Monday, 17 November 2014

Lockerbie and international perception of Scotland's justice system

[The following are excerpts from an article by John Sturrock in today’s edition of The Scotsman about the prospects for Scotland as a centre for international mediation:]

Singapore is a small island which packs a disproportionate punch in South East Asia. I recently took part in the launch of the Singapore International Mediation Centre. (...)

Are there similar opportunities for Scotland? Our location and positioning at the north western edge of Europe is in some respects not dissimilar to that of Singapore in the south east of Asia. However, we are not the international commercial “hub” which has been Singapore’s raison d’être since its establishment as a trading post by Stamford Raffles nearly 200 years ago. Location is one aspect. Another is our close proximity to another major hub, namely London. Realistically, we are unlikely to see a significant shift of commercial focus from there.

That said, what might Scotland offer? Well, a reputation for honesty, fair-dealing, hospitality and good manners should be a good start. (...)

Finally, the international perception of our domestic justice system could matter. It is still not clear, for example, just how profoundly the continuing uncertainty over the Lockerbie verdict affects international confidence in Scotland’s capability to hold itself out as a reputable centre for solving international problems. An interesting issue to wrestle with.


  1. Cue expressions of bitter regret for the No vote on 18th September.

    If Scotland were an independent country, we would be in a far better position to carve out a niche for ourselves in the international community. We do have an international reputation, for thrift if nothing else, but it's hard to take advantage of when the country is bound and gagged in a box in the corner.

    There might also be a much better opportunity to hold the criminal justice system to account, when those involved can no longer hide behind the fig leaf of devolved and reserved matters, and the buck stops unarguably with them.

    Still, what we all thought was a "now or never" opportunity seems actually to have been more of a trial run. What 19th September showed us was that next time, we'll win.

  2. wau excellent - Rolfe the clever cat is back - we are happy and thankful.

    Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd, Switzerland. Webpage: