Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A very Judicial success : McKenzie Friends to hit Scotland’s Sheriff Courts soon, Law Society agrees on ‘automatic right to use lay assistants’

Lord GillScotland’s Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill’s reform proposals helped bring McKenzie Friends to Scots Courts system. THE FINAL CHAPTER in the long running campaign to bring McKenzie Friends to all of Scotland’s courts, which began with the consideration of the issue in 2007 by Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review, has now finally been written, as the Sheriff Court Rules Council announced this week it had finalised its consideration of rules on the use of McKenzie Friends across Scotland’s Sheriff Courts, with enactment allowing unrepresented party litigants to apply to use a lay assistant expected within a matter of weeks.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff Court Rules Council stated : “The Sheriff Court Rules Council further considered draft rules for the use of a McKenzie Friend at its meeting on 5 November. The Council agreed the substance of these and they will be submitted to the Court of Session for consideration later this month.”

The Scottish Parliament have also been briefed by the Sheriff Court Rules Council, who wrote to MSPs stating : “Current plans are for rule changes to be included within a miscellaneous instrument to be made later this month, but this of course depends on (a) when the Council’s proposed rules are finalised: and (b) the view taken of them by the Court of Session.”

However, further investigations & enquiries by Diary of Injustice have now established the original suggestion by the Sheriff Court Rules Council that McKenzie Friends be allowed to receive some form of payment for their services in the Sheriff Courts, has now been abandoned, and a similar set of rules forbidding the remuneration of McKenzie Friends, as was passed in the Lord Hamilton’s Act of Sederunt announced earlier in February of this year, which approved the use without remuneration of McKenzie Friends in the Court of Session in mid June 2010, will now also be used in the Sheriff Courts. I reported more on the remuneration issue during July, here : Lord President softens rules on Scottish McKenzie Friends, remuneration issue still out of step with England & Wales

A spokesperson for the Sheriff Court Rules Council answered enquiries on the remuneration point, saying : “The Council proposes that a similar provision in relation to the matter of expenses as to that which is already in place in the Court of Session Rules should be provided for in the sheriff court rules.”

A legal insider commented this was a rather unusual step, given there was already case law in England & Wales [N (A Child) [2009] EWHC 2096 (Fam)] to support the right or entitlement of a McKenzie Friend to charge or at least receive some form of remuneration for their services.

He said : “Personally I feel we could have done without this fuss over a McKenzie Friend being able to charge a fee or not. Forbidding it sounds almost anti competitive, and will at any rate, restrict the numbers of qualified individuals offering themselves up as McKenzie Friends. It is a counter productive attitude, and perhaps one which could be challenged later on under ECHR, with it possibly being open to interpretation of denying a party litigant the right to a fair hearing – if they cannot secure a qualified McKenzie Friend because of such a restriction.”

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland now support a presumed right for party litigants to use a McKenzie Friend in Scotland’s courts. Meanwhile the Law Society of Scotland followed suit, its Civil Justice Committee stating “…there should be an automatic right to use a McKenzie Friend. However, it should be within the court’s discretion to insist on a withdrawal of a McKenzie Friend if it determines that the position is being abused.” which sets out an almost identical position to that of McKenzie Friends in England & Wales.

An official from one of Scotland’s consumer organisations who have consistently spoken in favour of McKenzie Friends commented on the Sheriff Court Rules Council announcement, welcoming the changes. He said : “I view this as a positive step in ensuring many consumers in Scotland who for various reasons do not have access to a solicitor can now enjoy a significant measure of assistance to help them as party litigants present their case in the Sheriff Courts.”

He continued : “The Civil Courts Review team and Lord Gill are to be commended for pursuing the question of McKenzie Friends in their two year investigation of civil justice in Scotland. I would also like to say the Scottish Parliament’s scrutiny of the issue also played a part in ensuring its speedy implementation.”

Civil Courts Review Consultation Paper 2007 - McKenzie Friends for Scotland2007 Civil Courts Review consultation raised McKenzie Friends issue. The question of McKenzie Friends was first raised in the 2007 Civil Courts Review Consultation Paper (pdf) launched by Scotland’s Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill to being the Civil Courts Review. In the paper, Lord Gill stated : “The courts in England and Wales have for over 30 years allowed party litigants to be assisted in court by what have become to be known as “McKenzie friends”. They do not take on the role of a lawyer, but provide support in court such as making notes, prompting or giving advice on the conduct of the case. There have been occasions where the Court has gone further and, in particular circumstances, allowed the McKenzie friend to address the Court.148 In such cases the court has to exercise its statutory powers and grant a right of audience to the McKenzie friend. The desirability of permitting a party litigant to be represented in court by a person without a right of audience is a matter that the Review will consider.”

