Monday, October 19, 2009

Judicial Appointments Board research claims jobs for Scottish judges are controlled by lawyers 'old boys network'

JAB logoScotland's Judicial Appointments Board - full of old boys itself. With much fanfare yet little surprise, Scotland's Judicial Appointments Board, the Ministerial appointed 'quango' which helps appoint Scotland's judges and sheriffs, has published research which ironically claims that jobs for judges are influenced and controlled by the legal profession's old boys network.

The research, which started after a Sunday Herald investigation found that most of Scotland's judges have identical backgrounds (approaching clone status) found about 67% of members of Scotland's legal profession, of whom only around 19% replied (a total of 2319 responses received), that “being in the right social network” influenced which members of the legal profession went on to become a sheriff or a judge after a few nods & winks from those already in the judiciary.

Lord HamiltonScotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton. Lord Hamilton, who recently stated to the Scottish Parliament he should be able to tap someone on the shoulder and make them a sheriff, commented on the research, saying : "It is of the first importance that individuals appointed to judicial office are of the highest calibre. Selection for appointment must be solely on merit but it is essential that applications should be encouraged from the widest range of persons eligible. I welcome the Board's decision to instruct this survey and look forward to having the opportunity to examine its results."

Lord Hamilton speaks on judicial appointments ..


richard keen qcThe Dean, Richard Keen QC. Richard Keen, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, who is still busy challenging the right of asbestos sufferers to claim compensation from insurance companies, commented on the JAB’s jobs for boys survey : "The Faculty of Advocates welcomes any measure to ensure a judicial process that secures the appointment of those best qualified and equipped to discharge judicial functions. It is particularly important that we have a process which provides for appointments throughout the system without regard to gender, ethnic background, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or disability.”

Ian SmartLaw Society of Scotland President, Ian Smart. The Law Society of Scotland were also quick to get their oar in, with a statement from Ian Smart, who said : "Following the publication of the Gill Report, we are potentially entering a completely new era in the field of judicial appointments. Against that background particularly, this is important research indicating the willingness of JABS to continuously improve and modernise the recruitment process and to encourage applications from candidates from all strands of the legal profession. It will be interesting to monitor future developments in judicial appointments as a result."

You can download & read the research at the following links :

Volume 1: Link opens in new windowMain Report Volume 2: Link opens in new windowTabular Report Link opens in new windowComparison paper on the "Three Surveys ..... Same Answers?", and for comparison, the Judicial Appointments Commission (for England and Wales) and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission have undertaken similar research within their jurisdictions. For further information on their research work, please visit: JAC's Link opens in new window"Barriers to Applications for Judicial Appointment Research" NIJAC's Link opens in new window"Research into Barriers and Disincentives to Judicial Office"

However, the Judicial Appointments Board’s desire to get the message out on ‘jobs for the boys’ in Scotland’s courts, necessitates a closer inspection of the JAB itself ….

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill appoints JAB members on the ‘recommendation’ of Scotland's Lord President Lord Hamilton. Unsurprisingly, while the Judicial Appointments Board's research, carried out by an external consultancy at cost to the taxpayer claimed old boys networks controlled judicial appointments, the JAB failed to mention that some of its own members, all Ministerial appointees are themselves well known in legal circles for being part of old boys networks which have helped cover up some of the worst scandals to hit Scotland's legal profession for decades.

Martin McAllister 2000Martin McAllister played a key part in huge Law Society claims cover up scandal which toppled Douglas Mill from his post. One fine example of old boys network appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board itself, would be that of the case of JAB member Martin McAllister, whose name featured heavily in the 'Law Society of Scotland secret memo claims scandal' where secret memos, sent to Mr McAllister (who was at the time President of the Law Society) by his [then] Chief Executive colleague Douglas Mill, exposed a policy of concerted and deliberate actions aimed at controlling and curtailing claims & complaints made against 'crooked lawyers' by members of the public.

John SwinneyCabinet Secretary John Swinney exposed Law Society claims fixing scandal involving Martin McAllister. Oddly enough, when Mr MacAskill was asked about Martin McAllister's part in the claims fixing scandal, the Justice Secretary denied any knowledge of the matter, this despite the fact Mr MacAskill's Cabinet colleague, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, exposed McAllister & Mill's secret memos & deliberate actions against members of the public, during recorded hearings of the Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee, where Mr Swinney's confrontation with Douglas Mill over the memos addressed to Martin McAllister, eventually led to Mill's downfall as Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland after 11 years in the job.

