Laying Down The Law: Can I Withdraw My Statement About Partner?

I have been trying to withdraw a statement I made to the police against my partner. He has been charged with assaulting me. The police said I could not withdraw my statement. I wrote to the Procurator Fiscal but it was not mentioned at the interim hearing. I really don’t want this matter to continue and don’t want to give evidence at court.

Unfortunately violent partners get away with it if they are too easily “forgiven” their abuse. But whatever one’s opinions, the law is that once the police pass the case on to the Procurator Fiscal, it is the fiscal’s sole decision as to whether the case goes ahead. Prosecution in our law is done in the public interest, and not on your personal behalf, so you don’t have the right to stop it. You now have the status of a witness, and MUST come to court and speak up if cited by the fiscal. Ultimately, divorce or separation and/or a restraining order may come into play in these types of situations.

My mother died and left me out of her will. She left everything to her second husband, leaving both me and my sister absent from the will. Can we contest it, as we are sure she was unfairly influenced by this gold-digging man?

You cannot contest the will as such but you can get round it partially. As children you have legal rights, known as legitim rights, and are entitled to share between you and your sister one third of the moveable estate (that is everything except any house, and after all debts have been settled). This is your entitlement no matter what the will says. You cannot be completely disinherited where there are moveable (i.e. non-house) assets in the estate in Scotland. It is always difficult to prove undue influence - the court will assume your mum’s commitment to her new partner was a loving, conscious one.

I bought a flat and it turned out to have extensive rot. I checked the home report that did not mention it. Can I make a claim against the seller, or his surveyor?

You have no claim against the vendor - caveat emptor/let the buyer beware. You would only be able to claim compensation from the surveyor if he or she has failed by gross negligence to spot what should have been apparent rot. Don’t be put off that the surveyor was instructed and paid by the seller – he/she has a liability to the buyer who relies on the survey.

I bought hair-straighteners from my hairdresser, but they are faulty. Only one side is working and there is a buzzing noise from them when switched on. I took them back and the hairdresser says that I will need to wait until he gets a refund from the wholesalers before giving me my money back.

You are entitled always to get a refund from a retailer as that is the person with whom you have made a contract. Your rights do not depend on the retailer getting satisfaction from a manufacturer or other supplier. So insist on payment now.

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