2009 Minutes
36th Annual Business Meeting

United Kingdom 
Edinburgh ~ London ~ Ireland ~ Killarney


President Richard O. Frazee, Sr. (Elaine)
Hon. Dallas Holmes
Hon. Malcolm Mackey
Hon.  Cheryl Leininger [Owen]
Hon. Ron Owen
Hon. Tully Seymour (Jan)
Hon. Robert Soares (Punky)
Diane Bowen, Chief Administrative Officer

SUNDAY: Members arrived in the morning and transferred to the Radisson Hotel, on The Royal Mile.  The afternoon was free followed by a Welcome Dinner at Wedgewood the Restaurant.

MONDAY: In the morning the group met for a tour of  Edinburgh and visited Edinburgh Castle, a fortress which has been involved in many historical conflicts since the 12th century.  The castle houses the Royal Palace, the former royal apartments of the Stewart monarchs during the 15th century, where King James VI was born to Mary, Queen of Scots. In the Crown Room are the Honours of Scotland: the crown, the sceptre, the sword of state, and the Scottish Crown Jewels, displayed with the Stone of Destiny, the coronation seat of Scottish Kings.  Also on the Castle grounds are the Scottish National War Memorial, a shrine to those who have given their lives in world conflicts, and the National War Museum of Scotland, which includes Mons Meg, a huge cannon, one of Europe’s oldest surviving medieval bombards.  Since 1861 the cannon has been fired daily at one o’clock.

The group enjoyed lunch at Tempus Restaurant, and then toured New Town, followed by a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Queen Elizabeth’s official residence in Scotland.  It was founded as a monastery in 1128.  Successive kings and queens have made the Palace the premier royal residence in Scotland.  Today the Palace is used for State ceremonies and official entertaining, and during the Queen’s Holyrood week in June, she hosts a wide range of official engagements, entertaining guests from all walks of Scottish life at the Palace.

TUESDAY: In the morning the group visited the University of Glasgow School of Law and met with Professor Rosa Greaves, Head of Department, Professor of Law Robert Rennie (teaches conveyancing), Professor Ross Anderson (lecturer in commercial law), and Professor Lindsay Farmer, Deputy Head of Department (criminal law).  “Since the city’s first university was established in 1451, Glasgow has been hailed as a powerful seat of learning.  Glasgow Graduate School of Law is a unique partnership with Strathclyde Law School, one of the most innovative graduate law schools in Scotland.  The University is ranked best law school in Scotland, and was recently awarded the highest, ‘5A’ rating.” 

Students entering law school must have an undergraduate degree and are required to “sit” the Law National Admission Test (LNAT).  Tuition is paid by the state and students must meet requirements to be awarded funding. “The Diploma at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law (GGSL) is a nationally designed course, and equips students with essential practical knowledge to introduce values and attitudes of the legal profession in Scotland and enables graduates to practice the skills necessary for a legal career.”  The core curriculum consists of compulsory courses plus optional studies, including Legal Skills, Civil Law, Conveyancing, Criminal Law, Financial Services and Accountancy, Practice Management, Private Client and Ethics.  The Diploma is delivered in one academic year and is required for entry to both the solicitors and advocates branches of the legal profession. 

In recent years there have been substantially more qualified applicants than there are places available.  Students have a deadline to respond to the offer of placement or the offer will be withdrawn.  Specific instructions state: “If you find that you are unable to take up a place you have been offered, you must let GGSL know ......otherwise you risk denying another .....candidate a place....that would be rotten of you.”  Each year approximately 240 candidates are selected from over a thousand applicants.

The legal profession is divided between solicitors and advocates.  To become a solicitor, after graduation students enter into a training contract with a firm of solicitors for a two-year traineeship, regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, which requires prospective solicitors to pass exams in a curriculum set by the Society.  The Law Society estimates that in recent years the number of traineeships has been in the region of 420 per year.  Solicitors are members of the Law Society of Scotland and deal directly with clients in all sorts of legal matters, and have traditionally represented clients in lower courts, such as Sheriff Courts and District Court, but were excluded in the High Courts of the Judiciary and the Court of Session.  When in court, solicitors wear a suit and tie together with a Scottish bar gown (a form of black robe).

