Friday, June 30, 2017

REGISTER TO JUDGE: Lord Carloway criticised after he blasts Parliament probe on judicial transparency - Top judge says register of judges’ interests should only be created if judiciary discover scandal or corruption within their own ranks

Lord Carloway - judges will not declare interests. SCOTLAND’S top judge has come in for sharp criticism after telling MSPs he is against judicial transparency and the creation of a register of judges’ interests - unless scandal or corruption is discovered by the judiciary within their own ranks.

Yesterday, Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) appeared before members of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee, where in his evidence, the judge blasted transparency, court users, litigants the press, public, the internet and even social media - as reasons judges must be exempt from declaring their interests.

Carloway - who earns over £220,000 a year as Scotland’s ‘top judge’ - even declared to MSPs that creating a register of interests for judges would deter recruitment of ‘talented’ lawyers – reported in more detail by The National

The protests from Scotland’s current top judge are in response to MSPs consideration of judicial transparency proposals contained in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

The proposal, first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

A full debate on the proposal to require judges to declare their interests was held at the Scottish Parliament on 9 October 2014 - ending in a motion calling on the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by MSPs from all political parties.

The short session with Lord Carloway held yesterday, lasted a mere thirty six minutes.

Carloway’s stuttering performance was brought to a swift end by the Convener after detailed lines of questions from Alex Neil MSP saw Scotland’s top judge bounce from subject to subject, unable to offer a single clear reason as to why judges should be treated any differently from others in public life.

The Scottish Sun newspaper reported in today’s edition Alex Neil MSP (SNP Airdrie and Shotts) slammed Lord Carloway’s “extremely unconvincing” argument. He added: “He put no rational case against.”

Lord Carloway’s appearance before MSPs was rated as “poor” by legal insiders, comparing the session to that of his predecessor Lord Brian Gill, who gave evidence to MSPs in November 2015 - after resigning earlier from the post of Lord President in May 2015.

Gill, who had waged a three year battle against the petition, refused to attend the Scottish Parliament on several occasions – a refusal resulting in heavy criticism in the press and from politicians who said Gill had insulted Holyrood.

Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee’s deliberations on Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

The proposal, first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

A full debate on the proposal to require judges to declare their interests was held at the Scottish Parliament on 9 October 2014 - ending in a motion calling on the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by MSPs from all political parties.

In a statement issued to the media late yesterday, Moi Ali – Scotland’s first Judicial Complaints Reviewer who gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament in 2013, criticised the stance of the Lord President at today’s hearing.

Moi Ali said: “I hold judges in high esteem for the important work they do, but I regret to say that Lord Carloway did a great disservice to the judiciary in his evidence to the Petitions Committee. He appears to have a very low opinion of users of the Court Service, suggesting that people who do not get the result they want may act with resentful, malicious and hostile intent. This is insulting to the public at large.

“His suggestion that a register of interests would lead to retaliation by unsuccessful litigants in the form of online fraud is frankly ludicrous and deeply offensive. I personally handled complaints reviews by unsuccessful litigants when I was the independent Judicial Complaints Reviewer, without any kind of threat or malicious action – even where I did not find in favour of the complainant.”

“I published a register of interests when in that role, despite not being required to do so. Why? Because it’s a basic expectation that that's what public servants do in the twenty-first century.”

“The fact is that the judiciary do not wish to be open and transparent in this respect, and choose to present themselves as a special case. It seems to me that if a register is required to be completed by MPs, MSPs and public Board members, then it must also be required of the judiciary.”

“My opinion is not founded on a belief that judges are corrupt; rather, it comes from the view that transparency builds trust and confidence. As a society, we must be able to have complete confidence in our judiciary – and that starts with their openness and transparency.”

In a statement to the media, law blogger & petitioner Peter Cherbi said: “Transparency apparently stops at the doors of our courts and that’s it, Judges are to remain judges in their own cause and we shouldn’t have a register of interests until there is a scandal. Not on in 2017.”

Lord Carloway doesn’t seem to consider the fact these litigants and their legal representatives he holds in such distain - prop up his £220K a year job and our courts in exorbitant fees and hundreds of millions of pounds in publicly funded legal aid.

“And just exactly why does transparency inhibit the recruitment of judges? All other branches of public life have registers of interest and do just fine on recruitment. Lord Carloway is really struggling with this one.”

“Moi Ali was right all along. These people are the most powerful, and require the most transparency. Everyone gets the idea of transparency except the judiciary. Time now for a full register of judicial interests and for Parliament to act where the Lord President has failed.”

“Carloway’s arguments against a register are waffle – look at how the Sunday Times was treated in England over the Cruddas case where judges failed to declare interests in their links to political parties.”

“We should remember this is not just about protecting court users, a register is about protecting the public and the media who in many cases as we know, advance the cause of transparency and public interest where Governments, the Executive, public bodies and the courts all fail.”

