Friday, 21 April 2017

Govan Law Centre and Mike Dailly provide financial support to Govan's Tea in the Pot

Mike Dailly, Anne Keegan, Tommy McMahon,
Chris Stephens MP, Lorna Walker, and Alistair Sharp.
An essential local service for women and children in Glasgow was faced with possible closure in July this year when their funding for rent, heating and lights was due to run out.

The service - Tea in the Pot - now has more time to identify long term funding thanks to donations today of £3,000 from Glasgow's Govan Law Centre (GLC), and a personal donation of £1,000 from GLC's Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly. 

Tea in the Pot is a Drop-in & Support Service for women, and is run by women, for women. The service provides a safe relaxing atmosphere where women can meet up with old friends and make new friends.

Tea in the Pot supports women to become actively engaged in their community; enables women to identify and value their skills, experiences and talents - and to feel empowered and confident to share these with others.  It helps those coping with difficulties, under stress, or with health issues, or simply women who feel isolated with no one to talk to.

Since 21 November last year, Govan Law Centre's senior solicitor Lorna Walker has been providing a free drop-in legal surgery at Tea in the Pot on a Monday morning from 10:30am till approx. Women have been able to speak to a female solicitor in confidence, on issues affecting them, including Welfare Rights, Housing, Insolvency Issues, Community Care, Personal Injury, Criminal Injuries, Employment Law. 

GLC aims to work with Tea in the Pot, to develop our partnership services, and help secure long term funding for their essential services in the local community.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

GLC response to Trump International's statement on the judgment in Beyts v. TIGCS Ltd

TIGCS statement in quotes "We are satisfied that justice has prevailed. The disingenuous claim by Rohan Beyts was a perversion of the truth and nothing more than a poor attempt at self-publicity in an effort to garner support for her anti-Trump, anti-business propaganda. It's a disgrace that valuable time and money has been wasted defending a genuine north east business and its honest, hard-working personnel from this nonsense".

GLC comment: The defender lost on ALL of the facts in this case. Sheriff Corke found that the criminal charge against Rohan Beyts was frivolous. He ruled that she was entitled to hold her environmentalist and political views and opposition to the defender's golf course at Menie. There was no finding by the court of "self publicity" and in fact, the Sheriff held Ms Beyts was a credible and reliable witness. 

"Rohan Beyts is a shameless activist with a history of antagonistic behaviour. She came onto our property with a hostile opponent of the project looking for trouble. We are a fully operational golf and leisure resort, with public restrooms. Had her intentions been honourable she would have used the facilities available to her". 

GLC comment: There was no finding in court of a history of antagonistic behaviour by Ms Beyts. There was no finding of hostile behaviour by Ms Beyts. Trump International has previously claimed Ms Beyts was very close to their clubhouse when she urinated. This was found to be untrue. She was in the Dunes near the beach in marram grass. She acted responsibly in terms of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Their employee admitted in his evidence that he often sees golfers relieving themselves on the course. 

"She is insincere about her motives for being on our land and needs to take accountability for her actions. Members of our green-keeping staff were flabbergasted at what they witnessed and reported the incident to the police. It should have come as no surprise to her that she was charged for publicly urinating on golf course land".

GLC comment: The court found that Ms Beyts was on the Trump International course exercising her public right of access in terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Sheriff Corke held that Trump International should never have photographed our client urinating. The court said 'I have to emphasise that officious bystanders taking pictures of females urinating in the countryside put themselves at very real risk of prosecution whether for a public order offence or voyeurism'. Sheriff Corke considered the criminal charge against Ms Beyts as 'frivolous'. 

Mike Dailly Solicitor Advocate said: "Trump International Golf Links Scotland would do well to now stop undertaking surveillance of walkers exercising their legal right to roam across their land. Taking footage or photographs of walkers urinating responsibly in accordance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code may well be a criminal offence according to today's court ruling, and could potentially result in Trump International being subject to further litigation for breach of the Data Protection Act principles. Today's case was lost on a technical point in relation to the Act but no doubt future litigants would learn from this case".


