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EXCESS BAGGAGE: Lord Carloway’s £4K trip to Washington DC, Lady Dorrian’s £6K trip to Melbourne – Judicial overseas junkets rocket to £43k as new Lord President abandons Brian Gill’s edict on public cash for judicial jollies

Scots judges run up £43K taxpayer bill for overseas junkets. SCOTLAND’S judiciary ran up a taxpayer funded £43K bill on overseas travel junkets in just one year, travelling around the globe on what the Judiciary of Scotland and Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) claim is official ‘judicial’ business.

But the huge increase in judicial jetting around the globe – which doubled in cost from £22,605.92 in 2015.16 to £43,354,91 in 2016/17 – flouts previous attempts by former top judge Brian Gill to “take control” of judges demanding to go on foreign trips to luxurious destinations, with hotels & golf clubs & ‘hospitality’ added to the mix.

And, chief among the big time spenders of public cash on air miles is the Lord President himself – Lord Carloway – who already earns a public salary of £222,862 a year.

Carloway – real name Colin Sutherland – who also goes by the title of Lord Justice General – took a taxpayer funded £4,189.96 jet flight to Washington DC on what the Judicial Office claim is a “UK/USA Legal Exchange” held in Philadelphia and Washington.

While his number two – Lady Dorrian – Scotland;s first ever female judge serving as Lord Justice Clerk earning £215,216 a year – racked up the most expensive flight on taxpayers in the past year – a £6,188.99 trip to attend the Commonwealth Law Conference held in Melbourne Australia.

Also added to the grand list of judicial jet setting across the globe by Scotland’s judiciary is a double overseas junket taken by Lord Matthews and Sheriff Norman McFadyen – who were travelling to the ISRCL – Halifax, Nova Scotia legal seminar in Canada.

Lord Matthews – a Court of Session Senator claimed £4017 costs for the trip, compared with Sheriff McFadyen’s £1842 bill to the public purse.

An investigation of this trip revealed Lord Matthews travelled in a separate business class seat compared with the Sheriff who was forced to fly premium economy class.

The trip by Lord Matthews & Sheriff McFadyen also breached judiciary guidelines on overseas travel issued in 2014 by Lord Brian Gill – which said, as a “general rule”, only one judge or sheriff need attend each conference.

Former Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland also appears on the list of travel junkets by Scottish Judges.

Mulholland was promoted by Lord Carloway to a seat on the bench in the Court of Session – after he blocked a criminal prosecution of footballer David Goodwillie for rape.

Mulholland also blocked criminal charges against the driver of the Glasgow bin lorry which ran out of control in December 2014 killing six people in the centre of Glasgow while injuring 15 others.

Lord Mulholland, as he is now known – took a two day trip on the taxpayer to the European Court of Justice meeting on the 18 – 20 Sept 2016 in Luxembourg, at a staggering cost of £1,216.34

Previous investigations into Overseas travel records released by the Judicial Office for Scotland have also revealed Court of Session judge Lord Brailsford enjoyed a £4,898.94 eight day taxpayer funded junket to Sydney Australia from 11 – 19 November 2015.

Lord Brailsford – who became widely known after his son escaped criminal charges for ‘rape & murder’ threats to a girl on twitterwas outed in published documents obtained from the Scottish Government as the listed owner of the Laigh Hall – which forms part of Court of Session buildings located at Parliament House, Edinburgh.

Earlier reports also revealed Lord Gill enjoyed a two day trip during the twilight days of his short, if stormy three year term as Scotland’s top judge – to the Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles – held in the tax haven of Jersey. Lord Gill claimed £302.09 expenses on top of the £231.60  cost of travel to Jersey – taking the cost of his last ‘confirmed’ judicial overseas junket as top judge – to £533.69.

A Scottish Sun investigation revealed Lord Brian Gill travelled to Qatar in 2014 on a five day £2,800 taxpayer funded state visit – while dodging invitations to attend the Scottish Parliament to face scrutiny on his opposition to increased transparency of the judiciary.

And in early 2016,  Lord Gill billed the Scottish Parliament a further £267.75 worth of expenses claims – after the former top judge travelled 1st class to Edinburgh in November 2015 – demanding MSPs drop a three year probe on proposals to create a register of judicial interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary.

The Sunday Mail newspaper also investigated judicial overseas junkets in 2015 – revealing three sheriffs spent £15,000 on an overseas junket to Zambia in Africa JUDGE JET: Sheriffs’ £15K tour of Africa adds to air miles racket of Scots judiciary – as top judges’ clampdown on judicial jet set junkets takes flight.

And a report in the Sunday Mail on June 2 2013 revealed Scottish judges spent over £83,000 on overseas travel junkets in three years – while top judge Lord Gill refused calls to appear before the Scottish Parliament to answer questions on the judiciary’s secretive financial interests & links to big business, banks & the professions.

The Sunday Mail featured an exclusive report on judicial air travel:

PLANE DAFT: It’s plane daft as judge costs taxpayers £2175 more than sheriff who flew on same flight to conference

Lord Matthews was travelling to the same legal seminar in Canada but racked up a huge bill in first class while Sheriff Norman McFadyen went economy.

By Craig McDonald 14 MAY 2017 Sunday Mail

A judge ran up a £4000 taxpayers’ bill flying business class to a conference – while a sheriff who accompanied him sat in economy.

Judge Lord Matthews and Sheriff Norman McFadyen were travelling to the same legal seminar in Canada.

But Matthews claimed £4017 costs for the trip, compared with McFadyen’s £1842 bill to the public purse.

High Court judge Lord Matthews also filed £201 in expenses for the excursion to Halifax, Nova Scotia, last year.

Sheriff McFadyen, who sits at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, claimed no cash back.

The trip also appeared to breach judiciary guidelines issued in 2014 which said, as a “general rule”, only one judge or sheriff need attend each conference.

Another trip saw five High Court judges – Lords Brodie, Glennie, Doherty, Pentland and Lady Scott – attend a Strasbourg conference at a total cost of £4378.

It also cost £1408 to send four sheriffs – Corke, Reith, Mackie and Stewart – to a conference in Dublin.

The taxpayer coughed up £43,354 for foreign travel by the judiciary office last year. The figure was double the total of £22,605 in 2015.

Labour’s justice spokeswoman Claire Baker MSP said: “Questions should be asked about why one person is travelling at twice the cost of another.

“There will be legitimate reasons why the judiciary require to attend international events.

“However, this is an overall significant increase on the previous year and they need to be mindful that this is public money. All trips need to be proportionate.”

Scottish Tory justice spokesman Douglas Ross MSP said: “This is a huge increase in travel costs and needs to be explained.

“When guidelines state that one judicial member should be sufficient for each event, it’s questionable why so many have been travelling together.

“This is taxpayers’ money and shouldn’t be splashed out on needless flights.”

The judge and sheriff were attending the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law seminar between July 24 and 28 last year.

In 2014, the then Lord President, Lord Gill, issued guidance on overseas travel in which he stated “it should only be necessary for one judicial office holder to attend a conference overseas”.

Lord Gill said it would only “be in exceptional cases that I am likely to consider it necessary for more than one person to attend”. He added: “In all cases where funding is being sought, I will require a business case to be produced.

“I will need a clear justification for any overseas travel.”

Figures for judicial travel for the 12 months to March 31 showed a total of 38 trips were made overseas.

The biggest single claim was for a £6188 trip to Australia by Lady Dorrian to attend the Commonwealth Law conference in Melbourne.

The least expensive was when Lord Tyre managed an Academy of European Law trip to Frankfurt at a cost of just £84. The High Court judge did claim a further £57 in expenses for the trip last April.

Lord Tyre also attended events in Brussels, The Hague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Warsaw, Madrid and Rome.

One of the most widely travelled of the judiciary last year was Edinburgh Sheriff Gordon Liddle.

He attended the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association in Georgetown, Guyana, at a cost of £3637 and a European Network of Councils for Justiciary event in Warsaw, Poland, costing £607.

Sheriff Liddle also attended events in Ljubljana, Slovenia, costing £383 and in Bratislava, Slovakia, costing £285.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office for Scotland said last week: “There will be occasions where it is appropriate to send more than one member of the judiciary to important legal conferences.

“Attendance at overseas conferences is only authorised by the Lord President where there is a clear justification.”

He added: “Lord Matthews flew business class, while Sheriff McFadyen flew premium economy/economy, which goes some way to explaining the difference in cost.

“Furthermore, Lord Matthews’ flights required to be booked closer to the date of departure as he was presiding over a trial.”

