judges.com

As you may have noted, Scotland’s judiciary have launched a new website, and a very nice one it is too: Judiciary of Scotland.

One thing that I noticed was that it uses a .org.uk SLD (second level domain).  The Scottish Courts Service (still) uses a .gov.uk SLD.

According to their own website, “On 1 April 2010 The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 established the Scottish Court Service as a new, independent statutory body. Previously the organisation was an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government accountable to the Scottish Ministers.”

At the time, I e-mailed asking whether, as a result, they would be switching to an alternative SLD.  This is the response I received:

Dear Mr Nisbet,

For clarification, the Scottish Judiciary are not part of Government. In fact a guarantee of judicial independence is given in the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.

On 1 April the Governance arrangements for the Scottish Court Service changed. Instead of being a Government agency accountable to Scottish Ministers, the new Scottish Court Service is governed by a judicially-led Board, Chaired by the Lord President. However the Service remains part of the Scottish administration and therefore we are entitled to keep the domain name http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Whiteford
Head of Corporate Communications
Scottish Court Service

Section 126(6) to (8) of the Scotland Act 1998 defines “Scottish Administration” as follows:

(6) References in this Act and in any other enactment to the Scottish Administration are to the office-holders in the Scottish Administration and the members of the staff of the Scottish Administration.

(7) For the purposes of this Act—

(a) references to office-holders in the Scottish Administration are to—

(i) members of the Scottish Executive and junior Scottish Ministers, and

(ii) the holders of offices in the Scottish Administration which are not ministerial offices, and

(b) references to members of the staff of the Scottish Administration are to the staff of the persons referred to in paragraph (a).

(8) For the purposes of this Act, the offices in the Scottish Administration which are not ministerial offices are—

(a) the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland, the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, and

(b) any other office of a description specified in an Order in Council made by Her Majesty under this subsection.

And, Schedule 3 of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 specifies that: “The SCS is the holder of an office, which office is also to be known as the Scottish Court Service.”

The Scottish Administration (Offices) Order 1999, as amended, gives a further list of bodies in the same position.

According to Nominet UK (the .uk domain name registry in the UK), the .org.uk SLD is intended for use by “Not-for-profit entities”, whereas the .gov.uk SLD is restricted to use by “National, regional, and local government bodies and agencies”

So, while the Accountant in Court, Macer in the Court of Session and Macer in the High Court of Justiciary, Principal Clerk of Justiciary, Principal Clerk of Session and other Clerks or Officers of the Court of Session, the Sheriff Clerk and the Sheriff Clerk Depute are all part of the Scottish Administration, the Judges and Sheriffs – most definitively – are not.

They are a not-for-profit entity.

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One Response to judges.com

  1. Pingback: Jonathan Mitchell QC >> Judicial conduct and complaints

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