided        • Home         Office       Standard
required to supply any additional          in combination with an official           that it does not require the issue of       Acknowledgement Letter (SAL1
evidence      to    support     their      document giving the person’s              a work permit.                              or SAL2) or Immigration
objection. The Secretary of State          permanent National Insurance                2. A Biometric Immigration                Service Letter (IS96W) which
must respond to the objection              Number and their name issued by a         Document issued by the UK                   states that an asylum seeker can
within 28 days from the date on            Government agency or a previous           Border Agency to the holder                 work in the UK. If you are
which the notice or objection was          employer.                                 which indicates the person named            presented with these documents
given. They can cancel, reduce or            8. A full birth certificate issued in   in it can stay in the United                then you should advise the
increase the penalty or decide not                                                   Kingdom and is allowed to do the            applicant to call the UK Border
to take any action against the                                                       work in question.                           Agency on 0151 237 6375 for
employer. If the employer is still                                                     3. A work permit or other                 information about how they can
not satisfied by the Secretary of               Nationals of the                     approval to take employment                 apply for an Application
State’s decision they may appeal to            European Union are                    issued by the Home Office or the            Registration Card;
the County Court or in Scotland                                                      UK Border Agency when                     • a temporary National Insurance
the Sheriff Court against the                permitted to work in the                produced in combination with                Number beginning with TN, or
penalty. There is no requirement to           UK without any Home                    either a passport or another travel         any number which ends with
object to the penalty before                                                         document endorsed to show the               the letters from E to Z inclusive;
appealing to the court.             A            Office approval                     holder is allowed to stay in the          • a permanent National Insurance
dissatisfied employer can appeal                                                     United Kingdom and is allowed to            number when presented in
directly to the court (section 17).                                                  do the work in question, or a letter        isolation;
  Please note nationals of the             the United Kingdom which                  issued by the Home Office or the          • a driving licence issued by the
European Union are permitted to            includes the name(s) of at least one      UK Border Agency to the holder              Driver and Vehicle Licensing
work in the UK without any Home            of the holder’s parents, when             or the employer or prospective              Agency;
Office approval (different rules           produced in combination with an           employer confirming the same.             • a bill issued by a financial
apply to A8 and A2 EEA nationals).         official document giving the                4. A certificate of application           institution or a utility company;
  General advice on the prevention         person’s permanent National               issued by the Home Office or the          • a passport describing the holder
of illegal working can be obtained         Insurance Number and their name           UK Border Agency to or for a                as    a     British    Dependent
from the UK Border Agency’s                issued by a Government agency or          family member of a national of a            Territories Citizen which states
Employers’ Helpline: 0845 010              a previous employer.                      European Economic Area country              that the holder has a connection
6677 or further information via              9. A full adoption certificate          or Switzerland stating that the             with Gibraltar;
www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk                  issued in the United Kingdom              holder is permitted to take               • a short (abbreviated) birth
                                           which includes the name(s) of at          employment which is less than 6             certificate issued in the UK
LIST A- Documents which                    least one of the holder’s adoptive        months old when produced in                 which does not have details of
provide an ongoing excuse                  parents when produced in                  combination with evidence of                at least one of the holder’s
  1. A passport showing that the           combination with an official              verification by the UK Border               parents;
holder, or a person named in the           document giving the person’s              Agency Employer Checking                  • a licence provided by the
passport as the child of the holder,       permanent National Insurance              Service.                                    Security Industry Authority;
is a British citizen or a citizen of the   Number and their name issued by a           5. A residence card or document         • a document check by the
United Kingdom and Colonies                Government agency or a previous           issued by the Home Office or the            Criminal Records Bureau;
having the right of abode in the           employer.                                 UK Border Agency to a family              • a card or certificate issued by
United Kingdom.                              10. A birth certificate issued in       member of a national of a                   the Inland Revenue under the
  2. A passport or national identity       the Channel Islands, the Isle of          European Economic Area country              Construction Industry Scheme.
card showing that the holder, or a         Man or Ireland, when produced in          or Switzerland.
person named in the passport as the        combination with an official                6. An Application Registration
child of the holder, is a national of      document giving the person’s              Card issued by the Home Office or         I Damir Duheric is a senior solicitor
the European Economic Area or              permanent National Insurance              the UK Border Agency stating that         with Morton Fraser Solicitors,
Switzerland.                               Number and their name issued by a         the holder is permitted to take           specialising in immigration law. For
  3. A residence permit, registration      Government agency or a previous           employment, when produced in              further information, he can be
certificate or document certifying         employer.                                 combination with evidence of              contacted on 0131 247 1292 or by
or indicating permanent residence            11. An adoption certificate issued      verification by the UK Border             emailing him directly at
issued by the Home Office or the           in the Channel Islands, the Isle of       Agency Employer Checking Service.         damir.duheric@morton-fraser.com.

