HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc164-5W
Mr. Allan Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he intends to make any proposals relating to judicial appointments in the supreme courts; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rifkind

I have already announced that, in the light of responses to my consultation paper, "The Legal Profession in Scotland", I propose to extend the conditions for appointment to the office of senator to include solicitors who have exercised full rights of audience in the Supreme Courts or who have served as sheriffs principal or sheriffs, in each case for a minimum period of five years. Following the report of the review body chaired by the hon. Lord Maxwell on the use of judicial time in the supreme courts in Scotland I have decided to introduce new provisions relating to the appointment of temporary judges. Following consultation with the Lord President, I propose that the new eligibility criteria for appointment to the office of senator shall apply equally to the office of temporary judge: that vacancies in the inner house of the court of session shall be filled by the appointment of a Lord Ordinary nominated by the Lord President and the Lord Justice Clerk: that when under existing statute the Lord President directs any three judges of the court to sit as an extra division of the inner house, the Lord President shall direct which of them is to preside: and that the appointment of a Lord Ordinary to act as Lord Ordinary in exchequer causes shall be made by the Lord President without the need for it to be recorded in delegated legislation.