THIS WEEK has been overshadowed by the terrorist attack at Westminster. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed the “sense of solidarity” felt in Scotland for the people of London. The referendum debate at Holyrood was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, and will not be resumed until Tuesday next week. On Thursday morning the first minister joined MSPs for a minutes silence at the Edinburgh parliament to remember the victims of the attack.
ELSEWHERE in Edinburgh, much excitement and some disruption has been caused by the filming of a certain Hollywood blockbuster. Waverley Station, Cockburn Street and the Royal Mile have been just some of the locations affected, with mobile phone footage capturing stunt-doubles flying through the air on wires amongst the buildings of Edinburgh’s old town.
WALTER THE SCOTTIE does not appreciate such commotion, and took the opportunity this week to make his annual spring trip to the beautiful Borders home of his famous namesake. He always appreciates this visit as a reminder to his WS masters that the great poet, author, historian and critic should inspire all lawyers to pursue a rich and varied life beyond the law. Equally importantly in a Scottie’s eyes, of course, Sir Walter Scott took very good care of his much-loved dogs, immortalising them in text, oil and stone. Walter always seems to pause a moment at the statue to the deerhound Maida, beside Abbotsford’s entrance hall, with its Latin inscription, “Maidae marmoreal dormis sub imagine Maida/Ante fores domini sit tibi terrs levis” (“Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore/Sleep soundly Maida at your Master’s door”).
ELSEWHERE in the world of the law, the relationship between politicians and judges shows no sign of improving any time soon. The lord chief justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd criticised Liz Truss, the justice secretary, this week, for her failure to defend the judges branded “enemies of the people” in the press. Giving evidence to the House of Lords constitution select committee, the lord chief justice told peers “The circuit judges were very concerned. They wrote to the lord chancellor because litigants in person were coming and saying “you’re an enemy of the people”. Lord Thomas acknowledged the strength of his language, explaining, “I regret to have to criticise her as severely as I have…but she has taken a position that is constitutionally absolutely wrong.”
ALTHOUGH it may have escaped the attention of many, the inquiry into the Edinburgh trams project rolls on. Led by former Lord Advocate Lord Hardie, the hearings were back in the news this week with the sort of headlines law firms definitely do not pursue in their marketing initiatives. Any Evening News headline incorporating the words “lawyer”, “secret”, “£50, 000 bonus” and “trams” is bad enough, never mind a story with phrases like “paid into his personal account without his firm’s knowledge” or “the contract was defective… which may or may not be as a result of such incentivisation”. The inquiry continues.
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