ACTIVISTS who set up a camp at Holyrood and promised not to leave until Scotland becomes independent are likely to be evicted after a bizarre hearing at the country's top civil court.

The patience of Lord Turnbull, who presided over the case, was tested to the limit at the Court of Session on Thursday as camp representatives put forward a series of unusual arguments, some of which were dismissed as "completely and utterly wrong" by the judge.

The legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament's corporate body, which lodged the eviction petition after campers arrived on its estate in November, and its right to hold land was called into question by advocates of the vigil who claimed the legal suit was an affront to the entire population of the country.

The Herald:

Claims of protections under a UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people were put forward despite the document not being recognised in Scots law while arguments that the 1707 Treaty of Union had been incorrectly implemented were branded "irrelevant" by parliament lawyer David Thomson.

Campers were told that another submission - that there are no laws against trespass in Scotland - was fundamentally incorrect.

Patricia Polley, speaking on behalf of 238 people responding to the petition as the 'sovereign indigenous peoples of Scotland', argued that as the parliament's corporate body was taxpayer funded, its land is therefore owned by "the people". 

"This land was bought and paid for by the people of Scotland," Ms Polley, who is not a lawyer, said. "By removing the indycamp from its grounds, would that leave the rights of the people of Scotland intact?"

However, her claim that the land was therefore owned in common by the public was dismissed by Lord Turnbull, who explained that it is his job to apply the law rather than to assess moral or philosophical arguments.

She went on to argue that any law not in the "utility" of Scots would prove incompatible with the Treaty of Union, although Lord Turnbull said the judiciary could not proclaim in a "God-like" manner whether legislation passed by parliaments was beneficial to the population or not. "You can't say black is white and expect the court to see it," he added.

He went on to question who would count as an "indigenous" Scottish person after Ms Polley cited the UN declaration, adding: "It's not enough to just say there's a declaration I've heard of, it must apply to me."

A second respondent to the parliament's petition, who gave his name as Mr Gemmell, repeated many of the claims made by Ms Polley and called for "no repeat" of the betrayal of William Wallace.

He described the parliament as an "invading force... abusing treaties for their own enrichment and terrorising peaceful people in their sanctuary."

He repeated the assertion that there are no trespass rules in Scotland and appeared to argue that laws only applied to living things, a claim that was blasted as "completely and utterly wrong" by Lord Turnbull, who listed a series of examples of entities legislation applied to.

While the camp, which is made up of a handful of tents and camper vans, was represented by legal amateurs the parliament has hired Brodies LLP, the country's largest legal firm, to fight its corner. It will attempt to reclaim costs - almost certainly a five figure sum - if it is successful.

The Herald:

Mr Thomson complained that a previous order for the respondents to provide their home addresses had not been complied with. The campers, who had previously listed every one of the 238 people as living at the parliament, agreed to attempt to provide the information within a week and face the possibility of contempt of court proceedings if they withhold it.

Summing up the Holyrood case, Mr Thomson said: "The Parliament is not saying people can't come on to its land. Its concern is a permanent occupation of part of its land. The necessary impact of that permanent occupation is that it at least has the potential to interfere with rights of other people." 

Lord Turnbull said he would issue a written verdict "in due course".