ALEX Salmond’s legal action against the Scottish Government over the handling of alleged sexual misconduct complaints enters open court today.

Lawyers for the two sides are due to appear before Lord Pentland at the Court of Session for a procedural hearing.

The hearing is to see if the parties are ready to proceed to a full judicial review hearing, which has provisionally been set down to start on January 15 and last four days.

Mr Salmond, 63, strongly denies sexual harassment and criminality.

The former First Minister launched the legal action last August against the government and its most senior civil servant, the permanent secretary Leslie Evans.

It followed two female civil servants making allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr Salmond in January relating to his time as First Minister in 2013.

The complaints prompted an investigation ultimately overseen by Ms Evans, who told Mr Salmond in August that she intended to make a public statement on the matter.

Mr Salmond took early legal action in an attempt to stop any publicity around the case, but details emerged in the media regardless.

The government’s most senior law officer, the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, also advised the matter be referred to the police, who are conducting their own inquiry.

Following publicity around the complaints, Mr Salmond resigned from the SNP after 45 years as a member, 20 of them as the party’s leader.

He strongly criticised Ms Evans, who has been defended by Nicola Sturgeon.

Backed by £100,000 of donations from a crowd-funder appeal he linked to independence, Mr Salmond is now seeking a judicial review of the way the complaint process was handled by the government he once led.

He says he did not receive a fair chance to put his side of events.

If the court agrees with Mr Salmond, the most likely outcome is for the Scottish Government to be asked to reconsider its approach to the complaints.

The Police Scotland inquiry continues on its own separate track.

It is unaffected by whether Mr Salmond wins or loses his judicial review.