In February 2021, the Scottish Government established an Independent Working Group on Misogyny and Criminal Justice in Scotland, chaired by Baroness Kennedy QC. The Working Group was tasked with considering how the Scottish criminal justice system deals with misogyny, including looking at whether there are gaps in the law that could be addressed by a specific criminal offence to tackle such behaviour.
The Scottish Government consulted on draft legislation to implement recommendations for reform of the criminal law contained in the report of the Working Group on Misogyny chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC.
The Proposed Dog Abduction (Scotland) Bill was lodged by Maurice Golden MSP in October 2022.
The Bill proposed to create a new statutory offence to tackle the problem of dog theft in Scotland. The Bill included proposals to improve data recording for dog thefts to assist with detection and prevention.
The Proposed Domestic Abuse (Prevention) (Scotland) Bill was lodged by Pam Gosal MSP.
This proposed Member's Bill aimed to make provision for the prevention of domestic abuse and improve support for those affected.
The Bill's proposals included the impementation of -
- A domestic abuse registers.
- The use of mandatory rehabilitation measures.
- Improved data collation of domestic abuse cases and,
- Education about domestic abuse in schools.
Read more about the proposed Bill here.
Read our response to the proposals here.
The Scottish Government launched this 12-week consultation in July 2022.
The Scottish Government sought views in relation to proposed changes of the Parole Board (Scotland) Rules 2001. The proposed changes aim to consolidate and modernise the rules to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
The Proposed Drugs Death Prevention (Scotland) Bill was lodged by Paul Sweeney in May 2022.
The Bill proposed to enable the establishment of overdose prevention centres in order to prevent deaths due to drug overdoses. The Bill also proposes to create a new body for the oversight of drugs policy and implementation with a view to improving public health and reducing drug use, harm and drug related deaths.
The Scottish Government launched this consultation in May 2022.
The Scottish Government aimed to seek views in relation to various matters including;
- The creation of a Victims Commissioner for Scotland
- An automatic right to anonymity for complainers in sexual offence cases
- The creation of specialist sexual offence courts
- The implementation of virtual summary trials
- Judge only trials in sexual offence cases.
The Proposed Victims, Criminal Justice and Fatal Accident Inquiries (Scotland) Bill was lodged by Jamie Greene MSP in December 2021.
The Bill proposed to make changes to the criminal justice system to increase the rights of victims, their families, and to set mandatory timescales for Fatal Accident Inquiries.
Murdo Fraser MSP held a consultation on a proposal for a Bill to reduce the incidence of fly-tipping by introducing new measures and strengthening existing measures to prevent it, including by improving data collection, improving enforcement procedures, increasing penalties for offenders, and by making changes regarding liability for the removal of fly-tipped waste.
The Working Group on Misogyny and Criminal Justice in Scotland has been set up to independently consider how the Scottish criminal justice system deals with misogyny. This includes looking at whether there are gaps in the law that could be addressed by a specific criminal offence to tackle such behaviour.
We have prepared a briefing paper in advance of a debate on criminal justice at the Scottish Parliament on 10 June 2021.
Our Criminal Law Committee has responded to the Scottish Government consultation: Miners’ strike 1984/85 pardon
The consultation is mainly focused on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in considering the wider issue of dog control. Reference is also made to the earlier consultation in 2019 that considered “Improving the Operational Effectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010”.
We support the various policy objectives that the Scottish Government have been proposing regarding achieving a more effective control of dogs.
The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Act 2021 passed the Scottish Parliament on 10 December 2020 and received Royal Assent on 20 January 2021.
Our Criminal Law Committee has responded to the Scottish Government consultation: Self-referral forensic medical services which seeks views on the appropriate retention period for evidence collected during self-referral forensic medical services in connection with implementation of the Act.
The Scottish Law Commission, together with the Law Commission of England and Wales, are in the final stages of a far-reaching project to support the creation of a legal framework for automated vehicles (AVs), in preparation for their future deployment on British roads. This project was commissioned by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) in 2018, and is due to complete by the end of 2021.
