Wednesday, February 04, 2015

FRACKING JUDGES: Scotland’s top judge promotes shale gas extraction, big oil and renewable energy as profit incentive for courts on same day Scottish Government announce ban on fracking

Courts to serve fracking & energy interests - top judge. SCOTLAND'S top judge, Lord President Lord Brian Gill has spoken of his hopes that fracking for shale gas will increase business in the courts. The top judge also wants to turn Scotland's legal system into a mediation haven for big business, big oil, shale gas barons & bankers, according to a speech he gave on the theme of “Digital Justice” last week.

The move is hoped to draw in millions for lawyers and judges - without the need to declare any interests.

During the fourteen page speech – Gill (72) also urged the legal sector to better exploit Scotland’s “natural resources” and renewable energy for their own profit.

Speaking on the issue of fracking, Gill said: “Our resources of energy may be increased by the retrieval of shale gas, if that should be allowed. It seems to me therefore that the opportunity that our natural resources present should be served by the court system.”

However, Gill’s own views on the nation’s energy policy and how the legal sector should exploit it for their own ends was delivered the very same day the Scottish Government grudgingly announced a ban on new shale gas fracking schemes.

Making a statement announcing the ban on fracking after it emerged Energy Minister Fergus Ewing had criticised MSP Joan McAlpine for assisting constituents against plans by the Duke of Buccleuch to mine coalbed methane at Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway, Mr Ewing told the Parliament: "I want to ensure that the voices of the communities likely to be most affected are heard, and are heard in a more formal and structured way.I am therefore announcing today that in addition to the technical work I've referred to on planning, environmental regulation and upon assessing the impact on public health, Scottish ministers will also launch a full public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction."

In spite of the Minister’s promises of a full public consultation, it has been reported there are many in Canonbie who are “too afraid to speak out” against fracking - and now, with the courts and judiciary seemingly keen to exploit fracking and other runs on natural resources “to follow” as a profit model - it can surely only be a matter of time before wealthy landowners turn to their friends and investors in the courts to ensure shale gas plans go ahead - no matter the views of local communities and residents.

Speech by Lord Gill on Digital Justice, Fracking & Big Oil. During the speech, Lord Gill also chastised his own judicial colleagues & lawyers for missing out on exploitation of Scotland’s oil boom.

Lord Gill said: “In the 1960s and 1970s the economy of Scotland was transformed by the discovery of North Sea oil. The judges and lawyers of that time were not alert to the opportunity that Scotland could be an international forum for resolving disputes in the oil and gas industry. We paid a price for our complacency when the international oil and gas industry passed us by.”

Gill continued: “Half a century on we should look at Scotland's economic opportunities and see how the courts can best serve them. In recent years a commitment to renewable energy has brought wind power to the fore as an energy source. Other forms of renewable energy may follow.”

The top judge also claimed Scotland can be made an international centre for litigation and mediation.

Gill said "Our legal system should be a driver for economic progress in Scotland. Our courts and our judges can and should contribute to the prosperity of our country. We can do that if, by the excellence of our judges, and our legal profession and the efficiency of our courts, we make Scotland a forum of litigation that not only retains litigations that at present go elsewhere but also becomes a forum of choice for litigations from abroad.."

However, Gill's policy of promoting the murky, expensive and disreputable Edinburgh legal world as a centre of international litigation and mediation may well be destined to hit the buffers.

Previous attempts by the Scottish Government and now former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to bring make Scotland a more attractive place for international litigation and mediation have come to nothing, even after large amounts of public money have been thrown at the idea and public money lavished by Scottish Ministers on enterprises such as the Scottish Arbitration Centre.

And, despite Lord Gill’s claim of judges supporting the economy, it is unclear how much the judiciary is financially contributing to Scotland, given judges refuse to declare their financial interests.

Over the past two years, Lord Gill has fought a bitter battle with the Scottish Parliament who are considering a proposal called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary to creating a register of interests for judges.

