Lord President Makes Written Representations to Parliament

Utilising the powers conferred on him by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 the Lord President is laying before the United Kingdom Parliament written representations regarding the Scotland Bill presently before it.

Section 5 of the Act provides that the Lord President may lay written representations before Parliament on matters relating to the judiciary or the administration of justice in Scotland.  Equivalent powers are available to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

The Lord President is urging Parliament to do two things:

(1)   to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Scottish criminal appeals and references to the remedying of infringements by the courts below as well as by the prosecutor; but

(2)   to restrict those cases in which leave may be granted to appeal to the Supreme Court from the High Court of Justiciary to cases in which the High Court has certified that a point of law of general public importance is involved in the decision. 

As to (2), the Court of Criminal Appeal in England and Wales and the equivalent court in Northern Ireland have long had a certification procedure which has proved to be valuable.  The Lord President wishes to secure a similar provision for the High Court in Scotland. 

The Lord President seeks, in the Scotland Bill, an amendment to the Scotland Act 1998 to the above effect.

Read the full representation

Further Information

Constitutional Reform Act 2005

Part 2

Section 5 Representations to Parliament.

(1)The chief justice of any part of the United Kingdom may lay before Parliament written representations on matters that appear to him to be matters of importance relating to the judiciary, or otherwise to the administration of justice, in that part of the United Kingdom.

(2)In relation to Scotland those matters do not include matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, unless they are matters to which a Bill for an Act of Parliament relates.

(3)In relation to Northern Ireland those matters do not include transferred matters within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly, unless they are matters to which a Bill for an Act of Parliament relates.

(4)In subsection (3) the reference to transferred matters has the meaning given by section 4(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47).

(5)In this section “chief justice” means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales or Northern Ireland, the Lord Chief Justice of that part of the United Kingdom;

(b)in relation to Scotland, the Lord President of the Court of Session.

Explanatory Notes

Section 5: Representations to Parliament

Section 5 provides that the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and the Lord President of the Court of Session may table written representations to Parliament on matters relating to the judiciary or the administration of justice. In respect of the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, this function is qualified by subsections (2) and (3) in order to respect the devolution settlements with Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Constitutional Reform Act 2005