Fulfilling his promise in June (see No 178), Nelson Mandela met with relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie outrage on 14 July 2002 in London. He backed their calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, and continued to call for the imprisonment of Abdelbaset Megrahi to be carried out in an independent Muslim country such as Egypt or Tunisia rather than in Scotland. Mandela claimed that this was not opposed by any of the relatives to whom he had spoken.
The Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, Linda Costelloe Baker, criticised the Law Society of Scotland’s handling of complaints against solicitors in her Annual Report published 8 July 2002. Complainst, which had increased by 57% during the year, had not been adequately dealt with or well-managed in two-thirds of cases. The Vice President of the Society pointed out that there had been just 1,200 complaints while Scottish solicitors dealt with over a million transactions every year.
Following a protest by Colin McEachran QC in May 2002, when he appeared in court without a wig, the members of the Faculty of Advocates are to be balloted on the general issue of court dress and in particular whether the wearing of wigs should continue to be required in court. (9 July 2002)
With regards to your editorial on www.law.ed.ac.uk/sln, no 179, you stated that we intended to build a web portal. This is completely wrong. Our website was already up and working. The Law Society for the last 2 to 3 years have been trying to buy the name from us and we refused each time. It was only after we refused that they decided to register the name lawscot as a trade mark. We also discovered that the Society have been advertising our legal property, the name Lawscot.co.uk, in their own journal: check it out for yourself at www.lawscot.org.uk/pdfs/journal_dec99.pdf
Also for a time scale of up to 2 years they had advertised our e-mail address on their web site as listed below.
For the last 2 to 3 years we have been passing the e-mails we receive to the Law Society and they thanked us for this. At no time did we broadcast to any other party that this was happening. We would also inform the firm or person that they sent the e-mail to our address.
What I would be interested in is the Law Society of Scotland have taken no
action against the following –
and I would also suggest you run a check and see who has registered the name
Law Society Of Scotland – one of its own members: now would that surprise you.
Also the Law Society have offered us money for the name and each time we refused
PS We will be raising an action for damages.
On 2 July 2002 an action was begun in the Court of Session seeking to have the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 declared contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. The action has been raised in the name of Trevor Adams, master of the Buccleuch Hunt, and is supported by the Scottish Countryside Alliance. It is claimed that the Act, which bans traditional fox-hunting activities, will lead to the loss of jobs and damage to incomes in countryside areas. See Nos 153, 165 and 166 for the passage of the Act.
There have been several developments in the aftermath of the Lockerbie trial and the jailing in Barlinnie of the Libyan convicted of carrying out the bombing of the PanAm jet over the Scottish town in 1988. In May 2002 it was reported that Libya had offered $2.7 billion dollars in compensation to the families of the 270 victims of the crime. Each family would receive $10 million, but the money would be handed over gradually as the UN sanctions against Libya were lifted. The UN has indicated that sanctions will not be lifted until Libya admits responsibility for the bombing. It appears that the compensation offer comes from Libyan business interests rather than the Libyan government, and responsibility continues to be denied by the latter. On 10 June 2002 Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa who played a key role in setting up the Lockerbie trial (see Nos 25 and 52 below), visited Megrahi in Barlinnie and thereafter called for him to be transferred to a prison in a trusted Muslim third country, criticising the fact that he was being held in a special segregated unit; but this call was rejected by British and Scottish government. Mandela indicated that he would be returning to Scotland in July 2002 to meet the families of the victims of the disaster.