The final report by Lord McCluskey’s Review Group examining the relationship between the High Court of Justiciary and the UK Supreme court in criminal cases has been published today, Wednesday 14 September.
Commenting on the report, Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform at The Law Society of Scotland said: “The final report by Lord McCluskey’s Review Group is a significant report and we will take the time to study the findings closely, however we feel that the UK Supreme Court has a very important role to play in relation to constitutional and human rights issues affecting Scotland and we are pleased this view is echoed by the Review Group.
“In the current constitutional arrangement, the UK Supreme Court should retain jurisdiction with respect to matters of constitutional human rights law arising out of criminal cases, with the final court of appeal for substantive criminal law matters remaining with the High Court of Justiciary sitting as a Court of Appeal.”
The review group recommends in its report that the UK Supreme Court should have the power to rule on human rights issues that arise from Scottish criminal law cases but only if the High Court of Justiciary permits the appeal. Permission would be granted through a certificate noting the case raises a point of general public importance. The provision has been proposed for inclusion in the Scotland Bill.
Clancy said: “We do not agree with the Review Group’s recommendation that appeals to the Supreme Court should only be granted by the High Court through granting a certificate of general public importance.
“Individual human rights are just that – individual, these should not be assessed against the test of general public importance. Requiring a certificate of public importance could raise the situation where some people are restricted from appealing because the contravention of their human rights does not meet that test and this, we feel, could restrict access to justice.”
ENDS 14 September 2011
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