Alex Salmond Inquiry Legal Advice

Mr Aberdein said: “I was informed by the committee`s social workers in January this year that they had made the decision not to publish my submission in any form for legal reasons. On December 6, 2018, legal counsel told ministers that they thought the “least bad option” was to access the petition. “This position has been repeated to me today by social workers, and I will not put myself in a position to violate these legal considerations. Ms. Sturgeon`s appearance prior to the inquest was also confirmed for 9 a.m. tomorrow in a likely marathon session. Recent documents released for Holyrood`s investigation into the handling of sexual harassment complaints against Salmond include a joint note from an external consultant dated September 17. December 2018, a few weeks before the government finally gave in to judicial control of the process initiated by Salmond. Counsel showed that the government was continuing the investigation, although the lawyer expressed “reservations” and was informed that he risked losing the case. The files relate to the botched investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the former prime minister. A successful judicial review initiated by Salmond resulted in the declaration of illegality of the investigation and the payment of £512,250 for his legal fees. He was acquitted of 13 counts after a criminal trial last year. In publishing the documents, Swinney insisted that the documents “completely refute the conspiracy theory that the Scottish Government delayed the granting of judicial review or ignored the lawyers` advice, or that there was a conspiracy against Mr Salmond”.

In response to Mr. Swinney, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Despite two votes in the Scottish Parliament calling for the publication of the legal opinion, John Swinney only backtracked and turned around to save his own skin. It is important to note that in each legal case, a number of opinions are expressed. The Scottish Government`s final legal position is therefore the result of a number of views that are under consideration. It is not true that the opinion of an outside counsel alone constitutes the legal opinion of the ministers. The Code of Ministers states that the main role lies with the Scottish Government`s Legal Department (SGLD) and, ultimately, the lawyers. Legal opinion documents published by the Scottish Government appear to contradict Alex Salmond`s claim that this is a conspiracy to delay a civil case in the hope that it will be overtaken by a criminal case against him. The Deputy Prime Minister followed the Ministerial Code process of publishing legal notices, with the decision to release them stamped with the seal of approval by legal officials on Monday afternoon. “But the Scottish Conservatives will not withdraw our no-confidence motion until the government guarantees that it will publish the legal opinion in its entirety.” Previously, the Scottish Government had published the legal opinions it had received on the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by the former First Minister. M. Swinney, who is leading the government`s response to the committee after Premier Nicola Sturgeon`s withdrawal, suggested he would agree to publish legal advice, fearing the allegations “could have a negative impact on public confidence in Parliament, the government and even our judicial institutions.” Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Credible witnesses have now backed up Alex Salmond`s claims, and legal advice shows that the government knew months in advance that judicial review was doomed to failure, but was still wasting more than £500,000 on taxpayers` money.

In November 2020, the Scottish Parliament twice passed motions calling on the government to publish all legal advice it had received on Mr Salmond`s judicial review. Written advice from an external lawyer during the judicial review initiated by Mr. Salmond and other related documents. However, the Scottish government has said it will now try to publish the council later in the day, meaning the motion is likely to be withdrawn by the Scottish Conservatives. The admission raises further questions as to why, despite this opinion, the Scottish Government has continued to fight against judicial review. In a letter prior to the publication of the legal opinion, Mr. Swinney admitted that the lawyers had expressed “reservations” on the issue of previous contacts. All formal written notice letters we received from outside counsel during the judicial review, as well as a number of other relevant documents previously legally protected, will now be disclosed.

Mr. Swinney said in a letter to the Salmond inquiry that this was due to “good political arguments and reasonable grounds.” The Deputy First Minister was preparing for a vote of no confidence in Holyrood after the Scottish government failed to publish its legal opinion on the success of Alex Salmond`s judicial review by a deadline set by the Scottish Conservatives. “I would like to gently remind Mr Swinney that the Scottish Parliament has twice voted for the government to give him its legal opinion. In particular, the Committee would like to receive advice from external advisors as soon as they are first hired in August – and this must be done without redaction. “The documents provided by the Scottish Government to the GHSC investigation include four other documents legally protected from the judicial review of 4 September, 17 September and 16 December. As requested by the Committee, these documents contain two notes with the advice of the Council and a submission from the Lord Advocate covering documents relevant to the question of whether the Scottish Government attempted to delay the case – the so-called sisting. An earlier note from December 6-7, 2018 shows that Sturgeon and Leslie Evans questioned Dunlop`s advice that conceding was the “least bad option,” and another note a few days later, on December 10, shows that outside counsel said they had “given very serious thought about whether we should withdraw from the action.” Sturgeon was asked on Wednesday about Salmond`s claim that the Scottish government did not admit the case until the lawyer threatened to resign, but replied: “That`s not my understanding of the position.” “John Swinney can`t get away with simply publishing the evidence he wants us to see. We will continue the vote of no confidence until all legal notices are published. Legal advice in the legal dispute with Alex Salmond has been “ignored” by senior Scottish government officials, including the First Minister, according to recently published documents that also contain a clear warning that the former Prime Minister had his successor Nicola Sturgeon “in the line of fire”.

John Swinney told the Holyrood inquiry that officials “did not identify any documents” to support Salmond`s allegation that the government deliberately delayed the case in the hope that a criminal trial would exceed its judicial review.