Colin Campbell QC has intimated his resignation as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. Unusually, this has not been caused by his elevation to the bench; he will be returning to practice at the bar, and has also indicated that he will serve out his term as a member of the Scottish Judicial Appointments Board, which expires in June 2005. Mr Campbell’s three-year Deanship has been a period of notable and rapid modernisation in the Faculty. 12 October 2004.
The long-anticipated Gaelic Language Bill (see Nos 174, 200, 201, 204, 223, 228, 230, 270, 345) was published on 28 September 2004. The Bill gives Gaelic official recognition and requires all public bodies to have a Gaelic language policy. Almost simultaneously, Prince Charles proclaimed his support for Gaelic on a visit to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye, noting that If Gaelic dies in Scotland, it dies in the world. … The miracle is that Gaelic has survived at all. Cynics might say that his family should have told him before.
On 28 September 2004 Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, where Dolly the sheep was cloned (see Nos 14, 42, 207) announced an application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to use cloned human embryos to study motor neurone disease (MND). The procedure would involve taking DNA from the skin or blood of a person with MND, to be implanted into a human egg from which the genetic material has been removed. The egg would then be stimulated to develop into an embryo. Cells would be removed from the embryo in the earliest stages of development, for use in further research. The embryo would then be destroyed. Therapeutic cloning has been allowed under licence from the HFEA since 2001.
A proposed regulatory framework designed to ensure public confidence in Scottish charities was set out in a draft Bill and a public consultation paper published on 2 June 2004. The draft Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill updates and strengthens charity law and sets out a number of new measures that include (1) the creation of a new Scottish definition of charity based on the principle of public benefit which is compatible with the definition adopted by the UK Government; (2) an enhanced range of powers for the recently established Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) which will gain responsibility for granting charitable status and maintaining a statutory register of all charities operating in Scotland; and (3) provisions designed to ensure better regulation of fundraising activities.