Consumer Focus Scotland logoConsumer Focus Scotland have supported the idea of McKenzie Friends in Scottish courts for years. The Scottish Consumer Council (now renamed Consumer Focus Scotland) responded to the consultation paper in March 2008, over a year before a petition was filed at the Scottish Parliament on the issue, backing the call to introduce McKenzie Friends. The Scottish Consumer Council’s response stated : “We would welcome recognition by the Scottish courts of the need for discretion to allow some form of ‘McKenzie friend’ to accompany and possibly represent a party litigant in appropriate cases.”

Which logoWhich? also supported McKenzie Friends. The Which? consumer organisation replied to the consultation paper in April 2008, also supported the introduction in Scotland of McKenzie Friends, stating : ”Some litigants cannot afford or cannot find a lawyer to represent them and may find it beneficial and useful to be represented by a non lawyer. We feel this should be permitted. We support the idea of Scottish courts allowing ‘McKenzie friends’ to accompany and perhaps represent a litigant where appropriate, provided appropriate safeguards are introduced.”

Lord Gill recommends McKenzie Friends captionsLord Gill’s Civil Courts Review recommended the implementation of McKenzie Friends for Scotland. The results of Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review were published in August 2009., his report finally recommended the implementation of McKenzie Friends in Scottish Courts, stating : “If the court considers that it would be helpful in any case, a person without a right of audience (a ‘McKenzie friend’) should be permitted to address the court on behalf of a party litigant. The court should have discretion to refuse to allow any particular person to act as a McKenzie friend on grounds relating to character or conduct and to withdraw a permission to at as such at any time. The rules of court should specify the role to be played by such persons and should provide that they are not entitled to remuneration.”

Ian Hanger QC submission to Scottish Parliament McKenzie Friend petition 1247A little help from Australian Barrister, Ian Hanger QC supported McKenzie Friends for Scotland. Lord Gill's recommendations on McKenzie Friends also had a timely note of support from the original McKenzie Friend himself, Ian Hanger QC, who wrote to the Scottish Parliament, supporting the introduction of McKenzie Friends into Scottish Courts. Ian Hanger QC wrote in his letter : “In Australia, most of our courts have the power to permit a non-qualified person to, in effect, represent a litigant. A McKenzie Friend does not have a right to address the court. That right is confined to quietly assisting the unrepresented litigant. The Australian experience has been that it has worked successfully. … I cannot see that the floodgates would be opened by permitting, in appropriate cases, the presence of the McKenzie Friend to help the unrepresented litigant. In some cases you will get a brilliant law student who will provide enormous assistance to the Court .. I would urge the Parliament to permit the appearance of the McKenzie Friend."

Insiders at Holyrood and from the legal profession point to Ian Hanger's invaluable and timely letter to the Scottish Parliament in support of McKenzie Friends as 'having sealed the deal' on McKenzie Friends coming to Scotland.

Lord WoolmanLord Woolman granted Scotland’s first Civil Law McKenzie Friend request Two months after Lord Gill had recommended the introduction of McKenzie Friends to Scotland’s Courts, and nearly 40 years since they were introduced to England & Wales, the first ever civil law McKenzie Friend in Scotland’s Court of Session was granted by Lord Woolman in a long running civil damages action which named Motherwell College, North Lanarkshire Council & Edinburgh Law firm Simpson & Marwick as defenders. The case, a medical injury claim M.Wilson v North Lanarkshire Council & Others (A1628/01) was again recently in the headlines, here : FIFTEEN year wait for justice against Motherwell College marks poor state of Scotland’s ‘Victorian’ Justice System on European Civil Justice Day

Lord Hamilton judicialMcKenzie Friends made official in Court of Session by Lord Hamilton. In June of 2010, Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton implemented rules & guidance on the use of McKenzie Friends in Scotland’s Court of Session as of 15 June 2010. This speedier than expected implementation came about after intense media coverage online and in the national press, ensuring after Lord Hamilton’s Act of Sederunt announced earlier in February of this year finally took effect, anyone who cannot obtain legal representation for litigation which demands a place in Scotland’s highest court, now have the right to file a motion requesting the services of a McKenzie Friend to assist their case.

