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Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:31 am on 8th June 2000.

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Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat 9:31 am, 8th June 2000

That is a lot of questions; I will try to deal with them all.

I hear what Mr Neil says about his bill. I said that issues of multiple accounts had to be taken account of. Looking at the principles of his bill, parts of it are already in place with regard to releasing arrestments. The point that I will make to him is that to proceed on an ad hoc basis of one bill after another would not necessarily lead to the coherence that we want in a total reform of the law of diligence. Apart from anything else, in a practical sense it diverts time, resources and people from proceeding with a much wider review. For that reason, I wish to take up the important points that he raises in the principles of his bill in the context of the wider review of diligence, on which we have indicated we will wish to legislate before the next parliamentary election.

Mr Neil mentioned giving guidelines to sheriff officers. I repeat that, far from guidelines, sheriff officers are subject to rules of court. Their activities are strictly regulated by statutory instrument. Those ought to be far more demanding than any guidelines, because they have the force of law.

Sending one letter with a 10-day notice is inadequate. We can expect better than that. I dealt with several, more detailed aspects of that matter in my reply to Mr Sheridan.