The move to bring transparency to judges wealth, links to business & other interests comes after it emerged members of the judiciary have a significant proportion of their undeclared riches in offshore tax havens, arms length trusts, shareholdings in vested interests, energy firms, land ownership, companies linked to public contracts - some within the justice system itself, companies involved in organised crime and secretive links to big business, finance & banking.

A parliamentary debate at the Scottish Parliament which saw MSPs overwhelmingly support a motion urging the Scottish Government to consider a register of judicial interests was reported by Diary of Injustice along with video coverage here: Top judge & Scottish Government told to rethink refusal on declarations of judges as Holyrood MSPs support calls to create a register of judicial interests

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 debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland's Judiciary


Anonymous said...

Why even bother with the pretence of a Scottish 'Government' when we have Lord Gill making energy policy on his own behalf.

Incredible really he gets away with this and squares it off on judicial independence.

Anonymous said...

So in other words no one in Canonbie need bother with a court challenge against the duke and his fracking operations because the judge will most likely have an interest and a fracking big smile after throwing the case out!

Anonymous said...

The top judge also wants to turn Scotland's legal system into a mediation haven for big business, big oil, shale gas barons & bankers, according to a speech he gave on the theme of “Digital Justice” last week.

and just who is going to pay for all this BS in our courts?Taxpayers!while Gill goes around in a jet!

Anonymous said...

The lawyers money monster!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious.Your "top judge" gives speeches as if he were a banker.

Anonymous said...

Hope Brian Gill remembers the rest of us have to breathe the same air and live in the same environment he is pimping for profits in the courtroom!

Anonymous said...

This is what Lord Gill and his pals are now cuddling up to in the name of big money!

Fracking involves blasting huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals deep into underground rock formations to access valuable oil and natural gas. While this is a form of alternative energy, it also has harmful environmental implications, influencing local air pollution, earthquakes and, especially, clean water supply.

Those living near fractured wells are potentially at risk of health threats given the increased amount of volatile organic compounds and air toxins in the area.

Anonymous said...

“Our resources of energy may be increased by the retrieval of shale gas, if that should be allowed. It seems to me therefore that the opportunity that our natural resources present should be served by the court system.”

"If that should be allowed" translates to 'or else'

This is the country's top judge making energy policy contrary to the Scottish Government ban on fracking (and this ban has a lot of holes in it if you saw the Sunday Herald last week)

All the frackers will be queuing up to ply politicians with brown envelopes to get round this ban because it sounds like the judges are out to increase their own business by lobbying for it to happen.

Anonymous said...

Not much in the way of green credentials in that speech is there..more like lets roll in the money for lawyers and their mediation friends who are probably one in the same

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 5 February 2015 at 10:35

Most of the mediation set have connections back to lawyers, law firms, members of the judiciary and the quango set ... one way of keeping business, profits and influence within a small group of people.

@ 5 February 2015 at 10:02

"or else" sums up the current LP's reign.

Lord Gill has applied the same policy to his responses to MSPs regarding the register of judicial interests proposals.

Anonymous said...

Will Lord Oil be drilling any oil wells underneath the Court of Session?

Probably not but the rest of Scotland and under anyone else's house will be fair game for the money men.

Anonymous said...

These pensioners do get around don't they!

And just why is Scotland's top judge going around giving speeches on environmentally polluting methods of extracting fossil fuels on the same day our ELECTED Scottish Government is saying this is a no go area.

As the other comment already said this is an 'or else' situation where the judge has his say OVER AND ABOVE what our elected representatives have already stated.

Gill has effectively invalidated the fracking ban and we all know it.

Anonymous said...

Good article you linked to from Joan McAlpine hope the village of Canonbie have their rights heard above these landowners and the judges

Anonymous said...

"We can do that if, by the excellence of our judges, and our legal profession and the efficiency of our courts,..."

What complete and utter nonsense.

Little or nothing has changed since the Civil Justice Committee Report of 2009 - chaired by Lord Gill - admitted a series of institutionalized failings present in Scotland's "Victorian justice system".

This latest pronouncement sounds like the last gasp of a drowning man, desperate no doubt to produce more 'smoke and mirrors' to distract from the latest support for your Petition, endorsed by not one but two Judicial Complaints Reviewers.

