New Director of the Judicial Institute for Scotland

Sheriff Alistair Duff has taken up his appointment as Director of the Judicial Institute for Scotland.

Sheriff Duff took over on 1 September 2014 from Sheriff Tom Welsh, who has returned to the bench at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after six years as Director.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Andrew Cubie has taken over as Deputy Director of the Institute. 

Sheriff Duff, who will continue to sit as a sheriff on an ad-hoc basis during his three-year secondment as Director, has pledged to work with JI Chairman Lord Malcolm to build on the “fantastic vision” of their respective predecessors, Sheriff Welsh and Lord Brodie. 

He said: “The Judicial Institute is in fantastic health. It is a highly respected judicial training body, envied by judicial trainers and judges who have visited us from all over the world. 

“It is delivering a very high quality product to judges who are enthusiastic about engaging with the training and who appreciate the facilities that are available through the learning suite.” 

The new director added that the Institute will continue to engage in exchanging knowledge and sharing best practice with colleagues in other jurisdictions. 

Sheriff Duff said: “At the end of the first week in September, we will be hosting Norwegian judges, and later in September I have been invited to conduct a training session in Sarajevo. 

“There is a view that most of judicial training is theft, and in my experience here that has certainly been the truth. No-one is precious about sharing best practice. 

He added: “The Judicial Institute is held in very high regard by foreign judicial training institutions. 

“We will seek to maintain, develop and foster relations with judicial training bodies abroad because the exchange of information, the exchange of best practice, is very useful from our perspective. 

“Some of the links we create with these judicial bodies inform our training here and it is through these connections that we have been able to invite foreign academics and judges to participate in our courses.”

The Judicial Institute for Scotland (formerly the Judicial Studies Committee) officially came into being on 1 January 2013. The change of name and identity was accompanied by a move to new premises in Parliament House and a new purpose built learning suite with fully integrated IT systems where all future training will take place. 

The Judicial Institute is the body charged by the Lord President, as head of the judiciary in Scotland, with overall responsibility for the creation and delivery of judicial training. The Lord President is President of the governing body of the Judicial Institute. 

The governing body is chaired by a High Court judge, presently The Hon Lord Malcolm. Each tier of the court system is represented on the governing body which has in addition to judicial members, one member from the senior civil service and lay representation. The governing body meets four times per year.  

Operational responsibility for judicial training and education is delegated to the Director, Sheriff A Duff, Deputy Director, Sheriff A Cubie, both seconded sheriffs, and the Head of Education.