Fair Trial Campaigns, an Overview.
The Fair Trial Project has identified severe problems with the legal system of the UK. These problems mean that it is impossible to get a fair trial.
We will run campaigns and take class actions to highlight, and attempt to fix, the problems we have found
Campaigns and Class Actions.
One essential feature of a fair trial is the requirement of independence and impartiality. The judge, or group of judges, who preside over a case must be independent and impartial. Independent means being free of links to government and other parties. Impartial means being unbiased. Subconscious bias is the major problem. When a case comes before a judge, they have a duty to consider whether there is any factor present that might affect them subconsciously. For example, if the judge is a friend or relation of a party or their representatives. If something like this is present, then the judge must disclose this and offer to stand down.
The Fair Trial Project has identified many situations where a judge’s independence and impartiality are open to doubt. One famous example is where a group of Scottish Judges consulted with the UK Government on Family law and while doing so advised that unmarried fathers represented a potential danger to women and children. They made this incredible statement with no evidence to back it up. After doing this, they continued to judge family law cases. The question is, were they able to judge a case involving an unmarried father impartially after the previous advice given to government? This is an obvious example of something said or done by a judge that might affect them subconsciously. Most of the problems we have identified are of this type.
Please read on to see some problems we have identified…
A List of Campaigns.
The Fair Trial Project will campaign and run class actions on the following issues:
(1) Open Justice: During Covid-19, the courts in Scotland were closed to the press and public. This is contrary to the principle of open justice. This principle, that has existed for centuries, states that criminal trials and civil hearings are open to the press and public and therefore open to public scrutiny. A total ban on the press and public was unnecessary. It would have been possible to place a limit on the number allowed in the viewing gallery of each court, with social distancing and screening measures in place. This would have satisfied the requirements of Open Justice. We contend that the failure of all solicitors, judges, prosecutors and court staff to disclose, that hearings or trials held in private are unlawful, is civil and criminal fraud. This campaign has started.
(2) Judges running the show – a conflict of interest: The chief responsibility of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) is to ensure the smooth running of Scotland’s courts and tribunals. Scotland’s judges control the management board. This campaign will explain that judges, when resolving disputes, must be free from bias. It will contend that any conflict of interest will make a judge biased, and therefore unable to resolve a dispute fairly. It will conclude by showing that a duty to ensure the smooth running of Scotland’s courts and tribunals conflicts with a judge’s duty to decide a case or appeal fairly. A summary of this campaign is available.
(3) The Lord Advocate’s Wife: The Lord Advocate is the chief public prosecutor in Scotland. He is a member of the Scottish Government. Criminal prosecutions take place in his name and under his instructions. His wife, Lady Wolffe QC, is a senior Scottish judge. This means that each time a criminal trial takes place, the prosecution is taking place in front of the prosecutor’s wife or one of her colleagues. The Fair Trial Project contends that it is possible for this situation to affect all judges (at least subconsciously).
(4) The appointment of Queens Counsel in Scotland. Based upon an ‘old school’ network? The government and the senior judges approve or disapprove applications for Queens Counsel (QC). It requires no exam. Most QCs seem to be white males who went to a fee-paying school. Without an exam, how do we know whether this is a basis for choosing QCs? The lack of a test also raises the possibility of subconscious bias. There are many ways this subconscious bias can operate. One example would be that it would be possible for a judge to (subconsciously) favour the arguments of a QC who he or she had approved of when arguing against an advocate who he or she had disapproved of.
(5) The Faculty of Advocates – all for one and one for all: Most advocates have a shared interest in Faculty Services Ltd. Through Faculty Services Ltd, all advocates benefit from each other’s success. No advocate has ever disclosed this link when appearing before a part-time judge who is also an advocate. Is this criminal fraud?
(6) The Faculty of Advocates. Non-practising members: All judges keep their membership and associated benefits of the Faculty of Advocates. It is obvious that it is possible for this to affect a judge subconsciously when any other member of the faculty appears in front of them. There is a possibility of bias for any judge in this position. The Fair Trial Project contends that a failure to disclose a membership of the faculty, when hearing a case involving other members, is civil and criminal fraud.
