First Minister Salmond & Justice Secretary MacAskill keeping complaints oversight within the establishment. IT will come as little surprise to anyone that political appointments to positions of oversight of complaints of the judiciary, and complaints against the First Minister himself, attract questions over how the appointments came to be made, along with the types of people who would rush to fill such controversial vacancies. So it is with the weekend announcements of the appointment of an SNP leafleteer, Moi Ali, to the position of Judicial Complaints Reviewer on a recession busting salary of £209 a day, and the appointment of former Lord Advocates Lord Fraser of Carmyllie & Dame Elish Angiolini to the roles of advisers to the Ministerial code, to deal with complaints against the First Minister himself.
Let’s be honest now. Does anyone really think a job, paid for by taxpayers at the rate of £209 a day which has the duty of investigating whether complaints against Scottish judges fit in with the Complaints about the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2011, will do anything other than agree with the findings or rulings of the Lord President in complaints about members of Scotland’s judiciary ?
After all, to suggest the Lord President has not complied with the Judiciary's own rules would surely go against the grain of Judicial Infallibility, a principle which senior members of the judiciary seem to have awarded themselves in all things relating to regulation of their peers.
Equally, Does anyone really think the two former Lord Advocates, as controversial as both figures have been, will rule that a complaint against the Ministerial Code might be well founded enough for something other than even the possibility of a slap on some part of the anatomy ? No. If they do, they will break with the fine tradition of their predecessors, Lord Steel & George Reid who closed without action all three complaints made against the First Minister since 2008.
Scottish Law Reporter covered the two stories very well yesterday, so lets meet the new complaints team, one for judges, and one for Scottish Ministers. Readers can decide whether this latest example of complaints appointments is in keeping with the past, and is a good indication of why the legal establishment is allowed to maintain its notoriously corrupt regime of pat-on-the-back self regulation :
Judicial complaints oversight without powers, the latest window dressing exercise from Kenny MacAskill. Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has announced the appointment of Moi Ali, an author & communications consultant & leafleteer to SNP MSP Angela Constance & SNP PPC Liz Bardell at the last election, to the role of the newly created Judicial Complaints Reviewer, who will review the handling of a complaints investigation into members of the judiciary to ensure that complaints have been dealt with in accordance with the Complaints about the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2011, rules which were written by the judiciary itself, waved through by Scottish Ministers & the Scottish Parliament.
The Judicial Complaints Reviewer has no powers whatsoever to consider the merits of any complaint or the disposal of the complaint. The appointment will be for a period of three years from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2014, and will be paid a daily fee of £209. The appointment has been made with the approval of the Lord President.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill today announced the appointment of the first Judicial Complaints Reviewer.
Moi Ali is an author and Communications Consultant who has written a number of best selling books on public relations and marketing. She spent seven years on the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the world's largest healthcare regulator, where latterly she was Vice President and has also served two terms on the Board of Postwatch. Currently Moi is a member of the Lord Chancellor's review bodies, which investigates complaints about judges and magistrates and a member of the management board of Education Scotland.
Moi is a Governor at Edinburgh Napier University and a Public Appointments Ambassador for the Cabinet Office, which involves encouraging a more diverse range of applicants for public appointments. She is also a member of the Scottish Ambulance Service Board with a remuneration of £8,008 per annum. Moi brings a strong background in complaints handling and commitment to improving standards in public life to the post of Judicial Complaints Reviewer.
This is a new appointment, established by the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 to review, when asked, the handling of a complaints investigation into members of the judiciary, to ensure that it has been dealt with in accordance with the Complaints about the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2011. The Reviewer has no powers to consider the merits of any complaint or the disposal of the complaint. The appointment will be for a period of three years from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2014, and will be paid a daily fee of £209. The appointment has been made with the approval of the Lord President.
All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity within the last 5 years (if there is one to be declared) to be made public. Ms Ali has helped to deliver leaflets for SNP MSP Angela Constance in the run up to Scottish elections and SNP PPC Liz Bardell during the last general election.
First Minister Salmond ‘delighted’ to welcome controversial ex Lord Advocates onto standards team. TWO highly controversial former Lord Advocates, one, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, who was arrested at Dundee Airport in 2006 for a breach of Article 78 of the Air Navigation Order 2005, which related to "acting in a disruptive manner" and former Lord Advocate now Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, more on whom can be read here have both been appointed by First Minister Alex Salmond as independent advisors to complaints made under the Ministerial code, the body which deals with complaints about the First Minister, which has seen three such complaints dealt with and closed with no action since 2008.