Full report & video footage of Lord Carloway’s evidence to the Public Petitions Committee:

Lord Carloway evidence on Register of Judges interests Petitions Committee Scottish Parliament 29 June 2017


As the hearing began, Johann Lamont opened questions to Lord Carloway on arguments he put forward relating to “online fraud” as an inhibition to a register of judicial interests.

Carloway failed to provide any example in response to the questions on his own argument, and then claimed he was unaware of details of any other registers of interest.

The Lord President then turned on court litigants, claiming a register of judicial interests and any attempts to bring transparency to the judicial bench would help “paranoid” litigants take revenge on a judge after losing their cases.

Carloway – who has been a judge for 18 years, then went on to castigate financial declarations of interest, claiming if such a register existed he would not be able to hire “lawyers of excellence” for positions up to £200,000 a year judicial jobs.

The Lord President even complained about the level of judicial salaries and pensions during his evidence to MSPs as yet another reason and “disincentive to lawyers of experience and skill to become members of the judiciary”.

He said: "We have a relatively small pool of lawyers of excellence who are capable of taking on the job of being a member of our senior judiciary.

"We have particular difficulties with recruitment at the moment. If I were to say to senior members of the profession, 'By the way, if you wish to become a judge you will have to declare all your pecuniary interests and open them to public scrutiny', I have no doubt whatsoever that that would act as a powerful disincentive for lawyers of experience and skill becoming members of the judiciary.

"I can assure the committee, we need them more than they need us."

In response to questions from Angus MacDonald on declarations of judicial interests in the United States, Lord Carloway said he was not in a position to comment on the US judicial system as he did not know enough about it.

However, it recently emerged Carloway regularly visits judicial gatherings in North America at taxpayers expense and mingles with judicial groups at plush locations for ‘legal conferences’.

Angus MacDonald then challenged Lord Carloway on recusals, in relation to cases where judges have either concealed conflicts of interest or have refused to stand aside from a case.

Mr MacDonald quizzed the Lord President on omissions in the recusals register – to which Lord Carloway said he was not concerned about.

The Lord President then told MSPs there was only one omission he was aware of in the recusals register.

However in response to a recent DOI investigation into judicial recusals, a number of cases are now being studied by journalists which appear to have been omitted from the recusals register.

And in at least one case, it has been alleged court clerks actively discouraged a motion for recusal, and suspicions are, more cases may fall into this category.

In a question from Rhona McKay MSP (SNP) who asked Lord Carloway what the Law Society of Scotland’s view was on a register of interests.

Lord Carloway bluntly replied “I don’t know the answer to that”.

Maurice Corry MSP then asked Lord Carloway if he would provide further details to the register of recusals and options to make the recusals register more transparent.

Lord Carloway said it was not particularly required to apply further details to the current register of recusals, which is currently published by the Judicial Office with sparse detail.

Angus MacDonald then asked the top judge if he could be content to see clerical errors corrected in the register with a footnote if applied at a later date. Lord Carloway said yes.

Alex Neil MSP, who attended the Petitions Committee as a guest, then asked Lord Carloway if it should be left up to a judge to decide on an issue of principal if it should be left up to a judge to recuse themselves or should it be for the Lord President or the keeper of the rolls to insist upon if there is a conflict of interest.

Lord Caloway said he was happy with the system as it stood.

However Mr Neil pressed Lord Carloway on the point, saying the system was balanced against people who come to court for justice, particularly if they are under resourced or never find out about conflicts of interest in court.

Responding, Lord Carloway reverted to an obscure report prepared by a group of European judges which said there was no need for a register of judicial interests in the UK.

However, the judges and legal team who prepared the GRECO report referred to by Lord Carloway - are also against the introduction of registers of interests for members of the judiciary in the EU.

Carloway then insisted the Scottish judiciary was “not corrupt”, and said he would not even consider a register of interests until there was evidence of corruption.

The Lord President said: "Until such time as it's demonstrated that there is corruption within the Scottish judiciary, I'm entirely satisfied that there is no requirement for a register of interests and that it would be positively detrimental to the administration of justice, particularly in relation to the recruitment of judges and especially at the higher level of the judiciary."

Alex Neil put further questions to Lord Carloway, comparing the existence of the register of interests for MSPs which exists at the Scottish Parliament to ensure transparency.

Mr Neil reminded the Lord President the existence of the register of interests for MSPs did not exist due to allegations of corruption, rather to ensure transparency.

Responding to a case quoted by Alex Neil in relation to a construction firm -  Advance Construction Ltd – in which a Court of Session judge & Privy Councillor heard a case eight times which involved his own son - Lord Carloway said he was happy Lord Malcolm acted properly without recusing himself in the case.

Carloway claimed that Lord Malcolm had acted in accordance with the code of judicial ethics.

Carloway was then challenged by Alex Neil on whether the top judge had actually investigated details of the case – to which Carloway initially claimed he was not aware of any documents.

However, pressed on the matter, the judge admitted he had read documents from the individuals named by Mr Neil.

