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Law Commission reports on partnership criminal liability

As part of its Eighth Programme of Law Reform, the Scottish Law Commission conducted a short-term project on partnership criminal liability, the results of which have now been published in the Commission's Report on the Criminal Liability of Partnerships.

The project was prompted by the failed prosecution following the fatal fire at the Rosepark nursing home in 2004. The nursing home was run by a partnership, which was dissolved after the fire, and attempts to indict the dissolved partnership, and/or the members of it, in relation to the causes of the fire were unsuccessful. It became clear that the traditional concepts of the law of partnership did not fit easily into the modern regulatory structure within which many of these organisations operate.

The Commission's report addresses this problem and recommends that it should remain competent to prosecute a partnership during a period of five years following its dissolution.

The Report also includes a draft Bill which would give effect to its recommendations.

In 2003, the Scottish Law Commission and the Law Commission published their joint report on Partnership Law. This recommended comprehensive reform of the law of partnership, including the circumstances and effects of dissolution. The Scottish Law Commission's preferred long-term solution to the issue identified in the Rosepark case would be the implementation by the UK Government of the recommendations in the joint report on Partnership law.


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