Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Holyrood Petitions Committee to keep McKenzie Friend campaign open until Sheriff Court plans are scrutinised by MSPs & formally introduced

Petitions CommitteeHolyrood’s Petitions Committee heard latest on McKenzie Friends Petition. THE PETITIONS COMMITTEE of the Scottish Parliament have said they will not close Petition 1247 – McKenzie Friends for Scotland until MSPs have seen and had a chance to comment on the proposals from the Sheriff Court Rules Council to implement McKenzie Friends (otherwise known as lay assistants) in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts, following on from the Lord President's Act of Sederunt, passed earlier in the summer which introduced McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s Court of Session in mid June, some 40 years after McKenzie Friends were first introduced to the English court system.

Nigel Don Petitions CommitteeNigel Don MSP (SNP) said Petition should not be closed until Parliament scrutinises Sheriff Court plans. During the Petitions Committee’s Tuesday session, Committee member Nigel Don said progress was being made ‘very fast’ and expressed his gratitude to the Lord President for introducing McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s Court of Session. Mr Don went onto say the ”Sheriff Court Rules are being dealt with but they seem to have gone a little bit slower” and said he believed Petition 1247 should not be closed until the rules for the use of McKenzie Friends in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts are “in the public domain” and the Petitions Committee has a chance to see & comment on the Sheriff Court Rules Council proposals.

Mr Don’s comments came after the Petitioner, Perth based law reform campaigner Mr Stewart MacKenzie had written to the Petitions Committee urging members to contact the Sheriff Court Rules Council for a clearer timescale for the completion of the implementation of McKenzie Friends in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts, bearing in mind the Court of Session and the Lord President had managed to complete the process in around five weeks.

Petitions Committee Convener Rhona Brankin MSP concluded the discussion on Petition 1247, by continuing the petition until the Committee receive more information.

Petitions Committee 7th Sept. 2010 - Nigel Don : Parliament should have a chance to see & comment on the Sheriff Court rules for McKenzie Friends before petition is closed. (click image below to watch video)

I have reported previously on the Sheriff Court Rules Council’s discussions on the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland's Sheriff Courts, here : Sheriff Court Rules Council reveals McKenzie Friends on course to help party litigants in Scottish Sheriff Courts by end of summer 2010

While party litigants in Scotland’s Court of Session have been able to apply for a McKenzie Friend to assist their case since mid June of this year, party litigants in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts, where most hearings in which McKenzie Friends will have a ‘helping hand’ take place, will have to wait until the Sheriff Court Rules Council formalise their plans for rules governing the use of lay assistants in Sheriff Courts before being able to apply to a Sheriff for lay assistance.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff Court Rules Council stated : “I can advise that the Sheriff Court Rules Council is still considering the procedure for McKenzie friends within the Sheriff Court and, in particular, is considering whether the approach by the Court of Session is appropriate in the Sheriff Court. At this stage, I am not able to advise when the provisions will be commenced.”

McKenzie Friends for ScotlandMcKenzie Friends for Scotland. You can read my earlier coverage of the campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to Scotland, and how having a McKenzie Friend in court may assist party litigants here : McKenzie Friends for Scotland : The story so far. All written submissions for the McKenzie Friend petition (Petition 1247) at the Scottish Parliament can be read here : Written submissions for Petition 1247, McKenzie Friends for Scotland

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's always some kind of delay when it comes to Scots Law but its good to see you keeping them on their toes.

Keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

If the Lord President can manage it in 5 weeks so can the Sheriffs.He is their boss anyway isnt he ?

Anonymous said...

No doubt Nigel Don doesn't want the Sheriff Court Rules slipping anything through - like expenses for McKenzie Friends - before he has a chance to eye it up.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think this only came about because of your incessant writing on the subject and those videos,which I happen to know for a fact have caused several upsets in the Justice Dept

Anonymous said...

Is it even necessary to have a delay ?

Why are the Sheriff Courts so different ?

Why did Lord Hamilton not put their Sheriff court rules council in motion when he introduced McKenzie Friends to the court of session ?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this feel a bit like pulling hens teeth ?
Every step of the way there has been some kind of drawback or someone trying to stop it.Why not just allow McKenzie Friend across all courts as Mr Cherbi points out occurred many years ago in the rest of the UK.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Personally I think this only came about because of your incessant writing on the subject and those videos,which I happen to know for a fact have caused several upsets in the Justice Dept.


Correct those at the top never relinquish power, it has to be forced upon them by work like Peters.

Anonymous said...

Why the sudden change of tact from Nigel Don ?
I've watched some of those other clips and it looks like he was eager to close the whole thing down ages ago.

It couldn't be the SNP are going to use this as some kind of triumph on their watch for the next election ?

Anonymous said...

How can progress be very fast if its taken over a year ?

Anonymous said...

SO YOU WANT TO SUE A SO CALLED PROFESSIONAL? THIS EARLIER POSTING FROM PETERS BLOG DEMONSTRATES YOU CANNOT SUE ANY LAWYER, DOCTOR, ETC.

"Although the same applies if you go up against many other professionals - who are insured by the same insurers, Marsh, Royal Sun Alliance, let us say you want to sue your lawyer.

