Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton announces retirement date of 08 June 2012, First Minister goes on-the-hunt for new head of Scotland’s courts

Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton, has announced he is to retire on June 8 2012. While it is up to the Prime Minister, currently David Cameron to recommend a replacement to the Queen, that person must be recommended by the First Minister, currently Alex Salmond who in turn cannot make a recommendation until the panel constituted to find a replacement for Lord Hamilton makes its own recommendations.

Lord Hamilton was first appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice in 1995 and was promoted to the Inner House of the Court of Session in 2002. He was appointed to the offices of Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General of Scotland in 2005.

Under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 the First Minister will now establish a panel and invite them to make recommendations of individuals who are suitable for appointment to fill the vacancy.

The panel will comprise Sir Muir Russell, the chair of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland; one other lay member of that Board nominated by Sir Muir and two judges who will be nominated by the First Minister.

Mr Salmond said: "Lord Hamilton has given outstanding public service both in his role as a judge and as the Lord President and Lord Justice General.

"He has presided during a time of considerable change with the enactment of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 - legislation which he played in active part in promoting. It is in his role as both the first Head of the Scottish Judiciary and the chair of the Scottish Court Service that Lord Hamilton has demonstrated his leadership skills and willingness to take on a whole range of new responsibilities which are delivering an improved court system.

"Despite his substantial non-judicial responsibilities, Lord Hamilton has maintained a strong commitment to his judicial work, continuing to preside regularly in the most demanding and complex civil and criminal appeal cases. He will leave behind a substantial contribution to the development of Scotland's distinctive civil and criminal law."

The Rt Hon Lord Hamilton will be retiring after 17 years as a judge. It is for the Prime Minister to make a recommendation to the Queen on who should replace Lord Hamilton, but he may not recommend any person who has not been nominated to him by the First Minister. The First Minister may not nominate any person until the panel has made its recommendation and the First Minister must have regard to the panel's recommendation.

The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) 2008 Act brought about the creation of the Scottish Court Service as a new statutory entity, governed by a judicially led corporate body as well as giving the Lord President the role of Head of the Scottish Judiciary with important new responsibilities for the disposal of business and the leadership of the Scottish judiciary as a whole.

Lord Hamilton is a graduate of the Universities of Oxford (BA, Worcester College) and Edinburgh (LLB). He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1968 and was Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Development Department (1975-78) and the Inland Revenue (1978-82). He served as an Advocate Depute from 1982 to 1985. From 1988 to 1995 he was a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey, and from 1992 to 1995 he was President of the Pensions Appeal Tribunals for Scotland. He was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice in 1995 and as Lord President in 2005. In June 2003 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford and in January 2006 an Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple, London.

(A good bloke like Arthur will be missed around the courts – Ed)

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