Lady Smith has been a judge for the past 15 years
Senior judge Lady Smith has been appointed as the new chairwoman of the Scottish government’s child abuse inquiry.
It follows the resignation of Susan O’Brien QC, who quit the post earlier this month citing government interference in the inquiry. A second member of the three-person panel, Prof Michael Lamb, also resigned over similar concerns.
The inquiry will examine historical allegations of child abuse in Scotland. It is expected to last four years, and will look at the extent of abuse of children in care and identify any systemic failures. But it has been criticised from the start by survivors of abuse, and was left with Glenn Houston as its only panel member after both Ms O’Brien and Prof Lamb resigned within days of each other.
Ms O’Brien and Prof Lamb, right, both quit the inquiry, leaving Glenn Houston, left, as the sole remaing inquiry member until Lady Smith’s appointment
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said Lady Smith – who has been a judge since 2001 and was appointed to the Inner House in 2012 – would bring a “wealth of knowledge and experience” to the leadership of the inquiry.
He said: “It is in the nature of Lady Smith’s background as an experienced judge that the inquiry will be taken forward without fear or favour to identify how individuals and institutions failed many of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.
“We must ensure children are effectively protected as a result of what we learn from the inquiry.”
Lady Smith said many children had not been given the protection they deserved after being placed in residential care.
‘Restoration of dignity’
She added: “Their voices now require to be heard and questions of when, where, how and why it happened require to be fully addressed.
“Real efforts must be made to try to effect healing, repair, restoration of dignity and hope for the future.
“It is, accordingly, very important that the work of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry continue and it is for these reasons that I welcome the invitation that has been extended to me by the deputy first minister and have today given my commitment to being its chair.”
Mr Swinney said at the time that he had accepted Ms O’Brien’s resignation after starting the formal procedure to remove her from her post.
He said complaints had been made about Ms O’Brien “revealing views” during a training session for inquiry team members.
Child abuse trauma experts judged that two comments made by Ms O’Brien had “indicated a belief system that is incompatible with the post of chair of such an inquiry”.
The two comments were revealed in a series of letters published by the Scottish government.
Ms O’Brien accepted she had made the comments, but said they were “acceptable in the context in which they were made” and that she would “never underestimate the gravity of child abuse”.
She said she had “accurately reported, without endorsing, what a survivor had said to me about their attitude to their own abuse” during the training session.
She further claimed the Scottish government had “sought to micro-manage and control the inquiry”, and had “undermined” her and threatened to sack her when she resisted.
Prof Lamb also said he had resigned because of “repeated threats to the inquiry’s independence”, which he said had “undermined the panel’s freedom” and “doomed the inquiry before the first witness has been heard”.
Mr Swinney has said he rejects any charges of interference in the independence of the inquiry, and that the government wants a “robust independent inquiry that can operate without fear or favour.” SOURCE
- Senior judge Lady Smith named new head of child abuse inquiry
- Lady Smith to take over Child Abuse Inquiry: The Journal Online
Anne Mather was educated at Jordanhill School and Cheadle County Grammar School for Girls, before attending the School of Law of the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated with an LL.B. (Hons.). She undertook a two-year apprenticeship with Shepherd and Wedderburn WS, and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1980,taking silk in 1993. She married David Alexander Smith WS in 1979.
She served as a Temporary Sheriff from 1995 to 1999, Chairman of the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse from 1998 to 2000, and as an Advocate Depute from 2000 to 2001. In April 2001 she was blamed by Donald Findlay QC for faling dress standards in the courts. In 1997, she had appeared been the first woman to appear before the Court of Session in trousers; Findlay said that “The drop in standards began when female lawyers were allowed to wear trousers in court. They are all right for going to Tesco in, but not suitable dress for ladies to wear in court.”
In November 2001, Smith was appointed as a judge of the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary, the Supreme Courts of Scotland, taking the judicial title, Lady Smith. Filling the vacancy created by Lord Gill‘s promotion to Lord Justice Clerk, she was only the third woman ever to have been appointed to the College of Justice. WIKI
Scottish Legal Complaints Commission censored documents to protect top judge’s husband’s anti-public insults. CONTINUING REVELATIONS OF AN ANTI-CLIENT POLICY at Scotland’s legal complaints regulator – the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission have led to the SLCC demanding key documents revealing a series of insults against Scots consumers made by one of its lawyer board members David Smith, the husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith, be withheld from release in an investigation currently being carried out by Scotland’s Freedom of Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion.