JUDICIAL JUNKETS – Judges cost taxpayers £43K in flights to ‘legal’ conferences, hotels with health spas, golf courses & hospitality in 2016/17:

The full list of Overseas trips for 2016-2017 currently acknowledged by the Judicial Office for Scotland:

10 – 12 April 2016 Lord President – CJEU Bilateral meeting – Luxembourg £673.83 £20.00 £693.83

10 – 12 April 2016 Lord Tyre – ENCJ Conference – Barcelona £284.76 £74.69 £359.45

21 – 23 April 2016 Lord Tyre – Board of Trustees of the Academy of European Law – Frankfurt £84.64 £57.09 £141.73

1 – 3 June 2016 Lord Tyre – ENCJ General Assembly – Warsaw £604.94 £73.97 £678.91

1 – 3 June 2016 Sheriff Liddle – ENCJ General Assembly – Warsaw £607.35 £32.86 £640.21

29 – 30 June 2016 Lady Dorrian – Joint meeting of the Working Party on e-Law with legal practitioners – Brussels £511.92 – £511.92

3 – 4 July 2016 Lord Tyre – ENCJ Executive Board Meeting – Madrid £464.59 £76.35 £540.94

24 – 28 July 2016 Sheriff McFadyen – ISRCL – Halifax, Nova Scotia £1,842.93 – £1,842.93

24 – 28 July 2016 Lord Matthews – ISRCL – Halifax, Nova Scotia £3,816.19 £201.74 £4,017.93

6 – 11 August 2016 SP Abercrombie – Representing the Scottish Sentencing Council -Salt Lake City, Utah. £230.98 £36.13 £267.11

14 – 23 Sept 2016 Lord President – UK/USA Legal Exchange – Philadelphia and Washington USA £4,189.96 £123.11 £4,313.07

18 – 20 Sept 2016 Lord Mulholland QC – Attending ECJ meeting – Luxemburg £1,131.03 £85.31 £1,216.34

18 – 22 Sept 2016 Sheriff Liddle – CMJA Conference – Georgetown, Guyana £3,637.78 – £3,637.78

26 – 27 Sept 2016 Lord Tyre – ENCJ Project Group Meeting – Rome £381.07 £104.93 £486.00

1 – 3 October 2016 Lady Dorrian – Opening Legal Year – Dublin £623.21 – £623.21

1 – 3 October 2016 Lord Doherty – Opening Legal Year – Dublin £623.21 £162.19 £785.40

3 – 14 October 2016 Sheriff L Drummond – FBIJCC Stage 2016 – Paris £3,185.32 £350.83 £3,536.15

16 – 21 October 2016 Sheriff O’Carroll – IAJ Conference 16 – 21 October 2016 – Mexico City £3,660.29 – £3,660.29

17 – 28 October 2016 Sheriff C Cunninghame – FBIJCC Stage 2016 – Bordeaux £1,899.73 £210.70 £2,110.43

20 – 22 November 2016 Lord Brodie – Bilateral between the European Court of Human Rights and the Senior Judiciary of Scotland – Strasbourg £740.14 £229.62 £969.76

20 – 22 November 2016 Lord Glennie – Bilateral between the European Court of Human Rights and the Senior Judiciary of Scotland – Strasbourg £817.23 – £817.23

20 – 22 November 2016 Lord Doherty – Bilateral between the European Court of Human Rights and the Senior Judiciary of Scotland – Strasbourg £817.23 £47.51 £864.74

20 – 22 November 2016 Lord Pentland –  Bilateral between the European Court of Human Rights and the Senior Judiciary of Scotland – Strasbourg £827.43 £82.13 £909.56

20 – 22 November 2016 Lady Scott – Bilateral between the European Court of Human Rights and the Senior Judiciary of Scotland – Strasbourg £817.23 – £817.23

21 November 2016 Lord Tyre – ENCJ Executive Board meeting – Brussels £366.87 £87.16 £454.03

24 – 25 November 2016 Sheriff D Corke – 4 Nations Public Guardian Conference – Dublin £361.32 – £361.32

24 – 25 November 2016 Sheriff F Reith QC – 4 Nations Public Guardian Conference – Dublin £363.48 £39.65 £403.13

24 – 25 November 2016 Sheriff A Mackie – 4 Nations Public Guardian Conference – Dublin £298.19 £8.40 £306.59

24 – 25 November 2016 Sheriff N Stewart – 4 Nations Public Guardian Conference – Dublin £336.90 £336.90

8 – 9 December 2016 Lord Tyre – Attending ENCJ Independence & Accountability Project Team Meeting – The Hague £441.97 £63.21 £505.18

11 – 12 December 2016 Sheriff Liddle – ENCJ – Project Group Meeting – Bratislava £285.36 £22.15 £307.51

26 – 28 January 2017 Lord Boyd – Attending ECHR Judicial Seminar, Principle of international Law – Strasbourg £497.40 £32.53 £529.93

12 – 14 February 2017 Lord Tyre – ENCJ Executive meeting – Brussels £428.74 £30.39 £459.13

12 – 14 March 2017 Sheriff Liddle – ENCJ Project team meeting – Ljubljana £383.69 £26.78 £410.47

15 – 25 March 2017 Lady Dorrian – Commonwealth Law Conference – Melbourne Australia £6,188.89 £6,188.89

16 – 17 March 2017 Lord Tyre – ENCJ, Project meeting – Vienna £301.98 £12.25 £314.23

26 – 28 March 2017 Lord President – Judges Forum, 60th Anniversary of the signatures of the Treaties of Rome – Luxembourg £32.14 £32.14

30 – 31 March 2017 Lord Tyre – ENCJ, Digital Justice Seminar – Amsterdam £132.94 £132.94

Total cost of trips: £42,860.72 Total Expenses claimed: £2,323.82 Grand Total of Judicial Overseas costs to March 2017: £43,354.91

GUIDANCE BY GILL – Former Lord President Brian Gill’s guidance on judicial overseas junkets:

After several spats between members of the judiciary who were keen to take overseas junkets to luxurious destinations & enjoy tours, hospitality & golf instead of attending law conferences on taxpayers cash, Lord Gill attempted to curtail demands of greedy judges on the public purse.

Guidance issued by Lord Gill in 2014 stated:

I have been reviewing the arrangements to control expenditure to meet attendance at conferences by the judiciary, especially where the conference is taking place outwith the United Kingdom. I have also been considering the arrangements for the authorisation of all other overseas travel to be paid from public funds. With immediate effect the following arrangements are to apply to future requests.

Requests for funding for attendance at conferences and for all other overseas travel should be sought only from the Judicial Office . No request for support to meet attendance at conferences, or other overseas travel should be made to any other part of the Scottish Court Service.

In all cases where funding is being sought I require a business case to be produced by the judicial office holder or the judicial representative body that is seeking funding. The business case does not need to be long, but it must:

(i) identify the nature of the conference;

(ii) the number of judicial office holders it is suggested should attend;

(iii) why that number is necessary if it is more than one;

(iv) the benefit either to those attending or to the judiciary more widely from attendance at the conference;

(v) the likely costs of attendance ; and

(vi) the likely impact on the efficient administration of business.

The business case should be sent to the Executive Director of the Judicial Office for Scotland, Stephen Humphreys. He will assess whether funds are available to meet the costs of attendance and if so pass the business case to me.

I will then consider all requests and respond directly to the judicial office holder. I will need a clear justification for any overseas travel. As a general rule it should only be necessary for one judicial office holder to attend a conference overseas. It will only be in exceptional cases that I am likely to consider it necessary for more than one person to attend.

Where support is provided to attend a conference a report is to be prepared and sent to the Executive Director within one month of the end of the conference. The report will be placed on the Judicial Hub and the Judicial website. It is important that as many of the judiciary as possible are able to benefit from the investment of public money in attending the conference.

Lord President Lord Gill, July 2014

Previous articles on the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund judicial overseas junkets can be found here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges.

 

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IT’S DUBLIN, M’LADY: FOI probe results in Judicial Office adding Lady Dorrian to Lord Carloway’s ‘research’ junket on Ireland’s criminal justice system

Court staff add second judge to Ireland judicial junket. THE SECOND most powerful judge in Scotland – Lady Dorrian – the first ever female judge serving as Lord Justice Clerk, has been added to a 2014 judicial junket to Dublin – in which court staff initially claimed was solely attended by Scotland’s current Lord President – Lord Carloway.

And, new details since released for the ‘fact finding’ judicial junket – also reveal Lord Carloway met two Irish senior judges in a Chinese restaurant – to discuss ‘efficiencies in the courts’.