                                                                                                                          The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008    19
professional update
Employment Law Update
                            October is always a busy time in the employment law calendar as it ties in with the Government’s
                            implementation dates (6 April and 1 October) for changes to UK employment law. October sees the
                            annual increase to the national minimum wage as well as important changes to contractual rights
                            during Additional Maternity Leave details of which are outlined below.


Case law has resulted in some            Major Disability Discrimination           schizophrenia, was the tenant of a      On the one hand it is anticipated
significant changes to Disability        Law Changes                               flat owned by Lewisham Borough          that the decision in Malcolm will
Discrimination Law in recent months      In recent months there have been          Council. The council sought a           restrict an employee's ability to raise
and November sees the introduction       significant developments in relation      possession order after Malcolm          a claim. However, the Coleman
of the points-based immigration          to this area.                             sublet the flat without obtaining       decision represents an extension of
system based closely on the                In the recent case of Coleman v         their consent. Malcolm claimed had      the existing position and opens up
Australian immigration system.           Attridge Law, it was decided by the       he not been schizophrenic, he           the possibility of Employment
                                         European Court of Justice (ECJ) that      would not have done this and in         Tribunal litigation to a whole new
National Minimum Wage                    an employer can discriminate              seeking to evict him, the council was   category of worker. Watch this
Increases in the national minimum        against an employee who cares for a       discriminating against him by           space!
wage will take effect from 1 October     disabled person even though the           treating him less favourably for a
2008. The standard (adult) rate for      employee themselves is not                reason related to his disability.       Immigration
workers aged 22 and over will rise to    disabled. This is known as disability       The House of Lords accepted that,     The Point Based System is gradually
£5.73 per hour (from £5.52). The         discrimination by association.            but for his schizophrenia, Malcolm      being introduced in 2008/09.
rate for workers aged between 18           Ms Coleman was employed by              would probably not have sublet the        Under the new system all
and 22 (development rate) will rise      Attridge Law, a firm of solicitors,       flat. However, they held that the       prospective migrants intending to
to £4.77 per hour (from £4.60) and       who refused her request for flexible      reason the council was seeking          apply to enter the UK for work will
the rate for 16-17 year olds (young      working arrangements to allow her         possession of the flat was a housing    require a sponsor. The requirement
workers) rises to £3.53 (from £3.40).    to care for her disabled son. Ms          management decision unrelated to        to have a sponsor will not apply to
                                         Coleman       accepted     voluntary      Malcolm's disability.                   nationals of the European Economic
Maternity Law Changes                    redundancy and claimed unfair               Consideration was given to the        Area (EEA), or to migrants in the
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975                                                                                            highly skilled tier of the PBS (Tier
(Amendment) Regulations 2008                                                                                               1).
came into force on 6 April 2008.                                                                                             In order to become a sponsor,
Amongst other things this extended                                                                                         employers will need to be licensed
maternity rights so that employees                                                                                         by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
whose expected week of childbirth is                                                                                       The licensing of sponsors is one of
on or after 5 October 2008 will be                                                                                         the key changes. Applications for a
entitled to the same employment                                                                                            license can only be made
terms and benefits during the second                                                                                       electronically in the first instance.
26 weeks of maternity leave                                                                                                Once licensed, sponsors will be able
(additional maternity leave) as they                                                                                       to issue a certificate of sponsorship
had during the first 26 weeks of                                                                                           in the form of an electronic
maternity leave (ordinary maternity                                                                                        reference number to the prospective
leave). The previous position was                                                                                          employee.
that whilst UK law preserved                                                                                                 As a condition of keeping their
benefits (other than pay) during                                                                                           license, sponsors will need to
ordinary maternity leave, a much                                                                                           maintain specific records of all
more limited range of benefits were                                                                                        foreign nationals they sponsor and
preserved      during      additional    Spot the difference There have been significant discrimination changes            alert the UKBA if the migrant
maternity leave. This will change as                                                                                       worker does not comply with their
of 5 October and may have                constructive dismissal and disability     identity of the comparator for the      immigration conditions, for example
implications for the provision of        discrimination.                           purposes      of  disability-related    if they disappear or do not turn up
non-pay benefits during additional         Ms Coleman sought to argue that         discrimination. The majority held       for their job.
