Sunday, September 21, 2014

Business as Usual: Judicial investments in Corporate Crime put to one side as Scotland’s top judge Lord Gill opens the Legal Year 2014

Top judge hails business as usual in legal year opening speech. WHILE Scotland’s top judge, Lord President & Lord Justice General Brian Gill opened the new legal year for 2014 in Edinburgh last Friday with a promise of … business as usual, the growing list of companies on judges investment portfolios now convicted of criminality, bribery & financial market rigging added one more corporate giant - this time with the addition of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - fined £297 Million by the Changsha Intermediate People's Court in Hunan Province, China after drugs giant GSK was caught in a bribery scandal.

And, despite the fact the Serious Fraud Office is conducting a criminal investigation into GSK’s sales practices around the world and the US Department of Justice is also investigating GSK for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Lord Gill chose not to comment on investments held by judicial colleagues in companies linked to criminality, both at home and abroad – even though it has been revealed judges are deciding cases in courts which involve companies on their shareholdings portfolios.

Choosing instead to have a dig at the independence referendum among the other now familiar claims of speeding up justice and the creation of Arms Length Organisations within the courts system such as the Judicial institute – which helps train judges on how to dodge calls for openness & speedier justice, Lord Gill also welcomed new QC’s, guests and other vested interests whose lives revolve around extracting exorbitant legal fees from clients desperately seeking justice in Scotland’s “Victorian” courts and other jurisdictions.

And, despite a two year battle with the Scottish Parliament over proposals to create a register of interests for Scotland’s judiciary, which Lord Gill opposes, the Lord President’s only reference to transparency during the opening address for the new legal year was limited to references to the Edinburgh Festival and his exhibition of the courts.

Gill told those in attendance explanations to the public on how the courts operate were sufficiently satisfied by exhibiting the £58 Million pound publicly funded spend on a Stained Glass window and new door handles for Parliament House which also comprises Scotland’s Highest Court – the Court of Session – the most inaccessible, inhospitable and adversarial venue in the land for ordinary Scots who attempt to secure justice against vested interests favoured by the judiciary.

Lord President’s speech. Opening of the Legal Year 2014: The Opening of the Legal Year coincides with the biennial celebrations of the Faculty of Advocates. On behalf of the court it is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to the guests of the Faculty and to my own guests. We are honoured by your presence. On behalf of my colleagues I wish you all a most enjoyable weekend and hope that you will have pleasant memories of your visit to Edinburgh.

It is customary on this occasion for the Lord President to review the legal year that has passed and to set out our hopes and plans for the coming year. I realise that in these momentous days in our history, my brief remarks today may not command the rapt attention that you would otherwise have given them.

The Referendum was in essence a choice of two ways by which Scotland could express its nationhood. Now that the people have expressed their will, it is timely to point out that we are in the middle of a historic programme of national significance which will reform the structure and the procedures of our civil courts. This programme would have had the same validity whatever had been the outcome of the Referendum.

These reforms are not just about process. They are a means to an end. By creating efficient and responsive courts to bring civil justice to the citizen, we will safeguard and enhance the integrity of Scots law and ensure its survival as a vigorous system. That aim can be achieved only if the efficiency of our courts is matched by the commitment of the profession, and if the Judiciary at all levels displays the highest standards of excellence.

We are fortunate that our Judicial Institute has established an international reputation for the quality of its judicial training. I am grateful to everyone involved in the work of the Institute for all that they have done.

Throughout the last 30 years this court has suffered from the seemingly intractable problem of backlogs and excessive waiting times. I am pleased to say that by the Spring of this year there were no longer any backlogs in this building in either the civil or criminal courts. This is a milestone. I congratulate and thank the administrative judges and my willing colleagues through whose efforts it has been achieved.

We have also made great progress in the first instance business of the High Court. Through intensive and skilful case management the average number of preliminary hearings in each prosecution has in two years, been halved. The problem of churning at first instance is now under control and will soon be eliminated for all practical purposes.

