Saturday, December 23, 2017

REGISTER, THE SIXTH: Holyrood probe on calls for a register of judges’ interests will enter SIXTH YEAR with 23rd Petitions Committee hearing to decide on way forward for publicly available judicial transparency register in Scotland

Holyrood probe on judicial interests enters sixth year. A FIVE YEAR Scottish Parliament investigation of Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary – will now enter an unprecedented SIXTH YEAR - after a private meeting decided to carry forward  proposals for judicial transparency into 2018.

At a meeting of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee on Thursday 21 December 2017, the judicial transparency petition was scheduled as the last item - to be debated in private  - as MSPs looked for a way forward on the cross party supported proposals.

However, MSPs did not conclude on a way forward at that meeting, and decided to take forward the petition into next year for further scrutiny and consideration.

The proposal – to create a register of judicial interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary, was originally filed with the Scottish Parliament in 2012.

The  latest move by Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee to look for a way forward - comes after the petition secured powerful backing of former Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil MSP (SNP).

In an interview with The National newspaper, and a posting on Mr Neil's Facebook page, Alex Neil said : “It is now time for the Petitions Committee itself to look at using the powers of parliamentary committees to introduce a Bill to set up a judicial register of interests.”

Alex Neil added: ““There is no doubt in my mind at all that it is long overdue. I do not see why judges should be any different from ministers or MSPs, and they should need to declare interests as most people in public service do these days.

“A Bill of this nature is badly needed, and if it can be done on an all-party basis through the Petitions Committee, then the committee’s members should not wait and should act now to sponsor a Bill.

“I am very supportive of the Petitions Committee, which I think is a very good committee, and it is now time for them to seriously consider bringing forward their own Bill on this matter, as I have no doubt that the case for such a register has been thoroughly made out.”

The latest developments - in the 22nd hearing of Petition PE1458 on calls to create a register of judges’ interests - comes after MSPs previously heard over sixty two submissions of evidence, during twenty one Committee hearings, including a private meeting between two MSPs and a top judge, and fifteen speeches by MSPs during a full Holyrood debate spanning from 2012 to 2017.

The judicial interests petition - 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 report containing video footage of every hearing, speech, and evidence sessions at the Scottish Parliament on Petition PE1450 can be found here: Scottish Parliament debates, speeches & evidence sessions on widely supported judicial transparency petition calling for a Register of Interests for Scotland's judiciary

Video footage of the short hearing prior to MSPs debating the judicial interests register proposals in private, follows:

Register of Judicial Interests PE 1458 Public Petitions Committee 21 December 2017

A brief report from the Public Petitions Committee on the meeting reports the decision as follows:

Consideration of a continued petition (in private): The Committee considered a draft letter on PE1458 by Peter Cherbi on Register of interests for members of Scotland's judiciary. The Committee agreed to consider a further draft letter at a future meeting.

Journalists involved in the petition expressed their thanks to members of the Public Petitions Committee for keeping the debate open and welcomed the continued public & parliamentary debate on the judicial register – which continues to bring in key intelligence on judicial interests & cases where serious conflicts of interest have been ignored in both criminal and civil cases in Scotland’s courts.


The move to create a register of judicial interests enjoys cross party support, is widely supported in the media and  in public debate as a result of media coverage.

The petition secured early support of Scotland’s Judicial Complaints Reviewer Moi Ali, and her successor as JCR - Gillian Thompson.

Moi Ali – who served as Scotland’s first Judicial Complaints Reviewer (JCR) - appeared before the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament in a hard hitting evidence session during September of 2013, giving early backing to the proposals calling for the creation of a register of judicial interests.– reported here: Judicial Complaints Reviewer tells MSPs judges should register their interests like others in public life.

Scotland’s second Judicial Complaints Reviewer Gillian Thompson OBE also supported  the petition and the creation of a register of judicial interests during an evidence session at Holyrood in June 2015.

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.

A report on Lord Brian Gill’s evidence to the Scottish Parliament in November 2015 can be found here: JUDGE ANOTHER DAY: Sparks fly as top judge demands MSPs close investigation on judges’ secret wealth & interests - Petitions Committee Chief brands Lord Gill’s evidence as “passive aggression”

A report on Lord Carloway’s widely criticised evidence to the Scottish Parliament in July 2017 can be found here: 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

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...

And so we 'progress' from the absurd to the ridiculous!

Any parliamentary committee which takes 6 YEARS (!) to propose a bill is clearly not worth electing and brings the whole concept of democracy into disrepute.

Meanwhile the Scottish Public - whose best interests these well paid procrastinators supposedly represent - get short changed yet again.


Anonymous said...

about the same length of time as most cases in the court of session! time to get moving you lot and MAKE THIS REGISTER LAW!

Anonymous said...

Discussing or acting, which one will it be this year justice committee?

Anonymous said...

Obviously the private meeting didn't go too well!
Isn't it about time they just legislated for this register?
Six years all the work must be done already!

Anonymous said...

How time passes, remember the SLCC nearly ten years since it became operational and still protecting Scotland's legal mafia. Do what I did tell lawyers to Fk off. Stay away from them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Five years on and not a word out of the 'lame-stream' BBC, STV etc.....................One of the reasons I do not own a television my friend, got rid of it years ago. They all have lawyers to filter the news as they see fit.

Anonymous said...

In my view most of the cases especially in civil law favour the ones with deepest pockets. Judges judge depending on how much cash they get, in the form of shares or other pecuniary enrichment. I would never trust one of these crooked bastards, especially when they cannot prove they have no links, but lets be honest they don't even want to prove to the public they are neutral. They are not, they are owned by big business. And they expect the public to accept they take the Judicial Oath. Ha ha they are kidding themselves not us.

MSP's make this law before you are out of politics or before you all end up in care homes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

And so we 'progress' from the absurd to the ridiculous!

Any parliamentary committee which takes 6 YEARS (!) to propose a bill is clearly not worth electing and brings the whole concept of democracy into disrepute.

In the context of Brexit it can be argued we live in a democracy but the fact is when a lawyer steals a clients financial assets equality before the law vanishes because no lawyer will take a crooked lawyer to court for a client. The dogs that call themselves MSP's are human dirt who would leave those who voted them into parliament rightless because the Law Society and all it's offshoots control the MSP's that is why we are in the sixth year. They talk a good game. I would send the lot of them to Siberia.

Anonymous said...

The future of the professions, sorry for being off topic DOI but an interesting report.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the majority of the Committee were ready to abandon this petition like the hot potatoe it has become, and only an objection by a minority threatening to go public - step forward former Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil MSP - prevented that.

Result? The Committee has decided to 'kick the can down the road'.......AGAIN!

This is a travesty of due process.

Anonymous said...

Hey very interesting blog!