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The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 30 January 2008. The Bill sought to reform the arrangements for Scotland's judiciary and to strengthen its independence.


The Bill made provision for unifying the judiciary under the Lord President; giving the office of the Lord President new powers with regard to training, welfare, conduct and deployment of the judiciary; giving the Lord President responsibility for the efficient disposal of business in all Scottish Courts; placing the Judicial Appointments Board on a statutory footing; extending the grounds of eligibility for appointment as a judge; and establishing new governance arrangements for the Scottish Court Service by making it a body corporate of 13 members, chaired by the Lord President with the majority of members being judicial members.

Justice Committee - Stage 1 Scrutiny

Call for evidence

The Committee issued a call for written evidence. Submissions received can be found below.

Oral evidence

The Committee took evidence on the Bill at its meetings on 11, 18 and 25 March 2008. Please follow the links below to the papers, official reports and minutes of the meetings.

  • 11 March 2008

Agenda and papers (36 KB pdf)

Official Report


  • 18 March 2008

Agenda and papers (926 KB pdf)

Official Report


  • 25 March 2008

Agenda and papers (321 KB pdf)

Official Report



Committee Report

The Committee published its report on 2 May 2008. Please follow the links below to the report and accompanying news release and the response from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

Report by Douglas Osler

In its report the Committee drew its concerns to the Scottish Government about the considerable administrative and organisational burdens to be placed on this and any future Lord President. The Committee requested that the Scottish Government provide independent quantifiable evidence about the impact that the Bill’s proposals could have on judicial time, as it was concerned that the impact could be to detract from the judicial role

The Scottish Government invited Douglas Osler to provide the independent comment requested by the Committee. Please follow the link below to the report by Douglas Osler.

Justice Committee - Stage 2 Consideration

The Committee completed Stage 2 consideration of the Bill at its meeting on 10 June 2008.

10 June 2008 (Consideration of amendments)

The Bill passed Stage 2 on 10 June 2008.

Stage 3 proceedings

The Bill passed Stage 3 on 25 September 2008.


Contact: For specific information on the Bill, please contact Euan Donald, Assistant Clerk to the Committee, on 0131 348 5047 or email