‘Compatibility issues’ consultation

The Lord Justice General is to chair a review of the practice and procedure relating to “compatibility issues” arising in criminal proceedings in Scotland and appeals to the UK Supreme Court.

The Scotland Act 2012 (sections 34 to 37) made a number of significant changes to criminal procedure in Scotland, including the introduction of compatibility issues and changes to the right of appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

A compatibility issue is a question, in criminal proceedings, of whether a public authority has acted unlawfully under the Human Rights Act, or in a way which is incompatible with EU law; or whether an Act of the Scottish Parliament is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.

A review of these amendments is required by section 38 of the 2012 Act, and the Secretary of State for Scotland invited the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, to chair this review.

Lord Carloway has established a Review Group to consider the extent to which any changes should be made to sections 34 to 37.

In particular, the Review Group is to consider whether an appeal to the UK Supreme Court on a compatibility issue should only be possible if the High Court of Justiciary first certifies that the issue raises a point of law of general public importance.

To inform its work, the Review Group is conducting a consultation to gather views on the practice and procedure relating to compatibility issues in criminal proceedings in Scotland.

Compatibility issues consultation paper

Notes to editors

The Review Group comprises the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway; the Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian; Lord Reed, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; David Harvie, Crown Agent; Roddy Dunlop Q.C.; and John Scott Q.C.

If you wish to respond to the consultation, please send your response by 9 April 2018.