Monday, April 26, 2010

Lord Hamilton - ‘Scots too ignorant to know what a McKenzie Friend is’ as Holyrood petition & consumer groups criticised by top judge

Lord Hamilton 2Scotland’s Lord President Lord Hamilton. The embarrassingly long one year debate on how to formally introduce McKenzie Friends (non-lawyer courtroom assistants) to Scotland’s courts took another turn today as it emerged, LORD HAMILTON, Scotland’s top judge has told the Scottish Parliament he does not believe in using the term “McKenzie Friend” in a Scottish court, alleging that unrepresented Scots court users are too ignorant of ‘legal language’ and the courts system they would have no idea what a McKenzie Friend actually is.

Lord Hamilton’s letter to Holyrood’s Petitions Committee (pdf), dated 22 April 2010, one day after the Committee had asked the Lord President for responses to points raised in last Tuesday’s Petitions Committee hearing, rounded on everyone in the McKenzie Friend debate, and went onto heavily criticise consumer organisations, law reform campaigners and even the petitioner, Mr Stewart MacKenzie for raising points of doubt over the Lord President’s somewhat overly protective plans announced in February, to introduce an Act of Sederunt to formally allow McKenzie Friends to operate in the Scottish courts.

Lord Hamilton is thought to have been angry his ‘evidence’ in written form to the Scottish parliament has been widely criticised & pulled apart for misrepresenting many aspects of the McKenzie Friends debate, which has led to criticisms of the Lord President during last week’s hearing of the Petitions Committee for being overly protective of the courts system. You can watch video coverage of last week’s Petitions Committee hearing on McKenzie Friends HERE and earlier coverage of the McKenzie Friend issue at InjusticeTV

Lord President to Scottish Parliament 22 April 2010 McKenzie Friends 03Lord Hamilton – Scots wont know what a McKenzie Friend is. Lord Hamilton in a terse response to Holyrood’s Petitions Committee said : “Both Which and the petitioner have concerns about non-use of the expression “McKenzie Friend”. With due respect, it is the substance of the proposals which is important rather than the name used and the real question is whether they deliver the right result. It is my view that a colloquial expression such as “McKenzie Friend” is not appropriate for the Rules of Court. It is an example of the sort of “legal language” (as so described by Consumer Focus Scotland), inaccessible to the wider public, which the courts are often criticized for using. It has to be borne in mind that most unrepresented litigants are coming to the court system without previous experience of it: it is in my view to be doubted that they would know what a “McKenzie Friend” is; but they might well be able to guess what a “lay assistant” might be and be stimulated to make further enquiries.”

The increasingly bitter debate, marking the Scottish legal system’s miserable attempt to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s courts compares negatively to the swift court judgement in the 1970 McKenzie v McKenzie court case in England, which established the right to use a McKenzie Friend court helper in English courts, a facility now used by unrepresented party litigants in many international jurisdictions.

MSPs Parliament JudgeWhat took an English court one judgement forty years ago to achieve is taking Scotland’s combined legal & political figures more than a year with no end in sight. The year long peculiarly Scottish version of introducing McKenzie Friends, has so far seen the involvement of no less than two Scottish Government Cabinet Ministers, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and the Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing, several meetings of the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee dating back to April 2009, a November 2009 ruling in the Court of Session by judge Lord Woolman who allowed Scotland's first Civil Law McKenzie Friend, the involvement of Scotland’s two top judges, the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill - who supports the introduction of McKenzie Friends via his Civil Courts Review and the Lord President of the Courts Lord Hamilton who has claimed at various stages of the debate McKenzie Friend style ‘lay assistance’ has always existed in Scotland despite no record of it being able to be produced by the Scottish Courts Service, has left Scots in general, and many unrepresented party litigants no further forward in seeing a clear set of rules on how McKenzie Friends can be used in the Scottish Courts.

