Peter Cherbi

Peter Cherbi Follow

Journalist & Law blogger reporting on crime, justice, law, legal affairs. politics, the courts & judiciary.

http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/

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COPS & LAWYERS: Concerns on Public Bodies Legal Fees spending as figures reveal Scottish Police Authority fork out over £1m in legal fees, Police Scotland spend at least £1.3 million on external lawyers

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/08/cops-lawyers-concerns-on-public-bodies.html

SCOTLAND’S single national Police service – Police Scotland is spending millions of pounds of public cash on external law firms, advocates & QCs over and above the significant costs of it’s own in-house legal teams.

The single national Police service for Scotland has admitted paying at least £1,316,819 to external solicitors, QCs, advocates and the courts over a three year period - over and above costs for in-house legal teams.

The largest beneficiaries of public cash from Police Scotland are Clyde & Co (formerly Simpson & Marwick) who were paid £361,801.91.

However, while that firm was still Simpson & Marwick prior to its merger with Clyde & Co, they earned £284,914.15, giving total earnings since January 2014, of £646,716.06.

Other big-earning firms from Police Scotland’s public cash splurge on major law firms were Morton Fraser (£278,069.60) and Ledingham Chalmers (£103,906.08). #PoliceScotland #ScottishPoliceAuthority #ScottishGovernment #FreedomofInformation #FOI Transparency #LawSocietyofScotland #Lawyer #Solicitor #Legalfees #ScottishParliament #Police #FacultyofAdvocates #ScottishInformation Commissioner #Journalist #Media #Journalism #Transparency #Law #Crime #Scotland #Edinburgh #UK #AuditScotland
JUDICIAL REGISTER: Calls for all UK judges including UK Supreme Court, and Tribunals to declare links to business, wealth, professional & other interests in published registers of interests 
Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/08/judicial-register-calls-for-all-uk.html 
AS THE Scottish Parliament continues an investigation into proposals calling for members of the Judiciary of Scotland to declare their interests, a call has been made to roll out a publicly available judicial register for all judges & tribunals all across the UK. 
Calls to bring all UK judges, including top judges based at the UK Supreme Court, and all tribunal members into line with judicial transparency proposals currently being considered in Scotland - would require those who sit in judgement to declare all interests, professional & personal links, wealth, property and other interests, in a register of interests, similar to disclosures made by politicians and others in public life. 
The move comes after a recent development where Scotland’s top judge conceded to calls for full transparency on judicial recusals, reported last week here. 
Attempts by Scotland’s judiciary to become more transparent and open up the workings of Scotland’s courts and judiciary to the public, have come in response to MSPs consideration of judicial transparency proposals contained in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary. #Judiciary #UKSupremeCourt #ScottishParliament #Judge #Law #Politics #Scotland #UK #London #ScottishGovernment #Government #LadyHale #LordNeuberger #LordCarloway #Edinburgh #ParliamentHouse #RegisterofJudicialInterests #Court #JudiciaryofScotland #JudgesScotland #MinistryofJustice #Journalist #Media #Transparency #royalcourtsofjustice #attorney #supremecourt
RECUSALS JUST GOT REAL: Judicial Office concedes to reforms for Judicial Recusals Register, full case details where judges stand down from court hearings to be entered after media & FOI probe success

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/08/recusals-just-got-real-judicial-office.html

SCOTLAND’S top Judge - Lord President Lord Carloway - has conceded to calls to publish full details of cases in the Register of Judicial Recusals – a publicly available register which records  instances where judges step aside in cases due to conflicts of interest.

The improvements to the register of recusals, agreed after lengthy exchanges between the Head of Governance of the Judiciary of Scotland & journalists - acknowledge the woeful lack of detail previously entered on cases, where little was given away about the case subject, litigants, points of law involved or even whether judges had refused to recuse themselves after being asked to do so.

