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Carloway Review recommendations 21/11/2011 A package of proposals to overhaul Scots criminal law has been unveiled following a year-long independent review by the High Court Judge, Lord Carloway.

Carloway Review recommendations

A package of proposals to overhaul Scots criminal law has been unveiled following a year-long independent review by the High Court Judge, Lord Carloway. Recommendations include the abolition of corroboration.

The Carloway Review, commissioned last year by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, calls for radical and substantial changes to the system, and details 76 recommendations to put these into practice.

According to the Report, the revised criminal justice system will start from a simplified, unitary system of arrest, on reasonable grounds for suspicion, and detention. An arrest will trigger a set of rights for the suspect securing access to a lawyer, with particular protections for child suspects and vulnerable adults, to ensure that any proceedings against the suspect constitute a fair trial.

It will also entail a system in which a suspect being charged should be brought before the court within 36 hours of arrest. Alongside this, the police will have greater powers to conduct a structured investigation, with the ability to liberate a suspect on condition they return for later questioning, with other unnecessary constraints on questioning removed, subject to the supervision of the courts. This will give the police time to pursue further investigations into other evidence such as phone records or DNA evidence.

Similarly, there will be a less rule-bound approach to the evidence gathered.

Lord Carloway recommends that judges and juries should assess the quality and relevancy of evidence, free of restrictive rules and principles, such as the general requirement for corroboration, that belong to an earlier age and, as research has indicated, may now operate as an impediment to justice. And if a judicial decision at first instance is to be challenged, there will be a single, streamlined and well-regulated appeal process to follow, rather than the various and archaic procedures currently in place.

Finally, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission will be reinforced as the final safeguard against miscarriages of justice.

"I do not underestimate the size of the steps I am recommending. However, I hope and trust that this Report will make a significant contribution to the development of a modern, fair, effective and distinctly Scottish criminal justice system for the future," said Lord Carloway.

John Scott QC, Vice-President (Crime) of the Society of Solicitor Advocates, said:
"Lord Carloway and his team have provided us with a template for a modern justice system with ECHR considerations at its core. If implemented it should help us to avoid a Cadder-type fallout in the future.

"The Report has been overshadowed to some extent by the Recommendation that corroboration should be abolished. We do not accept the reasoning for this Recommendation. We believe that corroboration plays a useful role in helping to avoid miscarriages of justice. If corroboration is to be considered this should happen only in the context of a full review of the system, such as the ECHR audit suggested by the Law Society of Scotland."

Carloway Review

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