The addition of Lady Dorrian to Lord Carloway’s ‘fact finding’ trip only came about after the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) became involved in a dispute over the determined efforts of the Judiciary of Scotland and Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) to conceal details, destinations and the costs of UK & judicial overseas travel junkets from Freedom of Information enquiries.

In October 2014, DOI reported that an investigation by the Information Commissioner received evidence court officials hurriedly switched the travel destinations of Scotland’s second most powerful judge – the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Carloway, after journalists queried an FOI disclosure, asking for further details of a journey.

Lord Carloway – who was at the time Lord Justice Clerk and has since been elevated to the top post of Lord President earning £222,862.00 a year, was listed in a 2014 FOI disclosure by the Scottish Court Service: Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 as having taken three taxpayer funded trips – a six day trip to Vancouver, Canada costing £5,820.16, a two day trip to Dijon, France, with a claimed cost of £59.15 and a two day trip initially listed as Evidence & Procedure Review Study Visit costing £232.93.

The Scottish Court Service was then contacted by journalists who asked officials to provide a destination of Lord Carloway’s Evidence & Procedure Review Study Visit. In response, a senior SCS official said “Lord Carloway attended the event in Bristol.”

When journalists again contacted the Scottish Court Service asking why one domestic UK trip had seemingly been disclosed when court officials claimed it was too expensive to publish the UK only trips, the same official replied “I queried this with the Judicial Office for Scotland who have asked me to pass on their apologies.  Lord Carloway actually attended the event in Dublin and not in Bristol.

The Judicial Office for Scotland ended further enquiries at the time with the statement “We have checked the information that we provided and we have nothing further to add.”

The switch of Lord Carloway’s destination during a trip taken in March 2014 – from Bristol to Dublin only came about after court staff realised they had previously claimed to journalists, and more recently to the Scottish Information Commissioner, the SCS did not hold data on judges trips inside the UK.

Since the probe by the Scottish Information Commissioner, new documents issued to journalists after a probe lasting several weeks finally revealed: “Lord Carloway and Lady Dorrian visited Dublin to research the Irish criminal justice system to inform the on-going SCS review of evidence and procedure in Scotland, and were accompanied by an SCS Director with lead responsibility for this review work. They flew from Edinburgh to Dublin on the evening of Monday 24 March, and returned on the evening of Wednesday 26 March. They stayed at the Ashling Hotel, Parkgate Street, Dublin on the nights of 24 and 25 March.”

The ‘omission’ of Lady Dorrian from initial documents released in 2014 was blamed by court staff on murky arrangements for judicial air travel which allowed judges to book air tickets at public expense at their own discretion.

However, claims by the Judicial Office that new travel rules introduced by former Lord President Lord Brian Gill put an end to judges helping themselves to tens of thousands of pounds of air flights and trips have since been proved wrong – after continuing investigations revealed further international air junkets, reported here: LORDING IT MORE OPENLY: Scotland’s obsessively secretive judiciary reveal overseas junkets.

The latest crop of jet set junkets for judges reinforce suspicions highly paid Scottish judges on up to £220K a year are spending more time in the air and abroad, than attending to their judicial duties in the courts.

Challenged on the switch of destinations and the addition of Lady Dorrian to Lord Carloway’s ‘fact finding’ trip, a spokesperson for the Judicial Office said: “I have now had the opportunity to look into this.  The error you have highlighted occurred because the booking was not made by the Judicial Office.  We have now amended our records.”

“As you are aware, the Lord President issued new guidance to all judiciary earlier this year in respect of international travel and attendance at conferences.  All requests for funding should be sought only from the Judicial Office.  This will help ensure such errors do not occur in the future.”

Asked to confirm which trip was not booked by the judicial office – Lady Dorrian or Lord Carloway (or both), a spokesperson for the Judicial Office said: “Both. To be clear‎ the costs of the trip (flights, hotel) for both Lady Dorrian and Lord Carloway did not come out of the Judicial Office budget. The costs associated with travel and subsistence do. Therefore we knew about Lord Carloway’s trip but incorrectly recorded that information.

A programme for the visit, issued after the addition of Lady Dorrian to the trip, reveals Lord Carloway met up with two senior Irish judges in a Chinese takeaway to discuss the efficiencies of courts.

An entry in the programme for Tuesday 25 March 2014 states: 7:30pm – Meeting with The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton and His Honour Judge Tony Hunt  to discuss  “The Working Group to Identify and Report on Efficiencies in the Criminal Justice System of the Courts” Venue: Good World Chinese Restaurant, 18 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2.

However, Lady Dorrian’s name does not appear anywhere in the issued documents for the trip to Dublin.

Evidence and Procedure Review – visit to Dublin, 25-26 March 2014 Programme Date: Tuesday 25thMarch 2014

Arrive to be met by Ms. Elisha D’Arcy, Protocol Officer, Courts Service Venue: Great Hall, Criminal Courts of Justice Parkgate Street, Dublin 8

Tour of Criminal Courts of Justice with Ms. Lisa Scott and Ms. Kelly Mackey, Judicial Researchers

Discussion with Ms. Kelly Mackey & Ms. Lisa Scott, Judicial Researchers working on analysis of relevant Legislation and Law Reform documents Venue: Court No. 13, 4 th Floor, Criminal Courts of Justice

Meeting with The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton, High Court, The Hon. Mr. Justice Patrick McCarthy, High Court, His Honour Judge Patrick McCartan, Circuit Court, Judge Patricia McNamara, District Court and Ms. Elisha D’Arcy to discuss, inter alia, case management, how the volume of cases is managed, any difficulties in ensuring cases are processed in good time – problems with “churn” in the system, with hearings having to be adjourned/continued etc Venue: Conference room, 9th Floor, Criminal Courts of Justice

Meeting with Mr. Noel Rubotham, Head of Reform and Development, Courts Service to discuss relevant initiatives in the area of criminal procedure reform, including pre-trial case management Venue: Conference room, 9 th Floor, Criminal Courts of Justice

Meeting with Ms. Geraldine Hurley, Principal Officer, Courts Service to discuss the practicalities of giving Video Link evidence and observe/demonstrate Video Link evidence procedure/facilities Venue: 9 th Floor Conference room, Criminal Courts of Justice

Observation of Central Criminal Court in session, The Hon. Mr. Justice Patrick McCarthy presiding Venue: Court No. 10, Criminal Courts of Justice

Observation of Circuit Criminal Court in session, His Honour Judge Patrick McCartan presiding Venue: Court No. 12, Criminal Courts of Justice

Observation of District Criminal Court in session, Judge Patricia McNamara presiding Venue: Court No. 2, Criminal Courts of Justice

Working Lunch hosted by: The Hon. Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, Chief Justice In attendance: The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton, The Hon. Mr. Justice Patrick McCarthy, His Honour Judge Patrick McCartan, Judge Patricia McNamara, Mr. Brendan Ryan, CEO, Courts Service, Registrar, Ms. Elisha D’Arcy Venue: Conference Room 9 thFloor, Criminal Courts of Justice

Depart for Children Court Observation of Children Court in session, Judge John O’Connor presiding Venue: Children Court, Smithfield, Dublin 7

Depart for Child Care/ Family Law Court Observation of Child Care Courts in session, Judge Brendan Toale and Judge Colin Daly and Her Honour Judge Rosemary Horgan, President of the District Court presiding Venue: Court No. 20, 40 and 49 Child Care Courts, Dolphin House, East Essex Street, Dublin 2

Observation of Family Law Courts in session, Judge Marie Quirke and Judge Deirdre Gearty presiding Venue: Court No. 41 and 47 Family Law Courts, Dolphin House, East Essex Street

16.00p.m. – 17.00p.m. Discussion on Child Care Court and Family Law Court with Her Honour Judge Rosemary Horgan, President of the District Court Judge Marie Quirke, Judge Brendan Toale, Judge Colin Daly and Judge Deirdre Gearty with particular emphasis on interviewing children and taking evidence from children Venue: 3rd Floor conference room, Dolphin House

19.30p.m. Meeting with The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton and His Honour Judge Tony Hunt to discuss “The Working Group to Identify and Report on Efficiencies in the Criminal Justice System of the Courts” Venue: Good World Chinese Restaurant, 18 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2.

