In the Media

Supreme Court ruling halts 1,000 Scottish prosecutions

PUBLISHED December 5, 2011

The number of prosecutions abandoned or put on hold after a ruling on the rights of suspects in Scotland to legal representation has risen above 1,000.

Figures from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service show that 1,030 cases have been affected by the UK Supreme Court ruling that became known as the Cadder judgment. Of those, 78 were solemn procedures, which involve the most serious crimes. Four appeal cases have been conceded by the Crown on the basis of the Cadder ruling.

The Crown Office said it was a ?matter of regret? that any case was unable to continue, but insisted that measures it has taken have reduced the judgment?s impact on prosecutions.

In the Cadder case, the London-based Supreme Court ruled in October last year that the Scottish system that allowed suspects to be held and questioned for six hours without access to a lawyer breached the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, all live cases in which the Crown relied solely on such interviews for corroboration could not continue.

The ruling led to a constitutional row over the power of the Supreme Court to adjudicate on Scots law.