Scottish Supreme Court judges to be given first formal training

Supreme Court judges in Scotland are to receive formal training following the creation of a Judicial Studies Committee, it was announced last week.

The new body, the membership of which is to be decided, is to be chaired by Lord Ross, former Lord Justice Clerk. It will promote training for Supreme Court and Sheriff Court judges.

There has been little if any formal training for Supreme Court judges in the past.

Announcing the creation of the committee, Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth said that the speed and of change in many areas of the law in recent years pointed to the need for “more sustained and co-ordinated effort in the training field”.

President of the Law Society of Scotland Grant McCulloch welcomed the recognition that there should be judicial training. He said he would like to see training given on social policy, including why people committed crime and what background they came from, as well as on the use of IT, consistency in sentencing and how to be more proactive in court.

Lord Rodger, Lord President of the Court of Session, said: “As is proper, the organisation of training will be in the hands of the judges.

“This guarantees the independence of the judiciary and ensures that the training will be of a kind which best suits the needs of our system.”

The Judicial Studies Board in England, formerly an integral part of the Lord Chancellor's Department, was granted greater autonomy this summer and now operates as an independent unit with control over its own budget.