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Judiciary of Scotland website launched, expect more break-neck speed judicial reforms around the next ‘Victorian’ corner …

21 Sep

Lord HamiltonScotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton launches Scottish judges website. THE JUDICIARY OF SCOTLAND now have their own dedicated website, launched today amid much fanfare to coincide with the Lord President’s address to the court at the start of the new legal year, followed by the ‘Kirking of the Judges’ ceremony at St Giles Cathedral, which was today boycotted by Sheriffs because they wanted to walk in front of Advocates instead of behind them, as is the traditional ‘pecking order’.

The Lord President, Lord Hamilton said : “I am very pleased to announce the launch today of our new judicial website – a first for judges in Scotland. I hope that you find it both helpful and informative. It is our intention to publish as much information as we can, as quickly as we can. I believe it is vital in a democracy that justice is not only seen to be done, but that it operates in an open and transparent way and contributes to public understanding and awareness of what takes place in courts each day across Scotland.”

Judiciary of Scotland website coverThe Judiciary of Scotland – Its your justice system, your courts, paid for by you, so familiarise yourself with the principles of your access to justice in Scotland. According to the Judicial Office, the new website aims to bring judges closer to the public and increase awareness and understanding of the work they do. Elizabeth Cutting Head of Judicial Communications said: “This is a very exciting development for judges in Scotland which will enable the public to gain a greater insight into the work they do. Visitors will be able to read what a judge says on passing sentence and have access to summaries of important legal decisions. The website will be continually developed and expanded so we need and welcome user feedback”.

The website will provide a wide range of information about the work of over 700 Senators, Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace in Scotland. It will also publish Sentencing Statements as soon as sentence has been passed and summaries of important court decisions, Summaries of Court Opinions & information on Fatal Accident Inquiries .

Visitors to the site will be able to follow updates on Twitter and sign up for RSS feeds on Sentencing Statements, Summaries of Opinions, Fatal Accident Inquiries, News, & Media Releases to ensure that new items are delivered straight to their desktop.

The website features a section providing advice on going to court (please everyone, if you are going to court or are already there, read this when you get time), the importance of judicial independence and a feature on how to address a judge. You can also read about ‘a day in the life of a judge’ which provides an insight into a typical working day, information on Principles of Judicial Ethics, Attending Court, Inside a Court Room, the all important Court Room Etiquette and of course not forgetting the Complaints section, which users should remember to fill in once they have notified members of the media, including myself, on what might need complaining about …

The website has been developed by the communications section of the Judicial Office for Scotland and there is a section for visitors to get in touch, ask questions or comment on the site.

Actually, all in all, its quite a good website so well done to the Judicial Office for coming up with what might be a good interface between the Courts system and the public. I’d give it several Michelins, but alas … I prefer Bridgestones … and in any case, I’ve been involved in justice websites for years, giving, I hope, a voice to those who have for far too long had none …

So, this only leaves attending to all the recommendations of the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill’s CIVIL COURTS REVIEW, ensuring an equally speedy implementation of all the reforms our “Victorian” Civil Justice system requires to ensure all Scots have access to justice, unobstructed by those elements of the legal profession who still consider the courts their own business domain, rather than a justice system which should always be open to all.

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