Date: Wednesday 26thMarch 2014: 09.00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Meeting with Members of An Garda Siochana, led by Chief Superintendent Patrick Leahy, Dublin Metropolitan Region, North Central Division – Powerpoint Presentations

11.40a.m. Meeting with Ms. Clare Loftus, Director of Public Prosecutions, accompanied by Ms. Liz Howlin, Head of the Directing Division and Mr. Peter Mullan, Chief Prosecution Solicitor –
Venue: Office of the DPP, Infirmary Road, Dublin 7

13.00p.m. Working lunch with The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton, The Hon. Mr. Justice John Edwards, High Court, His Honour Judge Martin Nolan, Circuit Court, Judge John O’Connor, District Court and Ms. Elisha D’Arcy Venue: Conference Room 9thFloor, Criminal Courts of Justice

14. 00p. m. Meeting with Law Reform Commission Commissioners Ms. Finola Flanagan and Tom O’Malley, BL, Law Reform Commission – Venue: Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street, 5th floor (Room 503.6)

15.15p.m. Meeting with Mr. Jimmy Martin, Assistant Secretary, Criminal Law Reform Division, Department of Justice & Law Reform to discuss the Department’s planned legislative initiatives in this area in particular the development of a Criminal Procedure Bill dealing with certain pre-trial procedures, video link hearings and certain other matters. Venue: Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street, 5th floor (Room 503.6)

16.15 p.m. – 17.00p.m Meeting with Mr. Ken Murphy, Director General and Members of the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of Ireland, Shalom Binchy (Committee Chair), James MacGuill (former Committee Chair and former President of the Law Society), Dara Robinson (another former Committee Chair) and Robert Purcell Venue: Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street, 5th floor (Room 503.6)

Previous articles on the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund judicial overseas junkets can be found here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges.

 

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LORDING IT MORE OPENLY: Scotland’s obsessively secretive judiciary reveal overseas junkets – after media spotlight on judges’ international air travel circuit increases judicial transparency

Media interest results in judges revealing overseas trips. THE MOST powerful & unaccountable figures in Scotland’s justice system – The Judiciary –  will now regularly publish details of their frequent use of taxpayer funded overseas travel junkets.

The transparency victory comes after a three year Freedom of Information & media spotlight on judicial overseas travel junkets forced the Judiciary of Scotland to come clean on judges’ opulent use of public cash to fly around the globe to lavish locations and events officially described as ‘law conferences’.

Of the thirty one overseas travel junkets taken by Scottish judges in the latest year of figures covering from April 2015 to March 2016 – members of the judiciary racked up a further £22,605.92 worth of international trips funded by public cash – including £2,052.97 of expenses claimed by the travelling judges.

Overseas travel records now released by the Judicial Office for Scotland reveal Court of Session judge Lord Brailsford – enjoyed a £4,898.94 eight day taxpayer funded junket to Sydney Australia from 11 – 19 November 2015 – making Lord Brailsford the top overseas judicial junket claimant of the past twelve months.

Lord Brailsford – who regularly appears in judicial overseas junkets lists – was recently outed in published documents obtained from the Scottish Government – as the listed owner of the Laigh Hall – which forms part of Court of Session buildings located at Parliament House, Edinburgh.

The Laigh Hall was effectively swiped from public ownership by the Faculty of Advocates in the Parliament House titles scandal – which saw the City of Edinburgh Council lose public ownership of Scotland’s top court buildings to the Faculty of Advocates and the body which runs the courts – the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).

The overseas travel data also reveals Scotland’s former top judge – Lord Brian Gill and current Lord President Lord Carloway – as the two judges filing the largest expenses claims on top of the costs of overseas travel in the past year.

Lord Gill enjoyed a two day trip during the twilight days of his short, if stormy three year term as Scotland’s top judge – to the Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles – held in the tax haven of Jersey.

Figures reveal Lord Gill claimed £302.09 expenses on top of the £231.60  cost of travel to Jersey – taking the cost of his last ‘confirmed’ judicial overseas junket as top judge – to £533.69.

Known for previous overseas judicial trips taken at taxpayers expense – Lord Brian Gill travelled to Qatar in 2014 on a five day £2,800 taxpayer funded state visit – while dodging invitations to attend the Scottish Parliament to face scrutiny on his opposition to increased transparency of the judiciary.

And earlier this year, Lord Gill billed the Scottish Parliament a further £267.75 worth of expenses claims – after the former top judge travelled 1st class to Edinburgh in November 2015 – demanding MSPs drop a three year probe on proposals to create a register of judicial interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary.

Meanwhile Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) – who ascended to the top judicial post carrying the title of Lord President in January 2016 – claimed £352.51 expenses on top of the £650.47 cost of a judicial junket to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg during 24-26 January 2016 – bringing the total cost of Carloway’s latest taxpayer funded trip to £1,002.98.

Carloway – also well known on the judicial air miles junket set – previously took a £5,820.16 seven day trip costing taxpayers £5,820.16 to a law conference in Vancouver, Canada during 21 – 27 June 2014.

And, a two day group judges trip to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in late January – comprising Lord Carloway, Lord Braccadale, Lord Bannatyne, Lady Stacy, Lady Smith and Lady Paton – cost taxpayers a whopping £4413.23.

Full details of public cash funded overseas travel junkets by Scottish judges have previously been published by Diary of Injustice here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges in 2014-2015, Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 & Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2010-2013.

The latest transparency move by Scotland’s judiciary to reveal the secretive world of judges junkets and expenses claims comes after an earlier Freedom of Information campaign by DOI during 2009 –2010 resulted in the then Lord President – Lord Arthur Hamilton agreeing to publish regular disclosures on judicial expenses, featured in an article in 2010 here: Scots judges emerge from ‘Victorian veil’ as judiciary’s expenses claims set to be published online from November 2010 .

In response to a Freedom of Information request for information on the latest judicial overseas trips, the Judicial Office for Scotland confirmed the new policy of publication.

R. Gare, Policy Manager for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “The Judicial Office for Scotland now publishes information on overseas travel. Information relating to your request can be found on the Scottish Judiciary website. Further, I can confirm that no SCTS staff travelled with any of the members of the judiciary in relation to the trips contained within the table.”

Overseas travel of Scotland’s judiciary 2015-2016: Information released by the Judicial Office for Scotland to DOI, and now published on the Judiciary of Scotland’s website reveals the extent of overseas travel undertaken by Scotland’s judges in the past year:

9 -10 April 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Group meeting in Lisbon £540.31

16 – 17 April 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ – RECJ meeting of the Project team “Development of minimum judicial Standards” in Brussels £566.57

29 -31 May 2015 Lord Gill Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles in Jersey £533.69

2 – 6 June 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ AGM meeting in The Hague £408.68

3 – 5 June 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ General Assembly meeting in The Hague £443.36

9 – 14 June 2015 Lord Brodie FBIJCC meeting in Paris £663.48

10 – 13 June 2015 Sheriff McGowan FBIJCC meeting in Paris £562.82

10 – 14 June 2015 Sheriff Welsh FBIJCC meeting in Paris £719.72

10 – 14 June 2015 Sheriff M Neilson FBIJCC meeting in Paris £710.75

11 – 14 June 2015 Lord Eassie FBIJCC meeting in Paris £646.55

11 – 14 June 2015 Sheriff L Drummond FBIJCC meeting in Paris £970.92

18 – 20 June 2015 Lord Tyre ERA meeting in Luxembourg £375.24

June 2015 ENCJ Reimbursement -£975.10 -£975.10 August 2015 ERA Reimbursement -£364.77 -£364.77

13 – 18 September 2015 Sheriff R Dickson CMJA Conference in NZ – Wellington £1,161.26

12 – 19 September 2015 Sheriff Fletcher CMJA Conference in NZ – Wellington £1,545.28

24 – 25 September 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ Project meeting in Paris £660.97

24 – 25 September 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project meeting in Paris £983.10

27 – 29 September 2015 Lord Matthews ECJ meeting in Luxembourg £522.25

3 – 5 October 2015 Lord Doherty Opening of Legal Year in Dublin £584.90

4- 5 October 2015 Lady Stacey Opening of Legal Year in Dublin £281.37

11 – 19 November 2015 Lord Brailsford International Hague Network of Judges in Hong Kong and Commonwealth and Common Law International Family Justice Conference in Sydney £4,898.94

30 November – 1 Dec 2015 Sheriff Liddle ENCJ meeting project on Funding of the Judiciary in Brussels £557.90

3 – 4 December 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Meeting – Independence and Accountability in Brussels £508.36

24 – 26 January 2016 Lord Carloway European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £1,002.98

24 – 26 January 2016 Lady Paton European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £650.47

24 – 26 January 2016 Lady Smith European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £690.52

24 – 26 January 2016 Lord Bracadale European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £729.89

24 – 26 January2016 Lord Bannatyne European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £650.47 

24 – 26 January 2016 Lady Stacey  European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £688.90

18 – 19 February 2016 Lord President  Bilateral Meeting in Dublin £110.51

28 February – 1 March 2016 Sheriff Liddle  ENCJ Colloque meeting – Dublin £253.00

7 March 2016 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Group – Independence and Accountability in Brussels £322.63

Total: £20,552.95 £2,052.97 £22,605.92

Abbreviations: ENCJ – European Network of Councils for Judiciary, CMJA – Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, ECJ – European Court of Justice ERA – Academy of European law, FBIJCC – Franco -British – Irish Judicial Cooperation Committee Colloque

The decision in 2016  by the Judicial Office to publish judges overseas travel information and costs comes after several media investigations into the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund overseas trips.