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Govan Law Centre's evidence to the Economy Committee on the draft Bankruptcy Fees (Scotland) Order 2017

Mike Dailly, David Menzies (ICAS), Alan McIntosh
On Tuesday 21 March 2017, representatives of Govan Law Centre gave evidence to the Scottish parliament's Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee on the draft Bankruptcy Fees (Scotland) Order 2017, along with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.

We were all in agreement that the proposed regulations were ill-advised, unfair and should be rejected pending a full review of how the Accountant in Bankruptcy is funded, and operates, particularly in relation to duplicate or unnecessary roles, and conflicts of interest.

You can watch a video of the Committee hearing here (which also includes evidence from the AiB, and the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills). It is understood the Committee has deferred consideration of the draft Order until next week.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Govan Law Centre's new 'Financial Health Reports' for tenants

The Private Rented Tenants Team at Govan Law Centre, is now offering its clients Financial Health Reports. 

The Team was set up in September 2016 and provides a comprehensive, unique and dedicated service to Tenants of Private landlords in Glasgow.  Along with providing vulnerable tenants with their statutory rights and tackling unmet needs the project has a focus on Financial Inclusion and Financial Capability. 

We have developed the Financial Health Report (click here for an example) as a way to identify and tackle the complex mix of factors that affect tenancy sustainment and create barriers to financial stability. 
The reports will provide tenants with:
·         a breakdown of their income by source and an analysis of their expenditure;
·         an insight into their household fuel use and an indication of whether they are suffering fuel poverty;
·         an analysis of their debts and monthly debt payments as a percentage of their net monthly income;
The reports will provide our clients with an insight into their own financial circumstances, with recommendations on how they can maximise their finances and minimise their expenditure.  It will enable clients to target those areas of expenditures that can produce real savings for them and recommend financial targets they should aim for to create more financially healthier lifestyles.    Key to the success of our work with vulnerable tenants is to provide a holistic model of support which provides easy to understand, practicable and realistic solutions.
Our Financial Health reports analysis helps us to understand the types of issues that private rented sector tenants are struggling with and discover trends, such a higher vulnerability to fuel poverty.   Already, our findings show there are a higher number of our clients who are suffering from fuel poverty.   This means that they are paying more than 10% of their disposable income on their household fuel.   The factors influencing this are usually low income, increased fuel costs, poor insulation, the home not fully wind/watertight and low energy efficiency.   

The Private Rented Tenants Team are offering these new personalised Financial Health Reports to all our clients.    It provides an immediate response to problems private renters experience with managing their finances, and in doing this work we aim to help our clients with; reducing rent arrears, prevent homelessness, improve living conditions, maximise income and achieve financial stability.  

The Team also provides advice to private sector tenants on all other housing related issues, such as rent arrears, dampness, court action, overcrowding, disrepair, benefit entitlements,  appeals and sanctions.
Govan Law Centre’s assertive outreach model helps us engage and connect with private tenants at our city-wide outreach hub’s.    A list of the times and place where advice can be obtained from us, is available here along with the details of how to get an appointment for our specialist advice.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Manifesto for Scottish Local Government

Govan Law Centre (GLC) believes in the following inalienable human rights for Scots and asks that Scottish MSPs and MPs endorse and implement these human rights in Scotland

No one in Scotland will sleep rough.  Local councils must be given the resources and power to ensure that no human being has to ever sleep on our streets.

No one in Scotland will go hungry.  We must empower and resource local government so that no child or adult in Scotland ever suffers from hunger and malnutrition.

Every child in Scotland will have the best education that life offers.  Local councils must be resourced to make this happen. The Scottish Government should enforce and ensure good outcomes for young Scots.

Vulnerable Scots have access to justice. Women fleeing domestic violence shouldn’t become homeless, nor should private rented sector tenants be unlawfully evicted. Councils should be resourced and mandated to protect vulnerable Scots.

 Disabled Scots should not be charged for being disabled. We need to end council fee charging for social care and pay our carers.  

The Scottish Government should lobby to devolve employment law so we can protect workers rights in Scotland. The enforcement of employee rights should be devolved to councils.