Hang in there

SOME OF THE WORLD’S LAWYERS aren’t having such a great week. Wednesday morning saw a “billionaire” reality TV star and businessman elected President of the USA, defeating the Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State and lawyer Hillary Clinton. Not content with their astonishing victory, Trump’s supporters wanted more, with the campaign chant “Lock her up!” ringing out around the hall. Whether President Trump will indeed put Clinton “in jail” as promised during the second presidential debate is just one of the sub-plots yet to play out of this extraordinary result. Elections for the Supreme Court, put on hold during the campaign, will doubtless provide interesting viewing. The lawyer-president model has been rejected in favour of a candidate who has never held public office. Twitter users pointed out The Simpsons had predicted a President Trump back in 2000, whilst others suggested the 2020 President will be Kayne West, following the rapper’s earlier announcement at the MTV awards show that, “I’ve decided to run for President”. The New York Times editorial argued “he has shown himself to be temperamentally unfit to lead a diverse nation of 320 million people”, whilst Vanity Fair had some sage advice for its readers: “Hang in there today”.

MANY US JOURNALISTS likened the result to a “US Brexit”. The week in the UK began with criticism of the UK press for headlines such as “Enemy of the People” following the High Court’s decision that Theresa May must secure parliamentary approval before invoking Article 50. Three senior judges were criticised by several newspapers as “out of touch” and accused of pursuing personal agendas in relation to the decision. The legal profession heavily criticised both the press coverage and the failure of the Lord Chancellor Liz Truss to make any form of statement in support of the judges. 

ON TUESDAY NICOLA STURGEON announced that Scotland’s Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC is to lodge a formal application at the Supreme Court to intervene against the UK government as it seeks to overturn the original ruling. On Wednesday Wolffe wrote it was “vital” the UK remains a member of the European criminal justice agencies after Brexit, ahead of his meeting with senior lawyers in Brussels.

NO JUDGE HAS HAD SUCH A ROCKY RIDE with the press and politicians in recent times as Dame Lowell Goddard, former head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales. This week represented a new low, with Goddard branded a “disgrace” by Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, after the New Zealand former high court judge’s refusal to answer questions (even by video link) about her resignation. Instead, Goddard accused the government of failing to defend her after accusations she had a troubling record of making racist and derogatory remarks. MPs are now considering whether they can compel Goddard to give evidence to the committee if she ever returns to the UK.

ON FRIDAY at 11am everyone at the Signet Library will gather around the round table in the Lower Library, overlooked by the war memorial, to pay their respects for Remembrance Day.

THAT SAME DAY in the evening the WS Society’s Annual Dinner will take place, with guests from the legal, business political, cultural and charitable sectors enjoying the flagship occasion. This year’s event has a special focus on the “Auld Alliance”. The dinner in 2015 took place just as news of the Paris terrorist attack broke, and the society is marking that one year anniversary with a theme of the rich history of friendship between Scotland and France. Amongst the society’s guests will be the French Consul General and the guest speaker will be Phillipe Auclair, the French journalist. Deputy Keeper of the Signet Caroline Docherty and Keeper of the Signet Lord Mackay of Clashfern will both speak about the shared history between the two nations and the place of institutions like the WS Society. Both Writers to the Signet and guests will doubtless appreciate the chance to reflect on a momentous week in modern life surrounded by the timeless splendour of the Upper Library at the Signet Library. The tricolour will fly above the building to mark the occasion.

— “Writer”

Writer's Week is not intended to represent the views of the WS Society or its members.