In 2014, the Scottish Sun on Sunday newspaper investigated judicial overseas travel junkets, reporting:

 LORDING IT ALL OVER THE WORLD

Beaks Trips on Taxpayer

Exclusive : By Russell Findlay 17 August 2014 Scottish Sun

JET-SETTING judges spent £26,000 of taxpayers’ cash on overseas trips last year, a Scottish Sun on Sunday investigation can reveal.

Top beaks flew out to destinations including Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Qatar.

The most expensive was a £5,800 trip to Canada by Scotland’s second most senior judge, Lord Carloway. Lord Gill – who is the Lord President – also spent five days on a £2,800 trip to Doha, Qatar, where he gave speech on judicial ethics.

Our probe found he jetted to the desert state — criticised for its human rights abuses – after twice snubbing calls to appear in front of the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee just 800 yards from his office.

Committee member John Wilson MSP said: “During his speech in Qatar he said that he had much to learn from that country’s judicial system. But Qatar has a poor record on human rights, as identified by Amnesty International.”

Legal campaigner Peter Cherbi added: “Judges are supposed to sit in courts, not in jets.

“It’s hard to believe that Scotland and our judiciary can learn anything from Qatar, a country accused of funding war. mass murder and chaos throughout the Middle East.”

In the past year the Judicial Office for Scotland has paid for Lord Carloway — who earns £208.000 a year – to take part in law events in Vancouver. Canada, and Dijon. France.

It also forked out public money for Lord Armstrong, Lord Boyd and Lady Dorrian to meet other Euro pean judges on a three-day trip to Luxembourg.

Lord Eassie travelled to legal events in St Gallen, Switzerland, and Yalta, Ukraine.

And Lady Clark spent four days at an Anglo-Israeli conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, while Lord Hodge went to Paris.

Meanwhile four sheriffs — Wendy Anne Sheenan, Frank Crowe. Nikola Stewart and Thomas McCartney — attended a four day family law event in Ireland.

It took place at luxury Carton House hotel and spa in Co Kildare where the itinerary included a lack tie gala dinner and optional round of golf on the hotel’s course.

Last year Lord Gill — whose salary is £216,307 – also travelled to Jersey, while in the previous three years he went to Ireland, South Africa, Slovenia and Canada.

Last week he announced a clampdown on overseas travel by judges, sheriffs and JPs.

He will only allow judges to travel if they give a good reason to do so and they will also have to write a report about their trips.

The SNP’s Mr Wilson added: “Given the pressures on our courts, it’s welcome that Lord Gill is seeking to curtail future judicial travel and will hopefully lead by example.”

The Judicial Office for Scotland was asked to give details of Lord Gill’s itinerary for the rest of his Qatar trip and whether he regretted going after snubbing Holyrood.

A spokesman said they couldn’t help as the Lord President is on holiday.

The Sunday Mail newspaper also investigated judicial overseas junkets in 2015 – revealing three sheriffs spent £15,000 on an overseas junket to Zambia in Africa JUDGE JET: Sheriffs’ £15K tour of Africa adds to air miles racket of Scots judiciary – as top judges’ clampdown on judicial jet set junkets takes flight.

And a report in the Sunday Mail on June 2 2013 revealed Scottish judges spent over £83,000 on overseas travel junkets in three years – while top judge Lord Gill refused calls to appear before the Scottish Parliament to answer questions on the judiciary’s secretive financial interests & links to big business, banks & the professions.

Previous articles on the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund judicial overseas junkets can be found here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges.

 

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CRIME FLIES: Crown Office jet set junket racket – Files reveal Prosecutors spent £57K on international & domestic air travel as crooks deal plea bargains to dodge law & courts

Prosecutors swap court time for international jet travel. SCOTLAND’S Prosecutors based in Edinburgh at the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – are now spending as much time in the air jetting between international destinations than chasing some of Scotland’s biggest crooks, tax dodgers, gangsters & serial offenders.

Figures obtained by the media show the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland and his team of staff jetting off to 39 international destinations and choosing air travel over other modes of transport for 143 domestic UK flights – all funded by public cash.

Hong Kong, Mauritius, Taiwan South Africa, Australia, Malta, San Francisco, and New York are listed among the international destinations visited by Crown Office employees on the taxpayer air junket ticket.

The figures (Destination & number of flights) reveal: International flights 2012/13:  Albania  2, Amsterdam  10, Brussels  1, Budapest  1, Cape Town  1, Charles de Gaulle  2, Cologne/Bonn  1, Copenhagen  2, Frankfurt  1, Lisbon  2, Luxembourg  4, Malta  1, Pula  1, Rome Leonardo de Vinci  2, Washington Dulles Int  5, 2012/13 Total  36

International flights 2013/14:  Amsterdam  12, Basle  1, Brussels  1, Bucherest, Romania  2, Canberra  1, Charles de Gaulle  5, Hobart  3, Krakow  1, Luxembourg  3, Madrid  2, Taipei  1, Vilnius  1, Washington Dulles Int  1, Total  34

UK Domestic flights 2012/13: Aberdeen  2, Benbecula  2, Birmingham  1, Edinburgh  9, Glasgow  8, Inverness – Airport  2, Kirkwall  1, Lerwick, Shetland  1, London City  34, London Gatwick  7, London Heathrow  28, Manchester  2, Total  97.

UK Domestic flights 2013/14: Birmingham  4, Edinburgh  9, Glasgow  6, Inverness – Airport  4, Kirkwall  3, Lerwick, Shetland  14, London City  30, London Gatwick  9, London Heathrow  42, London Stansted  3, Stornoway  5, Total  131

The growing air junket habit at the Crown Office comes after the media exposed a bonus culture racket among Scots prosecutors – revealing Crown Office staff share bonus payoffs of more than £580,000 in just two years.

Yet, every year, the Edinburgh based Crown Office – which costs taxpayers a staggering £112.5 million every year – issues regular press releases claiming hard up prosecutors are busy chasing hundreds of criminal gangs and  thousands of unknown gangsters and their ‘professional’ advisers – who hardly ever see the inside of a court room.

Recently the Crown Office has come in for criticism after a number of high profile and expensive prosecution flops which allowed criminals to walk free after prosecutors failed to do their job.

And in a number of cases presented by the Crown Office as successes for justice – a deeper look into the facts of the prosecutions and their outcomes revealed plea bargains and  proceeds of crime seizures dwarfed by vast amounts of publicly funded legal aid paid to crooks.

Last week, BBC news reported a Perth drugs dealer had been allowed to keep £300K of his drugs profits – after high flying prosecutors cut a plea bargain deal.

The Crown Office and Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland have also been hit with criticism over their refusal to prosecute the driver of the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy which resulted in six ‘preventable’ deaths.

Another similar case where Prosecutors were criticised for a failure to act involved the deaths of two students, killed by a driver of a Range Rover in Glasgow in 2010. The Crown Office dropped their attempt to prosecute the driver in 2013. Both cases are now the subject of bids to begin private prosecutions.

The Scottish Sun reports:

CRIME FLY WITH ME: Taxpayers foot exotic trips bill 

Prosecutors’ £57K travel costs

Exclusive:by Russell Findlay Scottish Sun 03/01/2016

PROSECUTORS were blasted for splurging more than £57,000 of taxpayers’ cash last year alone flying staff across the globe.

Hong Kong, Mauritius, Taiwan and New York were among 15 exotic destinations visited by Crown Office employees.

And since 2012, they have taken off on a total of 109 international flights to places like South Africa, Australia and Malta.

Yesterday, Tory MSP Alex Johnstone slammed the foreign travel bill as “appalling”.

It comes as Finance Secretary John Swinney raised the Crown’s budget by £400,000 to £112.5million for this year, despite massive public spending cuts elsewhere.

Mr Johnstone said: “Hard-working Scots will be appalled to learn their cash is going on flying staff out to far-flung destinations.