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland oppose McKenzie Friends on grounds of lost business for solicitors. Also of note to the debate on McKenzie Friends, is the Law Society of Scotland's opposition to the entire concept of unrepresented party litigants having the facility of non-lawyer courtroom assistance. The Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates are apparently more worried McKenzie Friends & other access to justice reforms from Lord Gilll’s Civil Courts Review will impact on business for their members while losing the legal profession their long held control over who among us actually gets into court.

Lord President to Scottish Parliament 22 April 2010 McKenzie Friends 02Lord Hamilton – relevant to know something about the McKenzie Friend. Addressing the issue of the ‘certificate’ which Lord Hamilton wants any potential McKenzie Friend to sign prior to their appearance in Court, a move criticised by consumer groups and also addressed by the HMCS (Her Majesty’s Court Service, England & Wales) as being informal rather than compulsory, the Lord President told the Scottish Parliament in his letter : “The purpose of asking for such information is simply to provide the judge with information which may be of assistance in considering the application, and in considering any application which might subsequently be made for the permission to be revoked. It is not envisaged that applications would often be opposed, or that applications would often be made for the permission to be revoked. In the event that such a question were to arise, however, it would be relevant to know something about the McKenzie Friend.”

Lord Hamilton continued : “The fact that someone is related to the applicant would be a factor favouring allowing him to act as a McKenzie Friend, as would the fact that he was a neighbour or a friend. But the absence of any relationship would not of course mean that the application would be refused. The fact that someone had experience which was relevant to his or her providing assistance in court (e.g. as a lawyer, a trade union official or a CAB worker) would also be taken into account, but would not be essential.”

“The provision of such information would also assist the court in protecting vulnerable members of the public from the possibility of lay people who do not have relevant experience but who enjoy participating in court proceedings holding themselves out as providers of legal services.”

Lord Hamilton went on to inform the Parliament the latest version of the guidance on McKenzie Friends for England & Wales advises that the proposed McKenzie Friend should furnish the Court with a short CV or other statement setting out relevant experience. He claimed the Scottish proposals seek only to achieve a similar result in a slightly different way, although as documents from the English court authorities confirm the CV aspect of the guidance is ‘not as compulsory’ as what is intended for implementation in Scotland.

The Lord President conceded some amendments to how the McKenzie Friend issue is handled in Scottish courts may be necessary. He commented : “In light of what is said by Consumer Focus Scotland, I can see that further steps may be appropriate to ensure that judges are approaching applications for McKenzie Friends in the right way. Ultimately, these may be matters which need to be resolved by decided cases and the establishment of a coherent body of law. In any event, I can assure the Committee that I would intend to keep the matter under review with a view to making any adjustments of the rules, or issuing any guidance, which seems necessary.”

Lord Hamilton indicated in his letter to the Petitions Committee, he could still deal with the matter by way of introducing McKenzie Friends to Scottish courts via his proposed Act of Sederunt, to be discussed at the Court of Session Rules Council meeting on May 10 2009, although noting Consumer Focus Scotland had suggested it would be preferable to proceed using primary legislation to set out the general principles surrounding the use of a McKenzie Friend and then to let the Rules of Court complete the detail. He asked the Petitions Committee if he should defer any further consideration of the matter on his part until progress became clear on the issue.

In a somewhat ambiguous conclusion, Lord Hamilton appeared to give preference to the idea of using the legislative process as indicated by a recent announcement from the Scottish Government of an amendment to Stage two of the Legal Services Bill, for the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scottish courts.

Lord President to Scottish Parliament 22 April 2010 McKenzie Friends 04Lord Hamilton – legislation may be needed on McKenzie Friends. Lord Hamilton concluded : “The evidence from Consumer Focus Scotland appears to suggest that it would be preferable to proceed in some respects by way of guidance rather than court rules. It notes that this is the situation in England and Wales. This is not entirely correct: in England and Wales, the guidance is descriptive of a long line of decided cases on the subject. In Scotland, no such long line of decided cases exists. In order to ensure that there is an absolutely sure foundation for McKenzie Friends in Scotland, it is in my view preferable to render those principles into legislative form.”

