Fresh challenge to Scottish judicial system

Desmond McCaffrey, named partner at Russells Gibson McCaffrey, claims Glasgow District Court cannot be impartial or independent because it is run by the City Council's protection services department.

Such a relationship, he says, throws up a conflict of interest and, at the trial of a man accused of breach of the peace and assault yesterday, he asked for a motion on devolution.

Such a motion was passed in a separate case last year and led to Scotland's temporary sheriffs and judges being declared illegal.

McCaffrey said that a court run by a department that also controls environment, health and trading standards, cannot be seen to be independent.

Stipendiaries are paid by local authorities and any fines they impose go to the council.

Glasgow is the only city which employs stipendiaries – most employ justices – therefore, said McCaffrey, the court is seen as more of a governmental department rather than an independent court of justice