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Drug driving law in Scotland update

Date: 7th June 2019

Time: 09:00 - 12:10

Law Society of Scotland
Atria One
144 Morrison Street

CPD Hours: 2hours 30minutes

This breakfast seminar will explore the issues and challenges introduced by the strict drug driving limits and roadside testing which will be implemented across Scotland this October.

Book by 10 April to save 20% on the below prices with our Early Bird rate

2.5 hours verifiable CPD

Strict drug driving limits and roadside testing will be introduced across Scotland in October this year. This measure is intended to accelerate the procedure for establishing if a driver is under the effect of drugs, and will have significant implications for defence strategies and the evidence for drug driving offences.

Join our road traffic experts where we will explore the updates that the reform will bring to the current regime, and allow participants to reflect on the main issues and challenges through discussion of the latest cases.

By attending this seminar, you will:

  • Gain up-to-date knowledge of Scotland’s drug (and drink) driving laws
  • Advance your knowledge of the relevant legislation, the drink and drug driving offences and penalties
  • Learn about the practical implications of the reform, with specific attention to issues of defence and evidence
  • Acquire useful insights from discussion of recent cases and their challenges
  • Gillian Mawdsley,  Policy Executive and Secretary of the Criminal Law Committee, Law Society of Scotland, Chair
  • Inspector Vincent Fisher, Road Policing Command Support, Police Scotland
  • David Storrie, Director, Thorley Stephenson SSC
  • Dominic Sellar, Dominic Sellar & Co
  • 09:00 - 09:20

    Registration and breakfast refreshments
  • Speaker

    Gillian Mawdsley is currently secretary to the Society’s Criminal Law Committee. She is a practising Scottish solicitor whose background includes experience at a number of Scottish criminal justice  organisations including on secondment to Scottish Government. She is involved in teaching at a number of Scottish universities in various subjects including criminal law, evidence, advocacy and ethics. She regularly contributes to Scolag with criminal law updates.

  • 09:30 - 10:00

    Law, offences and procedures: The current situation in Scotland

    • The main offences as set out by the Road Traffic Act 1988, and the boundaries between them
    • The Crime and Courts Act 2013 and the devolvement of the ability to introduce specific limits
    • Evidence, procedures and penalties for drink and drug drivers


    Dominic Sellar has specialised in Road Traffic Law since 2010, advising and representing motorists throughout Scotland charged with road traffic offences. In 2014 Dominic set up his own business to exclusively specialise in this area of the law. In addition to representing motorists at Courts throughout Scotland he has also represented professional drivers at hearings before the Traffic Commissioner.
    During his career Dominic has dealt with just about every road traffic offence imaginable and provided expert legal advice and assistance to thousands of motorists charged with road traffic offences. He has represented clients from all walks of life including celebrities, police officers, solicitors and has written a number of articles about motoring related issues and offences. Dominic has been consulted by the BBC and the press about topical road traffic matters and is frequently contacted by fellow lawyers seeking advice and opinions on road traffic law in Scotland.

    10:00 - 10:30

    Case law review

    • Discussion of recent cases, with a focus on defence challenges (and how to address them) and strategies


    David joined Thorley Stephenson in 2016 becoming a Director of the firm in 2017.
    After graduating with a BA (Hons) Degree in Business Studies from Napier University, he obtained a Law Degree with Merit from University of Glasgow in 1999. Over the next 20 years, David worked as a criminal court solicitor for two law firms in the capital prior to joining Thorley Stephenson. He has a great deal of experience and expertise gained while representing clients in the Sheriff Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts throughout Scotland additionally the Sheriff Appeal Court and Parole Tribunals, as well as instructing Counsel at the High Court and the Criminal Court of Appeal. Many cases involving Road Traffic contraventions come to the attention of the courts and he is heavily involved in representing clients and advances a variety of available and relevant defences depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the cases.

    10:30 - 10:40

    Questions and discussion

  • 10:40 - 10:55

    Refreshments and networking
  • 10:55 - 11:25

    Drug driving insight with Police Scotland

    • Numbers on drink/drug driving incidents across Scotland
    • Insight into which drugs are more frequent among drivers
    • Main challenges and procedures when suspecting drug driving
    • Issues of public interest as leading the reform

    Inspector Vincent Fisher, Road Policing Command Support, Police Scotland

    11:25 - 11:55

    Changes to drug driving laws and their practical implications

    • The new limits for illegal and prescription drugs
    • How this will affect defence strategies and evidence of impairment

    Gillian Mawdsley, Policy Executive and Secretary of the Criminal Law Committee, Law Society of Scotland

    11:55 - 12:05

    Questions and discussion

  • Speaker
    Gillian Mawdsley, Policy Executive and Secretary of the Criminal Law Committee, Law Society of Scotland


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