FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s scheduled appearance before the Alex Salmond inquiry next week has been postponed after a legal judgment.

Salmond was due to give evidence to the committee investigating the botched handling of complaints against him on Tuesday, but he refused to do so after it declined to publish evidence he submitted.

The committee cited legal concerns over the identity of complainers in Salmond’s criminal trial last year, where he was cleared of 13 charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.

However, a judge on Thursday amended a court order which prevents the publication of anything that may identify the accusers, as well as clarifying its scope.

READ MORE: Inquiry to hold an emergency meeting on possible last-minute Salmond appearance

Following a meeting of the committee yesterday, MSPs decided to postpone Sturgeon’s appearance until the ramifications of that amendment are known. Judge Lady Dorrian’s judgment will be published early next week.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said: “At its meeting, the committee was united in its desire to complete this inquiry in an open and transparent way, and to publish its report and recommendations next month. Given the impact of the recent court judgment is not yet known, the committee has agreed that it must have the time to reflect on the impact on its work once the full written judgment is published early next week.

“As a result, the committee has agreed that the First Minister’s evidence should be postponed until the full impact of that judgment is considered.

“It is important for the committee to hear from Mr Salmond and the committee has always been clear that the First Minister should be the last witness to appear before the inquiry.”

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the First Minister urged the committee to use its powers to compel Salmond to appear, while Sturgeon told MSPs she is looking forward to being able to tackle “head-on” accusations that have been levelled at her.

Committee member and Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie said she looks forward to hearing from both Salmond and the First Minister.

After the decision to delay Tuesday’s evidence, she said: “I am very glad that the committee has re-affirmed its wish to speak to Alex Salmond, and given his stated intention to come before the committee I look forward to the date of his appearance.

“On Tuesday the committee will meet to discuss Lady Dorrian’s judgment due on Monday and I hope that we will then be in a position to publish the evidence provided by Mr Salmond.

“I also look forward to the First Minister appearing before the committee in due course, and I am sure she will engage with the committee in the spirit of co-operation and transparency that she has promised on repeated occasions.”