Keep up the pressure, he is clearly 'cracking'.

Anonymous said...

Why not just declare Brian Gill as First Minister and get it over with - at least then he wont need to pull strings in the background or give speeches countermanding government policy or have private meetings in side rooms to get out of meeting full parliamentary committess and answer for his conduct in an public arena.

I could go on..

Anonymous said...

Too bad Brian but a nice try.Anyway I thought you were getting paid all that money to sit in court and listen to neighbours going at it over a broken fence or something!Little wonder no one can get anywhere near the courts!all because the Lord wants Milk Tray and fracking!

Anonymous said...

Wonder what Gill thinks of your pulling his speech apart?A flogging on the cards?

Anonymous said...

Speaking on the issue of fracking, Gill said: “Our resources of energy may be increased by the retrieval of shale gas, if that should be allowed. It seems to me therefore that the opportunity that our natural resources present should be served by the court system.”

Little doubt in my mind this is some kind of warning given who said it.

On one hand the Scottish Government announce the fracking ban (well not really a ban or a consultation just a moratorium) and on the same day the Lord Justice General Gill adds the words "if that should be allowed"

His comments are no accident or coincidence.

I cannot for one minute think Lord Gill does anything on the hoof.He is a man in a position who knows how much power he has over just about subject anyone can think of.

His words on this are well planned and little short of an intervention in the political process although having said that he is used to doing this just as he did with your petition.

Keep up the good work Peter you have a very good understanding of the legal system and how it reaches out to influence and capture all aspects of public life.

Anonymous said...

Gill says this "the excellence of our judges, and our legal profession and the efficiency of our courts"

What is he on?The Blue pill?

The "excellence of our judges"!!!

Why dont you just make yourself HRH the King of Scotland Mr Gill.

Excellence of our judges too afraid to speak about their undeclared stuff eh Brian not very excellent there are you!!

Excellent legal profession????

You mean excellent at keeping justice to yourselves and ripping anyone off who tries to go near a court!!!

Anonymous said...

For those of you interested in fracking better have a read of and while you are at it stick up for Canonbie against the frackers!

Anonymous said...

This judge has far too much power.What is to stop the judges waving through any fracking against the ban as weak as it is probably done this way on purpose and he is giving his speech because he knows Sturgeon and co will not dare stand up to him.

Laughable state of affairs in Scotland this is the reality where the judge decides not the rest of us and certainly nobody we vote for.

Anonymous said...

That speech is all about a dripping roast and how to get as much out of it as possible.Had to laugh at the bit where he berates his own chums for failing to milk the North Sea oil even more than they have!What other nefarious money making plots do the judges have in the offing for our courts?

Anonymous said...

Good take down of his speech but what if Gill resigns and blames it all on you?

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 6 February 2015 at 12:18

No ... don't think that will happen, interests, careers and egos in the judiciary are far too great for that although he can't be far off retirement, he is 73 in February.

Remember Lord Gill has fought against the system to get where he is, has a long, esteemed legal career, and is a credit to the judiciary - revealing it's true nature when faced with calls for transparency and accountability.

Lord Gill threatened the Scottish Parliament with the Scotland Act ... and refused to show up at hearings ... just because the judiciary were asked to declare their interests. It is reasonable to suspect something is wrong, and there is something to hide when the highest authorities in the justice system refuse to apply the same levels of transparency to themselves as apply to everyone else.

Lord Gill's role in events and attitude towards transparency has given all sorts of arms and legs to judicial policies, air miles, petitions, calls for more powers to the Judicial Complaints Reviewer, the watering down of so-called 'legal reforms' court closures across Scotland, injustice, vast multi million pound spending on the Court of Session and how the courts deal with the media,as in censored before questions are even asked.

Anonymous said...

"and is a credit to the judiciary - revealing it's true nature when faced with calls for transparency and accountability."

LOL!and correct!

Anonymous said...

Haha funny guy
You two must be keeping each other going!

Anonymous said...

The comment about Gill compromising the ban on fracking could be on the money.