If you try and sue a lawyer, you will find your lawyers are insured by Marsh & RSA, your crooked lawyer and their lawyers will be insured both by Marsh & RSA, the Sheriff or Judge in your case is a subscribing member of the Law Society of Scotland and this is also be insured by Marsh & RSA, and several of the Scottish Courts Service staff, as well as the Auditor of the Court, have similar insurance arrangements.

I think anyone would agree there is a problem in that - a client is fighting a system where everyone except the client, pays into the same insurance arrangement the client is trying to claim against.

There is certainly a conflict of interest, which time & again, prevents negligence claims against crooked lawyers from ever getting a fair hearing.

How can a member of the public go into court when everyone except themselves is insured by the same insurers and ALL except themselves will benefit if their claim & case are dismissed !!

Most people would call that a fit-up".
=================================
In my experience lawyers will take cases on because they make money from Legal Aid but you will NEVER GET TO COURT.

SO LORD HAMILTON, I CONDEMN YOU FOR OVERSEEING A CORRUPT SYSTEM WHERE LAWYERS EXPECT CLIENTS TO TRUST THEM WITH THEIR MOST VALUABLE ASSETS WHEN THE SAME LAWYERS WILL NEVER PAY DAMAGES TO LAWYER VICTIMS.

CIVIL LAW HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE, IT IS A BUSINESS. IF A CAR DEALER SELLS YOU A PIG, YOU HAVE A CHANCE, NOT SO WITH CROOKED LAWYERS. THE PEOPLE WHO CAN ROB YOU ARE PROTECTED TO THE LIMIT.

SOME JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Try complaining to the Law Society, a waste of time.

I know I have been there.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Peter as usual!

Anonymous said...

Its a mystery to me why the judges resisted this so much because they look even more crooked now after all this time of putting off McKenzie Friends

Anonymous said...

The Petitions Committee sound like they all had clenched teeth when it came up. They must hate you a lot Peter for all this publicity and your excellent website.

Anonymous said...

Transfer the English model of McKenzie Friends to Scotland, simple.

Anonymous said...

A remarkable campaign considering the odds were stacked against you and Mr MacKenzie.I also agree with earlier comments about the video where it sounds like no one even wanted to speak about the petition.A damning image of your so called "Scottish" Parliament when all sit back in silence.

Anonymous said...

Legal action to get listing removed by:
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
Harold Stock and Co. Solicitors
-----------------------------------
The above is from the http://www.solicitorsfromhell.co.ukwebsite.

Here is a perfect example of lawyers helping their colleagues. Lawyers can get legal help from other lawyers, but clients cannot get lawyers to sue their crooked lawyer. A protection racket, not a justice system.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Transfer the English model of McKenzie Friends to Scotland, simple.

8 September 2010 23:17

Yes!

Anonymous said...

I recall Nigel Don - the Uriah Heep of Scottish Politics - claiming to be a staunch defender of the status quo and the Lord President when it came to opposing any extension of the means by which the Public could lodge complaints.

Now he adopts a completely contradictory position, claiming the committee can be pleased with 'its' fast progressing of the McKenzie Friend Petition.

In addition to Mr Don's glaring hypocrisy, the McKenzie Friend entitlement had already been established in the Court case you cite - Wilson v Motherwell College and NLC - months before the Committee got round to considering the petition.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help noticing Nigel Don says a big "thank you" to Lord Hamilton !
MBE in the post for Mr Don ?

Anonymous said...

There is probably some case going through a sheriff court somewhere they dont want the person to be able to claim a McKenzie friend so thats why there is a delay

Anonymous said...

The Law Society control the Scottish Parliament in all legal matters, but the former is not elected. Clearly there are undemocratic forces at work here. It reminds me of the banks and healthcare compainies bribing senators to control policy.

Networks of criminals abusing the public because MSP's and Senators driven by their own self interest, not the interests of those who elected them.

Anonymous said...

To those who have never had to complain about a doctor or lawyer.

It is not my intention try and influence you, only to say in certain circumstances beware, these professions are worthy only of contempt, above the law filth.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 15:58

Yes ... the Lord President heads the entire Scottish Court system ...

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 17:28

It will be interesting to see the Committee's next move on this petition, depending on what proposals the Sheriff Court Rules Council present to the Parliament, hopefully soon ...

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 17:52

A team effort ....

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 17:59

I agree ... the process of implementing McKenzie Friends to the Sheriff Courts should have been initiated at the same time the Court of Session Rules Council was considering the issue ...

If this had occurred, McKenzie Friends would now be operating in the Sheriff Courts ...

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 19:39

Time will tell .. although since the petitioner's MSP didn't support his petition, apparently on the pretext of "collective Ministerial responsibility" I doubt the SNP could hold it up as a victory for them ... especially considering another Scottish Government Minister apparently felt he didn't have a duty of "collective Ministerial responsibility" and turned up at the Parliament's Petitions Committee last week to support eight petitions against the SPSO ...

# Anonymous @ 8 September 2010 21:24

You have no idea ... although I have as there are plenty insiders at Holyrood to tell on their colleagues ...

# Anonymous @ 9 September 2010 09:52

I agree entirely ...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article .. there will be updates reported in the near future ...

Anonymous said...

Marvellous to hear you are such a hate figure for the Petitions Committee.That means you must be doing your job excellently with your writing !

Keep up the good work always !