AS the lawyer and member of the Airdrieonians’ Supporters’ Trust referred to in your editorial (“A cobwebbed practice that is deserving of a red card”, The Herald, April 14), I feel the need to respond to Scott Crichton (Letters, April 15)

The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland maintained by the Court of the Lord Lyon is essentially an early form of trade mark register. I would submit though that the trade mark registry is a far more appropriate method of protection for the examples of intellectual property which Mr Crichton Styles referred too.

It is worth considering the process of applying to the Lyon Court for registration of arms. The cost to register a basic shield is £2,500 and, if your request is successful, you are provided with your new badge hand painted on calfskin vellum.

As Airdrieonians and Ayr United have discovered to their cost, there are a number of unwritten heraldic rules to be complied with. Your request will be rejected if you use letters within your shield or display certain symbols (including, in Ayr’s case, the Saltire). The fact that each badge had been used since the 1950s was irrelevant in the eyes of the law and the probability of a successful defence in the court of the Lord Lyon is very similar to Airdrie’s chance of promotion in the present season.

In England, heraldry does not form part of the criminal law. English football club badges which would be subject to criminal prosecution in Scotland include those of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. Each of those clubs has simply registered its badge as a trade mark (at the cost of circa £150). Given the multi-million pound brands that those badges represent, it seems absurd that Scots law prevents the same protection for Airdrieonians and Ayr United.

It is not the fact that the law in question is old that I would object to, it is the way in which it is enforced. There are probably thousands of golf clubs, football clubs, rugby clubs and schools throughout the country which have badges that are in breach of the laws of heraldry, but the Lord Lyon’s procurator fiscal only takes action if a complaint is made or a matter is drawn to his attention. Action is deemed to be in the public interest because avoiding the registration fees is equivalent to tax evasion. That argument, in my opinion, does not add up. Heraldry is either so important that the Lyon King of Arms Act 1592 should be enforced proactively and consistently or it should be recognised that a change of policy is required by the procurator fiscal to reflect public interest. I think that a sensible outcome would be for heraldry to be restricted to individuals, the government, the military and the monarchy.

What I am sure that supporters of Airdrieonians and Ayr United would welcome is clarity as to how the status quo can be challenged. Having already been brushed off by the Scottish Parliament’s petitions department and now the Westminster Cabinet, perhaps the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Government would be able to confirm.

Colin Telford,

Senior Legal Adviser, Vialex,

27 Stafford Street, Edinburgh.

READING your story about the Lord Lyon and football insignia (“Ancient laws may force clubs to give their badges the boot”, The Herald, April 14), I was reminded of when, as a law student at Glasgow, a group of us considered referring the insignia of Queen Margaret Union (which was then Ladies Only) on the grounds that the ladies were misappropriating the private arms of Queen (St) Margaret. We envisaged Lord Lyon's Hammermen coming through from Edinburgh in full regalia to break up all the crockery, smelt the cutlery, and carry the board off to be burned at the Edinburgh Tolbooth as was fit and proper for ladies committing lese majestie.

On the same page I learned that the distinguished advocate and Senator of the College of Justice, Lady Dorian,QC, is appointed Lord Justice Clerk (“Woman fills judiciary’s second highest position”, The Herald, April 14). This is a vitally important judicial appointment regardless of gender, but the significance of this particular appointment is precisely that Lady Dorian is the first woman to reach such exalted status in the Scottish legal profession. Her achievement is of far greater significance to the future of our society than the triviality of Lyon grumbling about club badges.

KM Campbell,

Bank House, Doune.