Cabinet Secretary John Swinney confronted Douglas Mill over claims fixing memos involving the then Law Society President Martin McAllister.


Douglas Mill Memo to Martin MacAllister 5 July 2001 - stop the MacKenzies from appearing at the Justice CommitteeMemos of a feather flock together as Mill’s secret memos to Martin McAllister proposes ways to kill off claims & complaints against crooked lawyers. You can read my earlier report on Mr McAllister's controversial appointment to the Judicial Appointments Board, including details of those secret memos here : Justice Secretary MacAskill denies knowledge of ‘claims fixing’ memos identifying former law chief sent to Judicial Appointments and decide for yourselves how the old boys network control even appointments to quangos such as the Judicial Appointments Board who themselves, make the appointments of Scotland’s judges.

For readers interest, here are the current Judicial Appointments Board members (who appear not too short of an old boys network either by the looks of it)

Sir Muir Russell, KCB, DL, FRSE (lay Chairing Member)

Sir Muir Russell became Principal of the University of Glasgow in October 2003. He was born in 1949 and was educated at The High School of Glasgow and Glasgow University, where he took a first class honours degree in Natural Philosophy. Prior to his appointment at the University of Glasgow he was Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Executive. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000 and holds honorary degrees from the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. His interests include music, food, wine and occasional golf. Sir Muir was appointed to the Board in October 2008 for three years.

Ms Elspeth MacArthur (lay member)

Elspeth MacArthur's background is in human resources and she has been Director of Human Resources at the University of Edinburgh for the past nine years. Ms MacArthur is also a member of the Board of Management at the John Wheatley College, which is committed to regeneration and combating social exclusion in the east end of Glasgow. Ms MacArthur was appointed to the Board in July 2007 for three years.

Sandy Mowat CA (lay member)

Sandy Mowat's background is in business as a Chartered Accountant. He was senior and managing partner of Alexander Sloan, Chartered Accountants until he retired in late 2007. He now practices on his own account and holds a number of non-executive directorships and charity trustee appointments. In April 2008 Mr Mowat was appointed to the Investigation and Enforcement Committee of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and in April 2009 was appointed Secretary and Treasurer of The Baird Trust. Mr Mowat was appointed to the Board in January 2008 for three years.

Professor Andrew Coyle CMG (lay member)

Andrew Coyle is Professor of Prison Studies in King's college, University of London. Between 1997 and 2005 he was founding Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies in King's College. He is a prisons adviser to several United Nations bodies and to the Council of Europe. He is a member of the Foreign Secretary's Expert Panel against Torture and of the National Advisory Body on Offender Management. He worked for 25 years at a senior level in the prison services of the United Kingdom. While in the Scottish Prison Service he was Governor of Greenock, Peterhead and Shotts Prisons. Between 1991 and 1997 he was Governor of Brixton Prison in London. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 2003 for his contribution to international penal reform. He is a Fellow of King's College London. Professor Coyle was appointed to the Board in January 2009 for three years.

Rev John Miller (lay member)

John Miller was born in 1941. After university he was a youth worker at a church in Niddrie, Edinburgh. He became a minister of Castlemilk East Parish in Glasgow in 1971. He and his wife Mary were closely involved in the life of the Castlemilk housing scheme for the next 36 years. From 2001 to 2002 he was Moderator of the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, representing the Church of Scotland at national and international level. He then returned to parish life. In 2005 the Lord Provost awarded him the Glasgow Loving Cup for his contribution to the City. On retirement in 2007 John and Mary Miller spent 18 months working in Zimbabwe. Reverend Miller was appointed to the Board in March 2009 for three years.

The Honourable Lady Smith (judicial member)

Lady Smith was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court in 2001. She is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. She was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1980 and was Standing Junior Counsel to the Countryside Commission. Lady Smith was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1993. She served as a Temporary Sheriff from 1995 to 1999. Lady Smith was appointed Chair of the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse from 1998 to 2000 and served as Advocate Depute from 2000 until she was appointed a Judge. She has served as a member of the Court of Session Rules Council and is a past Chair of the Advocates Family Law Group and Chair of the Advocates Professional Negligence Law Group. Lady Smith was appointed to the Board from July 2008 for three years.

Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young Bt QC (judicial member)

After qualifying as a solicitor he worked in London and Glasgow for three and a half years. He then trained as an advocate and was called to the Bar in 1977. He was appointed as a Sheriff in 1984, serving in Glasgow and Greenock. In 2001 he was appointed Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highlands and Islands, where he is responsible for the administration of justice in the sheriff courts throughout the North and North East of Scotland and the Western and Northern Isles. Sheriff Principal Young was appointed to the Board in June 2007 for three years.

Sheriff Kenneth Ross (judicial member)

Sheriff Ross was appointed a Sheriff in 1997, serving at Linlithgow until 2000 and since then at Dumfries. He is a graduate of Edinburgh University and qualified as a solicitor in 1973. From 1975 until 1997 he was a partner in the firm of Gillespie, Gifford & Brown, Solicitors, Dumfries. He served on the Council of the Law Society of Scotland from 1987 until 1996, convening the Complaints and Guarantee Fund Committees. He was President of the Law Society of Scotland in 1994/5. He sat as a Temporary Sheriff between 1987 and 1997 and has been a member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board since 2004. Sheriff Ross was appointed to the Board in October 2008 for three years.

Mr Roy Martin QC (legal member)

Mr Martin was admitted to the Bar in Scotland in 1976 and in England and Wales in 1991. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1988. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates from 2004 to 2007. Mr Martin has served as a Temporary Sheriff, a part-time Chair of Industrial Tribunals, and is currently a Chair of the Police Appeals Tribunal. He is a Governor of Loretto School and a Trustee of the National Library of Scotland. Mr Martin was appointed to the Board in June 2007 for three years.

Martin McAllister (legal member)

Mr McAllister is a partner with Taylor and Henderson Solicitors based in Saltcoats, Ayrshire. He is a former president of The Law Society of Scotland and has convened several of its Committees including Legal Aid, Professional Practice and Professional Conduct. Mr McAllister is currently a part time tutor at Glasgow Graduate School of Law and a part time Convenor of The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. Mr McAllister was appointed to the Board from September 2008 for three years.

Surely its now time to make the appointments of Scotland’s judiciary a lot more transparent than this lot could ever manage ? After all, do the courts not serve the public and the interests of justice, rather than so obviously serving themselves ?

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pot calls kettle black might have been a good headline too ?

Anyway well put as usual.Its about time all this lot were opened up to proper scrutiny which is well in remiss at this quango !

Anonymous said...

Quango v Quango ?

Anonymous said...

forgot to say Hamilton looks and sounds like he is on something !

Anonymous said...

If I understand your posting correctly : Lord Hamilton recommends people to the Justice Secretary who in turn appoints them to this Judicial Appointments Board and now this lot are claiming an old boys network appoints judges ???

Well I think its high time this JAB was wound up along with Hamilton and MacAskill - they are all in it for themselves and their own mob. DISGUSTING

as sober as a judge said...

Good clip of Lord Hamilton doing his usual jobs for the boys bit.Couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

Interesting.The SNP have been busy getting their people onto the JAB by the looks of it.

Anonymous said...

How about appointing HBJ Gateley Wareing to the panel appointing judges ? I'm still waiting on their EX partner coming up on the DaVinci paint job !!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8314509.stm

Trial date for da Vinci accused

Five men facing extortion charges over the recovery of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece Madonna with the Yarnwinder are to stand trial next year.

The artwork was found in Glasgow in 2007 - four years after it was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Kinclaven set a trial for March 2010.

The case against the men - three from Lancashire and two from Scotland - is expected to last for up to six weeks.

Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire, Callum Jones, 44, from Renfrewshire and David Boyce, 52, from Lanarkshire, were all excused attendance during Monday's hearing.

The painting, which has a value estimated at £30m, has been in the Duke of Buccleuch's family for two centuries.

Depicting the Madonna with the infant Jesus holding a cross-shaped yarnwinder, it is believed by experts to have been painted between 1500 and 1510.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised at you Peter - you got the title WRONG.

"Judicial Appointments Board research claims jobs for Scottish judges are controlled by lawyers 'old boys network' " should read :

"Judicial Appointments Board research claims jobs for Scottish judges are controlled by lawyers 'YOUNG boys network' "

REMEMBER PLENTY OF SCOTTISH JUDGES DO LIKE A YOUNG BOY ON THE SIDE AS WE ALL KNOW FROM THE PAPERS !

