Removal of corroboration raises grave concerns, warns Law
The Law Society of Scotland has reiterated concerns about plans
to remove corroboration in Scots Law, without proposals for
additional safeguards to ensure justice.
The Society welcomed today's publication of the Scottish
Government's public consultation on Lord Carloway's review of
criminal law and practice published in November 2011, but has
maintained that corroboration should not be considered in
Bill McVicar, convener of the Society's criminal law committee
said: "We all want a criminal justice system that is modern, fair,
effective and which remains distinctly Scottish and there has been
much to commend in the extent and scope of Lord Carloway's work.
However, as we stated in November following publication of the
Carloway Report, we have grave concerns about the proposal to
abolish the requirement for corroboration when there have been no
corresponding proposals for safeguards to prevent potential
miscarriages of justice.
"Corroboration has been a cornerstone of the Scottish criminal
justice system since time immemorial and before such a radical step
is taken, there would have to be an overwhelming case for
change. In our opinion such a case for change has not been
made. Any change to the law in Scotland with regard to
corroboration should form part of a full scale review of Scottish
criminal procedure. It is a concern to note at paragraph 1.9
of the report, that the Scottish Government does not intend to
commission any such further independent review.
McVicar continued: "There are however a number of other
proposals within the consultation which we are pleased to see, such
as the introduction of police bail and the reduction of the maximum
detention period without charge to 12 hours, with a review after 6
hours. The introduction of greater support for vulnerable
suspects is also good to see and we are very supportive of a
'letter of rights' being introduced. The Society agreed with
Lord Carloway's recommendation that a child suspect under 16 should
not be able to waive his or her right to legal representation and
is pleased to see that this forms part of the consultation at
"l look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee
and to consider and respond in detail to the proposals."
03 JULY 2012
Notes to editors
The Society's letter to MSPs following Lord Carloway's report in
November 2011 and the Society's full response to the Carloway
Review can be found here
The Law Society of Scotland gave oral evidence on Cadder to the
Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee 8 December 2011.
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0131 226 8884.
03 July 2012