In a written judgement published on 23 November 2007, Sheriff Daniel Kelly QC of Perth granted Elsie Melville (59) two hours’ access a month to her four grandchildren, conditional on her not giving them sweeties.  Elsie’s daughter Donna Russell (36) had refused her mother access because she regularly provided them with carrier bags full of sweeties and fizzy drinks.  There was evidence that the two older children had had teeth removed, although it could not be shown that this was due to over-consumption of sweeties.  Donna also suspected that a complaint by her mother had led to the SSPCA visiting her home in connection with two pet dogs also kept in the house.  Mrs Melville admitted buying a big bag [of sweets] on Monday to last [the children] for a week, but said that now she would make them sandwiches and give them yoghurt when they came round to see her.  The views of the four children on the matter are unknown.  Scots Law News readers will recall that Scottish Ministers decided against giving grandparents any statutory right to access in what became the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 (see No 430).


Scots Law News being approving of attempts to cure the nation’s addiction to, not only sweeties but also fags and fatty foods (booze can be held over for more detailed consideration elsewhere), we were delighted to read of the latest prisoners’ human rights challenge to Scottish Ministers, which will, according to the Sunday Herald for 25 November 2007, be a claim that they cannot get the recommended five portions of fruit and veg per day – presumably inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 3 ECHR, but just possibly also a denial of the right to life under Article 2.  The nanny state hoist with its own petard or health messages, we feel.  But we also wonder how many lawyers get their daily rations of fruit and veg, never mind the rest of the population.



Readers of Scots Law News with long memories will recall Charlie the anti-social cockerel whose high-decibel crowing kept awake his increasingly irate neighbours in Selkirk (see No 595).  A trial of the charges against him was scheduled for December 2006, but since then it seemed that silence had fallen in the case (whether naturally or by fowl play), with no further news about it emerging from any of our usual sources (see No 621 for Scots Law News worries on this score).  However, the BBC reports on 21 November 2007 that Charlie is still with us, and that his owner and their neighbours have reached an agreement whereby Charlie will be kept in lightproof accommodation between 8pm and 9am from 1 May to 30 September and between 7pm and 7am for the rest of the year.  The ASBO proceedings raised by Scottish Borders Council in connection with this matter have been put on hold so long as the deal is kept by Charlie’s owner.  Full details at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/7105699.stm.  



The Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 (Privative Jurisdiction and Summary Cause) Order 2007 (SSI 2007/507 at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2007/20070507.htm), the statutory instrument increasing the limit for civil cases falling within the privative jurisdiction of the sheriff court (referred to no 678), has now been published.  It was passed by the Scottish Parliament Justice committee at the same time as the Small Claims (Scotland) Amendment Order 2007 (SSI 2007/496) (see no 700) but was published a week later. 

This instrument raises the limit of the privative jurisdiction of the sheriff court and the limit of the summary cause from £1500 to £5000. The new limit will come into force from 14 January 2008 and will not apply to cases commenced before that date.