A graduate begins the process of becoming an advocate with a period of “pupillage” or training, referred to as “devilling.”  Lasting between eight and nine months, the graduate, called the “devil,” works with a devilmaster, a lawyer who has been admitted to practice as a advocate before the Courts of Scotland, especially the Courts of Session and the High Court.  At the end of the devilling period, a devil’s admission to the Faculty of Advocates is dependent upon certification by the principal devilmaster that the devil is a fit and proper person to be an advocate, has been involved in a wide range of work in the course of devilling, and is competent. 

The Faculty of Advocates has existed in Scotland since 1532 when the College of Justice was set up by the Parliament of Scotland.  The Faculty is self-regulating in the task of preparing entrants for admission as advocates.  No one can be presented to the Court of Session as suitable to be a practicing advocate without satisfying the training requirements. Advocates wear wigs, white bow-ties (or falls in the case of senior counsel), and gowns as dress in court.  Advocates traditionally do not act directly for members of the public, but take instructions from a solicitor.

In recent years more advocates have come to the Scottish Bar after some time as solicitors, and since 1990, suitably qualified solicitors were for the first time in Scotland granted rights of audience in the Supreme Courts of Scotland as solicitor advocates.  And Advocates can now accept instructions directly from an individual or organization.  Judges are recommended to the First Minister of Scotland by a Judicial Appointments Board and receive no separate training.  The First Minister consults with the Lord President of the Court of Session, and together they make recommendations to the Queen of the United Kingdom for judicial appointments.  Such recommendations are made on merit.

The Academy members left the University in Glasgow to meet with Sheriff Robert H. Dickson at the Airdrie Sheriff’s Court.  Sheriff Dickson, an Honorary Member in the Academy, hosted a luncheon in his chambers for the group.

A Sheriff is a Judge who is usually assigned to work in a specific court, and there are about 149 full time Sheriffs in the various courts in Scotland.  Sheriff Courts are a second-tier court (above local District courts which deal with very minor offenses), and are presided over by lay Justice of the Peace officers.  The Sheriff Courts are courts of first instance for a majority of both civil and criminal cases.  There are currently 49 Sheriff Courts in Scotland, some in rural areas of Scotland, and the Sheriff Courts in Edinburgh are the largest in the country.  Sheriffs are appointed on the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Board.  They are usually advocates, but increasingly some have been solicitors with many years of legal experience.

Sheriff Courts deal with civil cases involving divorce, children, property disputes and debt claims exceeding ₤5,000; summary matters involving rent arrears, delivery of goods and debts between ₤3,000 and ₤5,000; and small claims involving minor disputes.  These cases often proceed through the courts without the need to consult a solicitor.  In addition, they handle adoption, liquidation of companies, gaming license applications, fatal accident inquiries, and bankruptcies.  

Criminal matters in Sheriff Courts may be brought under either solemn or summary procedure.  It is the responsibility of the Procurator Fiscal to decide which procedure should be followed for a particular case.  Solemn procedure is used in serious cases where the charge can attract a sentence in excess of three months in prison or a fine of more than ₤5,000.  If a Sheriff feels his sentencing powers are insufficient, the case may be remitted to the High Court.  Summary procedure is mainly used for less serious cases where a Sheriff hears a case without a jury.  Jury trials are done with 15 lay jurors, and a majority of 8 must decide the verdict.  Jurors have three choices, guilty, not guilty or not proven (established in 1728).  It is not possible to have a “hung” jury. If there is not sufficient support for any verdict the verdict is not guilty.  Civil juries consist of 12 people, with a simple majority verdict.  Jurors are chosen randomly from the electoral rolls.

Sheriff Dickson noted in the Airdrie courts, drug and alcohol violations are very prevalent. Charges are based on quantity, usage and selling.  Although the Sheriff’s sentencing powers are restricted to three months imprisonment, there are occasions when this may be increased to one year.  Based on a social inquirer report and an assessment, the Sheriff works with defendants on drug testing (sometimes up to two times a week) and treatment.  The age of “legal capacity” is 16 years old in Scotland.

