At New Year Scots Law News resolved to keep an eye on the difficulties of Gretna FC (No 723).  We have previously noted that the club’s use as a metaphor by politicians has coincided with a decline in fortunes on the pitch (Nos 592, 682, and 716) and off it (No 746).  As we feared at No 746, it was confirmed on 10 March 2008 that Gretna have initiated proceedings in the Court of Session to enter administration – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/7288172.stm

The club announced

In 2003


On 13 March 2008 the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee published a highly critical report on the Scottish Government’s handling of the Trump Aberdeenshire golf resort affair (see previously Nos 723, 732, 741, 757, 771).  The eight-member Committee has three SNP members, three Labour and one apiece from the Conservatives and LibDems.  The SNP members dissented from several of the findings, the most spectacular of which was the conclusion that First Minister Alex Salmond’s handling of the affair had been cavalier”


The Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament took evidence from the Lord President and his judicial colleagues, Lords Hodge, Osborne and Reed, at a session on the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill on 11 March 2008 (see for the proceedings http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/justice/or-08/ju08-0702.htm#Col566).  It was apparently the first time that a serving Lord President and Court of Session judges had given oral evidence of this kind in parliamentary proceedings.  Some of the highlights are available on You Tube, courtesy of stern legal system critic Peter Cherbi (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mlEvcmWQWk&eurl=http://petercherbi.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/judiciary-courts-bill-not-worth-the-paper-its-written-on-as-scottish-parliament-he).  Lord McCluskey has given evidence too, on 18 March, and that is available on You Tube as well – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUAisuI7-bk&feature=related.  Scots Law News has not noted a similar compliment for the evidence given to the committee by Sir David Edward on 25 March (see http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/justice/or-08/ju08-0902.htm#Col672).  For Mr Cherbi’s website, A Diary of Injustice in Scotland”


The case in Stirling Sheriff Court about cohabitants’ succession rights under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 (see Nos 739, 764) ended in a no-scoring draw when Sheriff Thomas Ward decided on 28 March 2008 that the late Mr James King had never been habitually resident in the sheriffdom or domiciled in Scotland, meaning that he (the sheriff) had no jurisdiction to decide the question in issue between the parties (see http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/A919_06.html).  Sheriff Ward did however say the following on the question of whether Mr King and the pursuer Tatiana Chebotarava had been cohabitants prior to the former’s death:

Although I do not believe that the Pursuer and the deceased ever lived together at 40 Maurice Avenue


An employment tribunal in Glasgow held on 16 April 2008 that baldness was not a disability in a case brought by former art teacher James Campbell (61) against Falkirk Council also claiming constructive and unfair dismissal from a post at Denny High School.  Mr Campbell, who retired in 2007, claimed that he suffered harassment and taunting from pupils on account of his baldness, and that he was not protected from this by his employers, contrary to the Disability Discrimination Act 1996.  Dismissing the argument, tribunal chair Robert Gall remarked that If baldness was to be regarded as an impairment



Stuart Hill (65) gained some media attention with his proclaimed intention to argue in Lerwick Sheriff Court on 25 March 2008 that the court had no jurisdiction since the Shetland Isles are not in law part of Scotland or subject to Scots law.  He was being sued in a small claims action by a local accountancy firm called A9 for non-payment of fees.  Mr Hill’s argument was based on the unredeemed impignoration of the islands by the Danish to the Scottish Crown in 1469 on the occasion of King James III’s marriage to a daughter of King Christian of Denmark; the suggestion is that this means Shetland was not owned by the Scottish or its successor British state.    The case was however postponed for a month as a result of the sheriff for whom it had been set down becoming snow-bound on the mainland, and on 20 April it was reported that Mr Hill had decided to settle with the pursuers and seek another occasion upon which to advance his historical and jurisdictional claims.  Possibly by this time he had had an opportunity to consult the article on Udal Law in volume 24 of the Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, which fairly comprehensively demolishes the argument that Mr Hill intended to put forward, clarifying the key distinction between dominium and sovereignty.  Mr Hill has lived in Shetland since being shipwrecked there in 2001, the ignominious end to an ill-fated attempt to sail round Britain anti-clockwise in his 15-foot converted rowing boat with a windsurfing sail.  His misadventures en route gave rise to the media nickname Captain Calamity” even before the final capsize of the vessel off Shetland (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/1503308.stm).  Mr Hill now runs a website called The Shetland Conversation

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