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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 15 November 2007

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Competition, Regulation and Business Structures in the Scottish Legal Services Market: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-847—That the Parliament notes the Office of Fair Trading’s response to the super-complaint by Which? on restrictions on business structures and direct access in the Scottish legal profession and the Law Society of Scotland’s consultation on alternative business structures; believes that the regulatory and business structures of the Scottish legal profession should reflect Scottish circumstances and support improved access to high-quality legal services in a competitive and appropriately regulated market in accordance with competition law, and notes the Scottish Government’s approach of working closely with the legal profession to secure reforms that will allow the Scottish legal profession to compete internationally while enhancing access to justice in local communities.

Paul Martin moved amendment S3M-847.1 to motion S3M-847—

Insert at end—

“and considers that this approach should also widen choice, provide easier access to legal services and create the conditions for more affordable services so that social justice will be at the heart of future changes.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the Office of Fair Trading’s response to the super-complaint by Which? on restrictions on business structures and direct access in the Scottish legal profession and the Law Society of Scotland’s consultation on alternative business structures; believes that the regulatory and business structures of the Scottish legal profession should reflect Scottish circumstances and support improved access to high-quality legal services in a competitive and appropriately regulated market in accordance with competition law; notes the Scottish Government’s approach of working closely with the legal profession to secure reforms that will allow the Scottish legal profession to compete internationally while enhancing access to justice in local communities, and considers that this approach should also widen choice, provide easier access to legal services and create the conditions for more affordable services so that social justice will be at the heart of future changes.

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Wellbeing, and on Rural Affairs and the Environment were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

5. Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved S3M-780—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 107, Against 4, Abstentions 2).

6. Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved S3M-691—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any increase in expenditure of a kind referred to in paragraph 3(b)(iii) of Rule 9.12 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 110, Against 3, Abstentions 0).

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5 and 6 as noted above.

8. Perceived Norms of Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption - Pilot Studies in Scottish Educational Institutions: The Parliament debated S3M-668 in the name of Bill Wilson—That the Parliament notes the recent survey on student alcohol consumption carried out by McAlaney and McMahon in the University of Paisley and detailed in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?linkbar=plain&db=journals&term=0096-882X (2007; 68(3):385 – 392); notes that it replicates work in the United States of America that has demonstrated that most people overestimate the alcohol and tobacco intake of their peers and that this misperception of the norm leads to increased consumption; notes the authors’ statement that this raises the possibility of applying social norms interventions, as demonstrated to be effective in the USA, to the United Kingdom; further notes that pilot schemes along these lines are being undertaken in several schools in the Croydon area of England, and considers that the practicality of initiating such schemes in Scottish educational institutions should be investigated.

The meeting closed at 5.41 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
15 November 2007

Appendix
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Legislative Consent Memorandums

The following memorandum was lodged on 15 November 2007

John Swinney MSP: Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Climate Change Bill (UK Parliament Legislation) LCM(S3) 4.1)

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 15 November 2007 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure—

Home-Grown Cereals Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/177)

laid under section 21 of the Cereals Marketing Act 1965

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Annual Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/238)—

Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund Annual Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/239)—

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000