Have oil and gas appeals heard in Aberdeen, says Faculty
The Faculty is backing a move to have appeals against decisions of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) heard in Aberdeen.
The UK Energy Bill creates new appeal rights for oil and gas companies to challenge decisions of the OGA, which is based in Aberdeen.
Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has called on the UK Government to ensure that appeals are heard in Aberdeen, and he has the support of the Faculty, the Law Society of Scotland and the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen.
James Wolffe, QC, Dean of Faculty, said: “The Oil and Gas Authority is based in Aberdeen, and it makes sense for appeals from the Authority to be heard there. The Energy Bill establishes a new structure for appeals from the regulator. These appeals should be dealt with, from the outset, in Scotland, where so much work related to the oil and gas industry already takes place.”
He added: “As the centre of the oil industry in the UK, Aberdeen would be the natural forum for these disputes.”
Mr Ewing stated: “I feel it is vitally important that the expertise of Scotland’s legal profession is utilised at the start and that the UK Government give a firm commitment to that now. It would be sensible to locate the tribunals in Aberdeen because it is the international capital of oil and gas activity and is where most of the business which could lead to disputes will be done – and the legal business should be there, too.
“I fully expect the UK Government to now accept the strong case for these appeals to be determined in Aberdeen.”
Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “There is a fairly short time period of 28 days to lodge notice of an appeal. If the appeal goes ahead, it is highly likely that the majority of potential claimants and witnesses involved in the case, as well as their legal representatives, would be located in and around Aberdeen. Having the tribunal and appeals tribunal in the same part of the country will be more convenient to access, saving time, effort and money for all concerned.”