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Summary

  1. The Social Security Committeetakes evidence on the two child limit in tax credits and universal credit
  2. The first minister and opposition party leaders express condolences to the family and friends of Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the Manchester bomb attack
  3. SNP MSP James Dornan leads this afternoon's member's debate on the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions
  4. MSPs debate (Contract) Third Party Rights

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight from Holyrood Live

    MSPs observe a one minute silence for the victims of the Manchester attack
    Image caption: MSPs observe a one minute silence for the victims of the Manchester attack, including 14-year-old Eilidh McLeod

    That brings our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Thursday 25 May 2017 to a close.

    We will be back on Tuesday.

    Until then, have a good weekend.

  2. MSPs back the general principles of the Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill

    Contract

    MSPs back the general principles of the Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill.

    MSPs agree to the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016 (Excepted Proceedings) Regulations 2017 [draft].

    50 MSPs back it and 27 vote against

    The parliament is adjourned.

  3. Call for the SSI relating to Apologies ACt to be withdrawn.

    Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

    Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell raises concerns about the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016 (Excepted Proceedings) Regulations 2017 [draft] be approved.

    Ms Mitchell says the SHRC has offered solutions to the issues.

    She requests the minister withdraw the SSI.

    Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing
    Image caption: Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing

    Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing says the SSI is to address possible negative unintended consequences from the Apologies Act.

    Ms Ewing says she has written to survivors of historic abuse about their concerns about the SSI.

    She says they said they found the letter very helpful and does not withdraw the SSI..

  4. Law if often complex and that it needs careful consideration

    Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says the government is engaged in this piece of work to bring this law up to the 21st century.

    Ms Ewing says the law if often complex and that it needs careful consideration.

    The legal affairs minister agrees to reflect on the changes suggested and says the she has not yet been convinced that amendments are required.

    She says she looks forward to the bill progressing through parliament.

  5. Minister pleased there is support for the general principles of the bill

    Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
    Image caption: Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing

    Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says she is pleased there is support for the general principles of the bill.

    Ms Ewing says the bill will improve and clarify Scots law, in the area of third party rights.

    She says she will reflect and consider all points raised during the debate.

  6. Tory MSP asks the minister to consider whether the bill has been appropriately drafted

    Tory MSP Adam Tomkins

    Tory MSP Adam Tomkins says when both he and his colleague Murdo Fraser decided to sit out of SNP MSP James Dornan's earlier debate on the Lisbon Lions, they had no idea that they'd both have to participate in this one instead.

    Mr Tomkins says "as fans of Rangers, Scotland's most successful club, it was, of course, nice to listen today to memories of Celtic's historic achievements."

    The Tory MSP says third party rights can be used in a wide range of individual and commercial contracts.

    He says the irrevocability rule in the current bill is particularly outdated and requires to be changed.

    Mr Tomkins says he would urge the minister to reconsider whether the bill has been appropriately drafted in certain provisions.

  7. Labour MSP says everyone is in agreement the bill is a necessary change

    Labour MSP Mary Fee
    Image caption: Labour MSP Mary Fee

    Labour MSP Mary Fee says it is clear MSPs are in agreement the Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill is a necessary change to the legal system.

    Ms Fee says the bill is welcomed by all stakeholders.

    She says the flexibility this legislation will bring is a key benefit.

    Ms Fee says the current law is broken and must be fixed.

  8. 'It is clear this law needs a new statutory framework'

    SNP MSP Rona Mackay

    SNP MSP Rona Mackay says the current bill is "not fit for purpose" and "past its sell-by date".

    Ms Mackay says "It is clear this law needs a new statutory framework," she says.

    The SNP MSP says she applauds anything which brings clarity to the law.

  9. This is the bill that receives unanimous support from all of its stakeholders

    Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles

    Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says being the 10th speaker in the debate is a challenge, "even for me".

    Mr Rumbles says "today everyone is agreeing with me." He adds that he is joking and that it "fell flat".

    The Lib Dem MSP says this is the bill that receives unanimous support from all of its stakeholders.

    "Rare is the bill which reaches stage one without amendments being identified." He adds that he is glad that the government accept that those amendments may be required.

  10. Background: SPICe briefing: More

    The changes proposed are based on recommendations made by the Scottish Law Commission (SLC), which found in 2016 that the existing law is no longer fit for purpose.

