Your revelations (29 July) concerning the gift for incompetence displayed by some of Scotland’s sheriffs and judges will not disturb the “settled will” of the legal fraternity to the effect that our legal system is envied and admired throughout the known world.
The laity, however, should be alarmed by the fact that judicial incompetence is not confined to the Sheriff Court and the lower realms of the High Court.
Incompetence thrived throughout the whole process of the Cadder appeals: a coterie of “top” judges in the High Court of Justiciary dismissed Peter Cadder’s contention that his human rights had been breached by the failure of the state to provide timeous access to a lawyer following his arrest.
But for the subsequent intervention of the Supreme Court, the incompetence of Scotland’s “top” judges would have prevailed and the state’s power to breach the human rights of suspects would still be a prominent feature of Scotland’s legal landscape.
Your report confirms that judicial incompetence makes more than a rare appearance in Scotland’s courts and it thereby suggests that if a “fit for purpose” rule was imposed on the Scottish judiciary, a police escort would be required to accompany a cavalcade of distressed sheriffs and judges on their way to the nearest Jobcentre for an interview regarding an unintended change of career.