Judges declarations questioned. LATER this month – the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee are to consider further evidence on a cross party backed petition calling for judges to declare their interests: Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary
The petition 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.
However, EIGHT YEARS on from when the petition was originally filed with Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee in October 2012 – there has been little movement on creating a register of judicial interests for all members of Scotland’s judiciary.
The Public Petitions Committee’s support for creating the register of judicial interests and transfer of work to the Justice Committee – was reported in detail here: JUDICIAL REGISTER: Holyrood Petitions Committee calls for legislation to require Scotland’s judges to declare their interests in a register of judicial Interests
And – despite cross party support for the petition during a full Holyrood debate in 2014, and backing from the Public Petitions Committee who passed the petition to the Justice Committee with a recommendation in May 2018 – Scotland’s 700 strong judges continue to resist calls to declare their interests in exactly the same way all 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament are required to declare.
While Lord Carloway continues to fight calls for judicial transparency – the existence of a register of interests for the quango which oversees the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) – gives a miniscule, carefully controlled snapshot of interests – which are far from the reality of a globetrotting top judge who has been on the judicial bench for two decades on a sizeable public salary.
During 2016-18, the previous, and sole declaration of Lord Carloway in the SCTS register was that of “Trustee Scottish Art Club”.
After nearly two decades on the bench as a judge, connections to countless law firms, cases, decisions, and politically charged campaigns such as the removal of corroboration from Scots Law – one could be forgiven for questioning how and why Scotland’s top judge on a quarter of a million pounds a year – with a pension to match – gets away with declaring working with art as an interest – and nothing else.
In the latest SCTS Board register of interests, a new declaration appears for Lord Carloway – under the heading of Appointments Ex Officio – noting the following: Trustee for the Faculty of Advocates, Abbotsford Collection Trust.
The remaining declarations of interests – which notably do not include any references to law firms, property or financial interests are as follows:
Lord President – The Right Hon. Lord Carloway (real name: Colin John Maclean Sutherland) : Appointments Ex Officio: Trustee for the Faculty of Advocates; Abbotsford Collection Trust.
Lord Justice Clerk – The Right Hon. Lady Dorrian: Directorships: Cranley School Ltd; Glenside Court Ltd; Franco- British Lawyers Society Ltd; Appointments Ex Officio: Commissioner of the Honours of Scotland; Senior Commissioner, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane; Trusteeships: Cranley Trust; Faculty of Advocates 1985 Trust; Scottish Arts Club;
Rt Hon. Lady Smith Trusteeships: President and Trustee – Friends of the Music of St. Giles Cathedral; Other Appointments & Interests: Chair – Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry; Honorary Bencher – Gray’s Inn
Sheriff Principal Duncan Murray: Appointments Ex Officio: Commissioner, Northern Lighthouse Board; Trustee Kibble Education and Care Centre
Sheriff Aisha Anwar: No declarations
Sheriff A Grant McCulloch: Trusteeships: Chair West Fife Education Trust. Other Appointments & Interests: Chair Relationship Scotland – Couple Counselling, Fife; Committee Member Cammo Residents Association; Chair – Discipline Committee ICAS; Chair East & West Fife Education Trusts
Morna Rae JP: Appointments Ex Officio: Justice of the Peace; Other Appointments & Interests: Employee North Ayrshire Council Church of Scotland Elder
Dr Joseph Morrow QC: Directorship: Non Executive Director, St. John’s Scotland Appointments Ex Officio: Lord Lyon King of Arms; Member of Judicial Council Trusteeships: Trustee, Mudie Trust, Dundee; Trustee, Kidney Trust, Dundee; Trustee, Tealing Community Hall; Trustee, Scottish Churches Trust; Chairman & Trustee of Highland Cadet Force Foundation; Other Appointments & Interests: Legal Assessor, South Episcopal Church President, Society of Messengers at Arms President, Scottish Genealogical Society Patron, Scottish Family History Society
Dr Kirsty J Hood QC: Directorship: Scottish Universities Law Institute Ltd. Trusteeships: The Stair Society’s Council; Trustee, Clark Foundation Education; Other Appointments & Interests: Self-employed Advocate; Regular ad hoc employment with the University of Edinburgh – delivering seminars on LLB courses; Regular ad hoc employment with the University of Glasgow– delivering lectures / seminars on LLB courses; Periodically providing materials for LexisPSL Dispute Resolution (online services – LexisNexis); Clerk of Faculty – Faculty of Advocates (non remunerated); Member of the Scottish Committee of Frank-British Lawyers Society (non remunerated); Contributor of updates to “Scottish Family Law Service” (LexisNexis Publishers); Guernsey Financial Services Commission’s Panel of Senior Decision Makers.
