The creation of the British Isles and Irish Chief Justices’ Forum

News Publication Date: 03 October 2014

On Friday 19 September 2014, the day the result of the vote on Scottish independence was declared, David Doyle (the Island’s First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls) was in Edinburgh at the personal request of the Right Honourable Lord Gill, the Lord President of Scotland. Invitations had been issued in June to the heads of the Judiciary in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey with the intention of discussing matters of common interest and to consider how the heads of the seven jurisdictions could best maintain and enhance regular and meaningful contact.

On Friday Deemster Doyle attended the opening of the Legal Year Ceremony in Court 1 of the Court of Session at which Lord Hodge, a Justice of the United Kingdom Supreme Court and a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the Island’s final appeal court) was also present.

The Justices from Scotland, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies then attended a reception hosted by Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, at Edinburgh Castle. Later in the evening the Justices were entertained to an informal supper hosted by James Wolffe, the Dean of Faculty in the Reading Room at Parliament House.

The formal meeting between the Chief Justices took place on Saturday 20 September 2014 and the day ended with a formal black tie dinner at Parliament Hall, Parliament House. Deemster Doyle stated:

'It was useful to meet with the leading judges of the jurisdictions within the British Isles and Ireland. The creation of the British Isles and Irish Chief Justices’ Forum is an important step. Co-operation and a hunger to learn from one another will assist in the development of our respective legal systems. It is very useful for the Isle of Man to be represented at the highest judicial level amongst the Chief Justices of the jurisdictions within the British Isles and Ireland which are close to us physically and legally.

The timing of the meeting coincided with the declaration of the result of the vote on Scottish independence. The atmosphere in Edinburgh was incredible with media crews from very many countries worldwide including Ukraine seeking views as to the process and as to the future. The Justices, of course, kept out of the politics of the situation but I was comforted by the fact that in a jurisdiction which respects the rule of law and democratic values, the issue had been decided by a peaceful vote, with an impressive turnout of voters, rather than by armed conflict as is sadly the case in some other jurisdictions worldwide. Long may the rule of law prevail and assist in providing peaceful solutions to the constitutional and legal issues of the day.

I look forward to working closely with the Chief Justices of the other jurisdictions throughout the British Isles and Ireland and to contributing positively to the British Isles and Irish Chief Justices’ Forum.'

Page last updated on 01 January 0001