Profile : Lord Fraser of Carmyllie :
Lord Fraser led the inquiry in to the building of the Scottish Parliament, which saw no one held to account for the massive overspend to £500 MILLION on the hapless Holyrood building now in a constant state of disrepair and leaking more water than the Firth of Forth during rainstorms. Earlier in June after an Al Jazera documentary exposed major flaws some may say amount to corruption within the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, Lord Fraser was featured in the documentary telling a film crew he accepted a key witness in the Pan Am 103 trial had been bribed by Scottish Police, yet nothing has been done about it. Lord Fraser also went onto attack the father of one of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, Dr Jim Swire, accusing him of suffering from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ with regard to Dr Swire’s campaign to find out the truth behind the Lockerbie bombing.
With regard to the in-flight incident, the Daily Record newspaper reported the arrest of Lord Fraser of Carmyle :
By Brian McCartney December 21 2006
A LORD who was Scotland's top lawman has been arrested over an alleged air rage incident. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie was escorted off a flight by police at Dundee Airport. The Tory peer was Lord Advocate from 1989 to 1992.
Witnesses claimed he smelled of drink and argued with a female steward on Tuesday night's delayed ScotAirways flight from London City Airport. A passenger said: "When he got on the later one, he had been hanging around for quite a few hours. He berated a female member of the cabin crew about the delay. He was smelling strongly of drink and requested more drink but was refused. When that happened he became disruptive again and the female crew member became alarmed as did some of the other passengers."
Last night, Tayside Police confirmed that a 61-year-old man had been charged and a report sent to the procurator fiscal. It is believed to be the first time that a former Lord Advocate has been charged with a criminal offence.
Lord Fraser, born Peter Fraser, was among passengers whose ScotAirways flight was delayed for more than three hours. Fog in London led to it being cancelled and travellers were put on to a later flight. The plane's pilot called ahead for police assistance after a stewardess complained Fraser was being disruptive. Officers were waiting for the flight when it touched down in Dundee at around 9.20pm. Fraser - a former Tory minister - was asked to stay in his seat until other passengers had cleared arrivals. He was arrested and taken to police HQ at Bell Street. The QC was not held overnight. Police refused to give details of the charges against the politician, who was MP for Angus South then Angus East. He was appointed Solicitor General, the No2 job in the prosecution service, under the Thatcher government in 1982.
The case was later dropped when the Crown Office said there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed, a now familiar claim from the Crown Office on just about every controversial case it receives.
Scottish Law Reporter’s coverage of former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini can be read here : Elish Angiolini
First Minister Alex Salmond announces his new independent advisers for the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Code : Ministerial Code
Dame Elish Angiolini joins Lord Fraser in First Minister complaints role. Former Lord Advocates Lord Peter Fraser and Dame Elish Angiolini have agreed to serve as independent advisers to the Scottish Government's Ministerial Code, replacing Lord David Steel and George Reid who have demitted the post. The Scottish Government established a system of independent advisers in 2008 to enable the First Minister to refer complaints made under the Ministerial Code. The former Presiding Officers Lord Steel and George Reid have discharged the role since 2008 - and during this time they considered three complaints against the First Minister, all of which were dismissed.In May George Reid was appointed as Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for Clackmannanshire, and Lord Steel indicated that he wished - after a term of three years - to demit the post of independent adviser.
First Minister Alex Salmond said : "This administration introduced independent advisers into the Ministerial Code for the very first time, and I wish to record my thanks to Lord Steel and George Reid for their service, and wish them extremely well."I am also delighted to welcome Dame Elish Angiolini and Lord Peter Fraser as new independent advisers, ensuring the continuation of the robust and transparent procedures that we have within Scotland's system of government."
However, First Minister Alex Salmond’s Press Release forgot to reveal that Lord David Steel and George Reid apparently resigned in protest over comments the First Minister had made with regard to the Supreme Court debate surrounding its rulings on the very poor application of Human Rights law by Scottish courts.
Regrettably however, the events surrounding the resignation of Lord Steel from the advisory role to the Ministerial code are shrouded in a murky debate as Lord Steel had apparently resigned three weeks ago, in protest over the First Minister’s ‘use of language’ critical of the Supreme Court, yet had agreed to say nothing until the First Minister had found replacements in ‘media critic’ Dame Angiolini & ‘frequent flyer’ Lord Fraser.
It is somewhat difficult to reconcile a three week old resignation made supposedly on grounds of principle & shock, horror over FM Salmond’s verbal attacks on the Supreme Court with an agreement to say nothing until later, although such a way of going about things may fit in with donations from the Countryside Alliance, which, as Hansard reports, is another story completely : Complaint against Sir David Steel (now Lord Steel)