In June of this year I took the Appeal Court to the great city of Glasgow for two weeks. It was a successful visit in every way and I propose to establish this as a regular practice. From October the High Court in Glasgow will be the dedicated centre for preliminary hearings. This will free up court time for other hearings and effect significant savings in legal aid. I am grateful to Lord Turnbull and the Glasgow judges for having transformed the work of the court.

I think that a modern court has a duty to explain itself to the public. If there is proper public understanding of what we do then we may reasonably hope for public support. For that purpose we had an exhibition in Parliament Hall throughout the summer which explained the work of the courts and encouraged the public to take an interest in what we are trying to achieve. The exhibition was attended by about 3000 visitors and has, I think, been generally accounted as a considerable success. This marked the completion of our £58 million redevelopment of this historic building, which was on time and under budget.

I conclude by expressing my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to my colleagues and friends on the bench and my colleagues and friends in the Scottish Court Service. I am grateful to them for their enthusiasm and their commitment. Together we have, I think, created a court that is efficient and responsive to change. By the end of this year the Courts Reform legislation will have completed its progress through the Parliament and by early next year implementation will have begun. It will be an eventful year. I wish you all every success.

It is now my pleasure to welcome those members of the Bar who have been appointed to the rank and dignity of Her Majesty's Counsel.

Mr Borland, your extensive experience in the field of commercial and construction law is informed by your impressive academic credentials. You have made a significant contribution to the work of the Scottish Law Commission. You are in every way fitted for the rank of Queen's Counsel. We look forward to your presence in the Inner House.

Mr McIlvride, you practised as a solicitor for many years. That experience led to a distinguished career as an advocate. You have already presented a case, as leader, in the Supreme Court. You will be a considerable asset at the Senior Bar.

Mr Simpson, you are a leading tax specialist in both Scotland and England. In your work as a lecturer at Aberdeen University and in your contributions to specialist tax journals, you have established your reputation. I look forward to your appearances in tax appeals when you will explain to us what it all means.

Mr Scullion, our criminal courts have benefitted from your careful and forensic presentation in the most challenging and sensitive cases. As Assistant Principal Crown Counsel, your appearances in the Appeal Court have given you ample opportunity to demonstrate your coolness under fire.

The award of silk is a mark of distinction. For all four of you it is an honour that is richly deserved. It is also a privilege; and I hope and trust that you will always be worthy of it.

The Court is adjourned.

UNETHICAL INVESTMENTS OF SCOTS JUDGES:

Judicial shareholdings snapshot of top judges shares. In a report by Diary of Injustice last month, disclosures of judges personal shareholdings revealed judges benefit financially from owning shareholdings in companies fined for providing poor services to Scottish courts, companies involved in and convicted of crimes such as ‘industrial’ espionage, international financial market manipulation, and bribes, bid rigging, and tax dodging.

Sheriff Principal RA Dunlop who heads the courts in Tayside, Central & Fife was revealed to hold shares in G4S who were fined £335,000 for court delays in Scotland, BHP Billiton – embroiled in an anti-corruption investigation by the US authorities, Rio Tinto - caught up in a spying and corruption scandal in China, and Diageo, who are supporting the drinks industry’s legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s minimum alcohol pricing policy.

The snapshot register of ‘some’ declarations made by the seven members of the Scottish Court Service Board have since been made available to members of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, who are currently considering Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the media, and video footage of earlier debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee on Petition PE1458 can be found here: A Register of Interests for Scotland's Judiciary.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor old Brian.This Ed Fringe exhibition he held at CoS is not the answer to calls for transparency!

Anonymous said...

You score some big points here Peter on the shareholdings issue.

Personally I feel Gill has no idea how to deal with your petition other than the usual threats and back office deals which have already been reported (probably some others still to come out)

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to like the sound of these Chinese courts!

Anonymous said...

Lord Gill also welcomed new QC’s, guests and other vested interests who’s lives mostly spin around extracting exorbitant legal fees from clients desperately seeking justice in Scotland’s “Victorian” courts and other jurisdictions.

