This month we spotlight former Council member and current convener of the Criminal Law Committee, Elgin solicitor Ian Cruickshank

What is your own practice area?

I am, first and foremost, a high street practitioner focusing on criminal defence but also with an interest in civil work, particularly family law. I also oversee the firm’s domestic conveyancing.

What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?

The constant challenges of a two partner firm and the desire to provide a good service to our clients.

What’s your top tip for new lawyers?

At least think about criminal defence work. If you do, remember that the independent criminal bar is a proud tradition but its members are getting ever older. Take the opportunity to observe and develop your court craft from the “oldies” before we become extinct!

How long have you been a member of the committee and how did you become involved?

I first became a member of the Criminal Law Committee when I joined Council in 2002. After stepping down for a few years I was appointed as convener in October 2013.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

The intense period of debate about the abolition of corroboration that coincided with my appointment as convener. When the then Justice Secretary put plans on hold, I was honoured to serve as a member of Lord Bonomy’s Post-corroboration Safeguards Review.

What big project/issue is the committee working on at the moment?

Corroboration remains high on the agenda. The Scottish Government has made it known that it remains the intention to abolish it. We will continue to engage with a view to ensure that all necessary replacement safeguards will be introduced to produce a continuing fair system.

What do you see as the other main issues that the committee will have to address in the near future?

Lord Carloway’s Evidence and Procedure Review will be of great importance. The committee members, and the committee secretary, work tirelessly to comment on the ever changing legal landscape that is criminal practice and procedure. Until there is sign of legislative restraint in continuing to introduce new statutory criminal offences it is unlikely that the committee will have a quiet spell.

Are you a member of any other committees?

I am convener of the last Client Relations Committee dealing with old-style complaints.

If you could change only one thing for members, what would it be?

I would ask that criminal practitioners get the credit they deserve, both in being recognised as an important component of the criminal justice system and in receiving fair remuneration from the public purse for the work they do.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I am a self-confessed workaholic and my wife, Helen, is very understanding and supportive. A little known fact, however, is that I used to play accordion in a broadcasting Scottish country dance band! I still enjoy playing music with friends at old folk’s homes and local community events.


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