A response to queries about how the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review will proceed

I have been asked on a number of occasions what is happening on the review aimed at identifying appropriate safeguards against miscarriages of justice that might be introduced on the abolition of the corroboration requirement in criminal cases. So I welcome this opportunity to give an indication of how I expect the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review to proceed.

Since March, academics from all Scottish university law schools, and some from abroad, have been engaged on the first stage of the review, which is a major international research project considering a wide range of possibilities relating to additional safeguards. This project should be completed in August.

The academic report, and any other emerging ideas, will then be considered and subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the reference group, leading to the selection of a menu of realistic options. These will form the core of a public consultation paper to be issued in the autumn.

During that consultation period a number of discussion forums, or “roadshows”, will be held to provide an opportunity to those who wish to express their views to me and members of the reference group.

Following analysis of written responses to the consultation, and feedback from the roadshows, further discussion among the reference group will lead to the submission of a report to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice by next April.

The reference group is aware of the importance of seeking the views of, and engaging with, members of the profession and the wider public as we formulate our views. I encourage solicitors to respond in writing to our consultation or attend at a roadshow to give us their ideas for ensuring that our criminal justice system develops to meet the needs of the 21st century while ensuring the protection of the fair trial rights of all accused.

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