Academy members were invited to observe the 1:30 arraignment calendar of Sheriff Dickson, with Judges Frazee, Mackey and Seymour sitting on the bench with the Sheriff.  There were 17 matters on the afternoon calendar, involving charges of Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Attempt to Pervert the court of justice, Assault to injury, Breach of the peace, Theft, Theft by shoplifting, Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006, Road Traffic Act 1988, Criminal Procedure Act 1995, Assault to severe injury, Assault to severe injury with Permanent disfigurement, Firearms Act 1968, and Assault to severe injury with Danger of life.  The Sheriff gave bail to some of the offenders, ordered further examination of one defendant, remanded a few to custody, and issued warrants for some defendants who failed to appear.  The defendant charged with shoplifting received 6 months.  At the moment, trial dates are set 23 days out from arraignment when a person is in custody, and a trial must start within 40 days.  If bail is granted, trial dates are set 110 days out, and a trial must commence within a year of the offense.

Sheriff Dickson was presented a crystal gavel by the Academy as a thank you gift for arranging the meetings in Scotland.  

The group returned to Edinburgh and in the evening attended Jamie’s Scottish Dinner Show at King James Thistle Hotel.  Billed “The Ultimate Scottish Experience,” it included traditional Scottish dances, jigs, reels on the accordion, bagpipe classics such as Highland Cathedral, Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace, and more, including an amazing Sword Dance.  A highlight of the evening (for some), was the “Taste o’the Haggis!”

WEDNESDAY: In the morning the Academy group visited Parliament House (the Supreme Court Building) to meet with The Hon. Lord Patrick S. Hodge, Judge of the Supreme Court, High Court of Justiciary.  The group was taken on a tour of the building, formerly the home of the Scottish Parliament, until it was adjourned in 1707.  It now houses the Supreme Courts of Scotland, the Court of Session, Scotland’s Supreme Civil Court and the High Court of Justiciary, Scotland’s Supreme Criminal Court.  The oldest part, built by King Charles I, was completed in 1639.  The building also contains the Advocates’ Library, founded in 1682, and considered one of the finest working law libraries in the United Kingdom.  It is owned and used today by members of the Faculty of Advocates.  Members of the Faculty pay 15% of their fees to support the overhead of the library.

The Court of Session is a court of first instance and a court of appeal.  An appeal from the Court of Session goes to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in London.  The court is divided into the Outer House and the Inner House.  The Outer House consists of 24 Lords sitting alone, or in certain cases, with a civil jury, hearing cases at first instance on a wide range of civil matters, including tort, contract, commercial and intellectual property disputes.  The Inner House is an appeal court.  It is divided into First and Second Divisions, each division being made up of five judges. Three judges are required for a quorum.  Due to the current heavy case loads, three judges frequently sit.  The Divisions hear cases on appeal from the Outer House and the Sheriff Courts.  Cases are presented by an advocate or solicitor-advocate. 

The High Court of Justiciary has jurisdiction over the whole of Scotland and over all crimes.  When sitting as a trial court of first instance, it deals with the most serious crimes such as murder, rape, culpable homicide, armed robbery, drug trafficking and serious sexual offenses.  Cases are presided over by a single judge and tried by a jury of fifteen.  All cases commence with a preliminary hearing and if the court is satisfied that the case is in a sufficient state of preparation, the court will “appoint” the case to a trial “diet.”  When sitting as an appellate court, the court consists of at least three judges when hearing appeals against conviction, and two judges when hearing sentence appeals, although more judges may sit when the court is dealing with difficult cases or those where important matters of law may be considered.  Appeals are heard from the High Court, the Sheriff Courts and the District Courts.  The High Court also hears appeals in cases referred to it by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.  The Lord Advocate may refer a point of law which arises in the course of a case to the High Court for an opinion.  This allows the High Court to give directions which “set out the law for future similar cases.”

Cases in the High Court are prosecuted by advocates or solicitor-advocates who are appointed by the Lord Advocate.  They are experienced solicitors who have “obtained an extension of their rights of audience” in the lower courts by undergoing additional training in evidence and in the procedure of the High Court.  