maternity leave such as:- provision of   she had been subjected to                 that the correct analysis was to          By 31 July 2008 UKBA had
company car, provision of company        discrimination by association. The        compare the way the disabled            received only 344 applications for a
mobile telephone, provision of gym       Employment Tribunal Judge referred        person has been treated to the way      sponsorship license. Accordingly,
or other club memberships,               the case to the ECJ who held that         that a non-disabled person in the       there are a large number of
provision of medical benefit cover       the Equal Treatment Framework             same situation would have been          employers who have not yet taken
and accrual of holiday pay.              Directive extends to discrimination       treated.                                the necessary steps. Employers
                                         by association.                             In the case of the dismissal of a     planning to employ foreign workers
Agency Workers: Sick Pay                   The House of Lords in London            long-term absentee, the question        from outwith the EEA area should
The      Fixed-term       Employees      Borough of Lewisham v Malcom              would be whether the employer           apply for sponsorship as soon as
(Prevention of Less Favourable           handed down a decision which has          would have dismissed a non-             possible as the process can take
Treatment)             (Amendment)       fundamentally         changed       the   disabled person who was also absent     more than a month.
Regulations 2008 will amend the          comparator which should be used           from work. This overturns the test
Fixed-term (Prevention of Less           when deciding whether disability          established by the Court of Appeal      J. Innes Clark is head of Morton
Favourable Treatment) Regulations        discrimination has taken place.           in Clark v Novacold (where the          Fraser’s Employment Law Team and
2002 with effect from 27 October         Although the case relates to the          comparator was held to be a non         course tutor for the Paralegal
2008. This means that agency             provision of local authority housing      disabled employee not absent from       Practitioner Qualification in
workers on contracts of less than        it is likely (although not yet entirely   work) and makes it much harder for      Employment Law. To receive free
three months will be eligible for        clear) that the decision will have        disabled employees to successfully      employment law updates from the
Statutory Sick Pay. They are             ramifications in employment law           bring claims.                           firm, please send an email to
currently the only class of workers      cases.                                      These decisions are important         employment@morton-fraser.com
who are not eligible for SSP.              Mr. Malcolm, who suffered from          developments in this area of law.       headed “employment update”

20 The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008
Forthcoming
     COURSES
Now
   BOOKING
The leaves are turning brown and the nights are drawing     Certificate in Family Law – the Complete Masterclass        November) is the one event no firm can afford to miss.
in – but before those in the legal profession can turn      Glasgow, 19th/20th November                                   Claims arising from employment continue to make the
their minds to Christmas shopping, there’s the small                                                                    headlines as this area of personal injury practice
matter of CPD to get out of the way. This winter, we have     Times are tough in the legal profession, but our range    continues to develop. The Disease Claims Conference
a great range of essential conferences to thaw out that     of topical conferences promises to provide answers to       (Edinburgh, 17th November) will provide an extremely
winter brainfreeze.                                         those difficult questions. Property Remedies in Difficult   topical focus on all the current development – of
  CLT’s popular range of certificated courses has been      Times, chaired by Sheila Webster of Bell & Scott            particular interest to civil litigation and personal injury
revised and updated for the new CPD year! These one or      (Edinburgh, 19th November) will examine the legal           professionals.
two-day courses will suit most practitioners, whether       remedies open to those clients who find that they need        On a more practical note, two of our annual
new to a niche area of practice or looking for a            to take quick and effective action to protect their         conferences make for unmissable events this autumn.
comprehensive refresher course. The following               property assets.                                            The Employment Law Conference 2008 (Edinburgh, 26th
certificated courses are running in the near future:          New initiatives spearheaded by the Law Society of         November) brings a panel of experienced employment
                                                            Scotland have slipped off the radar in light of the         lawyers to consider issues such as dismissals,
Debt Recovery – the 2008 Masterclass                        increasingly difficult economic climate, but changes in     redundancy, tribunals and TUPE, while The Inheritance
Edinburgh, 3rd November                                     Conduct abd Service Standards, Education and Training       Tax Planning Conference 2008 (Edinburgh, 5th
The 3rd Annual Licensing Law Masterclass                    and Alternative Business Structures are coming.             December) presents practical guidance that will help
Glasgow, 13th/14th November                                 Tackling Change in the Legal Profession (Edinburgh, 21st    add value to client advice.

