FACED with the slightest encroachment on their total control of Scotland's legal landscape, the legal establishment rapidly bunch together to hone, refine and polish their defence of the indefensible.

And so it came to pass that Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk, appeared before MSPs on Holyrood's equalities, human rights and civil justice committee regarding the Scottish Government's proposed Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill ("One of Scotland’s leading judges blasts Scottish Government over legislation", The Herald, November 29) Potentially, the bill could democratise a very important aspect of Scotland's legal landscape by removing the regulation of lawyers from the exclusive and inherently-biased control of the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and ultimately, the Lord President of the Court of Session.

Conduct complaints sent to the Law Society and the Faculty are exposed to an intrinsically biased process that almost guarantees the total exoneration of those lawyers who include appalling misconduct as part of their remit when "representing" clients. The proposed bill would introduce impartiality into the complaints process and therefore introduce lawyers to the concept of effective accountability.

Lady Dorrian told the committee: "Our principal concerns relate to the removal of the Lord President and the Court of Session as the ultimate regulators of the profession."

Some would contend that the real concerns relate to the prospect of losing total and exclusive control over a significant area of Scotland's legal landscape: the right to regulate the conduct of lawyers. That cosy in-house arrangement does not enhance the prospect of accountability for those lawyers whose conduct makes a mockery of effective access to justice.

The legal establishment's anti-democratic impulse emerged when Lady Dorrian told the committee: "Members of the judiciary rarely attend Parliament to comment on proposed legislation. The fact we are doing so merely underlines the extent of our concerns."

It also underlines the legal establishment's hostility to the democratic process when that process potentially diminishes the establishment's control of the regulatory mechanisms.

Lady Dorrian expanded her concerns: "The bill would give the Scottish ministers the ability to directly exercise power to regulate the profession and even set up an entirely new regulator". The existing power to regulate the profession is given to an unelected judge, and the lawyers' trade unions: the Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates.

Impartial regulation under that arrangement is hardly likely and that alone justifies giving ministers the power to regulate the profession.

Nothing however, will happen. Scotland's medieval processes regarding the regulation of lawyers will thrive thanks to the fact that Scottish ministers have indicated they will submit to some of the legal establishment's commands and complete surrender is sure to follow.

Thomas Crooks, Edinburgh.

Read more: SNP legal reforms 'constitutionally inept' warns Lady Dorrian

Parents must take responsibility

TODAY I stand higher in the social pyramid than did my parents principally because I stand on their shoulders but in a large part due to the free education to which I had unlimited access when I was young. What I have achieved and the start in life I gave my children is mainly due to the education I received (despite the fact some may say I could have done with more).

Times have changed and what formerly could be an arduous task simply to discover information has now morphed into asking the AI on your mobile phone a question. Perhaps the current generation don’t appreciate the relevance of the traditional education format.

In life we are responsible for our own actions and as far as I’m concerned also for those of our children. If children misbehave in school that is a problem their parents must solve, not the school and not society in general. Were I a teacher the first question I would ask every class would be “Who wants to learn today?”; those who didn’t reply in the positive I would send home. Not my circus, not my monkey. Let those who want to teach and to learn do so in peace.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

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The Herald: Will we get answers about whether lockdown was handled correctly?Will we get answers about whether lockdown was handled correctly? (Image: PA)

The vital Covid tests

WHENEVER the Covid Inquiry concludes, I expect we will receive the customary assurance that “lessons will be learned" to make us better prepared to deal with the next one. If so, I cannot see how the present scope and focus of the inquiry on naming and shaming those who had the misfortune to be in post at the time to try to deal with Covid, whilst understandable, provides a satisfactory basis for such an assurance.

Controversial measures such as repeated lockdowns, school closures, mask wearing and social distancing were enforced with major adverse lingering consequences, both humanitarian and economic. Are these steps to be accepted in future without question as essential and thus to be enforced automatically whenever any future pandemics strike?

Surely the present inquiry must involve expert investigation into the efficacy or otherwise of these draconian measures, particularly having regard to the experience of countries which did not follow suit, balanced against concerns such as the possibility that the NHS could be swamped without them?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Read more: An XL Bully invasion of Scotland? The Scottish Government is right

Bit below the belt

ONE day, as I strolled along on Skye with my two Jack Russells, we were set upon by two Doberman Pinschers, which appeared from nowhere. In a flash Tom had climbed up the front of my sweater and was perched on my shoulders. Brave Tom as usual. His dear mama, Winnie, had positioned herself in the middle of the road facing the attacking dogs and was giving it laldy with growls, snarls and a good showing of teeth. The Dobermans took off again, back up their track. If Winnie had had hands instead of paws she would have been rubbing them together.

If the Doberman dogs had been XL Bully dogs ("An invasion of English dogs? We need reform", The Herald, December 1) she would probably have seen them off by grabbing them by their testicular appendages and they might have gone into orbit. Tom just watched it all from his perch. Winnie kept the world in order as she defended her son and me and lived to the ripe old age of 17. She had once scared off an Alsatian by using her balls-grabbing tactic. She was a great wee lady.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.