(123)  Gaelic in the courts

In implementation of Article 9 para 1.b.ii of the Council of Europe Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, witnesses in civil proceedings in the sheriff courts of Stornoway, Lochmaddy and Portree will henceforth be allowed to give their evidence in Gaelic, provided that two weeks’ notice is given (to enable a translator to be appointed), and that the sheriff does not veto the right on the grounds of inconvenience to the court. The text of the Sheriff Principal’s Act of Court, which came into force on 1 July 2001, is available at 2001 SLT (News) 194. For the medieval and more recent history of language problems in court see H L MacQueen, Linguistic communities in medieval Scots law, in C W Brooks and M Lobban (eds), Communities and Courts in Britain 1150-1900 (Hambledon Press, 1997), and No 116 below.

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