Friday, September 26, 2008

Judicial ‘independence’ supported by MSPs as concerns grow over judicial ‘dictatorship’

When is independence independence … when it is transparent, accountable, just, and fair …

However, none of those terms could ever be applied to Scotland’s judiciary going on the experience of most solicitors and much of the Scots public.

Still, in the best interests of keeping things as they are, and ensuring little reform in the public interest, the Scottish Parliament has ‘backed’ the independence of the Scottish Judiciary by supporting the Judiciary & Courts (Scotland) Bill, which leaves the Lord President at the head of the Scottish Courts Service.

As a reminder to whom we are putting in such a powerful and ‘independent’ position, here is a clip of Lord Hamilton’s testimony at the Scottish Parliament …

Lord Hamilton - A measure of trust ?

Judicial independence is backed by MSPs

STEWART PATERSON September 26 2008

A Bill to guarantee the independence of the Scottish judiciary from parliament has been passed by MSPs.

The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill makes the Lord President, Scotland's most senior judge, the head of the judiciary with responsibility for all court business and for the conduct of judges.

The Scottish Court Service will become a non-ministerial department, run instead by a board, chaired by the Lord President. The bill also changes the eligibility rules on who can be appointed to the Court of Session, to those who have practised as solicitor advocates in either the Court of Session or the High Court, instead of both.

Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, said: "The bill delivers a strong coherent structure for a modern judiciary and the effective management of our court system."

The bill was also welcomed by senior figures in the legal profession. Lord Hamilton, the Lord President, said: "If the bill receives the Royal Assent, it will in due course bring about significant change in the administration of the Scottish courts and in my own office of Lord President.."

Eleanor Emberson, chief executive of the Scottish Court Service, said: "I believe that having the Lord President as chair of the Scottish Court Service governing body gives this organisation fresh impetus."

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