Lord Carloway hails ‘remarkable’ determination of lawyers during Covid-19
The Lord President, Lord Carloway, has hailed the “remarkable” determination of the legal profession to maintain access to justice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his address marking the Opening of the Legal Year, Lord Carloway said it seemed likely that the current remote systems in courts and tribunals would continue for the coming legal year.
“Even after a vaccine is developed, when sports stadia are full and the pubs are open after 10pm, courts and tribunals will not return to the way things were,” he added.
The Lord President said: “Trial and error has been imposed upon us, and through it we have learned valuable lessons about what works and what does not. We have, in an extraordinarily short period, made huge advances in the modernisation of our practices and procedures.
“We have been presented with an opportunity as well as a challenge. It has been demonstrated that, with the right level of proactive collaboration and consultation, we can very quickly effect a significant improvement in the range and quality of the services provided by the courts and tribunals.
“As the virus abates and eventually disappears, we will need to consider how best to take advantage of the advances that have been made, and how to build – constructively and in collaboration with the professions and other interests – a digitally-enabled courts and tribunals service that provides justice in a manner responsive to the needs of modern society.
“This has been a legal year like no other, but everyone’s determination to maintain access to justice in the most challenging of circumstances has been remarkable.
“In particular, I would like to thank those representatives of the Faculty and the Law Society and all those members of the profession whose wisdom and practical knowledge have been indispensable in developing achievable solutions to the complex problems presented by Covid-19.”
Lord Carloway also welcomed ten new silks: Faculty members Kevin McCallum, Ruth Charteris, Paul O’Brien, James Dawson, Barry Smith, Lisa Gillespie, Amber Galbraith, Alasdair Burnet and John MacGregor and solicitor-advocate Christine O’Neill.
He told them: “The rank and dignity of Queen’s Counsel is well-deserved honour for each of you. I offer you all my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the coming years as Senior Counsel.”