In both the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, a practitioner from another member state of the European Union may appear for a client in circumstances prescribed by the European Communities Order of 1978.  An individual who is a party to a case may conduct his own case, but a firm or a company must always be represented by a solicitor-advocate.

Lord Hodge was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court in 2005.  He is also the Scottish Judge in Exchequer Causes and one of the Scottish Intellectual Property Judges.  Until his appointment, Lord Hodge had been the Procurator to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland since 2000.  After the tour of Parliament House, the Academy group went across the street to the High Court and observed court proceedings in Lord Hodge’s court, including a cocaine drug charge case, and an unlawful “sexual activity” matter.

The afternoon was at leisure, and in the evening the group enjoyed a Farewell to Edinburgh Dinner at The Witchey by the Castle, a short walk from the hotel.  Sheriff Dickson met the group at the restaurant and everyone enjoyed visiting with him during dinner.  Following dinner, a nightcap was enjoyed at the Jolly Judge Pub nearby the restaurant.

THURSDAY: In the morning the group transferred to the Waverley Railway Station for a four and a half hour train ride to London’s King’s Cross Station.  The group arrived in the afternoon and transferred to The May Fair Hotel.  The evening was at leisure.

FRIDAY:  The group met in the lobby for a London City tour, with Guide Imogean, a senior partner at a large London solicitor’s firm.  The group toured the interior of Westminster Abbey, established by Benedictine monks in the tenth century.  The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066, and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs.  Westminster Abbey holds daily worship services and “hosts a number of services throughout the year to mark anniversaries and special occasions in the life of the nation.”  

Academy members then rode on the London Eye, seeing views of London 25 miles in all directions.  The Eye opened in 2000 and was known as the Millennium Wheel.  It is one of London’s most popular paid attractions.  The Eye carries 800 passengers per revolution, and each revolution takes 30 minutes.  After riding the London Eye, the group was driven over Blackfrairs Bridge, the third bridge built over the Thames River in 1769, rebuilt in 1869 and opened by Queen Victoria.  The group passed the Royal Courts of Justice and walked through the grounds of the Inns of Court on the way to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a famous pub frequented by many famous Londoners and lawyers since it opened in 1666.  It is referred to in Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities following Charles Darnay’s acquittal on charges of high treason. 

Following lunch the group enjoyed a panoramic bus tour of London, including such sites as the street of “Wigs,” Old Bailey, the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, Parliament and the Abbey.

After the return to the hotel the judges convened for the 2009 Business Meeting, with all but one Academy Fellow in attendance.


At 6:00 p.m. at The May Fair Hotel in London, the annual business meeting was convened.  President Frazee thanked the members for coming on the trip.  He thought it had been very successful, that all the meetings in Scotland had been very informative, and that the weather had been great.  He was looking forward to the meetings scheduled on Monday at the new Supreme Court.

Upon motion by Judge Mackey; second by Judge Soares, the minutes of the 2008 meeting in Canada and Washington, D.C. from September 27 to October 9, 2008 were approved as written.

The Treasurer’s Report submitted by Judge Keene reflected a beginning balance of $3,996.18 as of October 6, 2008.  Income derived from dues, initiation fees and scholarship donations totaled $5,050.  Expenses were $6,070.53.  The balance on hand as of October 9, 2009 was $2,975.65.  The report was unanimously approved as presented.  
The mailing of paper (hard) copies of the minutes to members was discussed.  It was determined that CAO Diane Bowen has 47 email addresses for the approximately 100 members of the Academy.  She has been using email for correspondence when applicable.  The judges decided that Diane will email copies of the 2009 minutes to those for whom she has email addresses.  If members would like hard copies mailed to them, they should advise Diane.  All future correspondence will be sent by email (where applicable) with the exception of dues collection letters.  This year members will again be asked to provide email addresses when dues are collected so that members can receive trip announcement brochures and updates as expeditiously as possible.