Anonymous said...

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/lawyers-say-talent-stifled-by-old-boy-networks-1.926807

Lawyers say talent stifled by old-boy networks

By Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon
0 comments

Published on 18 Oct 2009

Two-thirds of Scotland’s lawyers believe ‘old-boy networks’ influence appointments to the bench, according to the broadest survey of the profession to date.

The research found 67% of legal professionals believed “being in the right social network” influenced who became a sheriff or a judge, although almost no-one thought it should.

The suspicion was most commonly held by solicitors, women and younger members of the profession, rather than advocates, solicitor-advocates or members of the judiciary themselves.

The study was commissioned by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, the body which sifts applications for the bench.

The work was undertaken shortly after a Sunday Herald investigation last year revealed that most of Scotland’s 35 judges are white, male, privately educated, and live and socialise alongside one another in the capital.

Appointments to the bench should always be made on merit.

The survey by the MVA Consultancy was designed to find out the make-up of those currently working in law, and whether perceptions about the bench were deterring suitable candidates.

It was sent to all solicitors, advocates, sheriffs and judges in Scotland, and received 2319 responses, or 19% of the profession.

Although largely positive, the survey found “further progress” was needed to ensure those applying for the bench were representative of the pool of talent available.

One unhappy respondent said: “The current perception in the profession is that to obtain judicial office, the candidate must move in ‘the right’ social circles, have political connections, and an appropriate middle-class background.

“It seems that ability and knowledge are lesser considerations.” Another said people who “ought to be nowhere near the bench” were getting appointed largely because they sat on legal committees.

A third said the problem was particularly acute in the appointment of sheriffs.

“There is a strong belief that... appointments are not being made on merit.

“It is extremely difficult to see a number of... appointments as anything other than an exercise in quota filling.”

Knowing the right people was seen as one of the three most important factors in promotion, alongside having good references and being known by the judiciary.

However, of these, only good references were seen as deserving to have a positive influence, with 94% of people saying that being in the right social networks ought to have no influence at all.

Sir Muir Russell, chair of the Judicial Appointments Board, welcomed the report, saying it would be taken into account “when considering whether there are ways of further encouraging diversity among those available to be selected for judicial office in Scotland”.

Lord Hamilton, the Lord President, Scotland’s most senior judge, said: “It is of the first importance that individuals appointed to judicial office are of the highest calibre.

“Selection for appointment must be solely on merit but it is essential that applications should be encouraged from the widest range of persons eligible.”

Richard Keen QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, added: “It is particularly important that we have a process which provides for appointments throughout the system without regard to gender, ethnic background, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or disability.”

Anonymous said...

had no idea how judges were given their jobs but this looks very wrong
how has this been allowed to happen ?

Anonymous said...

Good angle turning the report on its head against the jab - well done !

Anonymous said...

Hamilton sounds as drunk as a skunk in that vid !

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 4.59pm

Yes that sums it up fairly well.

# Anonymous @ 5.33pm

My mistake ...

# Anonymous @ 5.56pm

This has "been allowed to happen" because the power given to judges and politicians close to the judicial process has gone unchecked by the public.

# Anonymous @ 6.31pm

Their own words & deeds are often their own undoing ...

Anonymous said...

Good one Peter those judges are definitely bent!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for printing my comment @5:33pm !

Hope the papers keep a look out on the streets of Edinburgh for those late working judges hahaha !

Anonymous said...

Sir Muir Russell, KCB, DL, FRSE (lay Chairing Member)

Ms Elspeth MacArthur (lay member)

Sandy Mowat CA (lay member)

Professor Andrew Coyle CMG (lay member)

Rev John Miller (lay member)

The Honourable Lady Smith (judicial member)

Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young Bt QC (judicial member)

Sheriff Kenneth Ross (judicial member)

Mr Roy Martin QC (legal member)

Martin McAllister (legal member)

This sounds like another old boys list to me !!!

Anonymous said...

The old country is sure fucked up when it comes to law & order !

Any chance we can quarantine all these Scottish hoodies in judges robes for the sake of the planet ?

Anonymous said...

So this is what Lord Hamilton means by judicial independence.
Judicial Independence as in Judicial Dictatorship ?

Anonymous said...

