Law Society Responds to query on Audit Scotland Report Supplement
In response to a query on a supplementary document attached to the Audit Scotland Report - Efficiency of prosecuting criminal cases through the sheriff courts,
Stephen Biggam, member of the Law Society of Scotland’s criminal legal aid team said: “We don't believe the highlighted small study sample of a group of thirty two offenders is an accurate representation of the experience of the thousands of individuals who appear from custody with a duty solicitor. The role of duty solicitor in the custody court is a difficult and complex one dealing with vulnerable and emotional people many of whom are in custody for the first time. The solicitor's primary duty is to ensure the individual makes the best decision at a very stressful time and the financial implications for them are not a factor in the decision-making process.
“Solicitors act in the best interests of their clients and do not permit personal interests to influence advice on pleas or any other matter. Doing otherwise could be regarded as professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct. Solicitors will try to deal with cases as quickly as possible and to get to the correct resolution as early as possible. The slowing process is more likely to be caused by issues such as delays in the disclosure of evidence and increasing case complexity.“
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