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Legal Services

Legal Services

Legal Services provides a range of advice, support and representation to all council services. The service also provides committee administration and administration of Civic Government/Hire Car Licensing regimes, legal advice and clerking to the Licensing Board and a number of other committees.

The service has a key role in the development and implementation of the council's strategic objectives, particularly in relation to its modernisation programme and project related business. The service manages delivery of all legal services to the council.

We also review Government consultations, track and review bills and legislation, and review developing case law and statutory and other guidance to ensure the council is compliant with legislative and other development as well as delivering training for Officers at all levels across the organisation. 

Covid-19 Briefing Notes

pdf icon Electronic Registration in the Register of Inhibitions and the Register of Judgements Briefing Note [103kb]

pdf icon Land and Building Transaction Tax Briefing Note [97kb]

pdf icon Listed Building Consent Briefing Note [93kb]

pdf icon Note on Repeal of FOI Timescale Extension [78kb]

pdf icon Right to Purchase Care Homes Note [79kb]

pdf icon Bankruptcy Briefing [106kb]

pdf icon Council Tax - Exempt Dwellings [36kb]

pdf icon Justice Briefing [122kb]

pdf icon Marriage Briefing [37kb]

pdf icon Mental Health Briefing [117kb]

pdf icon Non-Domestic Rates Briefing [36kb]

pdf icon Roads Briefing [37kb]

pdf icon Social Care Fund Briefing [91kb]

pdf icon Coronavirus Publications and Guidance Document [255kb]

pdf icon Housing Services Briefing [125kb]

pdf icon Care Home Changes Briefing [92kb]

Committee Services

Committee Services administers and supports the democratic decision making process of the council through a system of council, committee and Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel meetings. These meetings are regulated by statute and by the council's own Standing Orders. We support a variety of partnership organisations and other bodies such as West Lothian Leisure, Placing in Schools Appeal Committee, Community Planning Partnership, Community Safety Board and the Integration Joint Board.

Committee Services also establishes and supports community councils across West Lothian by arranging elections, producing a community council scheme, offering operational advice and arranging training and payment of grants.  Further information can be found here Community councils

Council agendas and minutes can be found in Council Information Services (COINS), the system used by Committee Services to publish papers to the internet.  Information relating to all elected members can also be found in Coins.  You can access Coins here Council Information System (CoIns)

The council also has legal rules about the make-up of committee and sub-committees which can be found in the pdf icon Standing Orders for the Regulation of Meetings [280kb] and the pdf icon Scheme of Administration [425kb].

The team can be contacted by email

Legal Support

The Legal Services Support Team provides a broad range of administrative and support functions to the Chief Solicitor and service areas within Legal Services.  The team undertake a range of legal functions in support of property/planning related business and assist the litigation team in the processing of court applications. 

The Legal Support Assistants can be contacted by email or


The Licensing team is responsible for administering 30 licence schemes. In particular, the team administers licences for the sale of alcohol, Window Cleaners, Second Hand Dealers, Public Entertainment, Taxi and Private Hire Cars and their drivers and Public Entertainment amongst others.  The team is also responsible for dealing with a variety of gambling permits. 

The team supports both external and internal customers by providing guidance in relation to the licensing schemes and processes.  Our external customers may be working within small businesses, be self-employed, or volunteers organising community events.  The team also deals with licensing queries from elected members and applications from other services within the council.

You can view a guidance note about responding to licensing applications here pdf icon Guidance for council officers re licensing applications and complaints [100kb] 

You can access the teams detailed licensing web pages here 

The team can be contacted by telephone on 01506 281632 or by email


The Litigation team supports all areas of the council in respect of contentious business and provides representation at the Employment Tribunal, Additional Support Needs Tribunal, Sheriff Courts, Court of Session and the United Kingdom Supreme Court.  In addition, they Clerk a number of committees, e.g. Placing in Schools and Employee Appeals.

The team provides advice on a broad range of subjects.  In particular, they support permanence planning and progress Permanence Order Applications in relation to the permanence journey of children who are looked after by the council.  They also advise on and present applications relating to Adults with Incapacity. 

The provide advice and assistance in relation to contentious and disputed contractual matters including issues relating to housing, environmental issues and contentious construction and property related matters.  They also provide support and assistance in relation to education, employment and licensing business.

The team can be contacted by emailing the Managing Solicitor    

Frequently asked questions relating to housing can be found here word icon Housing FAQs [76kb]

Frequently asked questions for schools can be found here pdf icon Frequently asked questions for schools [115kb]

Housing, Construction & Building Services Instruction Sheet can be found here word icon HCBS Instruction Sheet [21kb]

Property/Planning Team

The Property/Planning team provides support for a diverse range of property and planning transactions in addition to undertaking procurement and contractual work, and providing support in relation to freedom of information and data protection issues.  Property business includes purchases, sales, leases, securities and title checks.  The team provides Clerking to the Development Management Committee and Local Review Body in addition to providing advice to Planning colleagues and drafting and negotiating planning agreements. 

The team is responsible for supporting delivery of major Council objectives, in particular the New Build programme, in addition to advising on the drafting and negotiation of contracts and providing procurement advice.  The team also carry out internal reviews in relation to freedom of information requests and advise on general data protection, subject access requests and freedom of information requests. 

The team can be contacted by emailing the Managing Solicitor

FOI Requests

Freedom of Information - Get it Right First Time  pdf icon FOI Poster [145kb]

Guidance on Exemptions and Responding to FOISA Requests word icon Guidance on Exemptions and Responding to FOISA Requests [17kb]

Detailed Guidance on Exemptions which could apply to FOISA Requests word icon More Details on FOISA Exemptions [26kb]

Link to FOI Guidance on the Scottish Information Commissioner's website Freedom of Information Exemptions

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

General Data Protection Regulations Privacy Notices word icon GDPR Privacy Notices [18kb]

General Data Protection Regulations Consent Guidance word icon GDPR Consent Guidance [48kb]

Guidance on Collecting Third Party Information word icon Guidance on Collecting Third Party Information [18kb]

Public Task Guidance word icon Public Taks Guidance [38kb]

Guidance on Data Sharing word icon Guidance on Data Sharing [51kb]

What Is Personal Data word icon What Is Personal Data [40kb]

Subject Access Request Guidance word icon Subject Access Request Guidance [20kb]


Carol Johnston, Chief Solicitor E-mail

Nicola Hogg, Managing Solicitor - Litigation E-mail

Lesley Montague, Managing Solicitor - Property/Planning E-mail

Audrey Watson, Managing Solicitor - Licensing E-mail

Val Johnston, Committee Services - E-mail

Legal Services Member Liaison Officers - Contact Details -  pdf icon Member Liaison Officer [139kb]

Legal Services Employee Information

Legal Services employee information.