McKenzie Friends for ScotlandThe final chapter is now written for McKenzie Friends in Scotland. This time, despite occasional judge bashing, Holyrood bashing, attempted & thankfully unpublished bashing of a senior Scottish Minister for not supporting a petition, media bashing, Law Society bashing, and even claims by some for credit for something which was already set in stone at least a year before (that pushing at an open door feeling), the legal system got it right ... or perhaps ‘mostly right’, albeit having to be spurred on by individuals cases who have greatly been denied access to justice for so long in the Scottish Courts. We all, of course, have a great deal to thank Lord Gill for in his Civil Courts Review conclusions and his comments which have led to speedier than usual reforms in the Scottish justice system.

We should also not forget the help from our Australian cousins, Scottish politicians such as MSPs Margo MacDonald & David Whitton who both raised the political profile of the McKenzie Friends issue, the Scottish Government who have introduced a 'talking McKenzie Friend with rights of audience' via the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (pdf), the significant media coverage, both online and in the national press, the help of consumer organisation Which? and the dedication of those working for our Scots consumer champion in the form of Consumer Focus Scotland, which the Westminster based coalition Government plans to axe, in what must certainly be an act of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, or perhaps, limit the powers of consumers to stand up to big business & vested interests.

I don't know about you, but I’d call that team work, all the way from the benches of Scotland’s Court of Session on a bleak winter’s day, to the great cities of Australia, which are no doubt about to enjoy a long luxurious summer. As a journalist, its been fun, and hopefully informative & helpful to all, to write about it. This McKenzie Friend has now left the building.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well all I can say is THANK GOD FOR THAT !
I think the remuneration issue will sort itself out depending on how McKenzie Friends behave in the courts.If they make a mess of it then no however if it all goes well I think you will see a retreat on the question of expenses or payment maybe within a year.

Keep up the good work Peter.

Anonymous said...

You see - the system works! if you bang some heads together!

Anonymous said...

Is everything this difficult up there ?

Anonymous said...

Quite right Peter, it was a combination of factors and various efforts which finally got the Scottish Legal Establishment to move - after 40 years.

Proof it were needed of the dictum 'Together we stand, divided we fall'.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting as always Peter.Who is the Scottish Minister who was going to be bashed for not supporting a petition?

Anonymous said...

Hamilton came through in the end even though it took all this to get him to do it !

Anonymous said...

A thrilling read Mr Cherbi - as always !!

Good luck to all who use McKenzie friends,hope its worth it in the long run

Anonymous said...

and what of that infernal petition you kept writing about ?
It looks to me like the Scottish Exec beat them to it with the McKenzie Friend with right of audience and as you well know there has always been a lay assistant facility in sheriff courts.

Anonymous said...

“Personally I feel we could have done without this fuss over a McKenzie Friend being able to charge a fee or not. Forbidding it sounds almost anti competitive, and will at any rate, restrict the numbers of qualified individuals offering themselves up as McKenzie Friends.

EXACTLY WHY DO THE LAWYERS NOT LEAD BY EXAMPLE, BY NOT CHARGING CLIENTS FEES?

IT IS ALL ABOUT KEEPING PERSONS WHO WOULD ACT AS MCKENZIE FRIENDS TO A MINIMUM, SO THAT UNREPRESENTED LITIGANTS STILL HAVE NO RIGHTS. A CHILD COULD SEE THROUGH THIS PATHETIC STRATEGY.

Anonymous said...

Good work and remember to let us know when its actually working in the Sheriff Court!

Anonymous said...

Law Society only came onboard after they saw which way the wind was blowing.You can expect them to be working against it behind the scenes especially on the issue of payments.

Anonymous said...

Very good - hands across the world and all that stuff.You write well Peter keep it up and dont leave the building just yet!

Anonymous said...

Well done to you too.Your little flag says you've written lots of posts about McKenzie Friends.Hope the judge keeps up his reforming demeanour!
Good luck all!

Anonymous said...

If only they were so eager to resolve the Megrahi question as well as attending to civil justice from the dark ages..

Anonymous said...

Peter Cherbi said:

"This McKenzie Friend has now left the building".

We hope not for good Peter.

Haste ye back sir.

Bestest.

Later ...

Yours aye ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reference on the Justice Munby ruling.I had no idea there was case law supporting remuneration to McKenzie Friends in England & Wales.Why is Scotland lagging behind on this and what is so special about the Scottish legal system they cant allow McKenzie Friends to be reimbursed for their work ?

Clearly you know your stuff on this so I hope you keep an eye on how McKenzie Friends fare in the Scottish courts whether its good or bad I'd like to know please!

