Scots Law News correspondent Ross Anderson has drawn our belated attention to yet another attempt by the indefatigable Robbie the Pict to argue judicial bias arising from membership of the Speculative Society in cases about unpaid Skye Bridge tolls (see previously Nos 209, 212). And, once again, he has lost his argument but impressed the judge. In Robbie the Pict v Miller Buidheann Ltd, 9th November 2005, Portree Sheriff Court, Sheriff Principal Edward F Bowen QC concluded his opinion with the remark thatI should only add that I appreciate the courteous and good humoured manner in which the pursuer presented his submissions. Although I know little about the Speculative Society it did occur to me that with his capacity for congenial debate the pursuer might, in other circumstances, have been a useful member of it.


For the full opinion see http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/a93_04_.html.   For an earlier decision of Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young QC also at Portree, to which Sheriff Principal Bowen’s judgement relates, see http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/a93_04.html.  



A mere two months after the departure of Baroness Clark of Calton (above No 535), the appointment of Neil Davidson QC as Advocate General for Scotland was announced on 21 March 2006.  It appears from the announcement that during the interregnum the functions of the office have been discharged by Alistair Darling Secretary of State of Scotland (and also Transport Secretary), this being justified by the Scotland Act 1998 s 87(3).  Just as well that Mr Darling is a member of the Faculty of Advocates.  Mr Davidson, it should be noted, was previously Solicitor General for Scotland 2000-2001 (see No 139).  Meantime, the Scottish Liberal Democrats were boldly suggesting that the functions of the Lord Advocate as a law officer and a public prosecutor should be separated out into two offices, akin to the English Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions.  Whether this really provides the best model to follow is perhaps a matter that some might wish to debate.