“If it’s not to solve a crime, then they shouldn’t be going — there are plenty of conferences and training events in the UK.”

He added: “As the SNP are slashing budgets left, right and centre and local courts are closing, this does not represent good value.”

The Crown, led by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, racked up £29,504 on 39 international flights to meetings and conferences last year and £27,603 on 143 domestic trips.

The number of overseas flights has remained fairly steady over three years at 36, 34 then 39.

But domestic flights have increased sharply from 97 to 131, then 143 last year.

Amsterdam was the most common destination, with 30 trips since 2012. The Dutch city is a major travel hub and close to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Flights to Washington DC and Malta were in connection with the ongoing probe into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Scottish Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said: “As prosecution services are finding it hard to deliver justice across our shrinking court system, I hope the authorities can justify the costs.”

A Crown Office spokesman last night defended the outlay and insisted bosses “strive to provide the best value for the public purse”.

He added: “Prosecutors are required to travel abroad in connection with the investigation of cases, in the support of international co-operation and to secure the extradition of individuals who have committed serious crimes.

“It is essential to ensure that Scottish interests are represented at meetings and conferences, which may make decisions which have far reaching consequences for the police, courts and people of Scotland.

“It would be irresponsible not to ensure that representation.”

£26K SPLASHED ON JUDGES’ JAUNTS

by Russell Findlay

JUDGES sparked controversy last year after we revealed they spent £26,000 of taxpayers’ cash on overseas trips.

Top beaks flew out to destinations including Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Germany & France.

The most expensive jaunt was a £5,8000 visit to Canada by Lord Carloway, then Scotland’s No2 judge. Lord Gill, the Lord President also spent five days on a £2,800 trip to Doha, Qatar, where he gave a speech on judicial ethics.

It came after he twice snubbed calls to appear in front of Holyrood’s public petitions committee just 800 yards from his office.

Legal campaigner Peter Cherbi said: “Judges are supposed to sit in courts, not in jets.”

The Judicial Office for Scotland also forked out public money for Lord Armstrong, Lord Boyd and Lady Dorrian to meet other European judges on a three-day trip to Luxembourg.

Lord Eassie travelled to legal events in St Gallen, Switzerland, and Yalta, Ukraine. Lady Clark spent four days in Tel Aviv, Israel, while Lord Hodge went to Paris.

Full details of overseas trips undertaken by Scottish judges are available here: Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 & Judicial overseas trips & expenses claims 2010-2013

 

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JUDGE JET: Sheriffs’ £15K tour of Africa adds to air miles racket of Scots judiciary – as top judges’ clampdown on judicial jet set junkets takes flight

Judges’ use of overseas junkets in the dock. A CLAMPDOWN on judicial jet set junkets announced by Scotland’s top judge last October has failed to curb the ever spiralling jet set habits of the judiciary – it can be revealed.

Figures released by the Judicial Office in response to a Freedom of Information request – report the costs of Overseas travel of Scottish judges in 2014-2015 has in fact – increased – from the previous year (2013-2014) – which saw Scots judges take lavish 5 day judicial junkets to international destinations including middle eastern dictatorships.

And the frequency of flights & journeys suggest Scotland’s judiciary are still clocking up air miles regardless of spending cuts across other public services – often at brutal expense & little gain to the justice system.

The latest list of overseas travel – which the Judicial Office claim is necessary for judges to share their understanding of the law and court processes – also includes a five day junket for three Sheriffs who travelled to Africa.

The taxpayer funded £15,000 junket to Zambia – paid for Sheriff Gordon Liddle, Sheriff Lindsay Wood and Sheriff Michael Fletcher to attend a five-day conference hosted by the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association. The event was held at a hotel by the Victoria Falls and ended with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.

Speeches at the five day event included “building public confidence through judicial accountability” and “identifying and eliminating corruption in the legal system”.

The latest revelations of judges taking taxpayer funded trips to ‘law conferences’ & river tours emerged after last year’s investigation by the Scottish Sun newspaper which revealed Scotland’s top judges spent £26,000 on thirty three international trips funded by taxpayers – including journeys to destinations such as Russia, Israel, Switzerland,Germany, France, Bulgaria, Lithuania.

The now retired top judge Lord Gill – who has yet to respond to a third invitation requesting his appearance at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee  to answer questions from msps on judges undeclared wealth & interests – also jetted off on a five day state visit to Qatar during 2014.

Last April, Gill (73) gave a sixteen page speech on ‘judicial ethics’ in the Gulf Emirate of Qatar – a country which stands accused of multiple breaches of human rights, using slave labour and funding terrorism & war.

Asked for further details of Lord Gill’s itinerary in Qatar, a spokesperson for the Judiciary of Scotland said no information could be provided. The Judicial Office claimed there were no photographs or video footage of Lord Gill’s trip to Qatar, even though the trip was paid for by the taxpayer.

In response to media scrutiny of judicial air junkets and mentions in the Scottish Parliament, top judge Brian Gill announced a crackdown on overseas trips made by judges.

The Lord President issued an edict on judicial jet junkets, setting out new rules stating judges would have to make a written business case for clocking up more air miles via taxpayers cash.

However, as total figures for this year reveal, the cost of flying the highly secretive, wealthy & elderly Scottish judges around the globe at taxpayers expense surpassed last year’s £30K figures – and this is only for trips admitted to by the Judicial Office and the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

Overseas travel of Scottish judges in 2014-2015:

Listed by: Date, Judicial Office Holder, Reason for Trip & Destination, Cost, Expenses Claimed, Total Cost.
15-18 May 2014  Lord Eassie EAJ Conference in Larnaca   £731.53   £0.00  £731.53
10-13 June 2014  Lord Tyre  ENCJ General Assembly of the ENCJ in Rome  £984.00  £110.90  £1,094.90
10-13 June 2014  Sheriff Normand  ENCJ General Assembly of the ENCJ in Rome  £945.16  £65.00  £1,010.16
21-28 June 2014  Lord Carloway  ISCRCL Conference Vancouver in Canada  £1,885.28   £39.00  £1,924.28
21-28 June 2014  Sheriff McFadyen  ISCRCL Conference Vancouver in Canada  £1,408.31 £0.00  £1,408.31
Jan 14 – June 14  ENCJ Reimbursement -£150.10  -£150.10
Jan 14 – June 14  ENCJ Reimbursement  -£298.00  -£298.00
07 – 11 September 2014  Sheriff M Fletcher CMJA Council meeting and Conference in Zambia £4,624.74  £290.53  £4,915.27
07 – 11 September 2014  Sheriff G Liddle CMJA Council meeting and Conference in Zambia  £4,810.77  £45.78  £4,856.55
07 – 11 September 2014  Sheriff L Wood  CMJA Council meeting and Conference in Zambia  £4,998.30  £119.68  £5,117.98
18-19 September 2014  Lord Tyre  ENCJ project group meeting in Madrid  £336.74  £95.39  £432.13
21 – 23 September 2014  Lord Turnbull  Judicial and Academic visit in Luxembourg  £384.30    £0.00    £384.30
21 – 23 September 2014  Lord Burns Judicial and Academic visit in Luxembourg  £384.00  £0.00  £384.00
13 October 2014  Lord Tyre ENCJ project group meeting – The Hague, Netherlands  £468.01 £82.88  £550.89
16 – 17 October 2014  Lord Brailsford  Judges seminar in Antwerp  £782.27  £0.00  £782.27
17 – 19 November 2014  Lady Rae  Judges Forum in Luxembourg  £270.74  £0.00  £270.74
17 – 19 November 2014  Lord Bannatyne  Judges Forum in Luxembourg  £299.97  £0.00    £299.97
1-2 December 2014  Lord Tyre  ENCJ Project Independence & Accountability 1-2 December 2014- Brussels  £488.04  £70.25  £558.29
08 December 2014  Sheriff Liddle  ENCJ Project group meeting in Dublin £183.19  £0.00  £183.19
Sept 14 – Dec 14  ENCJ Reimbursement -£284.54  -£284.54
25-26 January 2015  Lord Tyre ENCJ Expert Group meeting in Brussels  £487.25  £75.50  £562.75
29 – 31 January 2015  Lord Turnbull ECHR- Strasbourg on behalf of the LP  £847.90  £0.00  £847.90
11-13 February 2015  Lord Tyre  ENCJ Project Group meeting in Bucharest  £466.25  £56.09  £522.34
25-26 February 2015  Sheriff Liddle ENCJ project group meeting in Madrid  £135.25  £0.00  £135.25
23-24 March 2015  Sheriff G Liddle  ENCJ project group Committee Meeting in Amsterdam  £264.18    £7.40    £271.58
09 – 10 April 2015  Lord Tyre ENCJ – Project Group meeting, Lisbon  £452.87  £87.44  £540.31
16 – 17 April 2015  Sheriff G Liddle  ENCJ Project group Meeting in Brussels  £367.52  £0.00  £367.52