Josephine said...

Ah comments at last I see.

I follow your blog quite a lot Peter so you wont mind me asking why you appear to have laid the whole thing at the judge's doorstep.I'm sure he is probably wondering the same,possibly its sent him into a state of shock!

I have the feeling McKenzie Friends will go t*ts up as is usually the case in Scotland (the building of Holyrood, Edinburgh trams, etc etc to name but a few examples) and just wondered if you might be of the same opinion..

Can the Scots really hold onto a McKenzie Friend?

Anonymous said...

Good to see you are still supporting the retention of Consumer Focus.Remember there will be a consultation to keep it alive your contribution would be most welcome!

Anonymous said...

Surely Lord Hamilton could have seen to it McKenzie Friends were allowed in sheriff courts at the same time he allowed it in the court of session ?
Why the delay do you think ?

Anonymous said...

well done.
how about writing something on the Sheridan perjury trial?

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much Lord Gill - now make sure all your reforms go through as fast as possible!

Anonymous said...

If McKenzie friends are not allowed to charge fees, then Lawyers should not be allowed to charge fees either, that would rid the Country of all the Crooked Lawyers from practicing the fraud and criminality they do in Court, including lying and perjury.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article and the subject of McKenzie Friends.

There is not much more to be reported on the subject other than the actual date McKenzie Friends will begin operating in the Sheriff Courts.

Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 15:38

Yes, I tend to agree ... and I would point out there is to be an ongoing review of how McKenzie Friends operate in the Scottish Courts in terms of how they behave & operate.

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 16:02

Not on every occasion ...

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 16:10

Just about ...

# Anonymous @ 16:44

I agree ... and the facts as they are reported stand ...

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 16:58

John Swinney, although despite being harrangued by 'vested interests' who wanted material published, I did not pursue it as clearly their point of view is at odds with the debate.

I report news or facts which stand up after investigation, not the rantings of people with knives behind their backs.

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 19:13

The subject of the McKenzie Friend petition is now closed on this blog, as it has been revealed the petition was filed over a year after Lord Gill and various consumer organisations expressed wishes McKenzie Friends should be introduced. The Scottish Government followed through, along with the courts, and we have them now. Case closed.

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 19:33

Yes, I think most people will view the forbidding of payment to McKenzie Friends as being a move directed at placating the legal profession over fees & expenses.

This should be tested in court at some stage I feel ...


# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 20:24

They already are ... although I cant publish for now, information on certain discussions which show this to be the case, due to their source ...

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 21:57

I'm still standing ...

# Anonymous @ 16 November 2010 22:45

I will keep readers informed on events as necessary ...

# Josephine @ 16 November 2010 23:30

Lord Gill first mentioned McKenzie Friends in 2007, and people who have cases currently in the court of session have been calling for them for a long time. It was therefore fitting I credited Lord Gill with his role in this matter.

I dont believe the building of the Scottish Parliament or the mess of the Edinburgh Trams project is an indicator of events inside the Justice system ... although I could be wrong ...

Scotland can hang onto McKenzie Friends if they behave properly ... and I would recommend they do as I'm sure the Law Society are just hoping for an opportunity to rubbish the facility of having lay assistants in courts.

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 11:20

You can bank on it ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 12:03

The Court of Session & Sheriff Courts are two distinct fiefdoms, despite appearances to the contrary ...

Again, I am unable to publish certain material which may explain this position, due to its source .. lets say there was a 'little resistance' by some who felt they were being bullied into something they already claimed they had ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 12:36

The newspapers are more capable than I of covering the Sheridan trial ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 13:26

This question will have to be settled in court at some stage ... I do believe it is an unfair position to forbid McKenzie Friends to receive some payment for what they do ... I have been contacted by several law students who are willing to offer up their services, although understandably they would like to receive at least something for what they do ... and as has already been pointed out, forbidding any form or remuneration appears to be an attempt to curtail any formation of experienced McKenzie Friends operating in the Scottish Courts ... which in itself surely amounts to an anti-competition issue, because at the end of the day, Justice and the courts are just really a business ...

Peter Cherbi said...

And finally ....

There have been some comments received on this article which fall outwith the terms of publication and therefore will not be published.

I would urge readers if they wish to get their points across or join the discussion, to refrain from unprintable insults to either side of the debate or engage in long tirades against lawyers, judges or even journalists without any actual proof.

