All at Clarity Simplicity sincerely hope that everyone is keeping as safe and as well as they can at these very trying times.
We will continue to help everyone we possibly can and this article is designed to help you understand the impact of The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, which came into force on 7th April 2020. Firstly, through this article The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 will be referred to as ‘The Act’. The following is just a very general run through on the aspects of the Act and who, in my opinion, it is likely to affect.
The Act itself is a significant one which makes broad reaching changes in these very difficult times. Its provisions are due to be in force until the end of September 2020 but the Act does allow for is period of being in force to be either shortened or extended for a further period of up to September 2021.
The Act is separated into several different Sections. The Act itself is very short but it is supplemented by some very in-depth Schedules which have a lot of detailed provisions. What I will now do though is run you very briefly through some of the most important changes that the Act makes. They are:
This is going to mostly affect landlords, tenants and letting agents. Broadly speaking, what it does is affects the notice periods in order to bring a tenancy to its end and in particular lengthens them beyond those we are accustomed to. We will very shortly be putting up a separate video going into that one in a little bit more depth. Click on to the Complete Clarity Solicitors YouTube Channel for that video. The main provisions for this are in Section 2 and Schedule 1 of the Act.
If you are a debtor and have found yourself bankrupt or on the verge of bankruptcy then the Act has an effect on you because it gives an extension of certain time periods that applied to you before coronavirus meaning you have longer to make payment. Consequently, creditors- that is those who are owed the money- may have to wait longer to get the funds and so this section will affect you also. The main provisions for this are in section 3 and Schedule 2 of the Act.
The next significant section of the Act is all about children and vulnerable adults and will affect anyone involved in the Childrens Hearing system or who is involved with an incapax adult. The part about children is all about separate pieces of legislation relating to children. It is clear from the Schedule in the Act that the government is keen, as we would all want, to continue protecting children through the system but acknowledge that it might not always be possible for certain types of court hearings, known as Children’s Hearings, to take place face-to-face. So what the Act does is allow certain modifications to those Hearings to allow those Hearings to take place and make sure that children are continued to be protected which of course is vital.
The Act also extends timeframes for applications relating to vulnerable adults and in particular, adults suffering from an incapacity. So for example if you have an elderly relative in a care home and you have made an application for Guardianship which is ongoing then certain time periods have been extended but also, if you have an existing guardianship order then ‘time’ is suspended whilst the Act is in force meaning it cannot expire or run out whilst the Act is in force. The main provisions for this are in section 4 and Schedule 3 of the Act.
The Act then looks at the Justice System and will affect anyone who has interaction with the court system. There are significant changes made in the Act including an allowance of the electronic submission and signature of documents- which was not in place before- but also the suspension of the necessity to attend in person for certain types of hearings as well as provisions to, as far as possible, ensure that where possible that the criminal courts can continue to operate as best they possibly can in these most trying of circumstances. The main provisions for this are in section 5 and Schedule 4 of the Act.
The next main changes in the Act relate to alcohol licensing and it is applicable to those that were due to attend Licensing Tribunals and it is also applicable to those who are running licensed premises. The main provisions for this are in section 6 and Schedule 5 of the Act.
The final main change made in the Act relates to public bodies meaning it potentially affects anyone who requires to have interactions with public bodies. The changes made are temporary modifications to certain of the functions of public bodies in order that they can work through these very difficult times that we are going through just now. The main provisions for this are in section 7 and Schedule 6 of the Act.
If you’d like to have a more detailed look at the Act then you can find the full text online by simply going onto any internet browser and type in Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The website that we tend to use all the time is www.legislation.gov.uk.
Keep safe and keep well.