Microsoft word - 2012 briefing note - franchising & scots law.doc
Scottish Law – The Differences
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Franchising – the differences in Scottish Law
• Scots property law differs significantly from that in England & Wales. The National
Conditions of Sale do not apply here, and common mechanisms like Deeds of Option in favour of franchisors do not work well here, although there are equivalents we can suggest.
• Scots law draws more heavily on civil law than equity, and so contract law here can
differ in key aspects. For example, it is possible to make a binding legal promise here, and consideration is not a prerequisite to a contract.
• Since 1999, the Scottish Parliament has been active in enacting new legislation unique
to Scotland: so far over 110 new Acts of Parliament and countless new regulations! For example, Scotland introduced a ban on smoking in public places in early 2006. This was earlier than other parts of the UK, and the rules here are different in significant respects.
• Legal terminology is not the same, and legal terms of art do not always translate
• The Scottish Court system differs, so dispute resolution needs local advice.
• Debt recovery and execution (called diligence in Scotland) operates in a uniquely
Scottish manner. With the correct wording, Franchisors in Scotland can register their agreements and move directly to diligence without the expense of requiring a court decree.
• The formal requirements for execution of documents and deeds are different to those
Why the differences? – A wee gallop through history
Strange as it may seem for such a small group of islands, in legal terms, Scotland is a separate
country to the rest of the British Isles. Up until 1707, Scotland was a fully independent country with its
own legal system and parliament. In 1707, the Act of Union was signed and Scotland became part of
the British Isles but the separate Scots law was preserved. Over time, elements of the Scottish legal
system moved into line, in certain areas, with the English & Welsh legal system. Today, 300 years
later, Scots law is still different in several key areas including licensing, personal law and, in particular,
These substantial differences in law can cause confusion for franchises moving into Scotland who
often make the incorrect assumption that what applies in England & Wales applies in Scotland. WJM
works with English solicitors and their franchise clients to help overcome these differences by
applying the ‘tartan touch’. For more information on applying the ‘tartan touch’ contact:
0131 225 5660
0141 248 3434
01463 250 011
The information contained in this newsletter is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of relevant law and practice as at February 2012. Wright, Johnston &
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