Tehrani v Secretary of State for the Home Department was decided by the House of Lords on 18 October 2006 [2006] UKHL 47.  See –




At earlier stages this case indicated that a decision of the UK Immigration Appeals Tribunal in London could not be judicially reviewed in Scotland even if the person subject to the decision was based in Scotland.  The Lord Ordinary’s decision (April 2003 by Lord Philip, 2003 SLT 808, http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/P1021_02.html ) was approved unanimously by an Extra Division in April 2004 (Lords Kirkwood, Hamilton and MacFadyen, 2004 SLT 461, http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/P1021.html).  This had the unfortunate consequence for Tehrani that as the Court of Session declined to hear the petition he fell outwith the time limit for judicial review in the High Court in England.  The strange unwillingness of the Court of Session to take jurisdiction has been unanimously overturned by the House of Lords.   The decision is a clear assertion of the extent of the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court of Session at common law, and Lord Rodger indicates that in such cases by virtue of the Crown Suits Act the appropriate respondent to the petition is the Advocate General.


The First Minister announced on 5 October 2006 that he would be nominating the Solicitor General for Scotland, Elish Angiolini QC, to succeed Lord Boyd as Lord Advocate following his sudden resignation on 4 October.  Ms Angiolini will become the first female Lord Advocate – another crack in the glass ceiling of Scots law – as well as the first non-advocate to hold the position in many centuries.  Some critics questioned whether Ms Angiolini’s professional background as a lawyer in the Crown Office and her close links with the Scottish Executive meant that she lacked the necessary independence of government; a criticism to which she responded with robust independence.


On 6 October it was announced that John Beckett QC, currently Home Advocate Depute, would be nominated as the next Solicitor General.  According to his page on the Faculty website http://www.advocates.org.uk/stables/advocates/00000028.html his expertise is primarily in criminal law, child law and human rights.


A South African correspondent (Professor Jacques du Plessis) has drawn our attention to a speech by Lord Boyd on 30 September, on the occasion of his signing Scotland into full membership of the Academy of European Law (ERA).  In this speech, Lord Boyd said the following:

The UK is already a member of ERA, but this move recognises Scotland as a unique and distinctive jurisdiction in Europe.  Modern Scottish law is founded on the principles of Roman Dutch law, but has also been deeply influenced by English common law.  We hope that this unique perspective means that we bring something of value to the knowledge and understanding of European law.

Scots Law News trusts that this European-ism does not offer another reason for Lord Boyd’s departure.


On 2 October 2006 the Crown Office announced that it had instructed police to conduct a criminal investigation of the evidence given by witnesses at the trial of the defamation action brought by Tommy Sheridan MSP against the News of the World (see previously Nos 587, 589, 590, 592).  The announcement was apparently unrelated to the newspaper’s publication the previous day of videotapes of a conversation between Mr Sheridan and George McNeilage, in which, it was alleged, the former confessed to the truth of some of the stories about him which had been the subject of the defamation action.  Mr Sheridan robustly denies ever making these confessions, and says the tapes are faked.  Whatever the truth of the matter, Mr Sheridan does not appear to be good at keeping his friends: Mr McNeilage was his best man in 2000, but claims to have made the tapes covertly in November 2004 as a result of his increasing concern about the effect Mr Sheridan’s behaviour was having on the Scottish Socialist Party.