D M MacKinnon Solicitors

Solicitors & Notaries Oban, Argyll, Scotland
01631 563014

Wind Farm

News

Our latest happenings...

Baby boom at DM MacKinnon! Pictured left to right are Laura McManus, Louise Fraser and Caroline Isaac, all expecting new arrivals in April 2017

Baby boom at DM MacKinnon!

It is an exciting time here at DM MacKinnon where three of our colleagues are sporting baby bumps! Pictured left to right are Laura McManus, Louise Fraser and Caroline Isaac, all expecting new arrivals in April 2017

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New Appointment

 

We are delighted to announce that David Lane joined our Conveyancing team in December 2016. 

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Retiral

Duncan Durbin has now retired as a Partner of D M MacKinnon, however he remains as a Consultant to the Firm in court related matters.

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D M MacKinnon announces new Partners

We are delighted to announce that Louise Fraser and Sally Orr have been assumed as Partners of D M MacKinnon with effect from 26th July 2016.  Louise and Sally both deal with residential and commercial property matters and Louise also deals with employment law.

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September 2016

We are pleased to advise that we are participating in the Will Aid Scotland scheme again this year.

Through Will Relief Scotland your Will is drawn up by one of our participating Solicitors who have generously agreed to provide this service free of charge in September. Instead of paying for the Will you will be invited to make a donation to the Will Relief Scotland Charities.

You will not only gain the peace of mind from knowing that you have provided for your family and loved ones, but your donation will help the member charities transform the lives of hundreds of people, families and children in the world’s poorest places.

Your donation will be shared equally among the four Scottish-based charities involved: Blythswood Care, EMMS International, Mission Aviation Fellowship, and Signpost International. Among them they work in some of the world's poorest places.

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National Living Wage

The new National Living Wage will come in to effect on 1 April 2016.  It will require all workers aged 25 and over to be paid a minimum od £7.20 per hour.

In Scotland there is a voluntary rate of £8.25 for all workers over the age of 18.  All employers must abide by the statutory rate of £7.20 for workers over 25 but can choose to pay the Scottish Living Wage.

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United Employment Lawyers

D M MacKinnon, Solicitors are pleased to announce that they have signed up to United Employment Lawyers, a nationwide network delivering legal expertise for the world of work in the high street.  Independent law practices, from Dumfries to Inverness and Elgin, through to Greenock, Paisley, Helensburgh to Aberdeen and Hawick, have signed up to United Employment Lawyers.

This is a unique network which brings added legal expertise into the high street through a network of very experienced employment lawyers across the country.  D M MacKinnon’s membership of United Employment Lawyers means that it is able to offer high level legal advice on employment matters through its own in-house experts, Louise Fraser and Jane Thomson, but also through utilising a  pool of fully qualified experts across the country.  The United Employment Lawyers network has been welcomed by the Law Society of Scotland, which sees this as adding strength to local law firms, who remain independent firms in their own right. 

For more information, please visit www.unitedemploymentlawyers.co.uk.

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Pre-Employment Checks

It has been well reported in the press over the weekend that, following raids in Oban by the Home Office UK Border Agency, 17 immigration offenders have been caught, with 16 being detained pending their removal from the country.  Our Louise Fraser specialises in employment law and frequently advises employers on the pre-employment checks that should be carried out before taking on employees.  Louise points out that if employers are unable to provide evidence that legally required pre-employment checks were carried out on the employees before giving them a job, a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal employee will be imposed.

If you are an employer requiring advice in connection with employing people from other countries, please contact Louise by e-mail on laf@dmmk.co.uk or 01631 563014.

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Tenant Information Pack

With effect from 1 May 2013, all landlords letting properties on assured or short assured tenancies must provide a Tenant Information Pack to the tenants by the tenancy start date.  This includes the renewal of existing tenancies where the landlord and tenant draw up a new lease, but is not required for existing assured or short assured tenancies.  The Pack is a standardised document available on the Scottish Government website and must not be modified.  The tenant is required to acknowledge receipt of the Pack and the documents referred to therein.  Failue to provide a Tenant Information Pack is a criminal offence and if landlords do not provide the Pack they can be fined up to £500.  Where D M Mackinnon acts on behalf of the landlords, we will arrange for the Information Pack to be provided to the tenants as required.

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Crofting Register

The first ever Crofting Register has been launched as part of the modernisation of crofting undertaken as part of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.  The establishment of a definitive map-based Crofting Register will remove doubt over what is croft land and who has rights and responsibilities for that land.  It will also assist The Crofting Commission in effectively regulating crofting, such as tackling absenteeism and neglect.  From 30 November 2012, registration will be on a voluntary basis.  From 30 November 2013, crofters will be required to register croft land where changes occur, for example in conjunction with a regulatory application to The Crofting Commission.  Crofting communities are encouraged to take a collective approach towards registration to qualify for the reduced registration fee for group registration of £70 per croft, instead of £90. This is a 22% reduction where ten or more crofts are submitted in the same group or, in crofting townships of less than ten crofts, where all crofts are submitted at the same time. 

