It's a union

Judges, as we know, like to have things spelt out, especially when pop stars and other accoutrements of modern life emerge to baffle them in court.

Last week Lord Morison, sitting with Lords Cullen and Nimmo Smith, came across something he had never heard of before. "Who are they, the SFHEA?" he enquired during the latest instalment of the legal tussle between the Educational Institute of Scotland and Campbell Pearson, former principal of Borders College.

For once, this is not a question confined to the judiciary. Many have asked it over the years. But James Drummond-Young, Pearson's QC, was equal to the task and announced to the bench that it was "the Scottish Further and Higher Education Association, m'lud".

"But who are they?" Lord Morison persisted. "A professional association that represents lecturers," he was further informed.

"So they are a kind of trade union, similar to the EIS," came the triumphant sound of the judicial penny dropping. "Yes, m'lud." The relief of enlightenment from the bench was almost palpable.

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