The House of Lords published two interesting sets of speeches in Scots appeals on 15 December 2005.  The first was Percy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission [2005] UKHL 73, in which it was held by 4-1 (Lord Hoffmann the trenchant dissentient) that the relationship between the Church of Scotland and one of its associate ministers was one of employment, and that the latter’s claim of sex discrimination against the Church was not a spiritual matter reserved to the latter’s exclusive jurisdiction.  There was further no presumption that the relationship between a church and its minister was one not intended to create legal relations.  All this overturned the view of the First Division and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (2001 SC 757), as well as departing from – or at any rate not applying – quite a lot of modern authority.  There are also sensational background facts which will no doubt be gone into in great detail when the case recommences before the employment tribunal now declared to have jurisdiction in the case.  Ms Percy, be it noted, lost her post in December 1997.


Davidson v Scottish Ministers [2005] UKHL 74 is probably the more important case, however, in holding that the Scottish courts do have jurisdiction to grant coercive orders (e.g. interdicts, specific implement) against Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Executive, with the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 containing nothing to the contrary despite the opposite view hitherto taken in the Court of Session since McDonald v Secretary of State for Scotland 1994 SC 234.  As Lord Hope remarks, this appeal brings to an end a campaign that counsel for the appellant