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Legal elder statesman and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Law Awards of Scotland, Ian Hamilton QC has challenged the entry and admission of former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini to the Faculty of Advocates, listing a series of professional and technical competence issues which he says have been overlooked to accomodate her entry, including a rare censure from the Lord President.
He also asks if political pressure was brought to bear to facilitate her entry, and says she is not a fit person to pass as an advocate.
"Since she only demitted office as Lord Advocate on or about 1st May 2011 she cannot have spent the usual nine months devilling. Is devilling no longer necessary or was a special dispensation given to Dame Angiolini? If so, why?" he asks.
"Before anyone is admitted to the office of advocate a notice of intent is posted on the walls of the court in order that objections may be taken by the public as to the fitness of the intrant to become an advocate. Was this dispensed with in the case of Dame Angiolini? If so why?
"Further this lady has been publicly censured by the Lord Justice General. No one who has been so censured has ever passed advocate in the last three hundred years."
Hamilton also criticises Angiolini's shepherding of the Tommy and Gail Sheridan prosecutions, a matter he has written about exclusively in the past via the pages of The Firm, and lists the former Lord Advocate's refusal to comply with a Freedom of Information request related to the Hollie Greig case as a matter to be considered by the Faculty.
That request itself asks whether Angiolini or the taxpayer funded a series of legal actions against the media.
Terra Firma Chambers, the Stable Angiolini has joined told The Firm they had no comment to make in respect of this at the time of the announcement of Angiolini's admission last week.
"If the usual procedures had been adopted representations may have been made that Dame Angiolini was not a fit person to pass advocate," he says.
"Why were the usual procedures of admission to the Faculty of Advocates departed from in the case of this person? Was any pressure put on the Faculty by any outside body such as the Government to admit this person to the Faculty?
"Apart from the Roman Emperor Caligula making his horse a Senator of Rome is there any precedent for such an admission to the Faculty of Advocates?
"Admission to the Faculty is not a meaningless ritual. It is there to protect the public. Accordingly I am making this letter public."
Terra Firma have told The Firm this morning they have no comment to make in respect of Hamilton's letter. The letter can be read in full, here.