Total  for Trips: £26,273.93,  Expenses: £1,145.84,  Total Cost: £27,419.77

Dates, Traveller, Reason for Trip & Destination, Hotel & flight costs, Expenses Claimed
25-28 August 2014  Lord Carloway  Evidence Review Group meeting in Hague & Oslo  *298.26
25-28 August 2014  Lady Dorrian  Evidence Review Group meeting in Hague & Oslo
25-28 August 2014  Sheriff Principal Scott Evidence Review Group meeting in Hague & Oslo
25-28 August 2014  Eric McQueen  SCTS Staff  Evidence Review Group meeting in Hague & Oslo   ** £412.96
25-28 August 2014  Tim Barraclough  SCTS Staff  Evidence Review Group meeting in Hague & Oslo  *** £146.60
5 people    £3,712.37  The Hague – Hotel meeting room fees  £146.50
Subtotals: £3,858.87,   Expenses:£857.82,  TOTAL: £4,716.69

The latest round of judicial jet set junkets was reported in the Sunday Mail newspaper:

Judges’ £15,000 Zambia Junket
Fury over sheriffs’ bill
By Mark Aitken, 09 August 2015 Sunday Mail

More than £15,000 of taxpayers’ cash was spent on three sheriffs going on a junket to Africa – despite a clampdown on overseas trips.

Scotland’s judges and sheriffs spent more than £27,000 on overseas trips in 2014-2015.

Destinations included Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, Vancouver and Lisbon.

The most expensive trip was £14,890 for sheriffs Gordon Liddle, Lindsay Wood and Michael Fletcher to attend a five-day conference in Zambia hosted by the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association.

Speeches included “building public confidence through judicial accountability” and “identifying and eliminating corruption in the legal system”.

The event was held at a hotel by the Victoria Falls and ended with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.

Before retiring this year as Scotland’s top judge, Lord gill ordered a clampdown on overseas trips by sheriffs and judges.

But legal campaigner Peter Cherbi said: “The list of judges on the jet set circuit at taxpayers’ expense does not seem to have decreased”.

The Judicial Office for Scotland’s spokesman said: “Conferences provide judges with opportunities to share knowledge and good practice with practitioners in over jurisdictions.

Judges wishing to attend conferences must first apply for funding and make a business case.

“We hold a budget for conferences and overseas business travel and  guidance exists to ensure that costs are controlled and maximum benefit is gained”

JUDICIAL PROMISE TO CUT BACK ON JETS TAKES FLIGHT:

Late last summer, Lord Brian Gill issued a travel advisory in an attempt to clamp down on judges demanding taxpayer cash to fund jet junkets.

The edict issued by Gill stated that costs of travel, numbers of judges attending, an explanation of the wider benefit of the trip to the judicial system and details of what may be learned – must feature in documents required to be written up by judges and submitted to the Lord President for approval.

Attendance at conferences and authorisation of overseas travel From the Lord President:

I have been reviewing the arrangements to control expenditure to meet attendance at conferences by the judiciary, especially where the conference is taking place outwith the United Kingdom. I have also been considering the arrangements for the authorisation of all other overseas travel to be paid from public funds. With immediate effect the following arrangements are to apply to future requests.

Requests for funding for attendance at conferences and for all other overseas travel should be sought only from the Judicial Office [1] . No request for support to meet attendance at conferences, or other overseas travel should be made to any other part of the Scottish Court Service.

In all cases where funding is being sought I require a business case to be produced by the judicial office holder or the judicial representative body that is seeking funding. The business case does not need to be long, but it must:

(i) identify the nature of the conference;

(ii) the number of judicial office holders it is suggested should attend;

(iii) why that number is necessary if it is more than one;

(iv) the benefit either to those attending or to the judiciary more widely from attendance at the conference;

(v) the likely costs of attendance [2]; and

(vi) the likely impact on the efficient administration of business.

The business case should be sent to the Executive Director of the Judicial Office for Scotland, Stephen Humphreys. He will assess whether funds are available to meet the costs of attendance and if so pass the business case to me.

I will then consider all requests and respond directly to the judicial office holder. I will need a clear justification for any overseas travel. As a general rule it should only be necessary for one judicial office holder to attend a conference overseas. It will only be in exceptional cases that I am likely to consider it necessary for more than one person to attend.

Where support is provided to attend a conference a report is to be prepared and sent to the Executive Director within one month of the end of the conference. The report will be placed on the Judicial Hub and the Judicial website. It is important that as many of the judiciary as possible are able to benefit from the investment of public money in attending the conference.

[1] In respect of attendance at events by Sheriffs, the Sheriffs Association will continue to consider the need for attendance by sheriffs at conferences before preparing the business case and seeking funding. The Association undertakes this activity on behalf of all sheriffs and it considers applications equally from both its members and non-members. If a sheriff wishes to attend a conference he or she should in the first instance contact the Secretary to the Sheriffs’ Association. I am grateful to the Association for undertaking this function.

[2] When considering the costs of attendance at a conference, Judicial Office Holders should consult the Judicial Office for an estimate of the likely travel and accommodation costs, if required. Travel and subsistence rules apply to all travel whether inside or outside the UK.

Now,  a year on from the Lord President’s travel guidance – the evidence suggests Lord Gill’s move to make judges more prudent with public cash for travel junkets – has clearly failed.

And – suspiciously – the Judicial Office for Scotland and Scottish Court Service refused to reveal any details of hundreds of taxpayer funded trips taken by Scottish judges around the UK.

When further enquiries were made regarding domestic UK destinations of Scottish judges, staff at the Scottish Court Service switched destinations of Scotland’s second most powerful judge – Lord Carloway from Bristol in England, to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland –  in an attempt to avoid having to disclose the information on UK judicial travel via Freedom of Information legislation.

Full details of trips undertaken by Scottish judges were previously published here: LORD JET SET: Investigation reveals judiciary’s international travel junkets spree & LORD FLY-BYE: Scotland’s courts in the slow lane as judges prefer law conferences, business & ‘diplomatic’ trips to life on the bench

 

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LORD NO-FLY: Globetrotting top judge takes control of air miles, tells judiciary to write plea for jet travel after media investigations on overseas junkets

Top judge – I would like to take the jet because … SCOTLAND’S top judge, the Lord President & Lord Justice General Brian Gill has signalled his ire over recent media exposes on his judicial colleagues use of publicly funded overseas jet travel with the issuing of an edict requiring all judges to seek permission from his own office before embarking on future international travel junkets.

The document, finally released in a Freedom of Information request after weeks of delays by the Judicial Office for Scotland, reveals Lord Gill – himself no stranger to the travel circuit after a now-not-so-secret six day state visit to Qatar – is to require his judicial colleagues to write up a short story on why they feel they need to take a taxpayer funded trip abroad instead of carrying judicial duties in Scotland’s overstretched courts.

Costs, numbers of judges attending, an explanation of the wider benefit of the trip to the judicial system and details of what may be learned must feature in any essay now required to be written up by all members of Scotland’s judiciary if they want to fly off into the sunset to law conferences & business meetings – all of which are mostly held at posh venues including golf courses, saunas and gala dress balls, followed by tours around museums, and off the books meetings at the personal haunts of the world’s rich, powerful elite.

The clampdown over overseas trips by Scotland’s judiciary appears to have been sparked after investigations by the Scottish media into the jet set lifestyle of Scotland’s secretive judiciary.

Reports first appearing in the Sunday Mail newspaper during June 2013, and more recently an investigation by the Scottish Sun – which included references to Lord Gill’s state visit to Qatar – sparked concerns Scots judges have lost sight of their station in court, instead appearing to prefer the jet set lifestyle to hearing what some judges refer to as “boring mundane cases” in Scotland’s courts.

From the Lord President: Attendance at conferences and authorisation of overseas travel

I have been reviewing the arrangements to control expenditure to meet attendance at conferences by the judiciary, especially where the conference is taking place outwith the United Kingdom. I have also been considering the arrangements for the authorisation of all other overseas travel to be paid from public funds. With immediate effect the following arrangements are to apply to future requests.

Requests for funding for attendance at conferences and for all other overseas travel should be sought only from the Judicial Office [1] . No request for support to meet attendance at conferences, or other overseas travel should be made to any other part of the Scottish Court Service.