Lord Carloway said “As far as I am aware the documents were not addressed to me, but I could be wrong about that”

An earlier investigation by the media revealed  Lord Malcolm (real name Colin Campbell QC) heard the case in question no less than eight times while his son – Ewen Campbell – worked for Levy & Mcrae  – the Glasgow law firm now subject to multi million pound writs in connection with the £400million collapse of a Gibraltar based hedge fund - Heather Capital.

Ewen Campbell had been appointed to run the case by a judicial colleague of Lord Malcolm & Lord Carloway – Sheriff Peter Watson who was at the time a senior partner of Levy & Mcrae.

Sheriff Watson was since suspended from the judiciary by Lord Brian Gill, who as Lord President in 2015, suspended Watson to protect public confidence in the judiciary – after both Watson and Levy & Mcrae were named in a multi million pound writ relating to the loss of millions of pounds in the collapse of the Heather Capital hedge fund.

Responding to further points raised by Alex Neil, Lord Carloway hit out against suggestions judges should register what their relatives are doing and where they are working.

Carloway said “this was going way beyond I suspect what is expected of politicians in a register of interests”.

However, Alex Neil informed Lord Carloway that MSPs are already required to register what their close relatives do.

In response, Lord Carloway compared politicians to members of the judiciary, and claimed judges require a different type of independence as enjoyed by politicians.

The top judge said interests in the judiciary usually relate to social connections with people rather than pecuniary interests, which do not appear in the register of recusals.

However, as there are no requirements to declare pecuniary interests in the current recusals register, it is of particular note not one financial related recusal has appeared in the register of recusals, which covers 700 members of the judiciary, some of whom are earning up to £220,000 a year, and for many years.

In further points put to Lord Carloway, Mr Neil said that the perception of fairness is not present in the way matters are conducted in court.

In response, Carloway again referred back to the case mentioned by Mr Neil, saying he was happy with the way in which Lord Malcolm, had handled the court correctly.

Carloway claimed there was no active involvement whatsoever by Lord Malcolm’s son – Ewen Campbell – who is now an advocate.

However, Ewen Campbell’s name is listed on court papers from the outset of hearings in the Court of Session in front of his father, Lord Malcolm.

And, it has since emerged a written and signed statement by Ewen Campbell as a witness in the case mentioned by Alex Neil has been provided to journalists, along with a statement signed by suspended sheriff Peter Watson – a judicial colleague of Lord Carloway.

These developments and statements, which are to be published in a further investigation into judicial recusals, now calls into question Lord Carloway’s claims in his evidence to MSPs.

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.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good.Carloway made a fool of himself.

Clearly time for your register of interests given the coverage in today's newspapers.

Anonymous said...

The SNP deserve to lose many more seats as long as Nicola Sturgeon - another lawyer - continues to oppose this register and the cross party support for it.

Graham Gordon said...

I have personal experience of the corrupt Lord Carloway during an appeal to the high court. Ronnie Clancy QC stated the COPFS had no forensic disclosure knowledge & had to apologise for misleading the court after he was informed the Crown directed this non-disclosed scope of work. Clancy then continued to say he had been in contact with Dr Linacre (DNA/ Finger print expert) who had confirmed there was no need for Prof Dave Barclay to be allowed into true expert evidence on fibre trace expertise. Linacre has since confirmed he said no such thing & all his papers were on route by sea freight to a new job Flnders University, W Australia and he could not confirm this, plus he was not an expert in this area and Prof Barclay was. This FRAUD (with physical evidence by way of chain of comms) was reported to Lord Carloway via Joe Moyes, SCS Appeal Manager, who said this could not be considered whilst a decision was awaited by way of avizandum - how could FRAUD during a court appeal hearing not be considered? What was not disclosed is the close affiliation with Lord Carloway, who was the devil master and personally responsible for the personal development of Clancy? Did someone mention lies and FRAUD? A legal system rotten to the core!

by Graham Gordon

Anonymous said...

Carloway's attack on social media may comeback to bite him.

I could name several of his own colleagues who have fake social media accounts openly advocating subjects of a highly obscene nature. comment.

If I had known earlier I could have provided examples to the committee for their question time with the 'top judge' to spice up the hearing.

Anyone find a 50+ year old Sheriff pretending to be a 19 year old male on a certain popular social website a subject for a news item?This same sheriff is involved in cases wheeled out to the newspapers as an example of courts and judges doing their work.Any takers guys?

Anonymous said...

Your register is in all the papers today again! great to see them picking up on what judge should have been doing years ago!
https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/1217102/judge-lord-carloway-rejects-financial-interests/

DON'T JUDGE Scotland’s top judge sparks fury by rejecting calls for beaks to declare financial interests – in case it hits recruitment

Lord Carloway, backed by the government, told MSPs yesterday anti-corruption steps should only be brought in if a scandal blows up

By Chris Musson
29th June 2017, 9:36 pm

SCOTLAND’S top judge sparked fury by rejecting calls for beaks to declare financial interests — in case it hits recruitment.