Soon, members of the public, court users and legal representatives will be able to find out much more about why judges have stood aside in cases, the identity (where appropriate) of legal cases, litigants, case reference numbers and legal representatives – which all appear in court opinions published online by the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service (SCTS). #LordCarloway #Judiciary #JudiciaryofScotland #Scotland #Edinburgh #Recusal #ConflictofInterest #Media #FreedomofInformation #FOI #Law #Judge #Politics #UKSupremeCourt #JudgesScotland #MinistryofJustice #Justice #Transparency #LordPresident ScottishGovernment #TheNational #RegisterofInterests #RegisterofRecusals #UK #Tribunal #Transparency #Journalism #Journalist #CourtofSession #ParliamentHouse #UKSC
READ THE SHRED: Scottish Government request destruction of FOI papers - Files reveal Ministers silence on judicial complaints & civil servants attempts to exclude case histories from Judicial Investigator’s annual reports

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/07/read-shred-scottish-government-request.html

FILES RELEASED by the Scottish Government reveal Scotland’s Judicial Complaints Reviewer (JCR) took an undisclosed decision in 2016 not to publish annual reports on complaints about alleged judicial misconduct, while civil servants agreed further annual reports could be watered down.

The documents - obtained under the Freedom of Information act reveal a three year silence on annual reporting of complaints about the judiciary by Gillian Thompson OBE, who currently serves as Scotland’s Judicial Complaints Reviewer until August 31 2017.

Emails from the Scottish Government to the JCR also reveal a civil servant in the Justice Department told Ms Thompson she could water down the length of reports on her work, and did not need to include examples of cases – which had been a hallmark of previous annual reports published by Scotland’s first JCR – Moi Ali.

And, key passages of the documents provoked a storm in the media after now redacted paragraphs revealed Ms Thompson had wrongly claimed her predecessor was the source of media articles in relation to the role of the JCR – when in fact the articles reporting on a lack of annual reports from the Judicial Complaints Reviewer had been down to good journalism. #ScottishGovernment #JudicialComplaintsReviewer #ScottishParliament #JudiciaryofScotland #LordCarloway #Judge #Law #Politics #Scotland #Edinburgh #Holyrood #ParliamentHouse #Journalism #Media #FreedomofInformation #Transparency #Judiciary #Journalist #FOI #Investigation #Parliament #GillianThompsonOBE
REGISTER TO JUDGE: Lord Carloway criticised after he blasts Parliament probe on judicial transparency - Top judge says register of judges’ interests should only be created if judiciary discover scandal or corruption within their own ranks

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/06/register-to-judge-lord-carloway.html

Watch video footage of Lord Carloway's evidence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L33BZAu6L0Y

SCOTLAND’S top judge has come in for sharp criticism after telling MSPs he is against judicial transparency and the creation of a register of judges’ interests - unless scandal or corruption is discovered by the judiciary within their own ranks.

Thursday, June 29th 2017, Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) appeared before members of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee, where in his evidence, the judge blasted transparency, court users, litigants the press, public, the internet and even social media - as reasons judges must be exempt from declaring their interests.

Carloway - who earns over £220,000 a year as Scotland’s ‘top judge’ - even declared to MSPs that creating a register of interests for judges would deter recruitment of ‘talented’ lawyers

Carloway’s stuttering performance was brought to a swift end after detailed lines of questions from Alex Neil MSP saw Scotland’s top judge bounce from subject to subject, unable to offer a single clear reason as to why judges should be treated any differently from others in public life.

#uksupremecourt #ScottishParliament #Edinburgh #Scotland #ScottishGovernment #Holyrood #Judiciary #Justice #Law #Politics #Transparency #Court #Judge #Judiciary #RegisterofJudicialInterests #Judge #SNP #ParliamentHouse #Parliament #accesstojustice #LordCarloway #courtofsession #media #journalist #ministryofjustice #lawsociety
RECUSALS UNLIMITED: Doubts over credibility of register of judges’ recusals - as Judicial Office admit court clerks failed to add details of senior judges recusals – then silently altered records a year later

AN INVESTIGATION into the content of a Register of Judicial Recusals- maintained by the Judiciary of Scotland - has revealed court clerks concealed details relating to at least one recusal of a senior judge – and then secretly altered records a year later – and only after journalists made enquiries.

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/06/recusals-unlimited-doubts-over.html

The chance discovery of one such unlisted recusal – by Lord Bracadale (real name Alistair Campbell QC) in an unidentified case during 2016 – came as journalists studied volumes of newly released court papers showing failures in the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service (SCTS) - who manage the Register of Judicial Recusals for publication by the Judiciary of Scotland.