The yearly Membership Report was discussed.  There were no new members, other than the Honorary Members voted upon from Canada in 2008.  There were two members who had not paid 2008 or 2009 dues.  In accordance with the Bylaws, and upon motion by Judge Frazee, second by Judge Seymour, these two members were dropped for non-payment of dues.  There are presently two members who have not paid 2009 dues.

In accordance with the Bylaws, the Nominating Committee is traditionally comprised of all former Academy presidents in attendance on the yearly trip.  This year the only former president was Judge Seymour.  Prior to the trip, Judge Seymour and IATJ Founder Judge Keene, discussed and decided upon the following nominations for the slate of officers for 2010: Judge Kevin Midlam, President, Judge Malcolm Mackey President-Elect, and Judge Tully Seymour as Chancellor.  In the interest of facilitating the banking arrangements, Judge Keene will continue to serve as the Secretary-Treasurer.  There were no further nominations from the floor.  The nominations were moved closed by Judge Soares, second by Judge Leininger; the nominations were unanimously approved by acclamation.

The following Honorary Members were nominated by Judge Leininger; second by Judge Soares and elected by acclamation: The Hon. Lord Patrick S. Hodge, High Court of Justiciary, Scotland and The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Supreme Court of England.

President-elect Judge Midlam was unable to attend this trip and Diane presented his proposed 2010 trip to the judges.  The judges will fly on a Wednesday to Amsterdam for three nights.  Meetings are being planned at the Hague and the World Court, among others.  Members will embark upon one of Avalon Waterway’s newest ships, The Felicity, and visit ports from Amsterdam to Basel, including Cologne, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Breisach.  Creative Travel has reserved cabins at this time.  After disembarkation in Basel, an extension is planned in Switzerland for an additional three nights, and court visits will be arranged.  All shore excursions and meals with local wines are included on the cruise.  Final arrangements will be announced as soon as possible.

Judge Mackey, President-elect for 2011, presented the following suggestions for his trip.  He would like to plan a trip to India, visiting the cities of Agra (location of the Taj Mahal), and Delhi, with extensions to Mumbai.  And alternative destination could be Machu Picchu and/or the Galapagos Islands.  

At 7:15 p.m. the meeting was adjourned.

SATURDAY: The weekend was free for sightseeing, Academy members received Big Bus Hop On/Hop Off tickets to explore London.  The tours began outside the Green Park tube station, one block from the hotel.  Several different routes were available encompassing all the key sights of central London with great views and interesting facts provided by an English guide.  The sites included Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, shopping in Harrods, Kensington, the British Museum and more.  A River Thames cruise from Parliament to the Tower of London, and three guided walking tours were also included in the discover London tours.

In the evening members enjoyed dinner at The Arbutus, followed by a performance of Jersey Boys (the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) at the Prince Edward Theatre.  

SUNDAY: The full day was at leisure and members could continue to use the Hop On/Hop Off tickets.

MONDAY: In the morning the group enjoyed a private tour of Parliament House, also known as the Palace of Westminster, arranged by Lord Phillips.  Many media reporters were at the Houses of Parliament as lawmakers returned for the autumn session, since Greenpeace activists had climbed onto the roof and spent the night, calling attention to climate change and green jobs.  The protest lasted 28 hours until the 55 protestors voluntarily climbed down from the roof.

This is the seat of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.  Westminster Hall is the oldest part of the building, erected in 1099.  Built to host great state occasions, feasts and entertainment, the great Hall was designed to impress and overawe and is still one of the largest mediaeval spaces in existence.  The Hall has been used for many things, coronation banquets, law courts and coffee shops and has witnessed some of the most famous trials in British history, including those of Guy Fawkes and King Charles I.  Over the years, it has been flooded, bombed and caught fire, and nowadays it is used for important ceremonial functions.  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has addressed both Houses here and it is customary for monarchs to lie in state in the Hall after their deaths.  

Academy members toured the Chambers of the House of Lords, which includes the Throne used during State Openings of Parliament by the Queen to deliver her speech regarding the forthcoming parliamentary session.  Benches in this Chamber are red.  The House of Lords revises and initiates legislation, scrutinizes the activities of government and provides a forum for independent expertise.  The House of Lords has 724 members, a large portion traditionally were hereditary peerages, now Lords are predominantly appointed.  There are party groups organized much as they are in the House of Commons, in addition, two distinctive features are the independent Crossbench group and the 26 senior Bishops of the Church of England.