Scotland’s Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion. FOI Commissioner Kevin Dunion was asked to investigate the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission over a Freedom of Information response which contained heavily blacked out, yet readable details of insults & tirades by the SLCC’s board members against consumers, individuals, and solicitors clients who had been invited by the Commission to take part in the first ever external investigation into the infamously corrupt Master Insurance Policy & Guarantee Fund, operated by the Law Society of Scotland & Insurers Marsh & Royal Sun Alliance, the purpose of which is to compensate victims of ‘crooked lawyers’ but which in reality rarely ever pays out to consumers. IN FULL HERE
Allegations Court of Session judge ‘buried evidence’ at £200k+ employment tribunal as Lord President puts off complaints investigation into colleague
SERIOUS DOUBTS over the ability of Scotland’s top judge to carry out investigations into complaints made against fellow judges & sheriffs have surfaced after Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton appeared to shy away from carrying out an investigation into serious allegations made by a former lecturer at St Andrews University against currently serving Court of Session Judge Lady Smith & the controversial ex-Sheriff Mark Sischy, (now deceased) who were both involved in an Employment Tribunal case.
Among the allegations levelled at Lady Smith on the website of Dr Declan Quigley, former lecturer of Anthropology who resigned from St Andrews in 2002 and took the University to an Employment Tribunal, are claims that : “Lady Anne Smith, Scottish Supreme Court judge, ensured that evidence buried by the Scottish Employment Tribunals to protect the University of St Andrews remained covered up and that a judgment containing a tissue of misrepresentations went unchallenged.”
The late Mark Sischy who resigned from his position as a Sheriff in disgrace after being caught drink-driving, and amazingly returned to the Scottish judicial system as a £74,000-a-year chairman of employment tribunals, ended up presiding over the former University lecturer’s case against St Andrews University, is, according to Dr Quigley’s website alleged to “[have] perverted the course of justice. He signed a judgment containing a tissue of misrepresentations and buried large amounts of evidence to protect the University of St Andrews.”. Mr Sischy’s return to the judicial system in such a prominent role after his drink driving conviction provoked accusations of cronyism, and was questioned at the time by the SNP’s Tricia Marwick MSP.
Tricia Marwick said : “The manner in which Mr Sischy was appointed raises concerns of cronyism within the Scottish judicial system. Mr Sischy has been promoted to a full-time chairman while still serving a ban for drink-driving. When you consider that some of the cases brought in front of employment tribunals may involve drink-related incidents during hearings for unfair dismissals, it seems ludicrous to appoint someone with a criminal conviction in this area.”
Speaking today to journalists for Scottish Law Reporter, Dr Quigley said
“Lord Hamilton is clearly protecting Lady Smith who corruptly hid from the parties to an employment appeal tribunal (and their barristers) that the Chairman of the original tribunal had been an alcoholic and had been off work for months immediately prior to signing the judgment.”
Dr Quigley continued
“I am examining ways of making Lady Smith legally accountable for her actions and the Lord President and the President of the Employment Tribunals (Mrs Shona Simon) will have to justify why there has been no examination of the circumstances surrounding the case when there have been repeated requests to do so. Obviously, if the claims on my website were not true, I would have been hauled up in front of Lady Smith by now for contempt of court or defamation. In fact, Lady Smith was in contempt of her own court – and of the very basis of the Employment Appeals Tribunals – and she needs to answer for that.”
Before I quote the Justice Secretary’s Press Release on the McAllister appointment, I feel a footnote is required on the second appointment contained in the Press Release, that of Lady Smith. Lady Smith, appointed along with Martin McAllister, is the wife of David Smith, who was of course, appointed by Kenny MacAskill to the (SLCC) Scottish Legal Complaints Commission – to examine complaints against other lawyers. IN FULL HERE
Frequent Flyers : SLCC’s David Smith expressed anti-client jibes to Eileen Masterman in emails around the anti-consumer law complaints quango. Among the papers ordered to be disclosed in a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, emails containing anti-client jibes were revealed to have been sent by SLCC board member David Smith to Ms Masterman in July 2009. Mr Smith, husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith, was personally appointed to the SLCC by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Mr Smith, a lawyer who served much of his career at law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn, who themselves often act for the Master Policy in protection of questionable solicitors against negligence claims, referred to participants in the Master Policy survey & deceased clients who had committed suicide as a direct result of involvement with the Master Policy, as “Frequent flyers” IN FULL HERE