Rules of law

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A few days ago, in defence of the Scottish judiciary’s opposition to a register of judges’ interests, a Judicial Office for Scotland spokeswoman said: “There is no register for gifts and hospitality for the same reason there is no register of interests.

Judicial office-holders are bound by their oath and subject to the guidance contained in the “Principles and Ethics”.

It would appear that by 
taking the oath, a process of ascendancy occurs whereby judges, unlike the rest of us, bask in a cloud of permanently untainted integrity – ergo there is no need for a
register of judges’ interests.

The purification process that impliedly inheres in the very essence of the oath apparently imbues judges with an almost divine persona which ensures that if ever a judge is confronted with a case involving one of 
his “interests”, he would not have to recuse himself because (thanks to the oath) he is swathed in a cloud of unimpeachable integrity – a place where the possibility of bias is forever banished.

An annual Nobel prize awaits the genius who can dissect the mysterious qualities of the oath, qualities that appear to deify our judges – and therefore justify their haughty refusal to register their interests.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street