Lord Carloway, backed by the government, told MSPs yesterday anti-corruption steps should only be brought in if a scandal blows up.

The Court of Session chief insisted a register of cash links and hospitality gifts, like those signed by politicians, would put off talented lawyers becoming judges.

And he told Holyrood’s public petitions committee our beaks have an “international reputation for not being corrupt”.

But Nat MSP Alex Neil slammed the “extremely unconvincing” argument. He added: “He put no rational case against.”

And anti-secrecy campaigner Peter Cherbi said: “These people are the most powerful and require most transparency.”

After Labour and Lib Dems also urged action, the government last night said existing steps, including an oath, were “sufficient to ensure” fairness.
chris.musson@the-sun.co.uk

Anonymous said...

and more
http://www.thenational.scot/news/15381604.Lord_Carloway_tells_MSPs__Register_of_interests_would_deter_recruitment_of_judges/

29th June
Lord Carloway tells MSPs: Register of interests would deter recruitment of judges

Lord President was criticised for claiming judges should be treated as a special case while other public servants must reveal their financial interests

SCOTLAND’S most senior judge, Lord Carloway, told MSPs yesterday that a register of interests for Scotland’s judiciary would be a “powerful disincentive” to the recruitment of judges.

The Lord President made history yesterday when he gave evidence and answered questions at the Public Petitions Committee’s meeting in the Holyrood Parliament. He was the first serving Lord President to speak to the committee, four-and-a-half years after legal campaigner and blogger Peter Cherbi first lodged his petition for a register of judicial interests.

Under questioning by SNP MSP Angus MacDonald, who asked why judges should not register their interests as MSPs have to do, Lord Carloway replied: “A judge or sheriff is indeed, like many people, the holder of a public office but the critical distinction between a judge and, for example, MSPs is that the judge has to be independent of any form of government, so one is in the exact opposite position from the political dimension.

“The system we have … has an international reputation for fairness and for not being corrupt which is something we are extremely keen to protect.”

The Lord President continued: “We in Scotland do not have a career judiciary.

“We recruit our judges and sheriffs from people who are generally – not exclusively, but generally – from private practice and they are recruited in their 40s and 50s, perhaps sometimes even a little later, so far as the senior judiciary are concerned.

“We have a relatively small pool of lawyers of excellence who are capable of taking on the job of being a member of our senior judiciary.

“You may be aware that there are certain problems at the moment in relation to the recruitment of, particularly, the senior judiciary because of certain steps which have been taken relative to pay and pensions generally.

“Therefore, we have particular difficulties with recruitment at the moment.

“If I were to say to senior members of the profession – which they are – before they are recruited into the judiciary: ‘By the way, if you wish to become a judge you will have to declare all your pecuniary interests and open them to public scrutiny’, I have no doubt whatsoever that that would act as a powerful disincentive for lawyers of experience and skill becoming members of the judiciary.

“I can assure the committee, we need them more than they need us.”

SNP MSP Alex Neil questioned whether it should be left to a judge only to decide whether they would “recuse” themselves from a case if there was a potential conflict of interest.

“Is the system not balanced against those people who come to court for justice?” he said.

Lord Carloway responded: “No, it is not. If one is introducing this kind of measure, you have to be satisfied really that it is necessary and that it is proportionate.

“Until such time as it’s demonstrated that there is corruption within the Scottish judiciary, I’m entirely satisfied that there is no requirement for a register of interests and that it would be positively detrimental to the administration of justice, particularly in relation to the recruitment of judges and especially at the higher level of the judiciary.”

Anonymous said...

sorry didnt realise comments have a character limit! here is the second part of the National story

http://www.thenational.scot/news/15381604.Lord_Carloway_tells_MSPs__Register_of_interests_would_deter_recruitment_of_judges/

Former judicial complaints reviewer Moi Ali told The National last night: “I hold judges in high esteem for the important work they do, but I regret to say that Lord Carloway did a great disservice to the judiciary in his evidence to the Petitions Committee.

“The fact is that the judiciary do not wish to be open and transparent, and choose to present themselves as a special case. It seems to me that if a register is required to be completed by MPs, MSPs and public board members, then it must also be required of the judiciary.

“My opinion is not founded on a belief that judges are corrupt, rather, it comes from the view that transparency builds trust and confidence. As a society, we must be able to have complete confidence in our judiciary – and that starts with their openness and transparency.”

Peter Cherbi confirmed he will be writing to the Committee. He said: “Transparency apparently stops at the doors of our courts and that’s it. Judges are to remain judges in their own cause and we shouldn’t have a register of interests until there is a scandal. That’s not on in 2017.

“Why does transparency inhibit the recruitment of judges? All other branches of public life have registers of interest and do just fine on recruitment.

“Lord Carloway is really struggling with this one. And, in any case, given some of the stories coming out of the legal profession, a register of interests is badly needed for them, too.”

Anonymous said...