(7) Selection of judges. No need for an exam? The Scottish Government, via a Judicial Appointments Board, selects Scotland’s Judges. No examination is used to rank candidates. Is this a good method to select judges? A public exam, open to all, is the only method of ensuring that you get competent judges. The candidates with the top marks get the jobs.
(8) Tribunals system: No hearing listings, part-time judges, hearings held behind locked doors, few judgments published and much, much more.
(9) Judges consulting with Government: The Scottish Government decided, soon after Devolution, that as they were a new legislature and government, they would consult with Scotland’s judges on all future legislation. This was a mistake. Judges have no business consulting with government on legislation. A crucial part of a judge’s job is to interpret legislation. If a dispute comes to court, where the outcome turns on how to interpret a piece of legislation, then it is possible that a judge who took part in a consultation exercise will find themselves subconsciously affected (biased) by what they said in the consultation. Some judges and groups of judges have said some crazy things. The Sheriff’s Association stated that unmarried fathers were not suitable for automatic Parental Rights and Responsibilities in relation to their children as they represented a potential danger to woman and children. Mind-boggling stuff, especially when nothing was used to substantiate this claim. In other consultations on Family Law, Scotland’s judges consulted anonymously. We don’t know what they said. The Fair Trial Project contends that these responses to consultation exercises, disqualify all past and present judges from deciding any criminal trial or civil case fairly.
(10) Family Law in the UK: Legislative discrimination against the children of unmarried parents, unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers comes from religious hatred. This legislative discrimination and the hysteria surrounding it, has created a societal bias against these groups. Amongst other things, they cannot receive a fair trial or stand for election on an equal footing.
(11) Judicial Bias – an infectious and lethal virus: The doctrine of precedent states that decisions of the higher courts bind those at a lower level. A problem occurs when a biased judge, sitting in a higher court, makes an incorrect decision. This immediately infects the entire system. The Fair Trial project contends that decisions tainted by bias infect the British courts and tribunals system. The system is ill and the only cure is using examinations to select new judges.
(12) Democracy and Lawful Government: Lawful elections define a lawful government. The general principle is universal suffrage. The UK has always excluded people from the vote or from standing for election. Therefore, there has never been a lawful government. Women received the vote in 1928. Is anyone seriously suggesting that the UK had a lawful government before then? This campaign will show that no election that complies with universal suffrage has ever taken place in the UK. We have never had a lawful government. The aim of this campaign is to bring democracy and lawful government to the UK.
(13) The band member and the football player: Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, plays the bass and is lead singer of the Faculty of Advocate’s band. Neither Lord Carloway nor the advocates who play with him or watch him play have ever disclosed this fact. A sheriff at Glasgow Sheriff Court played football with a group of Glasgow lawyers. Again, this was never disclosed when this Sheriff was judging a case and one or more of the lawyers in court were scheduled to play football with him on Friday night. Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, recently gave a seminar on criminal procedure concerning the questioning of victims of alleged rape to solicitor advocates and crown counsel. She had previously given the same seminar to the Faculty of Advocates. The question is, how many other times have the social and other links between judges and advocates or lawyers remained hidden? The Fair Trial Project will start a database later in 2020 that will create a list of undisclosed links between judges and the people who appear in front of them. We will ask for evidence. From the evidence we have so far, the Fair Trial Project contends that the lack of disclosure of these links represents corruption at all levels of the Scottish legal profession.
(14) Judges unlawfully engaging in business: Legislation in Scotland bans Sheriff Principals, Sheriffs and Summary Sheriffs from engaging in any business outside of their judicial role. Parliament decided that if any of these judges engaged in any other business, then that would pose a risk to their independence and impartiality. Therefore, they make it clear that they must not do this. Many judges ignore this prohibition and engage in business alongside their judicial role. The Fair Trial Project contends that this is fraud. This campaign exposes the judges that do this and sets out the serious consequences of these unlawful actions. This campaign is live.