Isnt this just the truth!!!!

Anonymous said...

What!

No mention of all of the corruption?

Anonymous said...

Business as usual as in lets rip everyone off and get away with it as lawyers cheer them on

Anonymous said...

Judges benefit financially from owning shareholdings in companies fined for providing poor services to Scottish courts, companies involved in and convicted of crimes such as ‘industrial’ espionage, international financial market manipulation, and bribes, bid rigging, and tax dodging.
=======================================================
The problem as you well know DOI is that the activities of these Judges and their links to corrupt financial institutions are no regarded as crimes. Futhermore there is no one above a Judge to judge the aforementioned and with most of the media on side their power is undiminished. It is simply that these people have no power to control them and they therefore do not apply the law to themselves. Scotland is actually governed by legalized criminals who control their MSP's puppets ensure the Scottish people remain legal lambs to the judicial slaughter.

Anonymous said...

That wad of cash in the gsk photo will be swiped by a judge!

Anonymous said...

Just as you predicted from your last post.

Nothing changes no matter who is in charge and now the judges are stamping their authority on our lives again.

Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Why is this not all over the press?

Anonymous said...

As you say its business as usual and look at this appeal won by big business care firms against a carer who was thought to have won a landmark ruling to help other carers

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-29279622

Carer's landmark personal injury case overturned

A Glasgow home carer who won a landmark personal injury case has seen the verdict overturned on appeal.

Tracey Kennedy successfully sued her employer, Cordia, after falling and injuring her wrist while on "an errand of mercy" at the home of a terminally ill housebound woman in 2010.

It had been thought Lord McEwan's judgement on the case could help other injured workers seek damages in future.

Cordia appealed against the decision, which has now been thrown out.

Lord McEwan had concluded in last summer's case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that Cordia was obliged to identify and reduce reasonable risks to staff.
Bad weather

Ms Kennedy had gone out to visit a client in Crookston in Glasgow during bad weather in December 2010, and slipped on ice while trying to reach the door, falling backwards and injuring her wrist.

Her legal team argued that under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, Cordia had a duty to ensure that suitable equipment was provided to staff in slippery conditions.

It was also claimed that Cordia were in breach of duty by not providing attachments that Ms Kennedy could have worn over her shoes to give a better grip in snowy and icy conditions.

Cordia argued that Ms Kennedy could have made the decision not to go out that night because conditions were too hazardous.

Ruling in favour of Ms Kennedy in August 2013, Lord McEwan noted that "everyone has to live and work through winters" and that "safety is to be levelled upwards".
'Ordinary risk'

However, a panel of three judges overturned that ruling after an appeal at the Court of Session.

Lord Brodie said he could not see how Cordia were under a common law duty to "determine exactly what their competent adult employees should wear on their feet when negotiating the streets of Glasgow".

He added that such a duty would be an "unwarranted intrusion into the private lives" of workers, adding: "Adults in Scotland can be expected to have experience of negotiating snow and ice in an urban environment and in choosing footwear which will help them to do so."

Another appeal judge, Lady Smith, added that if Lord McEwan was correct, it would mean that the employer was unreasonably obliged to monitor the weather and street conditions at all places where they were providing care services, check whether there was a risk of slipping, instruct employees what to wear on their feet and run checks on what they were wearing.

"Fundamentally, the risk to the respondent was an ordinary risk arising in a public place from the ordinary facts of life in Scotland," she said.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 22 September 2014 12:03

An interesting appeal ruling ... and one relevant to the interests of Scottish judges as several members of Scotland's judiciary, their families and legal firms they frequent have links to, and financial stakes in care homes and their service providers ...

@ 22 September 2014 08:51

This is where the media come in ... to inform the public and promote debate on the lack of transparency within the judiciary.

Anonymous said...

