JUDGES and sheriffs are having to make public why they stand down from cases because of conflicts of interests.
People can now see online how the interests of sheriffs and judges have impacted on cases through the Judicial Office for Scotland (JOS).
The JOS recently introduced a register of recusals, which shows cases where judges or sheriffs have absented themselves. There have been four cases over the past month where sheriffs have recused themselves, including one where a sheriff was known to a witness and another where one had previously represented a client.
However, despite pressure from campaigners there is no sign yet of a judicial register of interests.
A Holyrood committee is considering proposals that would require judges and sheriffs to publish their outside interests, including details of their finances.
Members of the judiciary, unlike other senior public servants, do not need to give any details of their external sources of income.
Yesterday, it emerged that a sheriff had presided over a court hearing involving Tesco at the same time as he held shares in the multi-national supermarket giant.
The Sunday Herald reported yesterday that Sheriff Principal Dunlop, QC, did not absent himself because having shares in a company that is party to a court action does not require a member of the judiciary to step down from a case.
Members of the judiciary, unlike other senior public servants, currently do not need to give any details of their external sources of income.