Court of the Lord Lyon (Budget)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government how much of its budget it allocated to the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland, and how the finance secretary reached this decision. (S5O-03075)

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

I know that the subject is of great interest to the entire chamber—[

Interruption

]—and particularly the Tories.

The Scottish Government’s judiciary budget provides for the running costs of the Court of the Lord Lyon, which were set at £100,000 in 2019-20 and have remained consistent since 2012-13. The figure does not include salary costs for the Lord Lyon or the Lyon Clerk. The court generates its own income, which is offset against the budget and results in the Scottish Government in effect funding only the difference between expenditure and income. The budget is monitored through monthly income and expenditure returns that are provided to the Scottish Government.

Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

I have been working on a challenging constituency case that involves the Lord Lyon and I have been assisting one of my constituents through the court process because of the Lord Lyon’s inability to adhere to an agreement that his court made with my constituent. The case is costing the Scottish Government and my constituent a great deal of money unnecessarily. How can the Parliament and its committees hold the Court of the Lord Lyon to account?

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I ask the cabinet secretary to be brief, too.

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has a sponsorship role for the Court of the Lord Lyon. The Scottish ministers are ultimately accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the activities of the court and the use of its resources. They are not, however, responsible for day-to-day operational matters. Judicial decisions of the Lord Lyon have force of law and may be appealed to the Court of Session.