Unjust immunity

IN THE context of the Scottish Government’s proposal to abolish corroboration, Allan Massie asks: “Why must we make Scots law more English?” (Perspective, 27 November).

In civil law there is one very clear reason why Scots law should be made more English: the affront to justice reflected in the immunity from suit conferred on lawyers by a Court of Session judge in 1876. This immunity covers all the work lawyers perform in court and the work closely connected with the preparation for that performance.

This means that lawyers who perform negligently cannot be sued by the clients who suffer as a result. That is not the case in England. There, if lawyers breach their duty of care in court, they are liable under the law of professional negligence.

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In conclusion, Mr Massie alluded to the views of the SNP justice minister, Kenny MacAskill: “In his zeal for modernisation, he would make Scots law less Scots.” In common with the legal establishment however, Mr MacAskill has no intention of “modernising” Scots law, by abolishing immunity.  His silence on that point is as deafening as that deployed by the legal establishment – ergo, they are in alignment in defence of an affront to justice.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street