I’ve written before on a very welcome and long overdue piece of legislation as it passes through the different stages at The Scottish Parliament. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill has made it to the third and final stage of the process and looks set to become law later this year.
The bill is important because it finally moves our sexual offences laws from the archaic position they currently hold to something that better reflects the realities of sex crimes. The biggest move forward will be the wider definition of rape which will reflect better what the public understand rape to be. Unusually, England and Wales bet Scotland to the modernisation with the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
I look forward to the passing of the bill and when it passes I will look in detail at the new law and try to assess the impact it will have on the criminal law in Scotland.
Another interesting bill before the Scottish Parliament just now is the Arbitration (Scotland) Bill. There are four primary objectives of the bill and they are that it:
- Clarifies and consolidates Scottish arbitration law, filling in gaps where these exist;
- Provides a statutory framework for arbitrations which will operate in the absence of agreement to the contrary;
- Ensures fairness and impartiality in the process; and
- Minimises expense and ensures that the process is efficient.
A 46 page Policy Memorandum on the Arbitration (Scotland) Bill can be found here.
And a final bill that I am quite interested in is the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill. Essentially this bill will build upon the Education (Additional Support for Learning)(Scotland) Act 2004. The Scottish Parliament website describes the bill in the following way:
A Bill to amend the law in respect of placing requests in relation to the school education of children and young persons having additional support needs and in respect of arrangements between education authorities in relation to such school education; to make further provision in relation to the practice and procedure of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland; and for connected purposes.
Again, another welcome piece of legislation.