The concept of the "rule of law" keeps cropping up in these pages. In this issue, it is stoutly defended by our interviewee, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, president of the Law Society, who sees its preservation as a vital thread running through her work in this, her year of office.
And their lifetime's dedication to the rule of law shines through the careers of the association's new life members, celebrated in this issue.
The rule of law is only possible if the officers of the law and of the court are of the requisite level of integrity and quality. The public account committee's recent analysis of the interpreter fiasco - ruthlessly exposed in the Advocate during the course of last year - demonstrates how these attributes are needed by all those serving the vital and serious work of the courts, in whatever capacity.
As our new president pointed out in his speech to the AGM in November, this integrity and quality is under threat as never before. In this issue, Tony Meisels' measured assessment of "Stobart barristers" furthers our examination of this theme.
Meanwhile, in their contributions on the age of criminal responsibility and on defending suspects in police stations, Mel Stooks and Julian Hayes reflect their own deep knowledge and experience in their chosen fields of practice - as, of course, does everyone's favourite columnist, Bruce Reid, who once more provides us with a wry smile, as we recognise the grim realities of day-to-day work in the magistrates' courts.
This year will include the 65th birthday of the association. But 2013, despite the current inauspicious circumstances, is not going to be our year of retirement but one when we once more renew our dedication to quality, integrity and professionalism. May it be a happy new year for all our readers.