Any of these rich landowners wanting to challenge any ban or refusal to allow drilling can always go into court and quote Gill himself given the overall tone of his speech is obviously pro-industry and much more so than I would have imagined a judge would say.

Anonymous said...

Gill likes to do politics doesn't he.

Same day of fracking ban Gill proposes his own energy policy for Scotland.This just shows you how weak politics in Scotland really is when a top judge can muscle in and make policy without being taken to task - except by you and rightly so.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 6 February 2015 at 18:01

Rich landowners own vast areas of Scotland and have feudal rights to land in many communities - read the book by Andy Wightman about who owns Scotland.

Judges are themselves rich landowners although in their case refuse to declare the extent of their landowning or landowner/buy to let/property investing empires.

Not too much of a leap to imagine under these circumstances a rich landowning judiciary with multi million pound property empires wont rule against rich & titled landowners who want fracking.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?
The BBC pr take on Gill's fracking outburst!

Lord Gill proposes court for renewable energy disputes

A new court could be established to handle disputes arising from renewable energy and shale gas extraction.

Scotland's most senior judge said it could be "a court of international renown."

Lord Gill said he is determined to avoid the mistakes made when the oil and gas industry was being established.

He said in the 1960s and 70s the opportunity for Scotland to become an international forum for resolving disputes in the industry was lost.

Anonymous said...

So we are told/taught to respect the law and what does it do in return?
Rip everyone off and bend the law to make more money for themselves at our expense.Rotters.

Anonymous said...

and while Gill lobbied for fracking and Guff Ewing said no fracking little Nicola was having a secret meeting with Ineos

Sturgeon held talks with Ineos chief as Government called halt to fracking
Daniel Sanderson Scottish Political Correspondent Thursday 9 April 2015

NICOLA Sturgeon is facing questions over links with energy giant Ineos, after it emerged she held a meeting with the firm's billionaire boss while her administration was publicly calling an indefinite halt to fracking.

The Scottish Government has admitted the First Minister held talks with pro-fracking Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe on January 28, the same day SNP energy minister Fergus Ewing announced a moratorium on granting planning permission for unconventional oil and gas developments until a consultation and research into the impact of the technique are carried out.

The meeting, which took place at roughly the same time as Mr Ewing made his statement, coincided with a u-turn from Ineos which had spoken out strongly against a moratorium just 48 hours earlier after it was suggested by a committee of MPs.

On January 26, the firm argued fracking was safe and said delays risked the collapse of UK manufacturing, but following Mr Ewing's announcement it appeared to welcome the move saying it "understood the importance of consultation... We welcome the Scottish Government's decision to manage an evidence-based approach."

Campaign group Frack Off has questioned whether Ineos, which has licences for shale gas exploration across 700 square miles of land in central Scotland and wants to invest £640m in fracking, made its u-turn as it was offered private assurances by Ms Sturgeon that its interests were unlikely to be affected.

Ineos has said that a shale gas industry is unlikely to be established in the UK for three to five years and has continued preparatory work for fracking. It recently launched a charm offensive to win over public opinion.

Ed Pybus, spokesman for Frack Off Scotland, said: "Why was the First Minister meeting with these people and not someone further down the tree? What promises were made in exchange for their public support for the moratorium? I fear that local communities are being stitched up by backroom deals."

Industry-body UK Onshore Oil and Gas performed a similar about-face, saying a moratorium would "achieve nothing" on January 23 but expressed support for the Scottish Government's position five days later.

A series of parliamentary questions from Labour shadow energy minister Lewis Macdonald asking whether testing and drilling is covered by the moratorium have so far gone unanswered, despite being issued in mid-February.

The MSP said reluctance to provide answers was further evidence that the moratorium was "nothing but an attempt to deceive people who are concerned about fracking while letting the companies carry on regardless".

He added: "Those who listened to Fergus Ewing announce what he said was a moratorium on fracking will be astounded to learn that his boss was meeting with the leading champions of fracking in Scotland on the very same day.

