Rule of 85

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 27th April 2006.

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Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour 11:40 am, 27th April 2006

The member will be aware that it is in the nature of such matters that different legal opinions can be procured by different individuals. The Scottish Executive has done all that it can to ensure that the legal advice that is available to us is robust. We have tested the legal advice, and it remains consistent.

Although we have made available to the trade unions and employers a summary of the legal advice and the rationale that lies behind it through the discussions that we are having on the subject, there are very good reasons why we will not publish the legal advice. When the Scottish Executive enters court, it does so on behalf of the Scottish taxpayer. We are not in the business of going into court with one arm tied behind our back, or of sending our legal representatives into court in that way. Legal arguments have to be advanced in court. It would be unfair on the Scottish taxpayer to adopt a policy of making the other side aware ahead of proceedings of all the legal advice that is available to us.