THE Scottish judiciary has criticized government proposals to reform the regulation of the legal profession as an unwarranted and unacceptable interference in the rule of law (“Judges label legal reform plans a ‘clear weapon’ to the rule of law”, The Herald, January 12). They say political regulation of the legal profession is simply not appropriate in all circumstances. These proposals have, however, been in place for several years and one wonders why the judiciary has offered this wisdom at this late stage after the close of public consultation.
Could the judges have been influenced by the degree of respect shown by the Scottish Government to the legal profession and the legal process in general following the events of about a year ago? It was then that the Scottish government was forced to publish the advice it had received from its own legal adviser. This notice stated that the Scottish Government had provided false and misleading information during a dispute with a former Prime Minister. The consequence of the discovery of this false and misleading evidence was that the Scottish Government had to immediately concede the legal proceedings at a cost to the taxpayer of approximately £1million. It might be expected that the Scottish government would be better served by the judicial process in the future if the regulation of the legal profession were placed under government control and the judiciary were excluded from this function. This would allow the Scottish Government to better provide evidence in future litigation aimed at getting the justice it wanted, rather than the justice it deserved.
The public comment period on these measures is now over, but most people were probably unaware of them anyway and those interested in the future of Scottish justice should now ask the Scottish Government to reject the proposed reforms and the Scottish Parliament to reject if the Scottish Government sought to legislate on them.
Michael Sheridan, Glasgow.
* MAY I sincerely wish Lord Carloway every success in opposing the Scottish Government’s plans to reform (political expression to interfere in/control) the Scottish legal system.
I will not waste your space or my time listing the disasters that have been inflicted on other key institutions, all of which are essential to the well-being of a free society, by a set of politicians bent on controlling central, thus weakening the democratic process.
Dan Edgar, Rothesay.
MAKE OUR ROADS LESS HOSTILE
OF all the complaints Lisella Hutton (Letters, Jan. 13) makes about cyclists, only not wearing high visibility isn’t already illegal. What we lack is the application.
I would, however, point out that the majority of cyclists on pavement that I see tend to be slow and cautious around pedestrians – probably because the cyclist will fare just as badly, if not worse, than the pedestrian in a collision. Which doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying, but given the behavior of some drivers, I can understand that they feel safer on the road.
As for the hi-viz, what is it for on the sidewalk? For cyclists on the road, various studies have shown that high visibility makes no difference to driver behavior, although good lights are an absolute requirement at night. Similarly, the effectiveness of bicycle helmets in the event of an accident is questionable at best. A famous study even showed that drivers passed helmeted cyclists closer than they passed cyclists without a helmet.
The answer to the problem is to make the roads less hostile with lower speed limits and more separated cycling facilities – which might even get some people out of their cars and onto their bikes.
Boyd Johnston, Paisley.
SYMPATHY FOR ANDREW’S FAMILY
There has been much speculation regarding the implications of recent developments regarding the civil lawsuit filed against Prince Andrew by Virginia Giuffre in the United States (“Duke stripped of military roles and loses use of HRH”, The Herald, January 14 ). This speculation has covered in detail aspects such as the long-term effects on the future stability of the monarchy, the loss of status suffered by the prince, the way in which the defense of the litigation can be supported financially, the difficulties associated with the fact that the prince is still looking to settle the action given his repeated statements asserting his innocence and his disastrous misjudgment in the first place by getting so close to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Faced with this barrage of publicity, one wonders from a human, rather than a state or institutional point of view: what is the Queen, as an elderly mother, really doing with this furor surrounding Prince Andrew, often referred to as his favorite son, especially in his platinum jubilee year? And how are his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, trying to cope with this tsunami of terrible news engulfing their father? It is unlikely that we will get answers to these questions. However, I’m sure many will be sympathetic to their positions.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
* As Burns Night approaches – and in relation to the Duke of York disposing of his HRH – it seems appropriate to recall the poem A Man’s a Man for A’ That. He has the memorable line regarding titles that “rank is but the hallmark of Guinea”.
Prince Charles, we hear, speaks of a “lite monarchy”. Hopefully this will include the reduction of all medieval titles.
Andrew McLuskey, Ashford, Middlesex.
I DO NOT blame the Duchess of Cambridge, or Maggie Ritchie et al, for pockets, once reserved for men, in their skirts and dresses (“Women of the world (and Kate) demand equal pockets”, The Herald, January 14 ) .
Indeed, I am glad they are spared the treacherous zipper that replaced the prized fly buttonhole device in the 1950s, the danger of which is well known to anyone who has worked in A&E.
Just a word of warning from PJ O’ Rourke, American satirist and political commentator: “The only really firm rule about cross-dressing is that neither sex should ever wear anything they haven’t yet figured out how to wear. go to the toilet. ”
R Russell Smith, Largs.