Parking Costs: Chaos in Glasgow’s West End

A protected expenses order has been granted at the Court of Session in favour of a community council limiting its liability for the costs of an appeal against a decision by Glasgow City Council.

Hillhead Community Council (HCC) brought an appeal against the proposed Glasgow City Council (Hillhead) (Traffic Management and Parking Control) Order 2014.  If granted, that Order would see the introduction by Glasgow City Council of parking bays for use by both residents and visitors.  The cost of a permit would be reduced for residents and visitors would park on a pay and display basis.

HCC brought a challenge in the Court of Session against the local authority’s decision to allow others to use resident-only parking spaces.  HCC maintain that the city council failed to consider all objections to the making of the order and to have regard to national air quality strategy.

The HCC secretary fears such changes would lead to “traffic chaos”.  One current permit holder, a single mother of three with a disabled child uses her car for runs to two different schools and trips to hospital, says the “system will benefit people from outside the area and meet the demands of businesses.  Residents do not want it.”

In early April 2015, Lord Bannatyne ruled that it would be “fair and just” to limit the community council’s liability for legal expenses to £1,000 as they would not otherwise be able to afford to proceed with the action.  He also determined that the local authority’s liability should be limited to £15,000.

A protective costs order can be made at any stage of proceedings on such conditions as the court thinks fit, provided that the court is satisfied that:

  • The issues raised are of general public importance
  • The public interest requires that those issues should be resolved
  • The applicant has no private interest in the outcome of the case
  • Having regard to the financial resources of the applicant and the respondent and to the amount of costs there are likely to be involved, it is fair and just to make the order
  • And if the order is not made the applicant will probably discontinue the proceedings and will be acting reasonably in doing so

Lord Bannatyne in a written opinion said “I conclude that having regard to the first appellants’ financial circumstances including the sum raised to date for this action and their own legal expenses together with the general financial position of the respondents it would be fair and just to limit their liability and the expenses to the respondents to the figure of £1000.” This decision was greatly welcomed by the Community Council.

We await developments with interest.

Jeremy Clarkson- Double Standards or what?

As a lawyer I dislike double standards. They violate a basic maxim of modern jurisprudence that all parties should stand equal before the law.

A double standard according to Wikipedia is “the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.”  A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often , for example, a word, phrase, social norm or rule) are perceived as acceptable  when used by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable –taboo-when used by another group.

Another reason for my animosity towards double standards is that they violate the principle of justice- impartiality- which assumes that the same standards should be applied to all people without regard to subjective bias or favouritism based on social class, rank, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or other distinctions.

Over the years Jeremy Clarkson, the hugely popular presenter of Top Gear has notched up a long list of misdemeanours. In 2013 when in Australia Clarkson yelled at the Paparazzi after they snapped him coming off a boat with Philippa Sage “You can take them out of England but you can’t take the convict out of them.” In France talking about the Renault Clio V6 he said “In typical French fashion it just gives up! A bit like the French did with the Germans.” There were warnings about his behaviour and demands for apologises but only with his latest fracas when he apparently hit a producer for not having dinner ready on time after a long day’s filming has Clarkson finally been suspended.

If a Glasgow youth had whacked someone in the chippie for taking too long to fry his sausage supper criminal sanctions would certainly apply and if a casual sectarian remark is made at a football match and legal action has subsequently been taken, the accused fan might as well be told to remember to bring his pyjamas to court.

The double standard employed by the BBC angers me.  Until now they have applied the “principle” of popular laddish culture to Jeremy Clarkson- he is not really a racist and diplomatic disaster but just a laugh and a bit of a character but now with the imposition of old style moral rectitude on Clarkson’s most recent antics  hundreds of thousands of petitioners  are requesting in outrage his re-instatement.

The optimism I had in the clarity of legal fairness is losing its shine. I want the double standards to stop. I know,I am an idealist.

Lost someone close to you? We can help

You don’t need to enlist professional help when someone dies but an experienced solicitor can greatly assist in dealing with the deceased’s affairs promptly, properly and with the minimum of fuss.

Obviously when someone close to you passes away you will be upset and you may find it hard to know what to do. Here are a few points to guide you.

Firstly you will need to ascertain whether there is a Will. You should check through the deceased’s papers or contact their solicitor to see if they hold a Will. If there is a Will then the person named as executor in the Will can give instructions about the estate.  If there is no Will a Petition will often require to be lodged in court to have someone, usually the closest relative, appointed as executor. A solicitor will be able to advise you.

Once you have clarified the position regarding the Will you should arrange to meet with your solicitor. You should take to that meeting  the Death Certificate, the original Will if available, title deeds to the deceased’s property, again if available, together with any paperwork that confirms or gives a clue to what assets and debts the deceased may have had.

Thereafter, in most cases you will need to apply to court for what is called Confirmation. This is necessary if there is heritable property in the estate or if there are bank accounts and investments of around more than £10,000-£15,000 held with a single asset holder. To get Confirmation your solicitor has to prepare a detailed list of everything the deceased owned with values as at date of death. This list of assets is then signed by the executor together with the deceased’s Will (if there is one) and HMRC papers. These documents will then be lodged at Court in order to obtain Confirmation.

If there is no Will then a solicitor can apply to court to have an executor appointed.  This is usually a spouse or child but anyone entitled to the estate can be named. If you need Confirmation and there is no Will then it is necessary to get a Bond of Caution (except if the spouse is inheriting the whole estate) which is a type of insurance policy to protect the estate from any wrong doings by the executor.  You may find it difficult to get a Bond of Caution unless a solicitor is dealing with that for you.

