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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TRIBUNAL INTERESTS: Calls for wealthy, well connected interests & professions who dominate tribunals & appeals system to be brought into line with transparency & declarations in published register of interests

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/10/tribunal-interests-calls-for-wealthy.html

This article also contains a study of a DWP Tribunal and wealthy tribunal members whose combined undeclared assets & interests total in the millions of pounds.

AMID an ongoing media probe into the undeclared, and significant interests of individuals and professional groups who dominate public tribunals, a call has been made for all tribunal members to declare and register their interests.

The manner in which tribunals are created and governed in Scotland, is a familiar model of professionals within the same groups and spheres of influence - awarding jobs to colleagues, the favoured, and vested interests.

A no expenses spared approach for tribunal members who tow the line is often the case, enhanced with office accommodation such as the new tribunals centre being created in Glasgow at 3 Atlantic Quay, a high-quality office development close to the River Clyde in the centre of the city. #Tribunal #UK #MinistryofJustice #hermajestyscourtservice #scottishcourtsandtribunalsservice #judiciaryofscotland #ScottishGovernment #media #registerofinterests #Scotland #Glasgow #dwp #judge #judiciary #recusal #ScottishParliament #Edinburgh #lawsocietyofscotland #Law #transparency #judicialappointments #england #wales
KEEN TO TALK: Advocate General with criminal conviction for firearms offence promotes ‘UK Legal Services are best’ campaign in Singapore - in effort to attract Asian customers to Brexit-hit UK legal market

A GOVERNMENT minister with a conviction for a firearms offence is currently in Singapore on a taxpayer funded bash - promoting a UK Legal Services are great campaign in the hope of attracting Asian customers to the UK’s dwindling legal services sector and courts.

Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/10/keen-to-talk-advocate-general-with.html

Lord Keen – real name Richard Sanderson Keen - who joined the Lords on 8 June 2015 and was appointed Advocate General for Scotland – was in Singapore to promote the UK legal industry in a social media & twitter #LegalServicesAreGREAT campaign to promote the UK as a hub of legal excellence.

However, the same Lord Keen was convicted of a firearms related offence in March 2017 and was fined £1,000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Advocate General for Scotland Richard Keen QC pleaded guilty – by letter - to breaching section two of the Firearms Act 1968 by ‘failing to secure a shotgun’. The weapon - a Stephen Grant 12 Gauge shotgun - was found by Police investigating a break-in – outside its required storage area and was in a position to have been made use of, should the need have arisen – observed one firearms expert.

The #LegalServicesAreGREAT  campaign, hosted at the UK High Commission and other venues in Singapore – which has now moved on to Australia - brings together lobby groups such as the Law Society of England & Wales, the Law Society of Scotland, a host of legal firms, and so-called ‘independent’ legal regulators – the Legal Ombudsman, Bar Council and others.

#legalservicesaregreat #UK #Law #LawSociety #LawSocietyofScotland #MinistryofJustice #LordKeen #Australia #Singapore #lawyer #London #Scotland #FacultyofAdvocates #uksupremecourt #judge #judiciary #justice #solicitor #legalservices #accesstojustice #firearms #conviction
LEGAL REGULATION PROBE: Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee seek views on replacing Scotland’s ‘lawyer-lawyer’ regulation - with 'UK style' fully independent regulation of solicitors & legal services 
Read more here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/10/legal-regulation-probe-holyroods-public.html .
 TEN YEARS after the contentious passage of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 - which saw the creation of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) as the lawyer-lawyer led regulator of legal services - MSPs are to seek views on creating a fully independent non-lawyer regulator of Scots legal services.
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Two petitions calling for a complete reform of legal services regulation in Scotland have been debated by members of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.
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MSPs have now decided to call for views on bringing Scotland into line with the rest of the UK – where a much greater independent level of legal regulation exists compared to the current Law Society of Scotland & SLCC pro-lawyer regulation model.
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Give your own views on regulation of lawyers in Scotland to MSPs here petitions@parliament.scot
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#Justice #Law #Scotland #ScottishGovernment #ScottishParliament #Holyrood #Edinburgh #Scotland #Judge #Judiciary #Lawyer #Solicitor #SelfRegulation #Regulation #LawSocietyofScotland #LawSociety #BarStandardsBoard #LegalOmbudsman #ScottishLegalComplaintsCommission #ConsumerProtection #Consumer #Media #LegalServices #MinistryofJustice #FacultyofAdvocates #Petition #PublicPetitionsCommittee #Holyrood
DECLARE THE CROWN: Secrecy block on Crown Office Register of Interests - after fears info will reveal crooked staff, dodgy business dealings, prosecutors links to judiciary, criminals, drugs dealers and dodgy law firms

Read More here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/09/declare-crown-secrecy-block-on-crown.html

AN INVESTIGATION has revealed Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) are blocking the publication of a staff register of interests – over fears it will reveal close relationships between prosecutors & judges, suspended solicitors, staff with criminal convictions including drugs crimes, and links to organised crime and sectarian behaviour.

The secret COPFS register of interests only received public acknowledgement of its existence – after the Scottish Information Commissioner became involved over refusals by Scotland’s top law officers to publish the information similarly disclosed in other registers of interest held by public bodies – including Police.

The issue came to light when journalists examined discussions between the Crown Office and the Scottish Parliament over a call for the Lord Advocate to submit evidence on Crown Office employees register of interests. #CrownOfficeandProcuratorFiscalService #COPFS #CrownOffice #Edinburgh #ScottishGovernment #PoliceScotland #Judiciary #Judge #Law #Crime #Prosecutor #Scotland #RegisterofInterests #Drugs #Transparency #Police #LawEnforcement #LordAdvocate #FacultyofAdvocates #LawSocietyofScotland #FreedomofInformation #foi #media #journalism #press
Why the UK Supreme Court needs a Register of Judicial Interests: 
https://www.supremecourt.uk/about/justices-interests-and-expenses.html

Prior to the creation of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest court in the UK was the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. The members of the Committee were Lords of Appeal in Ordinary appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876. Although those appointments gave them full voting and other rights in the House of Lords, the Law Lords had for some years voluntarily excluded themselves from participating in the legislative work of the House. Notwithstanding that, they were bound by the rules of the House and provided entries for the House of Lords Register of Interests.

On the creation of the Supreme Court the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary became Justices of the Supreme Court. . As such, they are treated as Peers on leave of absence; and do not have entries in the House of Lords Register of Interests. Historical information remains accessible via the House of Lords website.

Against this background the Justices have decided that it would not be appropriate or indeed feasible for them to have a comprehensive Register of Interests, as it would be impossible for them to identify all the interests, which might conceivably arise, in any future case that came before them.

Read more about a call to create a Register of Interests for all UK judges, including Scotland, England Wales & Northern Ireland here:
https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2017/08/judicial-register-calls-for-all-uk.html

A full debate in the Scottish Parliament's main chamber with cross party support for the creation of a register of judicial interests for Scotland's judges can be found here: https://petercherbi.blogspot.com/2014/11/debating-judges-cross-party-support-for.html
 #UKSupremeCourt #UKSC #Judge #Judiciary #UK #Scotland #England #LadyHale #LordNeuberger #Court #JudiciaryofScotland #JudgesScotland #MinistryofJustice #London #Edinburgh #Justice #ScottishGovernment #Media #Transparency #RegisterofJudicialInterests #Recusal #RegisterofInterests #declaration #ScottishParliament #Petition #Journalist #Government #Holyrood #MSP #MP
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