A KICK(BACK) IN THE TEETH DENIED: LITERAL INTERPRETATION AGAIN
Scots Law News’ worry that literal interpretation of legislation and other rules is alive and well outside the court room (see previously No 508) was reinforced by reading on the BBC News website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4392778.stm) of the Inverness Raigmore Hospital Policy with regard to the retention of teeth removed during dental procedures at the hospital. A four-year old child was required to leave her extracted teeth with the hospital, although she had made a special box to carry them home with her in order to present them to the tooth fairy (a figure deployed by the child’s mother to make her less fearful of the ordeal which lay before her). It appeared that the prospect of money for teeth had given the child all the mental strength she needed, but that she was now very distressed. The hospital explained that their refusal to let the teeth go to the tooth fairy was the result of its policy on body parts, amongst which teeth were now classified: To reduce the risk of cross-infection we routinely retain and dispose of teeth extracted.” Thanks to our dental correspondent Professor John Blackie for this one.”
David McLetchie resigned as leader of the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament on 31 October 2005, as the story about his Parliamentary expenses claims for taxi rides, elicited from the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body by the Press using the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, continued to dog him (see previously No 505). The total claims amounted to some £11,000 in the end, although someone pointed out that this averaged out at £6 a day since 2000, a sum which won’t get you very far in Edinburgh taxis at least. The Scottish Tories moved quite quickly to avoid a leadership contest: Annabel Goldie, who had been McLetchie’s deputy, moved up to the top job, while Murdo Fraser, a right-winger who had been seen as a possible contender, became the deputy. Both Goldie and Fraser are solicitors, like McLetchie himself, and also Nichol Stephen, leader of the LibDems. Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the SNP in the Parliament, is a Glasgow LLB. This leaves only Labour, the Scottish Socialists and the Greens without a lawyerly person to lead them: Scots Law News wonders whether this says more about the parties concerned or lawyerly persons in general. And where is the Bar?
SPONSIONES LUDICRAE NO MORE
Thanks to our gambling correspondent Martin Hogg, who notes that the UK Gambling Act 2005 section 335 abolishes the doctrine of sponsiones ludicrae by making contracts related to gambling enforceable. So far as Scots Law News has been able to find out, however, the provision has not yet come into force. But in due course, it seems, we will cease to have cases about football pools and agreements to share Lottery or bingo winnings (see previously Nos 7, 93, 111). Pity; but the last football pool document seen by Scots Law News (many years ago) also had a clause in it to the effect that it was a gentleman’s agreement, binding in honour only and not intended to create legal relations. Perhaps we may see instead some litigation about the meaning and effect of such clauses, the enforceability of which seems to depend upon a truly circular logic.
On 21 October 2005 Dingwall Sheriff Court found Steve Gough and Mel Roberts not guilty of breach of the peace by walking together naked on the A9 Inverness-Thurso road near Ardullie roundabout. However Gough pleaded guilty to breaching the bail conditions imposed in Edinburgh back in September and was sentenced to two months in jail backdated to 4 October, the date of his arrest. The sentence is apparently to be served in Saughton prison, Edinburgh.