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Dallas McMillan's Glasgow Lawyers' Blog

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Moves to close legal loophole on prosecution of partnerships

Tightening the law on the criminal liability of partnerships and reforming the law on unincorporated associations will be the dual focus of a recently launched UK Government consultation.
 
The Government is seeking views on proposals put forward by the Scottish Law Commission.
 
Reforming the criminal liability of partnerships in Scots law was suggested after the tragedy of the Rosepark nursing home fire in Lanarkshire in 2004 in which 14 residents lost their lives.
 
The case against the care home operators failed in the courts because of a loophole which prevented the prosecution of a partnership once it had been dissolved.
 
The proposed change would ensure all Scottish partnerships could be held to account if they commit crimes and prevent them escaping prosecution for potentially serious offences by dissolving.
 
The consultation will also look at a separate issue of attributing legal personality to non-profit making unincorporated associations where they meet certain statutory criteria.
 
Without this reform, a member of a charity, club or other unincorporated association could find themselves held personally liable for someone injured at an event it has organised, for an act for which they are not personally culpable, exposing them to personal financial risk.
 
The Commission's proposals would provide organisations with limited liability to ensure individual members or office-bearers could not be held personally liable for any damage or offence caused by the organisation as a whole.

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