So there we have it, the Scottish Judiciary, the Scottish legal establishment, the Scottish Courts, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament couldn’t manage in over a year what one London court managed in one judgement in a divorce action over forty years ago in 1970. If there is any indication our Scottish legal system needs much more than reforming .. probably a whole reboot, then this must be one of those perfect examples to show how far the rot goes, and what must be done to repair it.

McKenzie Friends - We Scots are allegedly too ignorant to know what they are, but we are not necessarily too ignorant to be forced to stump up tens of thousands of pounds to lawyers, advocates & legal teams in the Court of Session for stringing out even the most simplest of cases to years or even decades long appearances with no clear result for clients, other than huge fees for the legal profession. An unfair system of access to justice, if ever there was one. Shame on those who preserve it. They have no standards, no decency.

You can read my earlier coverage of the campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland, here : McKenzie Friends for Scotland : The story so far

All written submissions for the McKenzie Friend petition at the Scottish Parliament can be read here : Written submissions for Petition 1247, McKenzie Friends for Scotland

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clearly Scotland needs a new 'top judge' a new Parliament and a new legal system if all those in it think of us as being the ignorant savages!

Anonymous said...

The term McKenzie Friend has been used throughout the UK for the last 40 years, Scotland apart. It is also widely recognized abroad and indeed within the Scottish Courts - although opinions differ as to whether it applies here, a fact demonstrated by Lord Hamilton's own directly contradictory statements on the matter.

Lord Hamilton's preference for the introduction of the vague term 'lay assistant' is therefore ill-conceived and presents the latest example of the legal community in Scotland attempting to disguise the fact that it has persistently opposed, obstructed and denied the Scotish Public's access to the Courts via these means.

There is no proper reason why any Act of Sederunt does not adopt precisely those terms longsince used and clearly outlined in the the Guidance to the Courts in England.

There must be a presumption enshrined in legislation that McKenzie Friends are to be permitted and similarly they must be allowed to address the Court if this is deemed helpful or appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Actually Peter I think this is the first bit of sense Hamilton has spoken in public for years.Really.

If the Scots were not so bloody ignorant of their justice system judges like Hamilton would be out on their behind in a jiffy !

Keep up the good work as I know you always do !

CF

Anonymous said...

The judge is living in an ivory tower.It is he who is ignorant of just how much people can now find out before they enter his court.

Anonymous said...

Well Lord Hamilton, the Scottish public will know what a McKenzie Friend is if the press have the balls to give the issue some publicity.

I am no lawyer but have knowledge of Delict, Agency, Contract and other areas of law. So what you may say. I think you are an out of touch dictatorial supercillious patronising twit. At least one newspaper has published a letter from a member of the public about your reluctance to implement McKenzie friends in Scotland.

Self regulation breeds contempt, and you certainly have that in abundance regarding the public.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton thinks the public are humble supplicants, Hitler had the same views. Do you think we are untermenchen Obergrupphenfuhrer Hamilton?

Education and a free press eradicate ignorance Hamilton, you are a stain of the principles of natural justice.

Anonymous said...

Silly comments from Lord Hamilton.Makes you wonder if judges should face elections too !

Anonymous said...

"It is an example of the sort of “legal language” (as so described by Consumer Focus Scotland), inaccessible to the wider public, which the courts are often criticized for using. It has to be borne in mind that most unrepresented litigants are coming to the court system without previous experience of it: it is in my view to be doubted that they would know what a “McKenzie Friend” is"

Nonsense.Even my son knows what a McKenzie Friend is and he is 14.How old is Hamilton ?