As I recall members of the Scottish judiciary who are elected to the house of lords - and are still able to adjudicate in Court - have had no objection to completing the mandatory register of interests required to join that particular club.

Likewise the judges on the Supreme Court also completed a register of interests as a matter of course.....until they suddenly and quietly decided it was (for some unknown reason) no longer required.

So the line that 'nobody else does it', which was never a good reason for not being the first, simply does not hold water.

Anonymous said...

more! http://www.scotsman.com/news/register-of-interests-will-drive-away-legal-talent-1-4490669

Register of interests ‘will drive away legal talent’
SCOTT MACNAB

Scotland’s most senior judge has warned that the prospect of introducing a “register of interests” for the profession would drive the country’s top legal minds away from joining the bench.

Lord Carloway told MSPs that the move would be “detrimental” to justice in Scotland, with the top courts already facing problems in recruiting judges to serve.

Lord Carloway is Scotland’s Lord President, the head of the judiciary, which means he presides over the court system, as well as ruling in some of the country’s most important High Court cases.

He set out his opposition to the prospect of a register which would see judges declaring their financial and other interests as he appeared before Holyrood’s public petitions committee.

Supporters of a register say it would improve transparency in the system and guard against suspicions of any conflict of interests for judges in cases they preside over.

But Lord Carloway said: “We have a relatively small pool of lawyers of excellence who are capable of taking on the job of being a member of our senior judiciary.

“There are certain problems at the moment in relation to the recruitment particularly of the senior judiciary because of certain steps which are being taken relative to pay and pensions generally.

“Therefore we have particular difficulties with recruitment at the moment.

“If I were to say to senior members of the profession, which they are before they are recruited into the judiciary, ‘By the way if you wish to become a judge you will have to declare all your pecuniary interests and open them to public scrutiny’, I have no doubt whatsoever that would act as a powerful disincentive from lawyers of experience and skill becoming members of judiciary.

“I can assure the committee that we need them more than they need us.”

Scotland does not have a “career judiciary”, with prospective judges instead generally being identified from the cream of the country’s lawyers and invited to join the bench from private practice.

The register has been proposed in a petition by Scots law blogger and legal rights campaigner Peter Cherbi.

SNP MSP Alex Neil questioned whether it should be left to a judge only to decide whether they would “recuse” themselves from a case if there was a potential conflict of interest.

But Lord Carloway insisted there is no need for a register of interests until it is “demonstrated that there is corruption” in the Scottish judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Listen to Johann Lamont at 35:22 "Any final questions?No" more like a statement of intent than a question to the committee.

First time I ever saw a convener ask a question and answer it themselves.Watch Carloway's expression he looks like he has just been picked up out of one of the Titanic's lifeboats!

Me thinks the Lord President doth protest too much.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ Graham Gordon 30 June 2017 at 18:21

Interesting ... email the blog with further details on the case please.

@ 30 June 2017 at 18:28

Contact the blog with further details.

@ 30 June 2017 at 19:49

Yes .. The changeover to the Supreme Court allowed the judiciary to mask their interests rather than before when the Law Lords system of the House of Lords, although there would well have been a few omissions in those registers too from papers being looked at recently ...

In relation to the Supreme Court a case has come to light where a UKSC judge who heard a case 16 times in the Court of Session then blocked the same case from proceeding to UKSC as an appeal .. more to follow.

In relation to comments and information posted for further investigation the material will be looked at by DOI journalists and passed to the media team or colleagues in the media if the material checks out.

Anonymous said...

Hmm Lamont yes I saw that.Listen to the rest of her closing speech very much in the negative compared to other clips you posted.Worth looking into I am sure.

Anonymous said...

"Top judge says register of judges’ interests should only be created if judiciary discover scandal or corruption within their own ranks"

Exactly how does this work Lord Carloway?

I hope you are not proposing you follow the Law Society and regulate yourselves (again) because we all know as soon as a corrupt (I mean talented haha) lawyers are found out by their clients the entire system headed by the judiciary kicks in to protect them and make sure they just carry on ripping off other people right left and centre.

No thanks Lord Carloway.Declare your interests like the guy who asks the questions says.

Anonymous said...

The whole matter of judicial transparency and recusal had descended into a farce that is demonstrated by the time that has passed away since the initial public petition. It appears that new faces keep appearing on this panel with new conveners.
Consistency at this justice committee is not there, so every now and then new members appear, such as Johann Lamont as Convener and the other nodding dogs sitting there. The only breath of fire was from Alex Neil and it is interesting to note the others distain that he was willing to raise matters with some committed interest and to nail the LP/LJG Carloway on salient points and of which anyone watching the video could see the arrogant self-interest protectionism of the judiciary. Note also that it is Party Litigants (PLs) that are to blame and that they are likely to be there as PLs because of botched first (2nd, 3rd,...) legal representation in the first place and especially more so if the PL raises a complaint against their legal representative.

Anonymous said...

Top judge?Are you serious?Are the rest as bad as he is?
Why bother going to court if this is the standard of judge preaching at you.Shocking!

