Banks should face Scots law

YOUR main headline (News, 1 July) was exactly right; dishonest bankers should face trial, and if found guilty should face jail.

I am less happy with the situation referred to in your sub-heading “RBS is next bank facing fines over scam”. This is indeed the situation, but the costs will be borne by the taxpayers, who own most of RBS, and not by the bankers.

It is in the interests of the UK, and of Scotland, that our banking sector is radically reformed, and that the guilty are punished and good governance installed. To this end it is vital that the EU and the USA be excluded from usurping ­jurisdiction.

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The EU used the UK government bail-out as an excuse to impose draconian penalties on UK banks, but no such penalties on Eurozone banks. They sought to impose a transaction tax which would have been paid to Europe, transferring tens of billions from the UK economy to rescue the ­Eurozone banks. Their pose as ­honest brokers is false.

American jurisdiction is just as bad. If US courts are allowed to try these cases and find the institutions guilty (and someone is guilty), half the population of the US will pile in with compensation claims, as they did over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. American courts notoriously favour American claimants.

Meantime, the UK government wants as quick a ­disposal as possible, to get on with reform, and the opposition wants the issues settled before a judge. Happily, there is a solution which could help in all these aspects. There are claims of misconduct against banks in the EU, in the USA and elsewhere. Each jurisdiction should deal with its own cases.

Since RBS is headquartered in Scotland, Lloyds has a ­major Scottish base, and any other UK bank involved will have operations in Scotland, the Scottish authorities should lose no time in claiming prime jurisdiction over all UK cases. As has been pointed out, Scots law, based on common law, can deal with such cases, whereas English statute-based law has a difficulty since this problem was not envisaged when their statutes were enacted.

John Smart, Lossiemouth