Monday, June 16, 2008

Scottish Government sends another lawyer to Brussels to ensure Scots interests represented

The Scottish Government have decided to catch up with the Law Society of Scotland, who have had an extensive legislation blocking office set up at Brussels for years, by sending yet another lawyer (and member of the Law Society) to Brussels on full pay & expenses package 'to represent Scotland and see we are legally involved in the European Union'.

The Scotsman reports :

Taking Scotland's legal traditions to the heart of Brussels


SCOTLAND's justice system is to be enshrined in Europe, under long-term plans instigated by the Scottish Government. A dedicated lawyer from within the Scots legal system will be based in Brussels from September to ensure Scotland is legally involved in the European Union.

The SNP government has also committed to ensuring it is represented at every formal council meeting in the EU. This year, the country has been represented at every meeting, and Kenny MacAskill, the justice minister, plans to attend the next gathering
in Brussels on 24-25 July.

A Scottish Government representative last month attended the inaugural meeting of the EU's Justice Forum last month, which brings together legal practitioners, representatives of all member states, and other relevant groups, to provide a platform for the development of EU justice policies and practice in both civil and criminal law.

MacAskill says: "Scots law is distinct. It is essential therefore that its voice and interests are recognised. As well as speaking up for Scotland, our enhanced representation in Brussels will ensure that we have our eyes and ears on the ground at the heart of the EU."

Recently, the Scottish Government launched its Action Plan on European Engagement, which set out Scotland's political role and objectives in Europe in a bid to encourage direct engagement with other nations.

MacAskill adds: "It is important we have a say in the issues that matter to our citizens. Through actions such as the appointment of a dedicated lawyer in Brussels and our involvement with the EU's Justice Forum, we will ensure that the interests of our citizens and of our unique system of law are always represented by a strong voice."

The European Commission established the EU Justice Forum in May as a permanent forum for examining justice policy and practice across member states.

Members include the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe – whose immediate past president was a Scottish advocate – and the European Association of Judges

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