"People are bound to wonder what Nicola Sturgeon had to say to Ineos while her energy minister was on his feet in the Scottish Parliament claiming that he was imposing a moratorium on fracking. Was she apologising to them for doing it? Was she telling them to forget about fracking in Scotland? Or did Nicola Sturgeon meet Ineos to tell them not to worry about the moratorium, it would only apply until after the next Holyrood election, and in the meantime they could explore for fracking opportunities anywhere in Scotland that took their fancy?"

Anonymous said...

the rest of it

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said communities across Scotland would be "alarmed to learn that the First Minister was meeting Ineos on the very day of the announcement of the moratorium". He added: "Ineos plan 1,400 wells across Scotland and seem to be carrying on as if there was no moratorium."

The date of the meeting between Ineos and the First Minister, which was being planned in December, was released by the Scottish Government following a Freedom of Information request but officials have refused to disclose much of its correspondence with the firm over recent months.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said the meeting was scheduled long before the Mr Ewing's parliamentary statement.

She added: "The fact it took place has always been due for publication as part of the Government's regular proactive release of ministerial engagements."

A spokesman for Ineos did not expand on the meeting between the firm and the First Minister, but said the moratorium "may" impact on work it could carry out on sites for which it holds licences.

He added: "An important part of informing the debate on shale gas is to understand the underlying geology in Scotland and Ineos is well placed to help progress work in this area to prove these resources."

Anonymous said...

His lordship sounds like he is speaking as an investor instead of an impartial judge.

Not that judges are impartial as we learn from your blog!

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff about the judge.Old Gill's lecture on fracking and oil does not sound so hot with a low oil price does it.As for him bemoaning the legal industry not taking enough advantage of North Sea oil - well, ye just cannae hide greed comin oot of lawyers can ye!

Anonymous said...

This is floating about on twitter today.

The speech is a politically charged intervention by judges on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.We are left in no doubt the courts will allow fracking if challenges come before them in court.This has to be a breach of impartiality.

So now the question is how many judges and their cohorts are employed in or benefit some way from fossil fuels and fracking and not just in Scotland now you raised this point.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 4 July 2015 at 16:29

Numerous members of the judiciary have financial, profession and family links to the fossil fuel, energy retail & generation and also the renewables sector.

Think money, then think judges.Even though they go to great trouble and lengths to remain undetected, the judiciary's interests and their part in the world of grubby offshore finance, skewing legislation in their favour & 'international diplomacy' (arm twisting for gain) are not too hard to uncover as current and future headlines will reveal ...

Anonymous said...

You have one heck of a handle on the judiciary.
No wonder they are afraid to take you on in the parliament.

Anonymous said...

How can judges be impartial if they are making money from fracking companies and then publicly state the courts have to do the will of same fracking companies!

Just shocking although not surprising the justice system is so corrupt and skewed in favor of big business and the judges are so okay with this they come out and tell their friends in the money they will do their bidding!

Anonymous said...

Dont worry we get it.

No wonder Sturgeon sounded shrill at fmqs yesterday

"Aint gonna happen" said Sturgeon as in oh we tried except the courts conveniently said we had to allow it cause lawyers and judges want to make lots of dosh from the frackers just like your man Gill said on the same day Ferguff Fracking says no fracking!

Easy to see where this is going done deals behind closed doors and wigs giving the secret O.K. to fracking companies

Questions raised over SNP fracking stance

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted "there will be no fracking" as Labour claimed the SNP were preparing to "give the green light" to the technique.

Scottish Labour has declared itself firmly behind banning unconventional extraction of oil and gas.

Ms Sturgeon pointed to an ongoing moratorium on the technique while detailed research is carried out.

Green campaigners say the moratorium is "not the same as a permanent ban" and want parties to declare their stances.

Labour has been pushing for the SNP to make its policy on fracking clear before May's Scottish elections.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing told MSPs the government was taking a "cautious, evidence-led" approach, saying it would look at the evidence first and decide its position on hydraulic fracturing thereafter.

