The Electoral Court, with Judges Lady Paton and Lord Matthews presiding, will hear the case against former Scottish Secretary and Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael at the Edinburgh Court of Session on 9th November 2015. The hearing is expected to take four day and will see the return to combat of QC’s Roddy Dunlop for Mr Carmichael and Jonathan Mitchell for the petitioners.
The case revolves around Mr Carmichael’s admitted approval – as Scottish Secretary – of the leaking, during the 2015 UK General Election campaign, of a document of doubtful reliability which impugned the strategic purity of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
The issue is whether or not Mr Carmichael’s action can be legally construed as having been taken in order to support his personal electoral chances as Liberal Democrat candidate for the Orkney and Shetland seat in the same election.
If it can be so construed, as the petitioners argued, Mr Carmichael could be held to be in breach of the Representation of the People Act.
In the event, Mr Carmichael was returned to the seat – with a substantially reduced majority and the loss of the Shetland element of the vote, which was won by the SNP.