Thursday 28 October 2010


I was somewhat miffed to read that the Scottish Court Service has plans to spend £300,000 on chauffeur-driven cars for judges, whilst all around us people are cutting and making do. The chauffeurs will be used to take judges between courts all across Scotland.

The expenditure of our money has been rightly questioned by opposition politicians. After all the Scottish government is expecting a cut of £900,000,000 in its pocket money for next year.

The courts service has defended the arrangement. They say that judges needed a safe and secure environment in which to travel. Erm, well, we all need a safe and secure environment when we are travelling be it to and from work, or for pleasure. What exactly is different about judges? Can they not drive? Are they incapable of getting on and off buses, or trains?

If so, maybe they shouldn’t be sitting in judgment on the rest of us.

They say of course, that despite the financial challenges, the service is vital to provide a safe and secure environment for court documents or equipment accompanying them to court. It is also deemed necessary for the judges to work on cases confidentially while travelling “so that hearings can be dealt with promptly and efficiently without causing delays.”

WHAT? Has anyone ever been in the chaos that is the court system? And does no one else have to work whilst travelling for work, sometimes on confidential papers?

Presumably then, counsel for the accused and the defence will also require chauffeur driven cars so that they too can work in confidence in transit?

Richard Baker for Labour criticized the decision, swaying that in England and Wales there would be job losses and court closures following last week’s spending review. What exactly England and Wales have to do with this I’m not sure, but it does seem that Mr Baker hasn’t quite grasped the idea that having separate parliament and a separate legal system does mean that we do things differently here. Being Labour of course, he has been in the habit of taking his orders from London. But one thing for sure Mr Baker, the English judges won’t be getting bus to court.

John Lamont for the Tories said that in these hard times people would question whether this was really the best use of a large amount of their money. Damned right we will John. I trust Kenny MacAskill will be looking into this. I’d hate to think that the Scottish government would let it pass.

Judges need to be reminded that we are all in this together, even them.


  1. It’s the “we are all in it together” syndrome again, but of course we are not as the Sovereign Support Allowance shows!

    Perhaps if judges did a little more work and a little less swaning about in chauffer driven limos and little less of listening to their own self important voices giving chapter and verse in every minor case. For a start they could try starting at 9am like the rest of us and working through to 5pm. And instead of these long blown out summing ups that look so good in the paper if they could just get straight to the sentence it would save even more time. The problem is these people have a very high opinion of their own worth, think they are a cut above everybody else and think that because they like the sound of their own voices the rest of us do as well!

    Good old John Lamont eh! (Sorry Dean here comes the obligatory Tory bashing.) Had to find something else to occupy himself after he failed in his bid to become an MP (while also being an MSP despite all his leader had to say about how wrong that was). What a shame failed to unseat the Lib Dems and now that they are all in the same party (or soon will be) looks like his career choices are diminishing like snow of a dyke.

  2. Yup Munguin.

    I've not been in court that often.... and NO, never in the dock, but to hear some of them you'd think they were the Lord Justice General.

    They rabbit on and on about the case, and the details of it, when they are giving sentence, and who the hell is listening to them? The man in the dock won't be, and the comments are no good to anyone else.

    Quite apart from all that they seem to think that they are entitled to some special treatment. I realise that they make themselves unpopular with the criminal fraternity on pretty much a daily basis, and that that could put them in danger when out and about on the bus... but, so do policement, amd probabltion officers. People who work in the DWP offices make themsleves unpopular when they turn down applications for loans or send people on dreary back to work courses, teachers upset kids, bank managers upset aspiring home owners... we can't all get transport provided by the state.

    And at least judges have the benefit of hiding themselves in wigs and robes while they are doing it.

    What do they do when they are out and about at night..with the wife, or whoever.....?????

    Bloody benefit scroungers!

  3. Poor dears, but they can't be seen on the bus in that silly wig getup I suppose ;)

  4. Good point Dean. Yes, having people laugh at your wig might be a strong motivation to avoid public transport...LOL.

    Seems likely that the judiciary at some point will dump the funny getup. In Commons, Betty Boothroyd ignored the wig custom when she was Speaker. I don't think that John Bercow wears a wig either. I don't recall if Martin wore the Speaker's wig or not.

  5. LOL Dean. I dunno. Some folk go on the bus with worse!!

  6. Ah Danny. Nope Mick didn't wear a wig. I think the bloke before betty was the las one to do that.

    Apparently they are pretty uncomfortable things when it gets hot, and they tell me it gets very hot in England in the summer.

    Old Betty didn't want to wear a wig because she was one of these women who had her hair "done"... ie tt wasn't flat, it was... oh I don't know what you call it... but it looks like it's been pumped full of air, like that nasty cheap ice cream that Mrs Thatcher invented Mr Whippy.


    You won't have a clue what I'm talking about there i guess.... I'm not sure that I have a clue what I'm talking about!!!!