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Ask JGM Your Own Question
JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11448
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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when is it unlawful in scots law for someone to contact you

Customer Question

when is it unlawful in scots law for someone to contact you directly, accusing you of a civil wrong, threatening civil action and demand payment.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is to do with copyright infringement and while I was unaware the image I used was copyright, I used it on the advertising pages of a large third party website. I advertise with the third party website and while what I put on their website is my responsibility, the owner of the copyright I infringed initiated direct contact with me to make a claim for damages and threaten legal proceedings. He is now denying this claiming he contacted the third party only and they must have contacted me stating categorically he did not initiate direct contact with me which is untrue. I am now suspicious he knows he has done something unlawful.

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
From what you say the copyright owner hasn't done anything unlawful. What makes you think this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have read a number of website forums relating to the same subject and issues, including justanswer on 6/19/2009 which refers very much to what I have outlined and the 'expert' implies '' It is a criminal offence under Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 to harass debtors with a view to obtaining payment including the issue of letters which convey a threat or false information with intent to cause distress or anxiety'' in what context would this be applied in defense of a civil claim - hense my original question.

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
Neither of these Acts of Parliament apply to Scotland.

In any event what false information was contained in the communication received by you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Why do you ask, does it matter as the act states 'a threat or false information... with the intent to cause distress or anxiety'. Is there any similar act in scots law which covers same intent when initiating contact? Appreciate some guidance if possible

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
As I understand it you have received a letter threatening action because you have breached someone's copyright?That is legal.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I dont wish to elaborate any further but to conclude I would appreciate if you could confirm or not my question on, are there Scotland Acts similar to those in England and Wales to Administration of Justice Act 1970 and the Malicious Communications Act 1988? Please if yes can you refer to them. Thank You

Expert:  JGM replied 4 years ago.
The Telecommunications Act of 1984 already prohibits obscene messages by telephone. Common law crimes such as breach of the peace can also be applied in cases of intimidation and harassment and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997can be used to obtain orders against individuals in some circumstances.