By the same token most unrepresented litigants dont expect to be on the sharp end of a judicial dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

McKenzie Friends - We Scots are allegedly too ignorant to know what they are, but we are not necessarily too ignorant to be forced to stump up tens of thousands of pounds to lawyers, advocates & legal teams in the Court of Session for stringing out even the most simplest of cases to years or even decades long appearances with no clear result for clients, other than huge fees for the legal profession. An unfair system of access to justice, if ever there was one. Shame on those who preserve it. They have no standards, no decency.

WELL SAID PETER !

Anonymous said...

This man is not fit to lead the legal profession. He thinks we have a low intellect, that is what happens to self regulators, they lose all sense of reality.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 16.39

Ignorant savages ... but not so savage they cant milk us for their overcharged fees ...

# Anonymous @ 16.59

Good points, I agree with all ...

The Act of Sederunt Lord Hamilton is proposing, might be more trustworthy and more disposed to the rights of individuals, if it were to come from Lord Gill who himself recommended McKenzie Friends be implemented in Scotland ...

# Anonymous @ 17.46

That is one way of looking at it ... far be it for me to stir up a little revolution ...

# Anonymous @ 18.12

Indeed yes .. an ivory tower ...

I would encourage all party litigants and indeed any Scot interested in justice & legal issues, to research McKenzie Friends and support Petition 1247 ...

# Anonymous @ 18.39

I agree entirely with what you say ...

The media too share a measure of blame for not giving wider reporting to this issue, which after all is a fundamental change of a litigants rights in Scottish courts, probably for decades ...

Why the lack of coverage you may ask ? A colleague at a newspaper pinned the blame for that firmly on the Law Society of Scotland ... who coincidentally oppose the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland's courts ...

# Anonymous @ 18.43

Yes indeed ....

# Anonymous @ 19.10

If judges faced public elections, I doubt Lord Hamilton would be a judge ...

Just think what would happen to the electoral fortunes of any politician who branded the public "ignorant" and treated us in such a derisory way as some members of the judiciary & legal establishment do ...

# Anonymous @ 19.31

Judicial ignorance as well as judicial dictatorship it seems ... although of course members of the legal establishment would polish (or spin) both of those terms up as "it is fundamentally important the judiciary & legal profession be independent, self regulated and separate from Government while being accountable to no one ..."

# Anonymous @ 20.44

Thanks ...

# Anonymous @ 20.55

Yes indeed ... I agree ...

Anonymous said...

Done a bit of research myself into this tonight and mostly find your stuff coming up.
Is there anything you would like people to do.Maybe try and get the message out on Scottish McKenzie Friends or making others more of it when they go into court ?

Anonymous said...

How Hamilton can come out and say something like that in public is beyond belief!! Is there no way to sack judges in Scotland ?

I can see now why Megrahi never got a fair hearing with these kind of person on the bench !

Anonymous said...

So Peter here we have the SNP as Scottish Government who go out and raise 50K in 2 days for a legal challenge but cant give the people a McKenzie Friend in over a year of fucking about between the judges the two numpties MacAskill & Ewing and that equally useless Parliament.

What a bloody disgrace.I hope they all rot in hell.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/scotland/8645190.stm

SNP hits cash target in BBC leaders' debate legal bid

The Scottish National Party says it has raised £50,000 to proceed with legal action over the prime ministerial debate on BBC One on Thursday.

The SNP will lodge the necessary papers instigating the action at Edinburgh's Court of Session on Tuesday.

The party said it was not trying to stop the broadcast but it wanted an SNP politician included "for balance".

Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats said the SNP was more interested in grabbing headlines.

The SNP made its announcement after starting a "fighting fund" to raise the money over a 48-hour period.

The party said its proposed action would seek to ensure the debate was broadcast in Scotland "with the nation's political make-up fairly reflected".

This bit is the kicker : "Donations have come in from ordinary Scots who simply share our anger at the way Scotland has been treated by the BBC
Nicola Sturgeon SNP deputy leader - the same Nicola Sturgeon who wrote a letter to a judge interfering in the court process to get a convicted criminal off the hook!

