March 2014

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill

The Law Society continues to press for section 57, which removes the requirement for corroboration, to be removed from the Bill.

The Society's Criminal Law Committee Convener, Ian Cruickshank, has been appointed to Lord Bonomy's review group on corroboration. Whilst we will fully engage with the review, we firmly believe that removing section 57 from the Bill to allow for a statutory review examining how the corroboration requirement works with all other aspects of the Scottish criminal justice system, followed by a short Bill to give effect to any recommendations, is the best way forward.

Full details on the Bill and the Society's comments can be found here.

Lobbying inquiry

The Law Society gave oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee regarding its inquiry into lobbying.

The Society advised that plans to increase transparency at Holyrood are unlikely to be effective unless a clear, straightforward definition is provided for what constitutes 'lobbying' and who is a 'lobbyist' and that clear lobbying rules are needed in order to ensure public trust.

Full details of the inquiry and the Society's comments can be found here.

Immigration Bill

We provided briefing to Peers on the Immigration Bill, expressing our concerns about plans to remove judicial discretion in cases which engage Article 8 of the European convention, namely the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence. The Bill proposes that "little weight should be given" to a private life or relationship when a person's immigration status is "precarious".

The Society is concerned that these new immigration measures to limit judicial discretion and human rights in the UK and may be incompatible with European human rights law.

Full details on the Bill and the Society's comments can be found here

Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill

The Society's Tax Law Committee submitted written evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill. We acknowledged that the Bill attempts to strike a balance between meeting the immediate needs for existing devolved taxes; and establish the framework which could be extended to more, or all, taxes in due course. In striking this balance, we urged that priority is given to creating an effective system for the taxes already devolved, rather than attempting to be comprehensive given the restricted legislative timeframe and resources available.

Full details on the Bill and the Society's comments can be found here.