From the report

5.6.10 Advocates, in particular, appear to see working in the central belt of Scotland as being less
influential than the other professional groups (35% of Advocates consider this to be a
positive influence), with solicitors (53%) and ‘others’ (52%) seeing it as being most
influential.
5.6.11 Nearly half (49%) of the solicitors, but only 27% of advocates thought that being in the right
social networks had a major positive influence; however no advocates, and only 1% of
solicitors thought that it should have.

Who did the Advocates replies for them ? Keen himself ?

Anonymous said...

No surprise to me that judges and lawyers keep the jobs for their own cosy club members.It has to stop though as you say.

Anonymous said...

I've read through some of the research but I sense a lot has been held back .. probably the unfavourable stuff !

Anonymous said...

I read a version of this in the Scotsman today but as always yours is miles better with the video coverage.Amazing how McAllister got promoted to this even after fiddling claims against crooked lawyers and then MacAskill covering up the whole thing.Sick people out there.

Keep up the good work and rattle their bloody cages !

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

had no idea how judges were given their jobs but this looks very wrong
how has this been allowed to happen ?

5:56 PM

Easy answer : The people have sat on their fat bums while the lawyers have given themselves all power.Blame yourselves for the bent justice system you have to live with.

Anonymous said...

4:59pm

What you have described is the way criminals launder money,and this is just the same way lawyers launder their jobs so no one is any the wiser.

Great to see Peter exposing this bunch for the crooks they are.

Anonymous said...

I hope Megrahi is reading this so he can see how the judges who convicted him actually got their jobs

Anonymous said...

Best Scottish Law blog on the net bar none.

Sir Muir Russell - wasn't he the Principal of Glasgow University who gave Douglas Mill a job in the Law Department there at £80k a year, and after Mill had misled the Justice Committee?

Disturbingly Mr. Mill was never recalled by the Justice Committee to explain his misleading evidence to them - probably knows of too many skeletons in judicial cupboards for them to risk that ever happening.

Anonymous said...

Clearly a passive background close to the legal fraternity is what earns someone a place on the Judicial Appointments Board.
Thanks for bringing some much needed publicity to this 'group' of people who should be subject to a heck of a lot more scrutiny than what I gather they currently are.

Anonymous said...

I suppose my question would be Why would a Priest be on a quango to appoint judges when some of those being appointed have shady histories ?

Really terrible the whole thing and just goes to show how the old boys networks keep themselves in jobs money and control.

Anonymous said...

Yet another corrupt arm of justice under Banana Republic Scotland and sadly no surprise to see who is all on this little quango (how much do they get paid for this ?)

Details on Sheriff Kenneth Ross said...

Oh look its Sheriff Kenneth Ross with a job giving jobs to more lawyers to make them judges !

You should all go to http://www.sacl.info/rogues.htm and read about Kenneth Ross and what he did while at Dumfries Law Firm McGowans

Anonymous said...

3:23pm

Well spotted.I wonder about that too.Maybe they want to say they are acting under God or something to justify what they do ?!

Anonymous said...

can only agree with all comments so far that this quango claiming old boys run Scottish justice is an old boys club itself

Anonymous said...

1st Comment says it all,this is definitely a case of pot & kettle considering who sits on this QUANGO.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting group of people - they all look as if they have far too much going on in their lives to be sitting on board after board appointing pals from the legal profession as judges.

If this is how everything works in Scotland you only have yourselves to blame letting these types run you around.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I suppose my question would be Why would a Priest be on a quango to appoint judges when some of those being appointed have shady histories ?

Really terrible the whole thing and just goes to show how the old boys networks keep themselves in jobs money and control.

3:23 PM

Remember religion is just another form of control, so if you dont give money to your church or priest its no heaven for you, instead straight to hell.

Doesnt surprise me one bit the clergy are helping appoint judges.All those steak & wine dinners and rubbing shoulders with those who sit in judgement on us all must give the religious crowd a great buzz so both as bad as each other in my book.

Anonymous said...

One pit of vipers selects another pit of vipers ?

Anonymous said...

lol what a bunch of creeps on this judicial apps board and they have the cheek to claim an old boys network is ar large ?? haha THEY ARE THE OLD BOYS NETWORK THEMSELVES !

Anonymous said...

Scotland's chief judge Hamilton sounds a wee bit off key hahaha