Scottish judge urged to follow Irish colleagues in resigning from Dubai finance court

Scottish judge urged to follow Irish colleagues in resigning from Dubai finance court

Lord Glennie

A retired Scottish judge has been urged to follow the example of Ireland’s former chief justice Frank Clarke and former High Court president Peter Kelly in resigning from the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Courts.

Lord Glennie, who retired as a Senator of the College of Justice in 2020, was sworn in last year as a judge of the DIFC Courts before Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UAE’s absolute ruler.

However, his appointment has come under new scrutiny following the high-profile resignation of Mr Justice Clarke and Mr Justice Kelly within days of their appointment to the court late last month. Both had faced criticism focused on the UAE’s poor human rights record.

Established in 2004, the DIFC Courts administer a “unique common law, English language jurisdiction, which governs commercial and civil disputes, national, regionally, and worldwide”.

Writing today in our sister publication Scottish Legal News, retired Irish barrister Bill Shipsey, a former chair of Amnesty International Ireland, challenged Lord Glennie to step down.

“I don’t know and don’t really care what you are being paid for your service on the court since, unlike Scotland or Ireland, the pay for DIFC judges is nowhere publicly available,” Mr Shipsey wrote.

“But I ask rhetorically: could any money be worth it and is this what you wish to have as part of your rich, hard earned and fully deserved legal and judicial legacy? That after your retirement, you served a despotic Emirati ruler on his commercial DIFC Court?”

He added: “I realise that it is harder for you to step down now than it was for my two former Irish colleagues who resigned within days of their appointments, but it is never too late to do the right thing. And I am sure that you know what that ‘right thing’ is.”

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