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Law officers should have taste of ordinary court life, sheriff believes

5 August 2019

The Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland should spend time every year taking cases as ordinary prosecutors, to remind themselves what life is like "on the coalface", a sheriff has proposed in court.

Sheriff George Way in Dundee Sheriff Court suggested that the top officials in Scotland's prosecution service might follow the example of senior managers of US retailer Walmart, who had to spend one week a year as assistant manager in an individual store to see how the business worked at that level.

The sheriff made his remarks in the course of a summary court after expressing the hope that a case might resolve if the Crown and defence could agree what had happened. He stated: "One day the mighty Lord Advocate himself might just come and decide to sit in Dundee for a day. Then we'll get decisions taken there and then. He won't have the excuse of saying: 'I'll have to see what the Crown Office says.'

"Actually I've always thought the law officers should be made to do a wee stretch every year... The management of Walmart, the top people, have to so that. It's part of their corporate strategy... to let them see what it's like working on the coalface for a year."

Crown Office said it would "politely decline" to comment.

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