Judges’ register

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Last week the petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament opened a letter from Lord Gill, Lord President of the Court of Session and discovered that he had (for the second time) rejected a request to appear before that committee (he did appear before the justice committee this week) and explain his opposition to a register of judges’ interests.

Such a register is arguably crucial if judges’ are to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

A seepage of a judge’s personal interests into his ­judicial domain reflects an inherent threat to the integrity of the legal system. Lord Gill, in his statement, averred that “such a register may have the unintended consequence of eroding public confidence in the judiciary”.

In my view, Lord Gill’s ­refusal to appear before the petitions’ committee is arguably (and clearly unintentionally) doing more to “erode public confidence in the ­judiciary” than any ­“register of interests” ever could.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street

Edinburgh