Lawyers’ perk

Alistair Bonnington’s withering criticism (your report, 31 August)of the damage inflicted on Scots law by the antics of Holyrood seems valid. He alluded to two “gold standards” of Scots law that are about to be lost: corroboration and the ban on the disclosure of previous convictions.

However, there is one “gold standard” of Scots law that is not about to go: immunity from suit regarding how lawyers conduct a case in court and the work done in preparation for that appearance in court. This “gold standard” perk was established in the case of Batchelor v Pattison (Court of Session, 1876) and it has been with us ever since. Although the House of Lords abolished a similar immunity regarding England and Wales, the judiciary in Scotland (with the blessing of the legal fraternity) upheld the immunity here. Consequently, if lawyers in Scotland conduct a case in court by combining advanced ineptitude with sophisticated numptitude (not an impossibility), they cannot be held accountable when their clients lose their case because they are swathed in the protection of immunity from suit.

It is submitted that the retention of this “gold standard” perk has done (and will continue to do) more harm to the “reputation” of Scots law than the imminent corrosion of the “gold standards” alluded to by Mr Bonnington.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street