However, when staff of the Judicial Office were confronted about the omission and asked why information relating to Lord Bracadale recusing from a case was not made public – it took nearly three weeks for spokesperson for the Judicial Office to come up with an explanation, claiming a “clerical error” had occurred, and that the information had since been applied to the register. #ScottishParliament #JudiciaryofScotland #ParliamentHouse #CourtofSession #Court #Judge #LordBracadale #Judiciary #ScottishGovernment #Law #Crime #Justice #Judge #Recusal #RegisterofInterests #Scotland #Edinburgh #Holyrood #Transparency #Media #Journalism #Investigation #Transparency Parliament #MinistryofJustice #JudiciaryUK #JudgesScotland #PublicPetitions #Petition #MSP #LordCarloway #LordPresident #RegisterofJudicialrecusals
COURT BANKING, M’LORD: ‘Unworkable’ register of judicial interests reveals top judges’ financial links to world of big money, insurance giants, vested interests & banks fined billions in plea deals with financial regulators

Read more here: http://petercherbi.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/court-banking-mlord-unworkable-register.html

A REGISTER of judicial interests – described by Scotland’s former Lord President Lord Brian Gill & First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as being “unworkable” – has revealed financial links between some of Scotland’s top judges & banks fined by regulators for rigging international exchange rates, failure to report to regulators, and operating in cartels like “the mafia”. The substantial declarations of shareholdings reveal judicial links to financial institutions such as JP Morgan – fined over foreign exchange & Libor rate rigging, Goldman Sachs – fined for reporting violations by US authorities & Barclays – who were fined a record £284.4 million by British regulators and around £1.5bn in total as part of a UK and US settlement with authorities over the foreign exchange trading scandal.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee are currently investigating a plan to create a register of judicial interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary. 
If the judicial transparency proposal becomes reality, all members of Scotland’s judiciary - instead of just the elite few who sit on the board of the Scottish Courts - will be required to declare their vast and varied interests from membership of charities to undeclared paid work, property ownership, financial wealth and connections to big business & the legal profession among a host of details many in public life are already required to enter in declarations of interests. #Judiciary #Scotland #Judge #Law #Court #Courts #JudiciaryofScotland #UKSC #UKSupremeCourt #MinistryofJustice #ScottishGovernment #Edinburgh #Finance #Money #Interests #RegisterofInterests #Transparency #Recusal #Declarations #Media #Journalist #Accountability #ConflictofInterest #Business #ParliamentHouse #Holyrood #ScottishCourtsandTribunalsService
SECRETS, M’LORD: The QC, the footballer and the Lord Advocate who blocked a rape prosecution - and was later appointed as a judge by Lord President Lord Carloway

Read More here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/06/secrets-mlord-qc-footballer-and-lord.html

As a journalist covering law, legal affairs, crime & politics, the events of this case give the public a good insight into how flawed and failing our political, legal and judicial system in Scotland really is.

A LORD ADVOCATE who aligned himself with rape awareness groups & Scotland’s current top judge to demand politicians remove a miscarriage of justice safeguard from the legal system – blocked the prosecution of a footballer for rape after contact with the accused’s QC.

Former Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland was in charge of the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) as Scotland’s top prosecutor at the time allegations of rape were raised against footballer David Goodwillie by victim Denise Clair in January 2011.

As Lord Advocate, Mulholland held the last say in authorising a prosecution or deciding to block further action.

The Crown Office decided not to prosecute David Goodwillie and his co- accused, David Robertson – a decision which occurred after contact between Paul McBride QC & the Crown Office – and according to sources - Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland. #LordAdvocate #CrownOffice #Crime #Football #DavidGoodwillie #FrankMulholland #CrownOfficeandProcuratorFiscalService #UKSupremeCourt #JudgesScotland #Judiciary #JudiciaryofScotland #Court #Courts #Law #Justice #Judge #Edinburgh #Scotland #JudicialAppointments #MinistryofJustice #ScottishGovernment #ScottishCourtsandTribunalsService #UKSC #LordCarloway #JudicialAppointmentsBoardforScotland #Prosecutor #QC #FacultyofAdvocates #PaulMcBride #LawSocietyofScotland
PARLIAMENT ACCOUNTS: How Scotland’s judiciary & courts blew £58 million of taxpayers cash on ‘improvements’ to the Court of Session & Parliament House - and £2.8m in sundries!

