Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has backed a petition calling for the Scottish Government to create a Register of Interests for members of the judiciary in order to ensure fairness in courts.
Ms McTaggart made her calls during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 9th October on a petition brought to the parliament by Peter Charbi seeking to amend present legislation to require all members of the Judiciary in Scotland to submit their interests & hospitality received to a publicly available Register of Interests. The petition was lodged in Parliament at the end of 2012 and since then the Public Petitions Committee, which Ms McTaggart is a member of, has been listening to the arguments in favour of and against the proposal.
Currently, the issue of judicial financial interests falls under the general rules governing the Scottish Judiciary, in particular the Judicial Oath, the Statement of Principles of Judicial Ethics and the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.
Ms McTaggart said “I was pleased to be able to contribute to this important date after following the progress of the petition at committee and am happy to be able to declare my support for it.
With a register, potential biases can be immediately identified and the potential for a conflict of interest is entirely avoided in bringing cases to court. Such a process would result in simple, fairer and more transparent courts, where the concern of possible bias is no longer a concern. Although I fully support the petition, I believe that we cannot ignore the need for appropriate checks and balances in order to protect members of the judiciary.
I have always been committed to promoting transparency and accountability in government and I believe the same principle should be applied across the board and that’s why I’m happy to support this petition.”
You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech here.
You can find out more about the petition here.
You can watch Ms McTaggart’s speech from 34.54 below.