The Law Society of Scotland has said that consideration will be needed to ensure that the service provided by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and others is accessible and inclusive for all members of society.
In its response to an Inquiry on the role and purpose of the COPFS, the Society also stated that all participants involved in the criminal justice system have responded to a number of reforms during a time of significant financial pressure.
Ian Cruickshank, convener of the Law Society of Scotland Criminal Law Committee, said: “It’s important that the criminal justice system evolves and makes use of new technology which can help improve the service particularly when there continues to be financial pressures alongside increasing numbers of serious crime reported to the COPFS and legislative developments.
“However it is important to be aware of the potential impact on core services at a local level and on access to justice. There will need to be careful consideration on how best to ensure the service provided by the COPFS and others within the criminal justice system is accessible and inclusive to all member of society.
“Lack of resources has had an impact on the preparation and the time available for presenting criminal prosecutions in our courts. The number of prosecutions resulting in court disposals has decreased in the past five years, however the complexity of the impact of recent legislation, and the complexity of certain types of cases reported, means more preparation and court time is required.”
The Law Society also commented on increased joint working between the different organisations involved in the criminal justice system.
Mr Cruickshank said: “There have been improvements as a result of increased coordination and there is potential for this to be extended, for example to allow for Law Society of Scotland representation on the National Justice Board and for wider representation of defence solicitors in the work of local Justice Boards. This and other initiatives, including use of new technology, could bring improvements and reduce delays within the criminal justice system.”
The full response is available on the Law Society website