Many of you will by now be aware that two of our membership were ordained to attend court with representation yesterday to explain a delay in appearing in the petition court on Tuesday.
Whilst I make no comment on the circumstances of that particular case, I wish to draw to your attention the support that the Association can provide in such circumstances. The GBA have a long standing arrangement with the Faculty of Advocates who shall provide representation in the event that the court is considering a finding of contempt. I am grateful to Tony Lenihan for attending yesterday to represent our members and have conveyed to him the GBA’s thanks in writing.
To access the contempt of court cover please contact a member of the executive committee, details of whom can be found on our website.
I also remind you of the terms of the GBA’s email to members of 25th August 2021, an excerpt of which is quoted below:
“We are conscious that resources are becoming stretched for practitioners and we have addressed our concerns about this with the Sheriff Principal. Please see the below exchange –
From: SheriffP Turnbull
To: David Fisken
Subject: RE: Additional Trials Courts
Thank you for your e-mail.
I recognise the challenges that additional courts may give rise to, however, I anticipate that sheriffs will be understanding if they are made aware of any issues (either directly or through the clerk of court). Regrettably, on occasions solicitors overlook this.
Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull
Sheriffdom of Glasgow & Strathkelvin
From: David Fisken
To: SheriffP Turnbull CD
Subject: Additional Trials Courts
Dear Sheriff Principal,
Further to our meeting last month, some concern was raised at the committee meeting regarding the court recovery program which starts in September.
Many solicitors are already struggling to find agents to cover their business as matters stand and given the lack of solicitors accepting agency instructions there is a fear that this situation may deteriorate.
I appreciate that there are difficulties involved in allowing solicitors to seek that their trials call in specific courts as discussed, and defence agents for the most part are able to ensure that clients are represented by a solicitor even where the principal agent is not available. However, with the anticipated increase in business to come over the next few months there are real concerns that solicitors will be stretched across more courts and as a consequence there may be cases where the solicitor is unable to appear in one court as he is engaged in another court. I realise that this already happens on occasion but it there is a likelihood it will become more commonplace.
I am therefore writing on behalf of the GBA to seek assurance that where any solicitor finds themselves in such a difficulty their situation will be looked upon with sympathy from the bench. The GBA and its members have always had a good relationship with the bench and I am confident in saying that no solicitor in Glasgow would deliberately delay any court hearing, but it is felt necessary to draw this to your attention before the recovery program starts to avoid any issues arising unexpectedly.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Murphy, Robb & Sutherland
In summary, we acknowledge there will be added pressure upon practitioners caused by the recovery programme. You are advised to prioritise solemn, then summary criminal business and thereafter civil business and co-ordinate closely with the Clerks in each court to keep them advised of any diary clashes. With court business slots in operation, we acknowledge it will not be possible to request that you have all of your business dealt with in one court but it is prudent to keep the clerks advised of your other commitments. Please remember we have contempt of court arrangements in place for members.”
I trust the above is clear, but should anyone have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.
David Fisken, President,
On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Glasgow Bar Association.