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2016/11/parliament-accounts-how-scotlands.html

SCOTLAND’S top judges and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) don't do detail when it comes to accounting for the £58 million raid on taxpayers cash – to fund ‘improvements’ to Parliament House - seat of the Court of Session.

According to documents released by the SCTS in response to a Freedom of Information request, the staggering £57,517,062.82 splurge on the well known, if rotting, bleak and life ending Parliament House gives little detail to public eyes on exactly what work took place.

In one accounts category, a grand total of £2,780,612.72 of public cash falls under the heading of “Sundries under £100K” – reminiscent of an entry from the ledger of Al Capone’s not so fabled book keeper in the days of “The Untouchables”. #Judge #Judiciary #JudiciaryofScotland #ScottishGovernment #ParliamentHouse #TaxpayersCash #FreedomofInformation #Edinburgh #Scotland #Court #Courts #CourtofSession #Transparency #Journalism #Media #Press #ScottishCourtsandTribunalsService #Building #Justice #Law
MY COURT NOT YOURS: Scotland’s top judge slams politicians and government as “insidious” in law conference attack on transparency & calls to reform secretive judiciary & vested legal interests 
Read more here: http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-court-not-yours-scotlands-top-judge.html 
When the Chief judge in Scotland - a country which pitches itself to the rest of the world as a "modern democracy" with a "world respected legal system" calls transparency "insidious" and makes light of protesters being hung in the centre of Edinburgh, it is plain to see there are serious problems in the attitudes of those who administer the law in our courts. 
Was this a one off? Actually, No.It turns out this is the view of Scotland's judiciary towards the rest of society they reign over. 
Not one other member of the judiciary spoke out against Lord Gill's condemnation of everything democratic, the public, and media. 
What kicked this off? An investigation into judicial interests, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks showing up on a live screen at the Commonwealth Law Conference held in Glasgow - which contributed to Lord Gill leading a walkout of judges including Lord Neuberger of the UK Supreme Court. 
All because judges in Scotland face closer scrutiny over their massive secret wealth, links to big business and undisclosed conflicts of interest in court, they have now turned their back on transparency and the public, despite earning salaries of up to £230,000 ($325,000) a year and massive £1m+ ($2m) pensions after being in a judicial job for life sometimes spanning decades without any term limits. 
The same top judge Lord Brian Gill resigned  a few weeks after media coverage of this speech. #Scotland #Judge #Glasgow #Judiciary #LordGill #JudiciaryofScotland #ScottishGovernment #Court #Courts #Law #WikiLeaks #JulianAssange #CommonwealthLawConference #UK #ScottishParliament #JudgesScotland #LordPresident #LordNeuberger #UKSC #UKSupremeCourt #ParliamentHouse #Glasgow #Edinburgh #Holyrood #Transparency #Journalism #Media #HeartofMidlothian
Today is a good day to vote! so get out there, vote! and use your vote wisely, for Scotland! #Scotland #Edinburgh #GeneralElection #GE2017 #Politics #Vote #UK #Saltire #Westminster #ScottishGovernment #SNP #ScottishNationalParty #ScottishLabour #GreenParty #Greens #LiberalDemocrats
Question: Why are the most powerful people in the world - Judges - the unelected judiciary - so against transparency when it comes to their vast wealth and interests, and by action, so against applying the same laws of transparency to themselves which they impose on the rest of society. 
In Scotland, there is a five year investigation at the Scottish Parliament on creating a register of judges' interests so members of the public, the media and court users can inspect the interests of judges who create the law, impose the law and whom we expect must uphold the law. 
Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2016/11/judicial-register-evidence-lodged-by.html 
Read the history of this investigation and proposal to create a register of interests for judges here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/search/label/Register%20of%20Interests%20for%20Judges 
The proposal to bring greater transparency to Scotland’s judiciary calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world. 
The Scottish Parliament have also published evidence and hearings in relation to this petition, which you can view here http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/gettinginvolved/petitions/registerofjudicialinterests

#ScottishParliament #Judiciary #Law #Crime #Scotland #Judge #Transparency #Journalism #Media #Scotland #Edinburgh #ScottishGovernment #Government #Crime #CriminalLaw #CivilLaw #Register #RegisterofInterestsforJudges #RegisterofInterests #Court #Courts #Politics #Accountability #UKSC #uksupremecourt