Justice in Scotland cannot be trusted under SNP rule!

Anonymous said...

SNP hits cash target in BBC leaders' debate legal bid
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond's party will lodge court papers on Tuesday

The Scottish National Party says it has raised £50,000 to proceed with legal action over the prime ministerial debate on BBC One on Thursday.

The SNP will lodge the necessary papers instigating the action at Edinburgh's Court of Session on Tuesday.

The party said it was not trying to stop the broadcast but it wanted an SNP politician included "for balance".

BUT THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY DO NOT WANT SCOTS TO GET LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO SUE SCOTTISH LAWYERS, THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU VOTE SNP.

Anonymous said...

Lord Hamilton the case of

Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshire Northern Ltd.

This case involved a contract between a bank and Wiltshire Northern Ltd builders. When the construction contract was complete the bank sold the building to Darlington council, the third party. The building had serious defects.

The legal problem was that there was no contract between the bank and the end user Darlington council.

Later court proceedings stipulated that the bank had to sue Wiltshire and hand over the damages to the council. After this case a collateral warranties were created. Their purpose to create a contractural like between the builder and the end user so that the above situation could not happen again.

Interesting Lord Hamilton how the English and Scottish courts will look for a remedy in this situation but people like you do not want clients to have any legal redress against your profession. I think for a man in your position you should think more carefully about the image you create because saying the Scots are too ignorant to understand what a McKenzie friend is a reflection of your intellect.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Hamilton thinks McKenzie friends are also ignorant. The latter word applies to Hamilton and his cohorts.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 22.10

Well it would help if people were made aware of the fact that McKenzie Friends still remain in limbo in the Scottish legal system ... if people would like to write into their MSP and even pester the First Minister on the subject perhaps some speed can be gathered on seeing that all Scots have access to a McKenzie Friend if they need or want one ...

# Anonymous @ 22.29

There is some kind of mechanism for removing a senior judge however I doubt anyone would try it.

As far as I am aware, the judges seem to appoint themselves, through the Judicial Appointments Board, which really is just a front for the legal profession .. the best comparison I could come up with would be a money laundering organisation ... so no .. it cant really be done in practice ...

# Anonymous @ 22.59

Yes ... just another headline grabbing stunt from the SNP.

I could think of several charities or cancer sufferers who could do with the £50,000 .. or perhaps the tainted blood products hep c victims, who are still fighting for compensation while lawyers working for the GLSS (Scottish Government lawyers) stall as much as possible ...

# Anonymous @ 23.05

Yes indeed .. make sure you inform others of that ...

# Anonymous @ 23.26

Thanks for that case comparison, very interesting .. and I agree with what you say - Lord Hamilton is certainly against anyone litigating against his colleagues in the legal profession ...

# Anonymous @ 23.29

Yes I'm sure he does ...

As a late breaking piece of news, the McKenzie Friend Petition (Petition 1247) was to be heard at the Scottish Parliament on 18 May ... however an insider this evening confirmed the Petition is to be brought forward to next week's Petitions Committee meeting on 4 May ... most unusual ...

More developments soon ...

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter !
Even if the newspapers are too busy covering the election dont let this put you off (as I'm sure it wont!)

A big feather in your cap when this is all over for McKenzies Friends !

Anonymous said...

AN ERROR PETER PLEASE SEE BELOW.

Lord Hamilton the case of

Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshire Northern Ltd.

This case involved a contract between a bank and Wiltshire Northern Ltd builders. When the construction contract was complete the bank sold the building to Darlington council, the third party. The building had serious defects.

The legal problem was that there was no contract between the bank and the end user Darlington council. PETER MY MISTAKE THERE WAS NO CONTRACT BETWEEN THE CONTRACTOR WILTSHIRE NORTHERN LTD AND THE END USER THE COUNCIL, SO THERE WAS NO MACHINERY FOR THE COUNCIL TO SUE FOR THE COST OF REPAIRS TO THE BUILDING. THAT IS WHY THE COURT ORDERED THE BANK WHO HAD THE CONTRACT WITH THE BUILDER TO ACT ON THE COUNCILS BEHALF AND HAND OVER THE DAMAGES TO THE COUNCIL.