The House of Commons Chambers has green benches and members of the Government party occupy benches on the Speaker’s right, and the Opposition occupy benches to the Speaker’s left.  The Chambers is relatively small and can accommodate only 427 of the 646 Members of Parliament.  Each elected Member of Parliament (MP) represents a particular area of the United Kingdom.  Most MPs declare an allegiance to one of three main political parties.  After a General Election, the leader of the party with the most MPs is asked by the Queen to become Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister then forms a government to manage the country.  The next largest party forms the Official Opposition with a mandate to provide voters with an alternative viewpoint to the government. 

After the tour of Parliament the Academy group crossed the street to Middlesex Guildhall, originally built in 1906 as a courthouse and the Middlesex County Council’s chambers.  In the 1960s it became a Crown Court.  In 2007 it was chosen as the location for the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, as a symbol of the separation of powers, balancing judiciary and legislature across the open space of Parliament Square with the other two sides occupied by the executive and Westminster Abbey, the church.  It took two years to renovate the building.  The Academy group toured the building and then visited the chambers of Lord Phillips, the President of the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court began hearing cases on Monday, October 5, 2009, and was officially opened on October 16th by Queen Elizabeth in a ceremony attended by justices and top judges from all over the world.  United States Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia attended the ceremonies.  Much publicity has been given to the U.K. Judges shedding their wigs and ermine-trimmed robes.  For hundreds of years Britain’s highest court of appeal was the Law Lords, a group of justices who sat in Parliament’s House of Lords. 

The new court had it roots in a surprise 2003 announcement by then Prime Minister Tony Blair that Britain would end a more than 600-year association between the highest appellate court and the House of Lords.  The proposal included abolishing the office of the Lord Chancellor, the head of the judiciary (which was later dropped), as well as replacing the Law Lords with a Supreme Court.  Many members of the senior judiciary and several of the Law Lords opposed the measure, but the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005 was passed by Parliament, establishing the Supreme Court with its own staff, budget and building.  In addition to appeals cases, the judges also rule in disputes over the powers accorded to the government of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The main argument in favor of establishing the court was that the House of Lords’ role as a legislature and the judiciary should be separated.

Lord Phillips [The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers], read law at Cambridge and was called to the Bar in Middle Temple.  He went into practice as a barrister, specializing in maritime law matters.  He was appointed as Junior Counsel to the Ministry of Defence and Treasury and “took silk” and became a Queen’s Counsel.  He was appointed a High Court Judge on the Queen’s Bench Division with the customary knighthood, and later became a Lord Justice of Appeal, where he was appointed to the Privy Council, and then elevated to the House of Lords.  In 2005 he became the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and has become the first President of the Supreme Court.

Justices of the Supreme Court are not subject to term limits, however all British judges are forced to retire at the age of 70 if first appointed to a judicial office after March 1995, or at the age of 75 if appointed before.  In addition to 12 permanent Justices of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court may request other senior judges to sit as “acting judges” of the Court.  New appointments will be made from a selection commission formed when vacancies arise composed of the President and Deputy-President and a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  New judges will not necessarily receive peerages.  Presently there is a vacancy for the 12th justice.

English law, which applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is based on common-law principles, which apply statutes, precedent and common sense, giving explanatory judgments of relevant legal principles, that are reported and binding in future similar cases (stare decisis).  The Courts of England and Wales are headed by the Senior Courts consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice (for civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). 

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It hears appeals on points of law of general public importance and concentrates on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance.  Any decision it makes is binding on every other court in the same jurisdiction.  Occasionally the Court will be called upon to interpret European law and the European Convention on Human Rights as they relate to domestic laws.  There is no automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court.  Cases generally are referred from a lower court, and are selected on the basis of public importance.  Because points of law are being discussed, rather than the rights and wrongs of a particular case, the courtrooms are specially designed to encourage the atmosphere of a learned debate.  The new courtrooms are equipped with cameras and microphones so proceedings can be broadcast, and the courts are now, for the first time, open to the public.

