Stage 1 scrutiny by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee



Someone signing a legal document

The Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 14 May 2014.

This is the first Bill to be known as a Scottish Law Commission Bill.  

The Bill implements the vast majority of the legislative recommendations contained in the SLC Report on Formation of Contract: Execution in Counterpart.

The Bill will make two changes to Scots law and practice. First, it clarifies that a document which is to be signed by two or more parties can be “executed in counterpart”, i.e. that each party can sign its own copy of the document, which will then be delivered to the other party or parties (or a nominee such as a solicitor who would be responsible for taking delivery on behalf of the parties). Secondly, the Bill will expressly permit delivery of paper legal documents by electronic means, meaning that, where delivery is needed for a document to take full legal effect electronic delivery will suffice. This is aimed at resolving the current doubt as to whether faxing or emailing a copy of a signed paper document can make it legally effective.


The Stage 1 debate took place on Tuesday 25 November 2014. Stage 2 proceedings then took place on Tuesday 20 January 2015. The Bill was passed by Parliament after the Stage 3 debate on Tuesday 24 February 2015.


Written evidence

The Committee issued a call for evidence on Wednesday 28 May 2014. The closing date for receipt of submissions was Monday 14 July 2014.

Oral evidence 

17 June 2014 - Scottish Government officials and Scottish Law Commission. Watch the video

19 August 2014 - Law Society of England and Wales Conveyancing and Law Committee, Olswang LLP (via video conference)

30 September 2014 - Faculty of Advocates, Law Society of Scotland, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Dickson Minto W.S, Tods Murray LLP. Watch the video

7 October 2014 - Professors from Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, Braveheart Investment Group plc, Scottish Enterprise, Registers of Scotland. Watch the video

28 October 2014 - Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and Scottish Government officials. watch the video

Additional information


The Committee published its Stage 1 report on the Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill on 14 November 2014.

65th Report, 2014 (Session 4): Report on the Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1

The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism responded to the Committee's report on 19 November 2014:


The Stage 1 debate took place on Tuesday 25 November 2014.

No amendments were lodged and Stage 2 proceedings took place on Tuesday 20 January 2015.

The Stage 3 debate took place on Tuesday 24 February 2015 after which the Bill was passed by Parliament.

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