Later court proceedings stipulated that the bank had to sue Wiltshire and hand over the damages to the council. After this case a collateral warranties were created. Their purpose to create a contractural LINK between the builder and the end user so that the above situation could not happen again.

Interesting Lord Hamilton how the English and Scottish courts will look for a remedy in this situation but people like you do not want clients to have any legal redress against your profession. I think for a man in your position you should think more carefully about the image you create because saying the Scots are too ignorant to understand what a McKenzie friend is a reflection of your intellect.
26 April 2010 23:26

Anonymous said...

The same people who are too ignorant to know what a McKenzie Friend is will soon be paying the old duffer's pension.He wont be complaining about that one !

Anonymous said...

With that kind of attitude against everyone he should not be a judge

Anonymous said...

You'd never think that letter came from a "top judge".What complete rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Two weeks between Holyrood hearings ? they must have something planned.You better watch they dont try to close it.

Anonymous said...

Lord Hamilton will be as ignorant as the rest of us given no McKenzie Friends have ever appeared in the court of session.

Also that is a very poorly written letter.A sign of impending retirement I hope.

Anonymous said...

As others have already noted Lord Hamilton can say and do as he pleases.He has no master,no one to account to.Judicial dictatorship dressed up as judicial independence as Peter so rightly observes.Time we were rid of the lot!

Anonymous said...

Does Parliament also think the people are ignorant ?

That letter was obviously written or at least the content of it known to the Parliament before the Committee heard the petition last week hence the scripted performances of all & sundry in your video clip of the proceedings.

You can always tell even if they pretend otherwise!

Anonymous said...

Another robbing lawyer off the hook courtesy of Hamilton's banana republic justice system

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Lawyer-escapes---being.6254802.jp

Lawyer escapes being struck off despite his third offence

Published Date: 27 April 2010
By JOHN ROBERTSON

A SCOTTISH solicitor has been found guilty of professional misconduct for the third time, but has avoided being struck off.

John O'Donnell borrowed £60,000 of a client's money without consent to help ease his ailing firm's financial woes.

He could have expected to be told by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal that he would not be allowed to work again in the profession, but the tribunal decided there were "significant extenuating circumstances" to stop short of expelling him.

Those included the fact that Mr O'Donnell himself had wound up his business and surrendered his practising certificate to the Law Society of Scotland.

The society prosecutes cases before the independent tribunal and declined to comment on the penalty imposed on Mr O'Donnell, 59 – restricting his work under any certificate he might seek in the next five years.

In two previous appearances before the tribunal in 2008 and 2009, Mr O'Donnell was fined £500 for breaching money-laundering regulations and banned from working unsupervised for five years for repeatedly snubbing clients and ignoring complaints.

Following the second finding of professional misconduct, he wound up his business, John G O'Donnell & Co, of Clarkston Road, Glasgow.

The latest hearing before the tribunal related to an inspection of the firm's books in November 2008. It was discovered that the firm was heavily in debt and had PAYE/NIC arrears of more than £87,000.

Mr O'Donnell had borrowed £60,000 from a client and put it towards the arrears.

The money was part of the proceeds of a property sale, and the client had signed an irrevocable mandate for the money to be paid to his brother. The client was not in the business of lending money and he had received no independent advice in regard to making the loan.

Mr O'Donnell told the tribunal that nobody was missing £60,000 and he described the borrowing as a "victimless crime".

He said both brothers had been happy with what he had done.

He acknowledged the two previous findings of professional misconduct but said there had been no blemish on his career for 26 years until he had a breakdown.

