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.