Anonymous said...

Who keeps interrupting Alex Neil when he is asking questions to Carloway?Whoever it is they are off camera and need to be asked what they were up to because as far as I can see Alex Neil and Angus MacDonakd are the only msps clued up on this committee I will have to read up more about these msps hope the journos now give attention to this as well because they are all round that table because we pay for it,
As for Carloway well he is finished no credibility whatsoever.

BBCScotlandshire said...

Hi Peter loved all the reports in the National great to see you quoting the paper I bought extra copies this week to pass around all my friends and they are all reading you blog now too.Good work and thanks for sticking up for Scotland! unlike BBCScotland who manage to keep it off their news.Must have been some legal arm twisting but well with the weeb you never know half of what is on there is fake news anyway better to get out enjoy the sun speak to people and spread the word about people like you telling the truth about judges and the law instead of all that "waffle" from Lord Faraway!

Anonymous said...

In a question from Rhona McKay MSP (SNP) who asked Lord Carloway what the Law Society of Scotland’s view was on a register of interests.

Lord Carloway bluntly replied “I don’t know the answer to that”.
I highly recommend your readers watch this part from 19mins 28secs to 19mins 52secs

Wonder what Lord Carloway thought of that?!Appears as if he is having a laugh as the camera goes back to him.

No further questions from Rhona McKay either.

I watched the section referred to in an earlier comment where the Convener asks if anyone else has questions and answers herself with a blunt "No" to deter further debate.

Have to say this is a far cry from the other hearing with Lord Gill and earlier meetings you have feature on the blog.Had Angus MacDonald and Alex Neil not been there Lord Carloway would have sat there and enjoyed a round of applause.Terrible.

I feel we must now start looking into the motivation of those who are trying to put this petition into the filing cabinet.As far as I can see the only people defending the judiciary are themselves their so-called talented lawyers (mostly thieves who have destroyed people's lives over the years in court) and some people who clearly benefit from that.

More champions for justice such as Alex Neil please.Less of the do not ask any more questions brigade.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I just want to add a ps to my earlier comment.

Peter why were you to able to be round this table putting questions to Lord Carloway? With what you have written over the years you clearly know the legal system inside out and I am willing to bet if you were this judge there would be lots of changes and probably better judges too!

Anonymous said...

Who ate all the pies tells lies.

Anonymous said...

You want to see some of the comments on the papers about this judge he is finished absolutely no credibility whatsoever now he totally screwed up thinking he could just go in there and say I am a judge do as I say!Well stuff to that and his rant about the internet and blogs tells us he has a giant chip on his shoulder about anyone telling the real story on him and his pals on the bench by hell Peter you have really set something alight here and about time too all credit to you mate!! Keep up the good work!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm Carloway is so bad in this debate this makes me wonder about all his other decisions in court.Have to say if they screw up one time one time is enough.I read the story about the three appeal judges finding Carloway was ignorant of the law when he misdirected a jury in the Clarke rape case yet ironically the same three appeal judges are forced to rely on him to conceal their and his interests.Not a good situation.Tells us the judiciary need massive reform way past even your register of interests which I think is a great idea and should be made law now but definitely talking about big reforms needed to judges how they end up as a judge and how long they are on the bench because what Carloway is talking about is really awful to the point of a not funny joke.

Anonymous said...

Until Alex Neil came along Carloway ruled the waves courtesy of a very timid questioning except from Angus MacDonald.Carloway only went to the committee because he thought he was able to order them about.He did until Mr Neil pitches in.Says a lot don't you think?I am sure many of your readers must agree with what I say.

Clearly this petition has to go through no matter the ridiculous speech at the end on what the committee can or cannot do.About time someone said we are going to do this instead of ahh and maybe and we will call another meeting and another meeting.

Some very strange stuff and eye contact going on in this meeting and it is plain for everyone to see the script broke down when Alex Neil arrives as the Cavalry.Well done!

Anonymous said...

"Responding to further points raised by Alex Neil, Lord Carloway hit out against suggestions judges should register what their relatives are doing and where they are working.

Carloway said “this was going way beyond I suspect what is expected of politicians in a register of interests”.

However, Alex Neil informed Lord Carloway that MSPs are already required to register what their close relatives do."

So what has Lord Carloway so concerned about with his relative's interests?

Something afoot there is a mixture of anger and fear on his face when he is talking about this very point.If someone was talking to me like that I'd say he's hiding something right there.

Anonymous said...

Thing is now Carloway has totally destroyed his own credibility trying to personalise the petition in rant after rant about the internet and the press the judicial mafia are going to be screaming for revenge.

Dont be surprised if there are a few contrived stories in the next few weeks.They will however be easily spotted as any events will all be a "first" and put down in some way or other to transparency and this is what openness brings.

You only need to look at what is going on down south to see examples of this.Westminster is now awash with billions for little more than terrorists and they will be trying to close down the press there as much as they are up here.