Also
   BOOKING
 CIVIL LITIGATION & PI                        The Employment Law                          Negotiating and Drafting Shop               Emotional Intelligence for
 Fatal Accident Inquiries –                   Conference 2008                             Leases                                      Negotiators
 Preparation and Presentation                 Edinburgh, 26th November                    Glasgow, 14th November                      Edinburgh, 4th November
 Glasgow, 28th October                        Stress at Work?                             Getting to Grips with                       The Art of Influencing
 Edinburgh, 28th November                     Glasgow, 9th December                       Commercial Leases – the                     Glasgow, 5th November
 Disease Claims Conference 2008                                                           Masterclass                                 Risk Management
 Edinburgh, 17th November                     MEDIA AND IP LAW                            Glasgow, 18th November                      Edinburgh, 13th November
                                                                                          Property Remedies in Difficult              Tackling Change in the Legal
 COMPANY LAW                                  Media Law – all you need to                 Times
                                              know                                                                                    Profession
 Small Business Acquisition and                                                           Edinburgh, 19th November                    Edinburgh, 21st Edinburgh
 Sales – the complete guide                   Glasgow, 14th November
                                                                                          The Residential Landlord and
 Glasgow, 17th November                                                                                                               Introduction to Networking
                                              MONEY LAUNDERING                            Tenant Conference 2008
 Edinburgh, 24th November                                                                 Edinburgh, 20th November                    Glasgow, 25th November
 Advising the Family Business                 Money Laundering – awareness                Essential Areas of Construction             Motivating Legal Staff
 Conference 2008                              of risk                                     Law – the Masterclass                       Glasgow, 25th November
 Glasgow, 27th November                       Glasgow, 12th November                      Edinburgh, 27th November                    WILLS, TRUSTS & PRIVATE
 CRIMINAL LAW                                 PROPERTY LAW: RESIDENTIAL                   Current Challenges in                       CLIENT
                                              & COMMERCIAL                                Commercial Property                         Inheritance Tax in 2008
 Corporate Homicide – the new                                                             Edinburgh, 28th November
 law explained                                12th Annual Conveyancing                                                                Glasgow, 27th October
 Glasgow, 7th November                                                                    Compulsory Purchase                         Edinburgh, 31st October
                                              Conference
 Edinburgh, 2nd December                                                                  Glasgow, 3rd December
                                              Edinburgh, 28th October                     Edinburgh 5th December                      The Best of Private Client
                                                                                                                                      Inverness, 12th November
 DEBT RECOVERY                                Security Law Workshop                       Credit Crunch – security for
                                              Edinburgh, 29th October                     lending                                     Residential Care and Preserving
 The Finance Act 2008 – what                                                                                                          Assets
 you need to know                             The A-Z of English Residential              Glasgow, 4th December
                                                                                          Edinburgh, 10th December                    Glasgow, 21st November
 Glasgow, 10th November                       Conveyancing
 Edinburgh, 17th November                                                                 Servitudes and Boundaries –                 The Contentious Executries and
                                              Glasgow, 30th October                                                                   Complex Estates Conference
                                                                                          taking the right path
 EMPLOYMENT LAW                               Planning Law – the Essential                Glasgow, 9th December                       2008
 Flexible Working                             2008 Update                                                                             Glasgow, 24th November
                                                                                          The Property Lawyers
 Glasgow, 12th November                       Glasgow, 6th November                       Conference 2008                             The Inheritance Tax Planning
 Edinburgh, 19th November                     Edinburgh, 13th November                    Aberdeen, 11th December                     Conference 2008
 The new ACAS code – what you                 Contaminated Land for                                                                   Edinburgh, 5th December
 need to know                                 Conveyancers                                SKILLS AND MANAGEMENT                       Financial Guardianships and
 Glasgow, 12th November                       Glasgow, 11th November                      Management Skills Masterclass               Powers of Attorney
 Edinburgh, 19th November                     Edinburgh, 25th November                    Edinburgh, 30th October                     Edinburgh, 11th December



 Remember. . .
  SSP members are entitled to discounted rates across CLT’s full range of conferences, seminars and certificated programmes. Just mention your membership when booking.
                           For further details of our CPD programme, visit our website on www.clt-scotland.co.uk or call us on 0141 225 6700.

                                                                                                                                  The Specialist Paralegal Autumn 2008         21
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