Our Criminal Law Committee has responded to the Call for Evidence on the Final Report of the Independent Review of Complaints Handling, Investigations and Misconduct Issues in Relation to Policing.
The Scottish Parliament's Justice Sub-committee on Policing is considering how Police Scotland currently makes use of remote piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and body worn video cameras (BWVC). The sub-committee is also considering any plans Police Scotland may have to expand the use of either technology.
The Scottish Parliament inquiry is available to read on its website.
Read our response which outlines that there needs to be prior effective public consultation as to the any extension of their use of this equipment along with the development of a legal and regulatory framework to capture all authorized use of RPAS and BWVC.
Our Mental Health and Disability, Environmental Law Sub-committees and Criminal Law Committee have responded to the Department for Transport and UK Space Agency’s consultation on Spaceport and spaceflight activities: regulations and guidance.
The Law Society's Criminal Law Committee has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation: Raising the age of referral to the principal reporter.
The Scottish Government's 2019-20 Programme for Government made a commitment to consult on enabling joint reporting to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Principal Reporter of all 16 and 17 year olds' offence cases. This consultation also seeks views on proposals for legislative change to allow 16 and 17 year olds to be referred to the Reporter on care, protection and offence grounds.
The consultation is available to read on the Scottish Government website.
Read our full consultation response.
The Law Society's Criminal Law Committee has responded to the Scottish Sentencing Council Consultation on Sentencing Young People. The issue of sentencing guidelines for young people (the Guidelines) is part of the ongoing programme of work being undertaken by the Scottish Sentencing Council to form the framework of sentencing decisions being taken in Scotland.
Read our full consultation response.
The Scottish Sentencing Council consultation on sentencing young people is available on its website.
The Society responded to the Independent Review of Mental Health Law in Scotland’s call for evidence.
The aim of the Review is to improve the rights and protections of people affected by the mental health, incapacity or adult support and protection laws because they have, or used to have, a mental disorder. This includes carers or supporters of people affected by these laws.
The Society's Criminal Law Committee responded to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing Call for Evidence regarding the preparations for, and the potential impact of, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on the Police Service of Scotland.
Scottish Parliament Justice Sub-committee on policing -Brexit
Read our call for evidence paper
We responded to the Scottish Government's outline to the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill.
The Scottish Government published a discussion paper on 14 April 2020 which set out potential options to inform discussions between the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and key stakeholders on the most effective approach to manage the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on serious criminal cases where trial would be before a Sheriff or Judge and jury.
As well as being represented on roundtable discussions on the proposals, we submitted a written response.
The UK Government issued a consulation on the decriminalisation of TV licence evansion, welcoming views on whether the Government should proceed with the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion by replacing the criminal sanction with an alternative civil enforcement scheme.
In December 2019 the Scottish Government updated its Strategic Police Priorities, prompting a refresh of the Scottish Police Authority's and Police Scotland’s strategic police plan and long term strategy for policing.
The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland wanted to gather views of the communities of Scotland on their long term strategic direction.
We have responded to the Scottish Parliament Justice Sub-committee on Policing call for evidence for its inquiry into how policing in Scotland makes use of facial recognition technology.
The focus of the call for evidence centres on how policing in Scotland makes and should make use of facial recognition technology and whether that use is lawful, ethical, proportionate and transparent.
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 Act, which relates to the duty to notify and provide information about victims.
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on the draft code of practice on powers by proper persons to exercise a series of investigatory orders and warrants under Chapter 3 of Part 8 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
We have produced a briefing ahead of the Stage 1 debate on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill, scheduled for Tuesday 28th May 2019.
We produced a briefing on the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill ahead of the Stage 3 debate on Thursday 9 May 2019.
