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Section 11 — Liability of owner and successors for certain costs

Part of Tenements (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:45 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party 3:45 pm, 16th September 2004

I concur with the points that Annabel Goldie made; the amendments to section 11 are welcome. We can never make the purchase of property risk free—given the circumstances and costs involved, there will always be difficulties—but the law can seek to make matters as transparent as possible and to make information readily available so that people can find out what the factual situation is and can get a clear remedy as quickly as possible. That is the purpose of section 11, and it is greatly welcome.

On the points that Annabel Goldie made on her amendment 22A, I had the opportunity of discussing matters with the minister, and I will be supporting the amendment. The minister may be technically correct in saying that matters are addressed and clarified in the schedule, but terminology is important. People do not like to have to look at schedules to find out what is being referred to.

The terminology of missives is quite clear in Scots law, and it is understood, not just by practising lawyers but by those who participate in the process, that there are two aspects to the purchasing of property: the conclusion of missives and the creation of the contract and, subsequently, the handing over of the property and the passing on of the money. The minister is correct to say that that is referred to in the schedule, and it could be argued that the nomenclature change proposed by Miss Goldie is superfluous, but it is important that matters are as clear as possible. Section 11 should be as transparent as possible, and we should make clear the position to which we refer, without having to flick through several pages.

The minister may be legally correct, but in the interests of clarity and transparency Miss Goldie's amendment 22A is welcome. It will not undermine the ethos of the bill, but it will make the bill more accessible to lawyers and other practitioners who flick through it, by making it clear that risk transfers when missives are concluded.