Axe Nurses First: No austerity for £60m spend on Scotland’s main court & judiciary IN the midst of huge cuts to public services including hospitals, the Judiciary of Scotland & Scottish Court Service have announced a celebratory exhibition on their spending of £60 million pounds of taxpayers money on their Parliament House building based in Edinburgh, which houses Scotland’s highest & most inaccessible court – the Court of Session.
The exhibition runs from 28 July to 29 August as venue 402 for the Edinburgh Fringe. Be there, or be aware!
Among the reasons for the multi million pound taxpayer spend on a court no one in Scotland can actually get to without paying tens of thousands of pounds to Edinburgh based QCs, Eric McQueen - the Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service told staggered msps on the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee that “there was no fire certificate in place for the building”.
McQueen also revealed the judges had actually wanted to spend well over £120 Million on the project but this budget was “was brought to a stop to allow us to reassess things and to consider the best strategy”.
McQueen notably did not elaborate to msps on why the £120million plus budget was brought to a halt, probably because no explanation had been dreamed up beforehand which was plausible enough to cover it.
Anyone going along to the exhibition please feel free to ask some searching questions on why Scotland’s judiciary are so secretive about their interests and why Scotland’s top court is so inaccessible to the public (– Ed)
An exhibition was opened today commemorating the completion of the five year, £58 million redevelopment of Parliament House, home of the Supreme Courts of Scotland.
The Lord President, the Rt. Hon. Lord Gill, Chairman of the Scottish Court Service, unveiled a plaque marking the project which was completed last year on time and on budget.
Lord Gill said: “Behind the façade of Parliament House is a collection of buildings ranging over seven floors and containing more than 700 rooms. The oldest building, Parliament Hall, is nearly 400 years old, and it is vitally important that this building is properly maintained for future generations.
“I wish to thank the many individuals and teams who were involved in the project. This work was carried out while the business of the courts continued, and its success has been achieved by effective planning and co-operation.”
Speeches were also delivered by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, MSP, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, QC, and the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, James Wolffe, QC.
SCS Chief Executive Eric McQueen said: “The SCS is responsible for preserving this 17th century building which is in a world heritage site and the work involved was a significant challenge. The success of the project has resulted in the improvement of facilities and access for all court users, including victims and witnesses.
“The traditional courtrooms have been fully preserved while at the same time adapted to enable the presentation of evidence, productions and documents, electronically and remotely, from any part of the world. This is part of our ambition to put digital innovation at the heart of our Service.”
The project involved the renewal of all mechanical, electrical and information technology installations, fire safety measures, the introduction of energy efficiency schemes and the improvement of environmental controls in Parliament House, home to the Court of Session and the High Court of Judiciary.
The exhibition - 'Parliament House, The Hidden Gem' - will feature from 28 July to 29 August as venue 402 for the Edinburgh Fringe. It provides a glimpse into the history, traditions and purpose of the Supreme Courts building and will be open Monday to Friday, 10:30-1600. The exhibition was sponsored by Currie and Brown, Asset Management and Construction Consultancy (project managers) and Interserve Construction (principal contractors).