I READ your Law Correspondent's exclusive report today (Hardie under new fire over old row) with great interest. As an advocate in practice since 1982 and as a former member of the Faculty of Advocates' governing body, the Faculty Council, I have had extensive dealings over the years with the top legal personalities referred to, including the present Lord Advocate (Colin Boyd, QC), the former Lord Advocate (Lord Hardie of Blackford), and his immediate predecessor (Lord Mackay of Drumadoon).

Like many others within the Faculty of Advocates I have been puzzled and disturbed by the unexplained failure on the part of Lord Hardie to honour the long-standing convention of appointing any interested former holder of the office of Lord Advocate to the Court of Session Bench. The convention seems to have arisen historically from the desire to avoid the situation where a Court of Session litigant might feel disadvantaged by reason of the fact that his opponent's advocate appointed the judge hearing the case.

Lord Mackay, if I may say so, is a man of the most exceptional ability and integrity and has virtually unrivalled experience and qualifications for the office of Senator of the College of Justice. His being passed over for no apparent reason has merely served to diminish the office of Lord Advocate itself.

Siggi Bennett,

Parliament House,


February 21.