February 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations including the Lobbying Bill, the Transport Bill, the Health and Tobacco Bill, Trade Union Bill (see below) and the Transplant Bill. Other key areas of work are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website.

Regulations on contributions for police station advice cases

The Society submitted its views on regulations on legal aid for police custody suspects. The new regulations are due to go before the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee this month. We support the regulations proposals to remove the need for suspects to pay a contribution towards the cost of legal advice they receive while held in custody at police stations. 

The Society believes that the regulations recognise the concerns raised by Lord Bonomy in his 2015 report - that requiring suspects to pay a contribution towards legal advice is likely to dissuade some suspects from taking up their right to legal advice. Removing the requirement to pay a  contribution toward legal fees in police station advice cases would mean that members of the public who needs the services of a solicitor whilst questioned in a police station would get free automatic legal assistance. It also removes the practical difficulties involved in trying to assess finances and collect contributions when the suspect will not have the relevant documentation to hand.

For more information see the website.