Simon JD Catto: Other Appointments & Interests: Member of Cornerstone Exchange LLP Member of XT Property LLP Member of Addleshaw Goddard LLP (Head of Litigation Scotland)
Professor R Hugh MacDougall: Trusteeships: Cunningham Trust; Cross Trust; St. Columba’s Hospice; Other Appointments & Interests: St Giles Cathedral Elder, Edinburgh
Joe Al-Gharabally: Directorship: Ernst & Young
Col. David Mcilroy: Other Appointments & Interests: Independent Prison Monitor (Voluntary position supporting HM Inspector of Prisons in Scotland)
Eric McQueen: Appointments Ex Officio: Member of the Scottish Civil Justice Council
Further information in relation to SCTS Board members shareholdings, which was only obtained via a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service reveals the following shareholdings declarations:
Rt Hon Lady Smith, President of Scottish Tribunals: Shareholdings: Artemis Fund Managers; Barclays; Ishares PLC; Royal London; Axa Framlington UK; Majedie Asset Management; X Trackers S&P; Blackrock; Invesco; Robeco Capital.
Sheriff Aisha Anwar: Shareholdings: SRZ Commercial Ltd
Sheriff A Grant McCulloch: Shareholdings: Scotgold Resources Ltd
Simon JD Catto: Shareholdings: Cornerstone Asset Management General Investments; Jupiter Merlin Income Portfolio; Schroder MM Diversity Z inc; M&G Recovery 1 Inc; M&G Corporate Bond Fund.
Joe Al-Gharabally: Shareholdings: Ryan Air; AT&T.
HOLYROOD’S EIGHT YEAR JUDICIAL INTERESTS PROBE:
The judicial register 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.
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 lengthy Scottish Parliament probe on judicial interests has generated over sixty two submissions of evidence, at least twenty one Committee hearings, a private meeting and fifteen speeches by MSPs during a full Holyrood debate and has since been taken over by Holyrood’s Justice Committee after a recommendation to take the issue forward from the Public Petitions Committee in March 2018.
A full report containing video footage of every hearing, speech, and evidence sessions at the Scottish Parliament on Petition PE1458 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.
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has backed calls for further work on the judicial interests register during at least THREE further Holyrood hearings, including the latest hearing from June 2019, reported here: JUDICIAL REGISTER: Justice Committee to hear evidence from ex-Judicial Investigator, top judge on judicial interests register, MSP says Scottish judges should not be involved with Gulf States implicated in unlawful wars, mistreatment of women’s rights
A report on the Justice Committee’s consideration of the Judicial Interests Register Petition in May 2019 can be found here: JUDICIAL REGISTER: Justice Committee investigate approach to judges’ interests in other countries – MSPs say ‘Recusals register not comprehensive enough’ ‘Openness & transparency do not contradict independence of the judiciary’
A report on the Justice Committee’s consideration of the Judicial Interests Register Petition in February 2019 can be found here: JUDICIAL REGISTER – MSPs urged to take forward SEVEN year petition to create a Register of Judges’ Interests as Holyrood Justice Committee handed evidence of Scottish Judges serving in Gulf states regimes known to abuse Human Rights
TWO TOP SCOTS JUDGES FAIL IN HOLYROOD JUDICIAL TRANSPARENCY PROBE:
Both of Scotland’s recent top judges failed to convince MSPs that a register of interests is not required for judges – even after both Lord Presidents attempted to press home the existence of judicial oaths and ethics – which are both written, and approved by – judges.
Video footage and a full report on Lord Brian Gill giving 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”
Video footage and a full report on Lord Carloway (Colin Sutherland) giving 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.