Some may well disagree with me, but I can assure you all if Lord Gill had not taken the stance he has on his proposals for Civil Justice Reform, we would not be looking at their implementation any time soon, and that includes McKenzie Friends ...

Instead of petty bickering, or jumping up & down claiming credit for the work & effot of others, the focus of everyone should now shift to helping people & victims of injustice who have been denied access to justice, to secure access to justice and have their cases resolved.

This, is justice, and it should be just us !

Anonymous said...

"Scotland can hang onto McKenzie Friends if they behave properly ... and I would recommend they do as I'm sure the Law Society are just hoping for an opportunity to rubbish the facility of having lay assistants in courts."

I second that.
However it will only be a matter of time before its abused in court - the same occasionally happens in England and the courts deal with it accordingly.I just feel there may be more of a mess to it when it eventually happens in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Very rare praise for the justice system although I can see you know a lot more than you are letting on.

Anyway I agree with you on Lord Gill.I think he did his best and ultimately if change is going to happen you have to get people like that onside.

Anonymous said...

Interesting what you said about John Swinney.I'll look into this further and if you have any info you dont want to publish know where to send it.
DS

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog - I wish lawyers were more outspoken like you instead of hanging round dark alleys getting sex offenders off the hook with massive payouts for their 'human rights' being supposedly breached

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime-courts/sex-attacker-s-1000-win-for-rights-breach-1.1068993

Sex attacker’s £1000 win for rights breach

Brian Horne
Share 0 comments

17 Nov 2010

Hundreds of sex attackers could be in line for payouts after a man convicted of two attacks as a teenager won the right to remove his name from the sex offenders register.

The 31-year-old – identified only as Mr A – also won £1000 in compensation after successfully arguing that it breached his human rights for him to remain on the register for life. He had been found guilty of carrying out two sex attacks as a teenager more than 15 years ago.

The key to his legal claim was that there was no future appeal or way of getting his name removed from the register, even if he could show he no longer posed a threat to the public.

After the ruling at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Mr A’s lawyer, Tony Kelly, said: “This is the end of a long, hard slog. This case has been going on in excess of six years.

“This is a complete vindication of the position taken by Mr A. He has secured a change in the law, he has a judicial declaration of the breach of his human rights and £1000.”

No wonder no one likes lawyers when get get up to these kind of tricks FOR MONEY

What about the victims ? I bet they got nothing other than a lifetime of haunting over the evil did to them yet judges come out and say sex offenders rights are violated ?
What kind of justice or big society is this ???

SHOCKING

Anonymous said...

It may well be we owe a debt to Lord Gill for his work but I think the pace of change needs to be speeded up if the judges are to retain any credibility.Gill himself said the civil justice system is victorian yet he is part of that same system and its not just civil justice which is victorian as we all know.

Lets see the goods before they try to sell us a pup and this also applies to the SNP who are so into shouting at us saying they are the only party with Scottish interests at heart etc yet we are still decades away from having a justice system anything like England.

Change now not later and as you say its time to help those denied access to justice to get it!

Anonymous said...

Clean up the biggest stain on Scottish justice - The conviction of Megrahi over the Lockerbie bombing and then we'll believe the judges.

Oh and incidentally why cant a judge come forward and say something is up with the Lockerbie trial when they can come forward and say civil justice sucks?

Wouldnt you agree its a little bit of double standards?

Anonymous said...

I dont often agree with what you write but this time yes.Gill's influence carried this through.I hope to see all of the civil justice reforms he proposed fully implemented.

Doubtless you will keep us informed either way.

Anonymous said...

I think I've been moderated lol

OKAY next time I post something about a bent judge or bent lawyer I'll make sure there's a link to go with it.

Is that good enough for you ?

Anonymous said...

Great letter from the Australian lawyer helping out Scotland.More of this kind of cooperation please.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the system works at all and I think all this has come about just as you say because everyone got together and did something about it and people like yourself wrote about it.Its one thing to keep banging on about something in a room full of people but when the whole world gets to read whats going on its a different matter so you should also be thanking the inventor of the internet because everyone can now see just how useless and corrupt Scottish justice is

Anonymous said...

Thanks also for the case ref from the family court - I think that could be used in Scotland with success if a Mckenzie Friend is capable enough.

Anonymous said...

You should write a book about it!

Anonymous said...

As the first comment says Thank god and as you say case closed!
I wish you would write something about Cadder and the emergency legislation the SNP managed to screw up.Don't you think they have gone all Big Brother with the extended detention times?

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say this prohibition on payment is an obstruction to justice.