Gil Paterson MSP has issued a proposal for a Bill to make the right of defence counsel for a person accused of homicide to instruct a post-mortem examination of the alleged victim subject to an extendable time-limit in order to minimise delays and uncertainty for victims' families.
- View the proposal on the Scottish Parliament's website
- The Law Society of Scotland's response (April 2019)
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on proposals to create new protective orders that could be used to keep people at risk of domestic abuse safe by banning perpetrators from their homes.
The UK Government Scottish Home Affairs Committee has called for written evidence into the its inquiry: Use and Misuse of Drugs in Scotland.
You can read our submission:
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on proposals to improve the experience of victims in the parole process, increase openness and transparency of the Parole Board for Scotland and ensure the independence of the Parole Board is maintained.
The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee has decided to undertake an evidence session on the nature, extent and prosecution of elder abuse, and whether there is merit in the potential introduction of an aggravated offence of elder abuse in Scotland.
- The Law Society of Scotland's written evidence (February 2019)
- Justice Committee evidence session, featuring Rosalyn McTaggart of our Criminal Law Committee (26 February 2019)
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on plans to strengthen the existing legislative framework for the protection of women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a form of gender based violence.
The independent review of policing during the miners' strike was set up following a June 2018 statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP in the Scottish Parliament. It is being led by John Scott QC, and its remit is to investigate and report on the impact of policing on affected communities in Scotland during the period of the miners' strike from March 1984 to March 1985.
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on proposals for the establishment of a Commissioner to provide independent oversight of biometric data used by the police and others in Scotland and an associated statutory code of practice.
Read our briefing issued to all MSPs ahead of the Justice Committee debate on remand on Wednesday 3 October 2018.
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has issued an inquiry looking at what progress has been made in the three years since the Modern Slavery Act came into force and what more remains to be done.
The Scottish Parliament will debate the Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland final report on Thursday 7 June 2018.
- The Law Society of Scotland's briefing issued to all MSPs ahead of the debate (June 2018)
The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee is to undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. The 2012 Act created a single police service and a single fire and rescue service, replacing the eight police forces and the eight fire brigades that had existed previously.
A proposal for a Bill to create an offence or offences to increase the protection of workers in the retail sector, particularly those applying or enforcing an age-restriction in relation to the sale or supply of goods or services. (April 2018)
The Criminal Law Committee submitted written evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee on the implications of the UK's exit from the European Union on policing and criminal justice in Scotland.
- The Law Society of Scotland's written evidence (February 2018)
Petition PE 1633: Private Criminal Prosecution in Scotland (Petition) questions whether there should be any changes in the law by removing the requirement that the Lord Advocate must first give permission before a private criminal prosecution can be commenced in Scotland.
The Scottish Government issued a consultation to ensure that decisions on any ensuing reforms to the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 following Lord Bonomy's review are taken with a sound understanding of the issues and implications.
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation to seek views on the proposed amendments to the Police Act 1997 and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007. Scottish Ministers will consider all written observations received on the proposed draft order.
This consultation sought views to inform the independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland, conducted by Lord Bracadale. The review is considering whether changes need to be made to the current laws; whether existing offences should be extended to cover other groups; and whether all hate crimes should be brought into one area of legislation.
John Finnie MSP has issued a consultation on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill to give children equal protection from assault by prohibiting the physical punishment of children by parents and others caring for or in charge of children.
The Scottish Government has issued a consultation on the next steps in taking forward primary legislation to extend the use of electronic monitoring in Scotland in support of broader community justice policy.
The UK Government is examining the case for reform of the law on corporate liability for economic crime. The call for evidence is concerned with criminal offences designed to punish and prevent economic crimes such as fraud, false accounting and money laundering when committed on behalf or in the name of companies.
The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation on driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury. The government recognises that there is a public concern about sentencing for offenders who kill or seriously injure others on the road and is committed to making sure that the legislative framework that the courts operate within reflects the seriousness of offending and the culpability of the offender.