Yvette Cooper, the Housing Minister for England & Wales, announced on 18 July 2006 that the Government would not be implementing its plan to compel house sellers to provide a Housing Information Pack (HIP) which included a Home Condition Report (HCR – seller’s survey by any other name).  Only an Energy Performance Certificate would be required.  The move was explained by a need to test further what an HCR should include, and by insufficient numbers of inspectors to carry out the reports.  The rule requiring HIPs is due to come into force in June 2007.  The Scottish Executive confirmed the following day that this move would have no effect on its own plans to implement the equivalent scheme in Scotland in March 2007 (for which see previously Nos 438, 443, 521). 



Scots Law News has been checking out this year’s gradings of Scottish law schools by the national newspapers.  In a sensational development, the Times puts Aberdeen first (fifth in the UK), with Edinburgh second (eighth in the UK).  Glasgow was next (13th in the UK), with Strathclyde (14th in the UK) and Dundee (16th) close on their tails.  Only 20 law schools are listed altogether in the online version of the table.  For the Guardian, Edinburgh leads, eighth in the UK, followed by Aberdeen at number ten.  Dundee is 13th, Strathclyde 22nd and Glasgow 25th.  Glasgow Caledonian appears next in this list, at number 30, but it goes no further, at least in the online version.  The Independent‘s website is coy about its tables, if any; consult instead their student-written, published guide, available of course in any good bookshop but unread by Scots Law News at this time.  For previous years’ rankings see Nos 362 and 465.  Fans of the duck density approach to ranking universities (see No 470) will be pleased to know that it is alive and well and still without a Scottish university in sight (see http://www.duckdensity.org.uk).  York still leads in this particular backwater, but Huddersfield has moved up out of the pack (or should that be flock?) to be third, behind second-placed Warwick.  For some reason Loughborough has fallen away altogether, while the ones that used to be at Leeds must be a-dabbling more in the river these days, up tails all (with thanks to Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, or possibly the late Kenneth Grahame).


Lord President Hamilton, who had been off work being treated for stress for the previous two months (leading to difficulties requiring legislative solution – see Nos 566, 570, 571), returned to Parliament House and his duties on 3 July 2006.  Amongst his first tasks, performed on 5 July, was taking delivery of a present from the Queen to mark her 80th birthday this year: a silver mace for use in the Court of Criminal Appeal.  Tougher jobs lie ahead, one suspects.