Review of Lord Hope's Diaries: Lord President 1989-1996

Lord Hope's Diaries: Lord President 1989-1996

ISBN: 978-1904968917;
PRICE: £25

This is the third instalment of Lord Hope’s diaries. As with previous volumes, the author writes with disarming candour and openness, with a flair and clarity of language. This volume sees Lord Hope installed as Lord President and he raises the curtain on the work of the senior judiciary. He writes of appeals work and the pressure of chairing the court (with occasional glances towards the wingers); and of duties outwith the court which come with his office. The description of his participation in the state visit of the King of Norway is written with enthusiasm. However, as with his other diaries, we see a world that is largely gone, nowhere more so than with engagement between the senior judiciary and the press.

edEarly in his tenure, Lord Hope was required to engage with the press on unsubstantiated but persistent rumours of judges engaging in homosexual acts. These arose from a criminal trial and led to an inquiry chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith. Lord Hope sought to be positive and open describes inviting senior editors to his New Town drawingroom for a discussion. Ultimately the flames were fanned and the issue gained heightened coverage. Of its day, it was a bold and well intentioned step. We now see the senior judiciary giving evidence to Scottish parliamentary inquiries, being responsible for operational and budgetary administration as head of the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service, and encouraging debate on the rules of evidence.

This is, as with the other volumes, a joy to read.

The Author
David J Dickson, solicitor advocate
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