Thursday, May 12, 2016

One Lawyer's Opinion About the Lord Lyon King of Arms

The lawyer of the Airdrieonians' Supporters Trust, Colin Telford, has weighed in on the debate over what the proper role of the Lord Lyon King of Arms should be in respect to the "badges" used by football clubs in Scotland.

While he notes that he has no particular objections to the Lord Lyon King of Arms Act of 1592 (or how old it is), he believes that the law should be enforced differently than it is. Currently, the Lyon Court only takes action if a complaint is made or if a matter is drawn to its attention. He believes that either (1) the Act should be enforced proactively and consistently (something I don't see happening given what it would cost the government to so do), or (2) a change of policy should be made to reflect current public interest. Mr. Telford believes that the latter is preferable, and heraldry should "be restricted to individuals, the government, the military and the monarchy."

Such a change would, apparently, open up corporations - and thus football clubs - to use whatever "logo" they want, because no matter what it looked like, it would no longer be considered "heraldry."

I think he's missing something important here. If the football clubs in Scotland would simply change their logos (which doesn't really cost very much compared to regularizing their arms-like logos) to something that no longer looks like heraldry (e.g., not put it on a shield shape, not use heraldic-style figures, etc.), then the Lord Lyon could have no possible objection to the new logos, since they would no longer look like arms and thus would no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the Lyon Court.

I don't know; maybe I'm way off base here. It just seems to me that if you don't want a centuries-old government agency which has been around for a lot longer than any football club* telling you what you may and may not use on your logo or badge, you should simply change it so that it doesn't look like something that falls under the jurisdiction of that agency.

Or would that be too simple, because some of these football club badges have been in use since the 1950s?

Anyway, you can see Mr. Telford's entire letter outlining his arguments and his proposed solution (though he doesn't go through all of the potential ramifications of his solution) on the website of The Herald at

 * I have a similar problem with people who buy a home near an airport and then spend a lot of time complaining to their local governments and trying to restrict flights in and out and attempting to pass ordinances to reduce the noise. They knew the airport was there before they moved in.

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