Lawyers threaten court action legal aid changes
PLANS to make accused people contribute to defence costs will be challenged in the courts, lawyers have warned the Scottish Government.
The Edinburgh Bar Association believes Kenny MacAskill’s new legislation will lead to breaches of the Geneva article 6 right to a fair trial.
That could see the Lord Advocate forced to defend it at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, or the Supreme Court in London.
It is understood many lawyers, unhappy after MSPs passed the new bill despite their objections, would be keen on an opportunity to test its fairness against the European Convention on Human Rights.
Cameron Tait, president of the Edinburgh Bar Association, said: “In terms of right to a fair trial, those who can’t afford representation, or representation of their choosing, may appeal.
“The first test would be whether they could afford it, which would be for the court to decide. It would not be the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s test.
“Therefore, in a situation where the person could not afford to defend themselves, then the Lord Advocate in prosecuting them would be committing an act that was contrary to article 6.”
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