Letter: Quid juris?
I will have been a member of the Scots bar for 30 years come December, although recently I have been non-practising.
In anticipation of my future return to work I get legal updates from a variety of sources. One such update, via my clerks, came from FACBA [Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association] and set out the current lord president’s thoughts on section 275 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act.
I’m a wee bit ring rusty so it is taking me just a little time to understand the import of the lord president’s comments and what practical significance they may be to me when I eventually return to work.
The lord president’s comments (as interpreted by the chairman of FACBA) did cause me to look at the case of Batchelor v Pattison & Mackersy (1876) 3.R 914.
Lord Inglis (also the lord president in his day) wrote of the advocates’ duties at page 918. It’s worth a read.
My code of conduct, in its current iteration, states that:
“It cannot be stressed too strongly that the ultimate test of an Advocate’s conduct is whether it is such as to impair the trust and the confidence which others place in him and his profession.” (See page 4 – Introduction – Guide to the Professional Conduct of Advocates 7th Edition).
In light of the position advanced by the lord president as head of Scotland’s judiciary, what I’m no longer sure of is whether criticism of the law in a jury speech places one out with the protection of the code of conduct. Nor am I sure how the comments can be related to the concept of the separation of powers.