Delegates at the SNP's 2015 autumn conference narrowly voted down calls for the party to strengthen its position on fracking towards an outright ban.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dont suppose any of the judiciary will allow fracking under their own properties but well content to allow our homes towns and countryside to sink into the ooze just so they can profit from it - like the judge said in his speech

Hell you can feel the greed coming through in all that waffle from the courts I bet they already met the fracking companies and gave them the nod to prepare their equipment

Anonymous said...

Since you are allowing links some more for your viewers's-how-we-can-push-england-follow-20150212

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 4 March 2016 at 18:21

Your prediction could be how it pans out ... ScotGov able to sit back as the courts unblock the so-called moratorium on fracking.

It can be no coincidence Scotland's top judge gives a pro-fracking pro-fossil fuel speech on the same day a ScotGov Minister announces a 'ban'.

Anyone familiar with how such things work will know of the behind the scenes briefings and departments talking to each other - well off the FOI books or blocked for release as inter departmental & Ministerial policy discussions which could be inhibited by publication ...

The Lord President effectively gave a policy speech on fracking from the courts.Companies are going to look at those remarks and see they have allies in the justice system.

@ 5 March 2016 at 13:26

Sure, why not.

As well as the massive environmental damage, take a look at how the fracking industry is in meltdown across the US, companies dissolving all over and the scale of the debt which fuelled the drilling and shale gas companies has the potential to bite the financial markets as bad as the sub prime mortgage crisis ...

Anonymous said...

Compare Gill's direct polished statement on fracking to Paul Wheelhouse's fake ban for headlines.SNP do government by twitter once again!

03/10/17 15:16
Scottish Government says no to fracking

Consultation shows overwhelming public support for ban.

The Scottish Government has announced that it will not support the development of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Scotland, meaning there is an effective ban on fracking in Scotland.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs the decision followed an extensive period of evidence gathering, public engagement, and dialogue on the issue.

The Scottish Government’s cautious, evidence-led approach to unconventional oil and gas included a four-month public consultation which received over 60,000 responses.

Overall, approximately 99% of the consultation responses were opposed to fracking and fewer than 1% were in favour.

Those opposed to fracking emphasised the potential for significant, long-lasting negative impacts on communities, health, environment, and climate; expressed scepticism about the ability of regulation to mitigate negative impacts; and were unconvinced about the value of any economic benefit or the contribution of unconventional oil and gas to Scotland’s energy mix.

To put today’s announcement into immediate effect, the Scottish Government has now written to local authorities across Scotland to make clear that the Directions that gave effect to the moratorium will remain in place. A parliamentary vote will take place in the near future followed by a Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Mr Wheelhouse said:

“The Scottish Government will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.

“Having taken account of the interests of the environment, our economy, public health and the overwhelming majority of public opinion, the decision I am announcing today means fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.

“We have undertaken one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government, anywhere.

“We have not taken the process or the decision lightly. At every stage we have created opportunities for discourse and debate.

“The views expressed through our consultation demonstrated that communities across Scotland, particularly in densely populated areas where developments could potentially take place, are not convinced there is a strong national economic argument when balanced against the risk and disruption they anticipate in areas, such as transport, pollution, crucially, their health and wellbeing.

“It is clear that people across Scotland remain firmly opposed to fracking – this government has listened and taken decisive action.

“Scotland’s chemicals industry has conveyed strong views on the potential impact of shale on the sector. I want to be clear that regardless of our position on unconventional oil and gas, our support for Scotland’s industrial base and manufacturing is unwavering.

“Manufacturing and the chemicals industry continue to play a crucial role in the Scottish economy. The Scottish Government understands that a supportive fiscal regime, affordable energy, access to the right skills, and good infrastructure are all essential to future success. That is why this government will continue to support industry in a range of different ways in the months and years to come.”

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 3 October 2017 at 16:53

Not really a ban when there is no legislation to enforce it, and planning policy as this seems to come under does not mean a ban.

The courts and judiciary may decide in the end and this article documents their currently stated position and policy on shale gas extraction, fracking, and exploitation of fossil fuels.

Anonymous said...

You can tell today's ban is phony if you look at all their daft social media accounts spinning the ban as some big thing the judges will throw it out at first go and why not Ineos is a big employer and will be around a lot longer than than this lot!