Good work.About time someone stood up to the most powerful people in the land.You did.Congrats.Now watch your back for these vile people are up for anything even setting someone up and using all the authorities under their command to do it.Cops Councils Doctors whatever you name it they have misused it.

Anonymous said...

What is needed now is for an MSP or a cross party group to raise a debate on this in the Main Chamber.

The fact that vested interests have been allowed to obstruct and delay the necessary legislation for some 5 years is disgraceful. This reflects very badly on all Scottish Parliamentarians and reveals the SNPs blatant subservience to vested interests, not least those of the legal fraternity and the questionable financial activities associated with it.

Anonymous said...

Just remember every time this judge dodges a question (many times) and appears to be helped from the floor he and his lawyers of excellence in the legal profession have destroyed thousands of lives families businesses and individuals for their own personal profit.Why should such people not have to declare their interests and what they have been doing all these years.They are on enough public money anyway and pretend to be our friends but you know they are not.How can anyone be a friend to the public when they carry on like he did and Gill before him when they lose the plot at being asked to declare their interests.

Too much to hide M'lud.All plain to see now.

Anonymous said...

No credibility whatsoever and time he retired or made way for a judge who is in tune with transparency, if of course there are any judges who want your register.

Telling isn't it not one judge has spoken out against Carloway or Gill.We are therefore entitled to deduce from this they are all on the take in one way or another.I saw what you said about Carloway being in the bench for 18 years and only declaring an art club yet he has been earning more than the Prime Minister and goodness knows how much from his time as a lawyer.

This makes perfect sense to require judges declare all their assets and interests.Well done Peter for bringing him along to the parliament and making us all realise what judges are really about - themselves,not us.

Anonymous said...

The way he keeps harping on about corruption in the judiciary there must be something to hide also the way he dodges questions very shifty and suspicious!

Anonymous said...

One of the things I like about your site is when you write up an article you include and publish the evidence instead of like the bbc who tell us a story then tell us to believe it without offering all the evidence to back it up.Basically big media has become a mouthpiece for vested interests except in your case by the looks of it because everyone gets the idea judges ought to be declaring their interests and is it not outrageous they got away with it for so long until now.

As for Carloway well he just comes across as a dictator he does not do democracy or debate and that quote about what judges have to put up with on the internet well Colin Sutherland get with the century everyone is allowed an opinion and just because you are a judge does not mean to say we have to accept your unconvincing case against a register of interests or lots more "waffle" from the court which too is not backed up by evidence rather sweeping statements by judges saying they are disgusted with what is in front of them and guess what happens a few months later the guy is either out on bail or the conviction quashed.So much for our world class respected judiciary Carloway and his friends are a bunch of deluded dangerous people who we know now do not have our interests in mind only theirs to keep hidden for reasons too dirty to reveal.

Anonymous said...

See what I mean? a top judge who is held to be ignorant of the law by his own colleagues trying to give msps a lecture on transparency and complaining about democracy and free speech.

http://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/news/14292793.Rape_decision_overturned_after_court_rules_Scotland___s_most_senior_judge_misdirected_jury_at_trial/

Rape decision overturned after court rules Scotland?s most senior judge misdirected jury at trial

22nd February 2016 / Laura Paterson
0 comments

APPEAL judges have quashed a man’s rape convictions after ruling that Scotland’s most senior judge misdirected the jury at his trial.

Alan Clark, 40, was jailed for eight year at the High Court in Edinburgh in October 2014 for sexually abusing two women and assaulting two others, in Clydebank, Dumbarton and Glasgow.

However, lawyers acting for Clark went to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to argue that their client had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

They argued that Lord Carloway, the judge at Clark’s trial, misdirected the jury when he was instructing them in what they had to do before returning a verdict.

Clark’s legal team argued that Lord Carloway committed an error in his summing up and that the two rape convictions had to be quashed.

Last Monday, appeal judges Lord Eassie, Lady Smith and Lady Clark of Calton ruled that Clark had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

In a written judgement issued at the court, the judges ordered Clark’s convictions to be quashed.

Lord Eassie wrote: “In these circumstances we have come to the conclusion that the jury were misdirected on a matter which was central to the position of the defence at trial and that we are unable to say that no miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

“We shall therefore allow the appeal against conviction.”

Clark was convicted following trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Sentence had been deferred to Edinburgh for the court to obtain reports.

During proceedings, the court heard how Clark abused the women in Glasgow, Clydebank and Dumbarton between 2001 and 2012.

The court heard how he raped one woman who helped him develop his literacy skills.

He was described as being “charming and pleasant” at first but later abused the woman who was pushed, slapped gouged and then handcuffed.

On one occasion he tried to strangle her after she turned off a TV.

After being raped the woman said she felt so “so low” that she believed the attacks would only end when one of them had died.

The court heard how he also raped a second woman in 2008 at a flat in Glasgow.

During the incident, Clark slashed the woman’s clothes and threatened to petrol bomb her home.

