Jim Wallace, Deputy First Minister and leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, announced his resignation from these positions on 9 May 2005. Wallace, a QC, will serve out his term as MSP for Orkney. Wallace served no less than thrice as Acting First Minister (first in the absence, then following the death of, Donald Dewar, and finally after the resignation of Henry McLeish). He was also the first Minister of Justice 1999-2003, and has since been the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.
Scots Law News is pleased to draw attention to some quiet but significant recent progress in shattering the glass ceiling over the hitherto manly upper echelons of Scots law. Caroline Flanagan, a partner in the Dunfermline firm of Ross & Connel, will become President of the Law Society of Scotland in May 2005, the first woman to hold that office. In the Faculty of Advocates Valerie Stacey QC was elected Vice-Dean on 1 March 2005, only the second woman to be elected as an office-bearer in the Faculty’s history (the previous example was Dame Margaret Kidd QC, who was Keeper of the Library 1956-1969). And Edinburgh Law School finally got round to appointing, not one, but two women professors: Anne Griffiths (Legal Anthropology from 1 October 2004) and Jo Shaw (European Institutions from 1 January 2005). Good to see the lawyers catching up with the Church of Scotland (see No 274) and, quarter of a century later on, the office of Prime Minister (although there does seem to have been a bit of a falling away in that area over the last 15 years, and there is no current sign of any return to the paths of virtue). Perhaps it also behoves an Edinburgh man to acknowledge the presence for many years of women law professors in Glasgow and Dundee.
CLOSURE FOR HOLYROOD (INQUIRY)
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie wound up the Holyrood Inquiry on 15 April 2005 after finally being allowed to see uncut and unbroadcast recordings of interviews with the late Donald Dewar and Enric Miralles made by the production team of the documentary series The Gathering Place. Lord Fraser said that nothing in the material led him to alter the conclusions or recommendations of his Report.
Two of the three Scots chosen for the British and Irish Lions rugby union party to tour New Zealand in the summer of 2005, announced on 11 April, are Edinburgh LLB graduates, namely Simon Taylor and Chris Cusiter. This will be Taylor’s second Lions tour.
The Justice Minister announced on 29 March 2005 that she would not, as previously stated in November 2004, be issuing a consultation paper on proposals to create a criminal offence for corporate and public bodies of causing death through failures of management. Instead an expert working group would be set up to study the matter further. This followed an announcement of a draft Bill on the subject at Westminster, intended to create a new offence of corporate manslaughter (see http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs4/con_corp_mans.html). The further delay in Scotland was criticised by MSPs and trade unions, no doubt mindful of the ongoing Transco case (see Nos 159, 217 and 232). For detailed discussion of the subject some years ago in the Edinburgh Law Review, see R Mays, The criminal liability of corporations and Scots law (2000) 4 EdinLR 46, and J P and A L Minkes, Mays on corporate crime: a transdisciplinary perspective (2001) 5 EdinLR 242.