He had medical difficulties, he added, and had relinquished his practising certificate last year but hoped that, in the future, he might be able to "do something in the profession".

The Law Society of Scotland also informed the tribunal that a number of findings of inadequate professional services had been made against Mr O'Donnell following complaints by clients and he had been ordered to pay more than £5,500 in compensation.

The tribunal's vice chairman, David Coull, said it took a very serious view of Mr O'Donnell's borrowing of a large sum of money without the client's consent and in clear breach of solicitors' accounts rules.

He said: "Although this fell short of theft, it had potentially serious consequences and was certainly not a victimless crime.

"The tribunal only refrained from striking his name from the roll because the clients themselves did not complain and had suffered no loss, there were significant extenuating circumstances in regard to his age and health, and he had co-operated fully with the Law Society of Scotland," added Mr Coull.

"In these exceptional circumstances, it was felt that a further restriction on his practising certificate, to run concurrently with the existing restriction, would provide adequate public protection."

Anonymous said...

Comment about the lawyer who got off

He should have been sent to jail along with all the other crooked lawyers the Law Society allow to walk the streets of Scotland !

Anonymous said...

Letter from Hamilton is unhelpful and pretty arrogant.

He starts off attacking everyone then ends it passing the buck to someone else.Not much use as "Scotland's top judge" as he is supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeen Sheriff court still say there is no such thing as a McKenzie Friend in Scotland so cannot have one!

Anonymous said...

Hello Peter

'Lord' Hamilton's letter is worthy of ridicule, particularly the part where he attempts to classify the term "McKenzie Friend" as legal language beyond the comprehension of ordinary citizens.

How did this person become a 'Lord' in the first place when he holds his constituents in such low esteem ?

Regards from across the pond!

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article ...

I'm sure next week's Petitions Committee hearing should prove interesting ...

# Anonymous @ 14.27

Apparently it was ... although at the risk of exposing sources, I cannot write too much on that revelation ...

# Anonymous @ 21.18

Thanks for letting me know about Aberdeen Sheriff Court ... they are definitely in the wrong on that one.

# Anonymous @ 22.33

As you see .. this is what Scots must put up with by way of our esteemed Scottish legal system ... which more often than not ends up being used as a weapon against those endeavouring to access justice rather than a tool of resolution & respect ...

Anonymous said...

I bet Hamilton hates your guts with all this attention you gave his letter !

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your conclusion and also the part where you compared the English route on McKenzie Friends to what has taken place in Scotland.

Two Scottish Govt Ministers,two judges,the Parliament's Petitions Committee, v one English judge in a divorce case 40 years ago!

One could hardly say Scotland has progressed in terms of its legal system !

Anonymous said...

Those who are not accountable often lose touch with reality. To think this imbecile oversees high court proceedings beggars belief. You are too ignorant Hamilton, and dishonest with your photo on www.sacl/info website.

Long live dissent, it renews politics and it is revealing the corrupt despots controlling Scotland's legal system.

Anonymous said...

What a farce but the most ignorant thing of all is we pay this guy Hamilton's wages !

Anonymous said...

GREAT TO SEE STURGEON FAIL AT THE HANDS OF LADY SMITH !

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/scotland/8648425.stm

SNP fails in BBC debate court bid

An attempt by the Scottish National Party to use the courts to ban the broadcast in Scotland of Thursday's BBC TV prime ministerial debate has failed.

The party asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule on whether the corporation had breached its rules on impartiality by excluding the SNP.

But this was dismissed by the judge, Lady Smith, after a two-day hearing.

The SNP's deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon said the party was "disappointed" with the decision of the court.

Thursday's debate in Birmingham will feature Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

It is the third and final debate featuring the leaders of Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Debates have been held on ITV and Sky on the previous two Thursdays.

The court papers stated the SNP was seeking an interim interdict against the BBC broadcasting the leaders' debate in Scotland if it did not feature the SNP.

