The Government has announced the appointment of a Scottish Conservative Barrister who has been handed the English Civil Justice brief as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Lord Keen of Elie (Richard Keen QC) dubbed the Rottweiler by the Scottish media for his aggressive courtroom manner, will serve as MoJ spokesperson for the Lords. His responsibilities will also include claims management regulation, English legal services regulation and relations with the English legal profession.
A former chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, Keen was a standing junior counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry in Scotland from 1986 to 1993 and was appointed QC in 1993. He has been regularly instructed in the Commercial Court, in the Inner House (the court of appeal in Scotland) and in the UK Supreme Court.
This is a role which only covers the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales. The “Ministry of Justice” has no relevant jurisdiction over Scotland or Northern Ireland. In these situations then and following national devolution it is no longer appropriate for Scots or Northern Irish ministers to be appointed for England only or England and Wales only roles. The English Democrats condemn the appointment of Lord Keen of Elie and call for his immediate replacement with an English (or Welsh) lawyer and for the British Government to henceforth show more sensitivity to the nationality of appointees amongst the nations of the UK.
Robin Tilbrook, Chairman of the English Democrats who is an English Solicitor said:- “It is a disgrace that in 2016 the British Government would think it is appropriate to appoint a Scottish lawyer as a Minister in charge of English and Welsh Civil Justice. The English and Welsh legal system is a different legal system based upon Common Law to the Scottish legal system which is based upon Roman Law. Yet again the British Government has shown its inability to understand the current national realities of an increasingly disunited UK.”