Earlier this week, Scots criminal law took another step on a lengthy journey started in 2008 when the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Salduz v Turkey that article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights required that suspects questioned by the police have access to a lawyer. No such right was afforded to accused persons in Scotland, something which the Supreme Court ruled in Cadder v HM Advocate (2010) was unsustainable in light of Salduz.
Emergency legislation was passed in the Scottish Parliament to put the right to legal assistance on a statutory footing, and Lord Carloway was commissioned to carry out a review of Scottish criminal law and practice, which reported in 2011 – proposing, most controversially, the abolition of the requirement of corroboration in Scots law. While the government accepted this recommendation, it proved so controversial that it eventually put the legislation which was to implement it (the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill) on hold, and commissioned another review, this time headed by Lord Bonomy, with the task of considering alternative safeguards which might replace corroboration.
Lord Bonomy’s “Post-Corroboration Safeguards Review” has involved a substantial academic project, coordinated from the University of Glasgow School of Law. The report of that project was published on Tuesday 14 October, along with a consultation paper from Lord Bonomy, inviting comments on many of the suggestions made in the academic report. The consultation period runs until 28 November, and will include a series of public events across Scotland, including one in Glasgow on the evening of 28 October.
The academic report and consultation paper, along with details of the public consultation events, can be found at the link below. This project canvasses potentially some of the most significant changes to Scottish criminal law and practice for many years, and the Review would welcome as much feedback and commentary as the legal profession and general public feel able to offer.