Please follow the link www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/11/Crofting30112012 to see the Scottish Government press release.

For any queries regarding the Crofting Register, or crofting in general, please contact Alan Manson at aam@dmmk.co.uk or George Seaton at gems@dmmk.co.uk or, alternatively, telephone 01631 563014.

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The Schools Law & Citizenship Web

D M MacKinnon are proud to have nominated Oban High School and its feeder primaries for The Schools Law & Citizenship Web , a scheme which introduces pupils to the legal system and those who work within it.

The programme, which is backed by The Law Society of Scotland, is run by teachers to help schools in practical ways.

A key feature is the use of current news stories to bring citizenship topics to life in the classroom.  The Scheme also helps young people understand that laws bring responsibilities as well as rights, whilst the project materials introduce pupils to legal concepts and terms they will encounter later in life.

Speaking on behalf of Oban High School, Kirsteen Binnie of the Modern Studies Department said that the school greatly appreciates the support of D M MacKinnon in providing such a practicable classroom resource.  The Law Society’s Director of Education & Training, Liz Campbell, also commented, “We are delighted that D M MacKinnon have nominated Oban High School for this imaginative programme which helps break down some of the misconceptions and stereotypes which still persist about lawyers and the work they do". 

The Schools Law & Citizenship Web can be found at www.schoolsproject.co.uk.

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Pensions Auto-Enrolment

The new Pensions Auto-Enrolment duties began to apply to employers from 1 October 2012.  The aim is to make it easier for people to save for their retirement and combat the current failure of many workers to take up valuable pension benefits because they do not make an application to join their employers’ pension scheme.

Pensions Auto-Enrolment requires all employers to enrol their workers into a qualifying workplace scheme if they are not already in one.  A “qualifying workplace scheme” can be:-

  • A defined contribution scheme with a minimum contribution;  or
  • A defined benefit scheme or hybrid scheme which meets certain conditions. 

The criteria for Pensions Auto-Enrolment are:-

  • Workers not already in a company pension scheme will be enrolled if they are aged between 22 and the State pension age;
  • These workers must be earning at least £8,105 a year;
  • The contribution they, and their employers, make will be based on their wage, although the first £5,564 a year they earn will not be taken into account;
  • Any earnings above £42,475 will also be ignored in the contribution calculation;
  • Therefore the amount between £5,564 and £42,475 is known as their pensionable pay;

Staff can opt out.

Auto-Enrolment will be applicable to large employers initially, with smaller employers being phased in over the next four years in accordance with the following timetable:-

  • October 2012 – Firms with 120,000 employees or more;
  • November 2012 – 50,000 to 119,999 employees;
  • January 2013 – 30,000 to 49,999 employees…..

   and so on until

  • From January 2014 – firms with fewer than 500 employees in stages;
  • From January 2015 – firms with fewer than 58 employees in stages;
  • February 2018 – timetable completed.

For any queries regarding Pensions Auto-Enrolment or employment law in general, please contact Louise Fraser on 01631 563014 or laf@dmmk.co.uk.

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National Minimum Wage Increase - October 2012

The National Minimum Wage (“NMW”) increased from 1 October 2012.  As at that date, the current NMW rates are:-

 £6.19 – the main rate for workers aged 21 or over

 £4.98 – the 18-20 rate

 £3.68 – the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18

 £2.65 – the apprentice rate (for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

For any queries regarding the NMW or employment law in general, please contact Louise Fraser on 01631 563014 or laf@dmmk.co.uk.  Louise can also provide style letters for employers wishing to vary the terms and conditions of their employees’ contracts of employment to incorporate the NMW increase.

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Promotions

We are pleased to announce that, with effect from 26th July 2012, Laura Russell and Louise Fraser were promoted to Associates within the firm.  Laura specialises in Criminal Law and can be contacted on lr@dmmk.co.uk and Louise specialises in Employment and Property Law and can be contacted on laf@dmmk.co.uk.

Photograph courtesy of The Oban Times. 

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Tenancy Deposit Scheme

In terms of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 all tenancy deposits held in respect of the letting of houses must be held securely by an independent third party that has been approved by the Scottish Government.  The Regulations apply to all deposits, including those currently held and 3 Tenancy Deposit Schemes have been approved by the Scottish Government.  Sanctions may be imposed on Landlords who fail to comply.  If you wish further advice about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme or wish to receive our memorandum please contact either klma@dmmk.co.uk or isla@dmmk.co.uk.

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Business Improvement Development (BID)

D M MacKinnon are pleased to support Bid4Oban whose declared vision is to create a vibrant town centre with a supportive and involved business community.  D M MacKinnon are resolved to play its part in this exciting project.

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