What if it turns out you need a McKenzie Friend who specialises in financial matters or something like that and because you cant pay them they wont or cant do it for free ?

Whoever you are up against (presuming they have lawyers) will be able to pay for financial experts and then make you pay for it if/when you lose because of no McKenzie Friend who knows his stuff.

Just a typical Scottish swipe against justice if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

The Court of Session & Sheriff Courts are two distinct fiefdoms, despite appearances to the contrary ...

Again, I am unable to publish certain material which may explain this position, due to its source .. lets say there was a 'little resistance' by some who felt they were being bullied into something they already claimed they had ...

??

A little resistance from whom ?

Lord Hamilton is supposed to be in charge of the entire courts system is he not ?

If they are resisting each other this needs to be sorted out otherwise its going to affect people in the courts already

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 22:26

An excellent point I was trying to convey in the article ... I would welcome further debate on the points you have raised as it does indicate an inequality in arms, if a party litigant may not be able to obtain a specialist McKenzie Friend to assist their particular type of case, while as you rightly point out, the other side if legally represented would be able to secure such specialist assistance easily ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 21:59

Scottish Law Reporter has covered more about the Cadder ruling and, as its criminal law I will defer to their reporting ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 22:47

There are different operating rules for the Court of Session & Sheriff Courts as you know ...

If you are looking for opposition to change .. try the Sheriff's Association ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 19:46

I agree .. entirely !

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 18:24

If its from a reputable site or news website and not fabricated for the purposes of a comment, yes ...

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 17:38

I will

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 16:07

I agree, entirely !

# Anonymous @ 17 November 2010 15:08

The situation will require careful monitoring ... although as I reported in an earlier article, I dont believe there should be, as the Law Society proposes, some kind of register of who has stood as a McKenzie Friend just because the Law Society fears McKenzie Friends gaining experience & reputations in the Scottish justice system ...

Thanks for all your additional comments & emails on this article and also to several people who have posted unpublished comments with details of their cases.I will consider in due course.

Anonymous said...

You raise a very good point about specialist McKenzie Friends.

Anonymous said...

Well done it was all worth it in the end.

Anonymous said...

Rare praise from Peter for the justice system!

Anonymous said...

Stay away from writing anything about the Sheridan circus !

Anonymous said...

What have the Sheriff's Association been up to now Peter ?

Sounds like the Sheriff Courts were brought into line after a talking to by the one which sits on high.

Anonymous said...

The situation will require careful monitoring ... although as I reported in an earlier article, I dont believe there should be, as the Law Society proposes, some kind of register of who has stood as a McKenzie Friend just because the Law Society fears McKenzie Friends gaining experience & reputations in the Scottish justice system ...

Personally I think they want to keep a blacklist of people who have already appeared as McKenzie Friends and then these people will never be able to secure legal services again

Anonymous said...

Someone was out to smear Swinney?
I hope he reads these comments then

Anonymous said...

If anything what this really tells us is if Hamilton had acted sooner there would have been no fuss at the Parliament about McKenzie Friends.

I'd call it a case of judicial obstinacy which in the end made fools of them all including the politicians who jumped on the bandwagon.Learn a lesson next time numpties and do it before having to be pushed.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think they want to keep a blacklist of people who have already appeared as McKenzie Friends and then these people will never be able to secure legal services again
==================================
It is due to the fact people cannot get legal representation, the pressure groups came into existence in the first place.
These legal people are all members of a union called the Law Society of Scotland. This union like all unions requires organisation and where this occurs especially in medical or legal circles patient and client rights are always subservient to the so called professionals reputations.

The Law Society and the self regulating membership it protects are the obstructors of access to justice and if they could overcome their anti client prejudices the status of the legal profession would be better for it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1331056/Nick-Cleggs-office-paid-88-000-wifes-law


Nick Clegg faced accusations of a conflict of interest last night as it emerged his wife’s law firm has been paid £88,000 by his own department since the Election.

Figures published by the Cabinet Office in what was described as a ­‘revolutionary’ transparency exercise revealed that the department had made two five-figure payments to DLA Piper since May.

The disclosure is an embarrassment for the Deputy Prime Minister, whose high-flying Spanish wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, is a senior partner at the firm.
--------------------------------
Clegg, remember both you and Dave leading the self righteous charge of the Light Brigade against ex MP Derek Conway for paying family and friends out of taxpayer's money.
Words like 'flaming pair of hypocrites' come to mind!

How can the public have faith in the political class with these revelations, nothing changes.