    The main proposal is the abolition of the existing rule that third-party rights have to be irrevocable to be created – in other words that the parties must intend to give up the right to change their minds about granting the right.

    Contract

    According to the SLC, this rule creates a significant barrier to the use of third-party rights as it restricts the freedom of the contracting parties to:

    1. set up flexible contracts at the outset
    2. and 2. adjust contracts in response to future events – i.e. by bringing the third-party right to an end, or varying it, before the right holder enforces it.

    Other proposals are aimed at clarifying current areas of uncertainty in the common law.

    The Bill also includes new rules which mean that third-party rights to arbitrate could be created.

    The general aim behind the Bill is to provide a new statutory framework with clearer, more usable rules on third-party rights.

    Read more here.

  11. Background: SPICe briefing on Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill

    The Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 31 January 2017.

    It proposes codifying and updating the existing common law on third-party rights – i.e. the rules in case law which allow the parties to a contract to grant rights to third parties.

    Third party rights may be used in a variety of situations, for example by companies which want other companies in their group to be covered by a contract, or where someone wants to ensure that the benefits of an insurance contract are payable to another person (e.g. a third-party driver in a motor insurance policy).

  12. Labour MSP says the current law on third party rights is not fit for purpose

    Labour MSP Claire Baker says the bill has been introduced to the existing common law on statutory rights is no longer being fit for purpose.

    Ms Baker says the bill is widely supported. but there were some concerns about the legislation.

    She says the bill will provide more clarity around third party rights, although it won't be used any time soon.

  13. The law must be relevant to how we live in society says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Claire Baker

    Labour MSP Claire Baker says the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is new to the parliament and was set up to take pressure off of the justice committee.

    Ms Baker says the appointment of this committee allows for greater scrutiny of such matters.

    The Labour MSP says laws are constantly adapting and changing as society changes.

    She says the law must be relevant to how we live in society and that the bill comes with a degree of consensus from the chamber.

  14. Mr Fraser says overall the bill has support

    Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says the changes in this bill may well mean extended warranties are no longer required which may make it easier to enter into construction contracts.

    Mr Fraser says the issues around third party contracts go back to the Second World War.

    He says the good news is that the bill has been introduced only three years after the Scottish Law Commission paper.

    Mr Fraser says overall the bill has support.

    He says less paperwork should mean lower fees, but he says he is not overly optimistic on this front.

  15. The bill deals with third party rights and the conversion of these rights

    Tory MSP Murdo Fraser

    Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says there are many challenges he has faced as a member of parliament but that it has been a real challenge to "carve out" a seven minute speech on the bill that's before him.

    Ms Fraser says the 2.5 hours originally allocated to this bill seemed to overdo it and he was happy when this was reduced.

    The Tory MSP says the bill deals with third party rights and the conversion of these rights.

    He says from his own legal experience he can remember these matters arising in construction.

  16. The committee has no hesitation in recommending that the bill be agreed to

    Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the equivalent legislation in England and Wales, introduced in 1999, is only now beginning to be used.

    Mr Scott says the bill in Scotland does not start with a blank piece of paper so there is scope for this legislation to be used more quickly here.

    The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener encourages the Scottish government to promote the measures in the bill, if passed.

    He says the committee has no hesitation in recommending to the parliament that the bill be agreed to.

  17. Moving to a statutory footing will provide greater clarity

    John Scott

    Mr Scott says in order to help the committee understand how the bill might be used in practice the Scottish Law Commission provided examples.

    The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener says that moving to a statutory footing will provide greater clarity.

    He says the committee encouraged the government to reflect on the current protections for smaller businesses.

    Mr Scott says the government does not intend to amend certain sections that the committee recommended it look at.

    He says it is disappointing that the government has declined to do so.

  18. Tory MSP says practitioners now look for workarounds like using English law

    Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the current law on third party rights is based on common law and has been in place for centuries.

    Mr Scott says the current position was described by a witness to the committee as a "death spiral".

    The Tory MSP says practitioners now look for workarounds like using English law.

  19. Committee shares the objective of improving Scots law so that it remains up to date

    Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott

    Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the bill proposes changes to create laws to protect third parties.

    Mr Scott says this is the third bill to be considered by the committee following the changes to standing orders in 2013.

    He says the committee shares the objective of improving Scots law so that it remains up to date.

    The committee convener says this bill is particularly technical in nature.