THE SCOTSMAN Monday 27 December 2021

SCOTSMAN.COM @THESCOTSMAN

barrier to cycling
SEAN GALLUP/GETTY

What is the price of holding
on and what value might
there be in letting go?
Simplify all that clutter and complexity
in life and be open-minded about the
possibilities in the face of what lies ahead,
says John Sturrock QC
t this time of year, it is
good to reflect, to look
back, and also to look
forward. This is not always easy as
wesensetheclutterandcomplexity
of life crowding in on us.
I have had the uneasy experience
in the past few weeks of clearing out
the Core office. With remote workingnowthenorm,notonlyfordelivery but for administration, having
a physical office space is, for us, an
unnecessary luxury – or more honestly,aglorifiedandexpensivestoreroom.
And therein lies the problem. For
that storeroom contains gems. Letters from people long forgotten,
records of past exploits, proposals
for unfulfilled projects, ideas which
would have changed the world (we
thought), articles and adverts (all
meticulously logged in hard copy
form). From those times when we
printed everything out and received
letters and enclosures by post, there
is so much to read, to reminisce
about,tofollowup.I’vetakentosending photographs (electronically) of
long-lost documents to people featured in them – “remember this...”,
“whatever happened to...”, “a blast
from the past…”. Some of the recipientsrespond,othersprobablyshake
theirheadsandclickdelete.
I found a folder of papers from a
projectinAfrica–thatwouldmakea
great article or book chapter, I think
to myself. All those early strategy
papers with detailed action plans.
And we started so many projects to
promote mediation in different sectors: planning, health, construction,
IP,theboardroom,SMEs,thelistgoes
on. And pilot studies, proposed and
never taken forward, or taken to a
certain stage and still undercooked.
Clausesincontracts,ideasforexpansion of mediation into deal-making
and public/private project management,thelistgetsevenlonger.
Forty bags went off for shredding
a week or so ago. A career’s worth of
endeavour. There are still a few folders to go through and several boxes
of retained papers to sort further,
languishing now in my basement
at home. That will be a job in itself.
Whenandhowtodoso?Andatwhat
costtothepresentwithitspromise,to

A

If we don’t learn from the past – how
can we expect to improve the future?
A failure to act now not only means
we are likely to see further needless
injuries and deaths, but we’ll also see
more headlines highlighting the dangersofcycling.This,inturn,willnegate
any efforts to encourage more people
to take up cycling and experience the
manybenefitsthatcomealongwithit.
Roz Boynton is an Associate Solicitor with Cycle Law Scotland.

0We need to challenge our attitudes to responding to collisions involving
cyclists.

tree overhanging a well-used pedestrianroute.
The frequency and nature of inspection required will also be determined
byspecificfactors,suchastreespecies,
size, life stage and condition. In determining what that inspection regime
should be, guidance should be sought
fromtreemaintenanceexperts.
An annual detailed inspection may
berequiredfortreesinthehighestrisk
category, with informal infrequent
observations for trees in the most
remote areas. The financial means of
the owner or occupier can also be taken into account, but it would have to
bedemonstratedthatinspectionshad
been considered and ruled out on the
basis of prohibitive cost and the best
regimepossibleontheavailablefunds
hadbeenimplemented.
Outsidestandardpracticeandproto-

col,theneedforinspectioncanbetriggeredbyevents,liketheextremerecent
weather. Where damage is likely to
have been caused, inspections should
be carried out and reasonable action
takentomaketreesassafeaspossible.
Ifaclaimisraised,it'sworthremembering there is no obligation on landownersoroccupierstoguaranteethat
treesaresafe.Whatisreasonablecare
will depend on specific circumstances,includingthelandowner'sfinancial
means.Foranyonedefendingaclaim,

thekeytobeinginastrongposition
lies in demonstrating that the risk
posed by trees on land has been
assessed and a reasonable policy
formanagingthatriskdevisedand
implemented.
Aswithanyclaimsituation,having good records of inspections,
maintenance and decision-making is key and can be crucial to
provingnon-negligence.
Kate Donachie is a managing
associate, Brodies LLP

lookingahead,tocreativityandinnovationin2022?
Whatisthepriceforholdingonand
what value might there be in letting
go? More generally, for each of us,
what are we clinging on to because
we fear the loss in letting go? What
would be the impact of releasing
ourselvesfromthosethings–expectations, unfulfilled ambitions, entitlements, obligations, even our jobs
- which confine or restrict us from
doing or being what we need to do
andwanttobegoingforward?
A friend with whom I was discussing all this has leant me a business
book by Gino Wickman, entitled
Traction.Chapter2isabout“Letting
Go of the Vine”. The writer tells us
that“beforeyoucangrow,you’llneed
totakealeapoffaith.”Amongstother
tips,heincludessimplification,openmindedness and being vulnerable.
Perhaps my challenge, and maybe
yours too, is to simplify all that clutterandcomplexityinlife,tobeopenmindedaboutthepossibilitiesinthe
future and to strip away the camouflage and protective armour by
being vulnerable in the face of what
liesahead.
There are always options. Usually
too many to handle well. We need
therefore to identify criteria which
we can apply to help us make choices.Thesearethebenchmarkswhich
addressourrealneedsandinterests,
notsimplyprotectingwhathasgone
before.Forme,insimpleterms,what
criteria will I apply as I endeavour to
whittle down still further the contents of those boxes? What are my
reasons for holding on to any of it?
Nostalgia?Sentiment?Orarealprospect of using the material in a future
project,perhapstothebenefitofothers who have not been through the
sameexperiences?
More generally, as I consider 2022,
there are things I have wanted to do
for many years. These are regularly deprioritised as apparently more
urgent work comes along. But there
is always a price to be paid. I sense
thatIneedtofindthecouragetoletgo
ofquitealotofstuff,literalandmetaphorical,inordertodothethingsthat
reallymattertome.Whataboutyou?
John Sturrock is Founder and
Senior Mediator, Core Solutions

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