After a tour of the court building and the meeting with Lord Phillips, the Academy members watched a hearing taking place at the time.  Five justices sit as a panel to hear cases (sometimes more in important matters).  The Academy members attended a hearing involving an appeal of a child custody case. 

Following the Supreme Court visit the group had lunch at Middle Temple at the Inns of Court.  The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations to which every barrister in England and Wales must belong.  They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members.  The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional accommodation, and are self-contained.  Barristers traditionally train and practice at the Inns, although in the late 20th century many barristers’ chambers have moved outside the London precincts of the Inns of Court.  The active Inns are Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple.  Barristers may choose which Inn to join.  The Inns no longer provide all the education and training needed by prospective barristers, who must now pass Bar Vocational Courses, but they do provide supplementary education during the “Bar School” year, and the early years of practice.  Qualifying sessions are traditionally formal dinners followed by law-related talks and weekend trainings.  The Inns retain the sole right to call qualified students to the Bar.

The balance of the afternoon was free, and in the evening the group held the Farewell to London Dinner at The Only Running Footman.  Lord Nicholas and Christylle Phillips attended the dinner and Academy members enjoyed their company in a private dining room.

TUESDAY-FRIDAY: Dick and Elaine Frazee and Tully and Jan Seymour left the trip at this point and the rest of the group flew to Ireland for a 4-night post trip which included sightseeing through County Cork, Kenmare and the Ring of Kerry and a stay at The Killarney Park Plaza Hotel. 

Highlights included a Gap of Dunloe pony and trap adventure and taking a boat from the upper to the middle lower lakes, an Irish night with a local ballad group at Danny Mann Pub, and a full day Dingle Pennisula tour.  The grand finale was a Farewell Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle!  The following day, the group left for home.

Written By Diane Z. Bowen, 

Richard O. Frazee, Sr., President

1. www.ggsl.strath.ac.uk

2. Guidance notes for LLB Students, University of Strathclyde 2009-2010

3. Quote from Wikipedia: In Scotland, a jury in a criminal trial consists of 15 jurors, which is thought to be the largest in the world.  In 2009 a review by the Scottish Government regarding the possibility of reduction, led to the decision to retain 15 jurors, with the Secretary of Justice stating that after extensive consultation, he had decided that Scotland had got it “uniquely right.”

4. Quote from Wikipedia: Out of the country, the “not proven” verdict may be referred to as the Scottish Verdict, and in Scotland itself it may be referred to colloquially as the bastard verdict, which was a term coined by Sir Walter Scott, who was a Sheriff in the Court of Selkirk. In modern use, the not proven verdict is used when the jury does not believe the case has been proven against the defendant but is not sufficiently convinced of their innocence to bring in a not guilty verdict.  This perception is reflected in the popular paraphrase of “not proven” as meaning “not guilty, but don’t do it again.”It has been said, “You don’t go to prison, but nobody will ever talk to you again.” 

5. www.scotcourts.gov.uk

6.United Press International, London, October 12, 2009.

7.Seats in the House of Commons used by members who do not are not members of the Government or the Opposition parties.

8.UK’s three major political parties are the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrats.

9.www.supremecourt.gov.uk, The Work of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

10.The case was originally decided in a Family Division Court and custody was awarded to the child’s grandmother whom the child had lived with continuously from birth.  In the High Court the father was given custody, and the matter was appealed to the Court of Appeal, where a stay on the “transfer of residence” was granted pending an appeal to the House of Lords, now the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court handed down a decision on November 19, 2009, In GB v. RJB, UKSC 5, reversing the Court of Appeal and granting the grandmother custody. 

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Judges Ron Owen, Dick Frazee, Dallas Holmes, Jan Seymour, Judge Cheryl Leininger, Elaine Frazee & Judge Malcolm Mackey 
View of Big Ben and Parliament from the London Eye.
Punky & Bob Soares, Cheryl Leininger, Diane Bowen, Ron Owen and Malcolm Mackey