In her written ruling on the case, Lady Smith stated the SNP's case "lacks the requisite precision and clarity" and added she could not conclude the BBC had breached impartiality rules.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Sturgeon said: "We are disappointed that the debate on Thursday night will go ahead without any substantial participation from the SNP.

Anonymous said...

I think you have Hamilton on this one Peter.It stinks to high heaven he hasn't achieved anything in a year of faffing about !

As someone else said "some top judge" !!!

Anonymous said...

Why the lack of coverage you may ask ? A colleague at a newspaper pinned the blame for that firmly on the Law Society of Scotland ... who coincidentally oppose the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland's courts ...

LORD HAMILTON SCOTLANDS TOP NATIONAL SOCIALIST NAZI AND HIS REICHSTAG THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND. CIVIL RIGHTS FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. YOU LORD HAMILTON ARE SCOTLAND'S VERSION OF PAUL JOSEPH GOEBBLES THE NAZI PROPAGANDA MINISTER.

A JUDGE WHO WANTS TO SILENCE THE MEDIA TO PROTECT HIS LEGAL PROFESSIONS FINANCES. HOW WARPED IS THIS MANS DEVIANT MIND?

Anonymous said...

Lord Hamilton we have an education system, we went to school and we learned how to read and write, some of us went to university, and have degrees, Phd's etc. We are too ignorant? Lord Hamilton go and visit a taxidermist you fool.

You are a pathetic man who will use any trick to protect your flock, just like the church, your flock rob, steal, and ruin clients and you turn a blind eye, just like the church who turn a blind eye to their paedophiles who purport to be decent men. Societies real criminals are those the state protect, just like you Hamilton a legal despot.

Anonymous said...

The SNP have no right to stop us watching tv debates because they are not included. The SNP are the enemy of all lawyers clients with their puppet MacAskill.

Anonymous said...

Dissent in the margins eventually becomes mainstream, changing attitudes and overhauling injustice. Hamilton's lot are going through that transition now.

If you want to know about dissent Hamilton look up

The London Revolution Society.

Treason Trials.

Gagging Acts.

Mary Wollstonecraft.

William Godwin.

Thomas Paine.

Dissent renews politics and it is renewing the legal system. You will fail Hamilton, no dictator has survived, no corrupt system prevails forever. Long live dissent the obliterator of injustice.

Anonymous said...

It has to be borne in mind that most unrepresented litigants are coming to the court system without previous experience of it : it is in my view to be doubted that they would know what a “McKenzie Friend” is; (EDUCATION LORD HAMILTON, PUT UP A SIGN IN THE COURTS STATING A MCKENZIE FRIEND IS AN ASSISTANT WHO CAN HELP AN UNREPRESENTED LITIGANT. ASSISTANT, NOW LORD HAMILTON I STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND THIS WORD) but they might well be able to guess what a “lay assistant” might be and be stimulated to make further enquiries.”

HERE IS LORD HAMILTONS REASONING,

A LAY ASSISTANT HAS NOT BEEN ALLOWED IN THE REST OF THE UK, BECAUSE THE ASSISTANT IS CALLED A MCKENZIE FRIEND. LORD HAMILTON DOES NOT WANT SCOTTISH LITIGANTS TO CATCH ON THAT HIS LEGAL PROFESSION HAVE STOPPED MCKENZIE FRIENDS IN SCOTLAND FOR FORTY YEARS TO KEEP LAWYERS RICH.

I URGE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER USED LAWYERS BEWARE, IF THEY RUIN YOUR CASE LORD HAMILTON WILL HAPPILY LET THE LAW SOCIETY COVER UP THE LAWYERS CRIMINALITY. TRY GETTING LEGAL AID TO SUE A LAWYER AND YOU WILL FIND SCOTLAND HAS AN ENTRENCHED CORRUPT LAWYER PROTECTING JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND THAT IS WHY LORD HAMILTON OS A CRIMINAL.

Anonymous said...

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