"An interesting appeal ruling ... and one relevant to the interests of Scottish judges as several members of Scotland's judiciary, their families and legal firms they frequent have links to, and financial stakes in care homes and their service providers"

Little wonder Gill is fighting your petition and you do raise a big issue about this case.

I hope some of the carers involved in this ruling read it and start asking the right questions!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

That wad of cash in the gsk photo will be swiped by a judge!

22 September 2014 10:32

Brown envelope and a title!

Anonymous said...

The lawyers know about all these judges shares and links but say nothing because they are all part of it.The entire system is corrupt from the judges down and we all know it now m'lud!

Anonymous said...

Crooks money grabbing ******** no thought for anyone else but themselves and the lawyers who run the courts for their own ends totally rotten everybody should go back and look at any case they ever lost in the courts because all the judges have some bet on it one way or another as you have now proved very well so get going folks and save yourselves from all these horrible wigs and their life cancelling decisions.

Anonymous said...

Another appeal judge, Lady Smith, added that if Lord McEwan was correct, it would mean that the employer was unreasonably obliged to monitor the weather and street conditions at all places where they were providing care services, check whether there was a risk of slipping, instruct employees what to wear on their feet and run checks on what they were wearing.

"Fundamentally, the risk to the respondent was an ordinary risk arising in a public place from the ordinary facts of life in Scotland," she said.
===================================
I wonder about conflicts of interests, ie same insurers of employer and judiciary, judicial shareholdings etc. As for the ordinary facts of life in Scotland the courts are a business for enriching the judiciary not finding employers liable for their delicts.

Anonymous said...

Talk about having your head in the sand!

As Lord Gill previously observed 'if change doesn't come from within then it may be imposed from elsewhere'.

Let's hope he was right as this report shows the Judges aren't for turning.

Anonymous said...

GSK I wonder how many medicines they sell to hospitals who overdose their patients then the case comes before a judge who is secretly a GSK shareholder and the person gets nothing apart from a lot of big legal bills and the judges shares go up.This must be happening a lot.

Anonymous said...

The sickening thing is this is happening all over the world with judges using their positions to get round the law and escape being found out well until now.
This is a great debate you started and everyone should now be watching all the judges and making sure all judges are registered with their interests and whatever they have.

Anonymous said...

What do the Judges have to do? Ah yes Judges have to take the Judicial Oath, this proves again that oaths are bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised and on the day they had their court party everyone was focused on the No result in the referendum.Obviously a deliberate act the judges telling everyone who is really in control.

Anonymous said...

Judges have shares in care homes too?Not surprised because most of them are about the same age as people already in care homes!

Hope the carers find out about this!

Anonymous said...

Here's another one - the men died in 2007 and it takes Clydeport SEVEN YEARS to admit guilt probably because someone thought the judges would rule for them

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-29325337

Port operator Clydeport Operations Limited has admitted health and safety failures after three men drowned when their tug boat sank in the River Clyde.

Stephen Humphreys, 33, Eric Blackley, 57, and Robert Cameron, 65, were crew on the Flying Phantom, which capsized in thick fog on 19 December 2007.

Clydeport had originally denied culpability over the deaths but changed its plea at a hearing on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

GSK I wonder how many medicines they sell to hospitals who overdose their patients then the case comes before a judge who is secretly a GSK shareholder and the person gets nothing apart from a lot of big legal bills and the judges shares go up.This must be happening a lot.

22 September 2014 21:37

Probably already happened a thousand times and no one ever found out.

Anonymous said...

May I ask why you gave Chinese court ruling prominence about GSK and the company is located in UK?

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 5 October 2014 17:52

The ruling by Changsha Intermediate People's Court in China is a valid ruling and GSK have been found guilty of criminal offences in China.

It is not too difficult an argument to present that judges should not invest in, or financially benefit from companies who are convicted of criminal offences either within the UK or other countries ... therefore the GSK China ruling is of interest to the wider debate on the investments of the judiciary and a register of judicial interests.

Also you may want to consider what companies are convicted of doing in one country the possibility exists they may also be doing in others ...