Once Confirmation has been granted by Court this can be used to sell or transfer title to any heritable property owned by the deceased and it will enable banks, building societies, insurance companies etc to release monies.

I can provide practical, sympathetic legal advice and support. If I can help please contact Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or by email lauren@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Changing Your Will After Divorce

Once again may I repeat myself.“Do you have a Will? YOU SHOULD HAVE. It is an important document as it is your way of making sure your wishes are known and your property and assets are distributed after your death the way you want them to be.”

However, if you have a Will and you divorce or separate from your partner you need to remember to change your Will, otherwise on your death your ex-partner could receive everything you listed in your old Will.

When amending your Will you need to look at all your assets, everything you own. Certainly after splitting up from a partner the likelihood is that you will have far fewer assets than you had before – you might even feel that you have very little to leave to anybody. Nonetheless if you have children you will want to provide for them after your death so it is key that you see a solicitor to make the appropriate revisions needed.

If you have bought a flat or house you can ensure it goes to your children (if they are under 16 it can be held in trust for them until they are older).You will want to be certain that your ex partner cannot touch your heritable property.

The chances are that under your old Will your ex would have been appointed executor of your estate. Obviously you will need to alter that also.

And remember that your assets can include heirlooms, family photographs and memorabilia which are things you may want your children to have by which they can remember you.

You may find a new partner and move in with or marry them which is another huge change in your circumstances and one that may again require a new Will.  Your new partner may already have children and you may go on to have children together so there is a lot to take into consideration.

The sheer act of changing your Will is an admission that you have moved on. I have the experience to advise on the best possible way to deal with your new situation.  If I can help please call Lauren Hill on 0141 552 3422 or contact me by email at lnh@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

To Where Do You Want To Retire ?

Me Vancouver, Canada and for my office room- mate Port Charlotte , Isle of Islay. However according to recent research carried out by the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh is the destination of choice for people looking to buy their last home for retirement.

Over 3000 Scots were asked in a recent survey to name where they would like to retire, even if retirement was some years away and our capital city topped the poll at 8%, followed very closely by Glasgow, the Highlands and abroad all tying at 7%.

Future ‘Last Time Buyers’ aspire to live in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh (13%) over any other part of the city. Being brought up in Edinburgh  I know this area well and  with its architecture, colony houses, proximity to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Inverleith Park, plus ease of access to the city centre I can understand its popularity.

The Bank’s research showed that there were three categories of ‘Last Time Buyers’ :

  • the majority of people wanted to retire in the area where they currently live or have always lived. 55% of Fifers want to remain there. 44% of those living in Glasgow and 42% of those living in Edinburgh want to remain in their respective cities when they draw on their pension.

There is then a fairly even split between :

  • those looking for a quieter life , either by the seaside or in the country
  • those wanting a more vibrant city setting

Robin Bulloch, Managing Director of Bank of Scotland explains “As a stage of life not usually focused on, it’s interesting to see where people would like to settle and buy their last home,” he added “With such a diverse landscape, Scots are really spoilt for choice.”

I have over 20 years of experience in Property Law. If I can help you buy or sell your home please call me, Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or email me at ajg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Contact With Your Grandchild If Their Parents Divorce or Separate

“Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.”  Donald A. Norberg

Around 10,000 couples divorce every year in Scotland and adoring grandparents may be the biggest losers, as contact with much loved grandchildren may be lost. In fact recent research carried out by some family focused charities has shown that 40% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren after divorce or separation, a quite disturbing statistic, given that a new Growing Up in Scotland survey undertaken for the Scottish Government reveals that as many as 69% of families rely on grandparents for childcare in one way or another. There are various reasons why grandparents may become involved in the care of children these days: parents may need to work full-time and the cost of independent childcare may be prohibitive and there are of course marital breakdowns. Also older people are living longer with good health and taking pleasure in more active retirements giving them time to care for their grandchildren.

Unfortunately grandparents do not as yet have automatic rights to see their grandchildren in the event of a divorce or separation. At present grandparents wishing to see their grandchildren must make an application to court for a contact order. The court will apply the same criteria as they would to an application from a parent-namely they will focus on the welfare of the child and the child’s best interests.

Losing contact is a difficult and heart breaking situation and it is vital that anyone facing this should get proper qualified advice.  It is best to try and reach an informal agreement with the parents first. Only if that fails should you ask the court to intervene. Going to Court should be used as a final resort as it can be expensive, take a lot of time and be disruptive for the child. But do, however avoid too much passage of time without seeing your grandchildren. The longer you leave it before taking steps to get satisfactory arrangements put in place, the harder it may become to achieve this.

If you are an estranged grandparent who is seeking contact with your grandchild I can help. Please call me on 0141-552-3422 or email me at fhw@mitchells-roberton.co.uk.

From Polishing to Peregrines

Peregrine 2

Mitchells Roberton have used the cleaning services of ABC Professional Office Cleaners of 30 Boylestone Road ,Barrhead , Glasgow for over 30 years. Scott Maxwell the owner of the cleaning company is an enthusiastic ornithologist and photographer.

He was kind enough to share with me some photos  taken of a Peregrine Falcon he has been watching for a while. He had to sit hidden for over four hours before the bird made an appearance but I think the pics are a just reward for his efforts.

Peregrines have suffered illegal killing from gamekeepers and landowners, and been a target for egg collectors, but  better legal protection and control of pesticides ( which indirectly poisoned birds) have helped the population to recover considerably from a low in the 1960s.

Peregrine 3Peregrine 1