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Scotland Act 1998

SCHEDULE 8, Paragraph 4: Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act 1933

Purpose and Effect

This paragraph amends provisions which give the Secretary of State power of appointment to certain posts in the Supreme Courts on the nomination of the Lord Advocate.  The amendment removes the power of the Lord Advocate to nominate candidates.

General

Section 24(7) provides for the Secretary of State to appoint to the office of Macer, on nomination by the Lord Advocate.

Section 25 provides for the Secretary of State to appoint to the offices of Principal Clerk of Justiciary, Accountant of Court and Auditor of the Court of Session on nomination of the Lord Advocate.

The provisions requiring the Lord Advocate to nominate candidates for posts in the service of the High Court, including macers, date from a period when the more senior posts in the Supreme Courts were often filled on a part-time basis by members of the legal profession and other prominent figures.

Posts in the service of the Court of Session and the High Court are now filled by members of the Scottish Court Service, who may be promoted or transferred to these posts in the course of their career.  In addition, posts in the High Court and the Court of Session are frequently combined (the posts of Principal Clerk of Session and Principal Clerk of Justiciary are nowadays filled by a single appointment) or filled on rotation by Court Service officers serving for a period of time in the Supreme Courts.  In the case of the Auditor of Court (who is not a member of the Scottish Court Service) the practice now is to advertise the post.  In practice, such posts are filled after consultation with the Lord President/Lord Justice-General; and the requirement for the Lord Advocate formally to nominate to these posts is therefore otiose, particularly in the case of the appointment of macers.

Parliamentary Consideration

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CR12-May-98757

Details of Provisions

Paragraph 4 provides that, in the Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act 1933, in sections 24(7) and 25 (officers of Court of Session, etc.), “and shall be exercised on nomination by the Lord Advocate” is omitted.

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