Scottish Law Society gains a formal say on legislation

The Scottish Office is to allow the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Law Commission formal access to all bills and to have a say in how they have been drafted before they are introduced to Parliament.

The move is understood to have followed the hurried redrafting of acts such as the 1990 licensing reform in Scotland, which had to be re written the following year because it was badly drafted.

The public airing of draft bills echoes the practice of some departments legislating for England and Wales, notably the Lord Chancellor's Department.

The Scottish Office can opt to make all proposed legislation public because it sponsors all Scottish bills.

The first proposed legislation to be subject to this new scrutiny aims to reform contract law and has been welcomed by the Law Society of Scotland.

The Contract (Scotland) Bill mainly affects conveyancing. It proposes that a buyer of heritable property cannot recover damages for certain types of breach of contract unless the house is returned to the seller.