In all cases where funding is being sought I require a business case to be produced by the judicial office holder or the judicial representative body that is seeking funding. The business case does not need to be long, but it must:

(i) identify the nature of the conference;

(ii) the number of judicial office holders it is suggested should attend;

(iii) why that number is necessary if it is more than one;

(iv) the benefit either to those attending or to the judiciary more widely from attendance at the conference;

(v) the likely costs of attendance [2]; and

(vi) the likely impact on the efficient administration of business.

The business case should be sent to the Executive Director of the Judicial Office for Scotland, Stephen Humphreys. He will assess whether funds are available to meet the costs of attendance and if so pass the business case to me.

I will then consider all requests and respond directly to the judicial office holder. I will need a clear justification for any overseas travel. As a general rule it should only be necessary for one judicial office holder to attend a conference overseas. It will only be in exceptional cases that I am likely to consider it necessary for more than one person to attend.

Where support is provided to attend a conference a report is to be prepared and sent to the Executive Director within one month of the end of the conference. The report will be placed on the Judicial Hub and the Judicial website. It is important that as many of the judiciary as possible are able to benefit from the investment of public money in attending the conference.

[1] In respect of attendance at events by Sheriffs, the Sheriffs Association will continue to consider the need for attendance by sheriffs at conferences before preparing the business case and seeking funding. The Association undertakes this activity on behalf of all sheriffs and it considers applications equally from both its members and non-members. If a sheriff wishes to attend a conference he or she should in the first instance contact the Secretary to the Sheriffs’ Association. I am grateful to the Association for undertaking this function.

[2] When considering the costs of attendance at a conference, Judicial Office Holders should consult the Judicial Office for an estimate of the likely travel and accommodation costs, if required. Travel and subsistence rules apply to all travel whether inside or outside the UK.

While the clampdown on overseas trips is a welcome move by the Lord President, the Judicial Office for Scotland and Scottish Court Service are currently REFUSING to reveal any details of hundreds of trips taken by Scottish judges around the UK.

When enquiries were made regarding domestic UK destinations of Scottish judges, staff at the Scottish Court Service switched destinations of Scotland’s second most powerful judge – Lord Carloway from Bristol in England, to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland –  in an attempt to avoid having to disclose the information on UK judicial travel via Freedom of Information legislation.

Full details of trips undertaken by Scottish judges were previously published by Diary of Injustice here: Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 & Judicial trips & extra expenses claims 2010-2013

 

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STOP SECRETS: Scottish Court Service staff switched travel destinations of Lord Justice Clerk from UK to Ireland in bid to avoid Freedom of Information row

Court staff switched details of Lord Carloway visit  AN INVESTIGATION by the Scottish Information Commissioner into false & misleading data released by the Scottish Court Service has received evidence court officials hurriedly switched the travel destinations of Scotland’s second most powerful judge – the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Carloway, after journalists queried an FOI disclosure, asking for further details of a journey.

The switch of Lord Carloway’s destination during a trip taken in March 2014 – from Bristol – a city within the UK, to Dublin – capital of the Republic of Ireland, only came about after court staff realised they had previously claimed to journalists, and more recently to the Scottish Information Commissioner, the SCS did not hold data on judges trips inside the UK.

Staff at the Scottish Court Service maintained that to find the information on UK only travel – for the past year, the work would cost over £600, arguing the SCS were therefore under no obligation to disclose the data which included destinations and costs of the taxpayer funded trips of judges around Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Lord Justice Clerk Lord Carloway, the deputy head of Scotland’s justice system – who earns £207,730 a year, was listed in papers released by the Scottish Court Service: Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 as having taken three taxpayer funded trips in the past year – a six day trip to Vancouver, Canada costing £5,820.16, a two day trip to Dijon, France, with a claimed cost of £59.15 and a two day trip initially listed as Evidence & Procedure Review Study Visit costing £232.93.

The Scottish Court Service was then contacted by journalists who asked officials to provide a destination of Lord Carloway’s Evidence & Procedure Review Study Visit. In response, a senior SCS official said “Lord Carloway attended the event in Bristol.”

When journalists again contacted the Scottish Court Service asking why one domestic UK trip had seemingly been disclosed when court officials claimed it was too expensive to publish the UK only trips, the same official replied “I queried this with the Judicial Office for Scotland who have asked me to pass on their apologies.  Lord Carloway actually attended the event in Dublin and not in Bristol.  It appears to be a miss-communication on their part.”

The Judicial Office for Scotland also became involved in attempts to set the FOI record straight, however an email from the Judicial Office concluded “we have checked the information that we provided and we have nothing further to add.”

Lord Carloway’s travels and the journeys of other Scottish judges including a State visit by Scotland’s top judge – Lord Gill – to Qatar, were featured in papers disclosed by the SCS and published here : LORD JET SET: Scotland’s top judge Lord Gill takes 5 day STATE VISIT to Qatar as investigation reveals judiciary’s international travel junkets spree.

Judicial Air Miles at taxpayers expense. Curiously, a further five trips to destinations in the Republic of Ireland – undertaken by Lord Brailsford, Sheriff Wendy Anne Sheehan, Sheriff Frank Crowe, Sheriff Nicola Stewart, and Sheriff Thomas McCartney to the Four Jurisdictions Family Lawyers Conference, also had no destination listed in the papers published by the Scottish Court Service in response to the FOI request.

The family law conference – where the group of judges stayed for several days took place at luxury Carton House hotel and spa in Co Kildare where the itinerary included a black tie gala dinner and optional round of golf on the hotel’s course.

Now, it can be revealed the misleading information provided by the Scottish Court Service on Lord Carloway’s trip along with other erroneous claims relating to judges trips, has been under investigation since early August by officials based at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s office in St Andrews, Fife.

A submission provided by a journalist to SIC officials investigating the case states: “The feeling I am left with, as any reasonable person would be left with, is that the SCS tried to conceal information which rightly should be disclosed under FOI or in any case, should be in the public domain so members of the public can see for themselves the significant expenditures of public funds on members of the judiciary who travel round the UK and the world.

Information is already published on judicial travel & expenses claims on the Judiciary of Scotland’s website, it cannot be much of an effort to add the actual destination to what is already published so why the refusal to hand over the judiciary’s UK travel information.

The effort the SCS has expended on this matter, together with arguments against disclosure, errors, correcting them etc could well have been put to better use by being honest in the first place and disclosing the information sought on what is after all, a small judiciary with a limited number of courts and duties. After all, the SCS with their huge annual budget, have also just spent about £60 million on repairing the Court of Session & Parliament House – and they cant even get an FOI right or accurate details on the travels of their top judges ?”

Speaking to Diary of Injustice this morning, a legal insider said: “The conduct of those involved appears to indicate the destinations to Ireland were deliberately withheld by the Scottish Court Service or the Judicial Office because of the proximity of Ireland to the United Kingdom. It would not be unreasonable to expect disclosure of UK travel destinations given the SCS already collects data of judicial trips to Ireland.”

A decision in the investigation is expected to be published in due course by the Scottish Information Commissioner, Rosemary Agnew.

PROFILE: LORD CARLOWAY

Lord Carloway was appointed a Judge in February 2000 and was appointed to the Second Division of the Inner House in August 2008. He is a graduate of Edinburgh University (LLB Hons) and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1977. He served as an Advocate Depute from 1986 to 1989 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. From 1994 until his appointment as a Judge he was Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates.

He is an assistant editor of ‘Green’s Litigation Styles’ and contributed the chapters on ‘Court of Session Practice’ to the Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia and ‘Expenses’ in Court of Session Practice. Lord Carloway was the joint editor of ‘Parliament House Portraits: the Art Collection of the Faculty of Advocates’ and is a former president of the Scottish Arts Club.

In response to the case of Cadder v HM Advocate and its implications in Scotland, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill appointed Lord Carloway to undertake a now widely known review of Corroboration – a long held safeguard against miscarriage of justice in Scots law where evidence in a criminal trial is required from two separate sources for a conviction.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and the Scottish Government had embarked on a policy to abolish the safeguard from Scots law in an effort to ensure the Crown Office obtained more convictions – even when the evidence was not there or sloppy casework by prosecutors ended up in failed criminal trials.

Lord Carloway’s report agreed with Mr MacAskill & Crown Office campaigners that corroboration should be removed, however all other remaining judges including Scotland’s top judge the Lord President Lord Gill rightly opposed the removal of corroboration. The full Carloway Review can be read online here: Carloway Review Report & Recommendations 2011 along with the Executive Summary and Lord Carloway’s statement

 

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