Compulsory Training for Judges

The justice committee of the Scottish Parliament has called for the training of Judges to be compulsory in its stage 1 report on The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill. This Bill aims to (for the first time) guarantee the independence of the Scottish judiciary in statute.

Scotland’s mot senior judge The Lord President (Lord Hamilton) recently said that “encouragement” was the best way to get judges to attend training courses.

The Bill will make the Lord President the head of the judiciary. The duties of the Lord President would include, representing the judiciary’s views to ministers and parliament, the welfare, training and guidance of office holders, setting up a conduct scheme and directing sheriffs in administrative matters – although not decisions on cases.

The Bill has been met with the approval of Lord Hamilton who claimed many of the responsibilities could be delegated to other judges and administrative mares would only take up two days a month – leaving plenty of time for him to sit in court.

The Bill would bring the administration of the courts under one body, headed up by the Lord President. This would include the District Courts, which are currently administered by Local Authorities.

A long overdue piece of legislation.

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