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Abolishing the “not proven” verdict

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 2 Comments

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is currently considering the Criminal Verdicts (Scotland) Bill, the latest attempt to abolish Scotland’s peculiar “not proven” verdict. We have submitted evidence to the committee in support of abolishing that verdict, in the following terms. Justice Committee Criminal Verdicts (Scotland) Bill Written submission from James Chalmers and Fiona Leverick Thank… Continue reading

Gordon Seminar on Criminal Law 2016: Postgraduate Call for Papers

Published on: Author: James Chalmers Leave a comment
main building, university of glasgow

The eighth annual Gerald Gordon Seminar in Criminal Law will be held at the University of Glasgow on Thursday 9 June 2016. Speakers will include the following: Dr Kevin Brown (Queen’s University Belfast) Professor Pamela Ferguson (Dundee) Dr Matt Gibson (Liverpool) Professor John Jackson (Nottingham) Professor Nicola Lacey (LSE) Dr Hannah Quirk (Manchester) As in… Continue reading

Criminal Law seminars at Glasgow, November-December 2015

Published on: Author: James Chalmers Leave a comment
Stair building, University of Glasgow

      The School’s Criminal Law Forum will host three research seminars by visiting speakers in the first semester of the 2015/16 academic year, as follows: Wednesday 4 November Neha Jain, Associate Professor of Law and Lampert-Felser Research Fellow, University of Minnesota “Judicial law-making in international criminal law” 3.30-5pm, Room 222, Stair Building Wednesday… Continue reading

Thirty Metres of Murder: Alistair Carmichael Not In Court

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 3 Comments

“It’s quite unique to see a murder which you’re investigating on the silver screen. It’s just a shame the camera was pointing in the wrong direction.”– Kerstin Ekman, Thirty Metres of Murder Thanks to a combination of delayed flights and lost luggage on Sunday night after attending the European Law Institute conference in Vienna, I… Continue reading

The Glasgow bin lorry crash: why we need greater transparency in prosecutorial decision-making

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 4 Comments

The previous two days of the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) currently taking place in Glasgow Sheriff Court must have been at least frustrating and often deeply distressing for everyone involved. In short, what happened was this. In February of this year, Crown Office announced that no criminal proceedings would be taken against Harry Clarke, the… Continue reading

The Glasgow bin lorry crash: renouncing the right to prosecute

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 2 Comments

Today’s Herald reports that the driver of the bin lorry involved in the tragedy in Glasgow’s George Square in December 2014 cannot be prosecuted given statements which Crown Office have already made to the effect that no criminal proceedings would be taken against him (or Glasgow City Council), criticising that decision in the light of… Continue reading

Abolishing consensual stop and search: would this leave gaps in the law?

Published on: Author: James Chalmers Leave a comment

One issue which the Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search will have to consider is whether it should continue to be possible for the police to search individuals on a “consensual” basis. At present, the consent of a person to being searched is sufficient for a search to be carried out, even if there… Continue reading

TV licences and decriminalisation: has anyone noticed what happens in Scotland?

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 2 Comments

According to a report by The Guardian today, the newly-elected Conservative government intends to revive plans to decriminalise non-payment of the television licence fee. A small curiosity: something very similar to this seems to have happened in Scotland already, and no-one seems to have noticed. Some background first. The extent to which people were being… Continue reading

Because you might be innocent, your conviction must stand

Published on: Author: James Chalmers 3 Comments

      The decision of the appeal court in RR v HM Advocate [2015] HCJAC 34, published today, is a curious case and worthy of note. In summary, the following happened. R was employed as a door steward at licensed premises in Aberdeen. In January 2014, she was engaged in a verbal altercation with… Continue reading

Assisted suicide: why the Lord Advocate is wrong

Published on: Author: James Chalmers Leave a comment

  On 31 March, the Herald published a letter signed by 21 legal academics in Scotland (including me) arguing that the current debate on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill had drawn attention to an “alarming lack of clarity in Scots law”, accompanied by a front-page news report. This followed written evidence which Professor Pamela Ferguson… Continue reading