Passing sentence, Lord Carloway – who was appointed Lord President last month – ordered Clark to be supervised by the authorities for four years following his release from custody.

Lord Carloway added: “You have been convicted of a catalogue of sexual and violent offences.”

At his appeal in Edinburgh, lawyers argued that Lord Carloway made a mistake when he delivered his closing instructions to the jury.

They argued that his closing instructions to jurors may have prejudiced the case against their client.

The appeal judges agreed and agreed to allow Clark’s appeal against conviction.

In the judgement, Lord Eassie wrote that he and his fellow judges now wanted to be addressed by lawyers about what Clark’s new sentence should be.

He added: “We require to hear counsel further on the matter of sentence in light of that decision.”

Anonymous said...

Carloway is horrendously bad as a top judge in this clip.Very evasive and not to be believed.
You can tell he is at it because of the way he begins in a very hateful rant against the press and internet and you were right to pull him up in the papers about litigants.I saw that quote and you are right this is the very same litigants who keep him and his cronies in their overpaid jobs.Time for major reform of the courts and judiciary not a moment more to lose now we know from the top judge himself the justice system is based on lies and deceit.

Anonymous said...

Lord Carloway is just another public schoolboy who believes he was 'born to rule' - the legal fraternity in Edinburgh is littered with them.

Anonymous said...

wow what a judge I wouldnt go anywhere near his court given the way he disses your parliament and his interests you have a point he and his other judges must register the lot!

Anonymous said...

off topic slightly what do you think of Jackson's go at juries?

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15413758.I__Daniel_Blake_writer_hits_out_over_claim_disabled_woman_forced_to____crawl____for_benefits_check/

Leading QC speaks of "sceptical" juries that make acquittals harder than before

PHIL MILLER

A leading QC has warned of a risk of miscarriages of justice because jurors are more sceptical of defence lawyers.

Gordon Jackson, one of Scotland's most experienced lawyers and dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said it is harder than it used to be to secure acquittals in jury cases.

He believes jurors are more “sceptical” of defence lawyers and have become more “savvy” about forensic evidence, partially influenced by watching TV shows such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI).

Jackson, speaking to The Sunday Times, said it was “possible” that innocent people face being wrongly convicted.

"Securing acquittals is much more difficult than it has been," he said.

"I am not saying this is a bad thing in the public interest, I am simply saying it is undoubtedly more difficult for lawyers like me to get acquittals than it was.

"Jurors are becoming much more sophisticated — they watch all these programmes.

"[They] are more sceptical.

"They are much more inclined to say, ‘That’s just lawyers talking; that’s just legal stuff.' "

Jackson, a former Labour MSP, added: "You could say they are harder to persuade — a cynic might say they are just harder to con than they used to be.

"Maybe they have a more realistic view of lawyers, that they have heard it all before."

Jackson, who became a QC in 1990, also said that police are building tighter cases with DNA evidence and mobile phone records.

He said the police are "much, much, much better than in the past, that is a huge change."

Jackson said his views are based on his own courtroom experiences.

He was recently involved in the case of a man whose conviction for sexually assaulting a woman was quashed after appeal judges ruled he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Figures suggest that overall, conviction rates in Scotland have slightly fallen over the past decade.

Jackson reiterated his concerns that prosecutors can become unduly influenced by the plight of crime victims, which he believes can lead to an over-zealous pursuit of a conviction.

He said he raised the issue with the Lord Advocate last year.

He said: "I, of course, totally accept that we have to look after victims.

"But I do think it has warped the process, I am unrepentant on that.

"It has affected the genuine impartiality and independence of the prosecutor, the balance was wrong before and I don’t think the balance is necessarily right now."

Anonymous said...

Truly shocking.
The arrogance of this "top judge" is unbelievable yet serves to expose the illegitimacy of the judiciary's 'right' to command all before them in court and beyond.
No transparency no justice.
Go back to being a lawyer Mr Sutherland if you cannot obey the same rules of openness and law you enforce on those you clearly view as beneath you.
After reading this post and your blog I sincerely hope others will now seriously question their own judiciary's self awarded rights to dance to a different tune from the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Top judge says register of judges’ interests should only be created if judiciary discover scandal or corruption within their own ranks..............Beggars belief what can i say?

Anonymous said...

As a comedian once said it's a club and you ain't in it. He was making a serious point about the real owners, the corporations buy the politicians and judges. Like the Bilderberg Group secretive powerful and corrupt. These legal people just don't get it as Orwell wrote about the human lust for power, they are prime examples of what he meant. Well what the hell do these people get up to when they are obsessed with preventing any investigation as far as possible into their dark world of power and money. Crooks in wigs is what they all are.

Anonymous said...

Top judge says register of judges’ interests should only be created if judiciary discover scandal or corruption within their own ranks. It is because we have no Register the Judiciary are corrupt I mean how can they prove they are not? These people all have different faces naturally but they act like they are all controlled by one mind sticking together and repudiating investigations into their professional lives. It really sickens me what these lice get away with.