Comedy of justice

Barbara Bolton’s article (Friends of The Scotsman, 30 June) was a very educative account of the significance of the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) in the context of decisions made by the Inner House of the Court of 
Session in Scotland (IHCS).

Arguably, her analysis supports the contention that if independence ends the right of appeal to the UKSC (regarding decisions of the IHCS), the development of Scots law and the principle of access to justice could be impaired.

The case of Peter Cadder v HMA illustrates the point. He was arrested, detained, questioned and denied timeous access to a lawyer. He subsequently appealed to the IHCS and argued that the denial was a breach of his human rights. Despite European law and pertinent precedents that supported his appeal, seven senior judges unanimously rejected it.

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Given the objective material that supported his appeal, the decision of the IHCS arguably reflected a collective capacity for tetchy insularity and blind faith in the merits of Scots law, unblemished by the contagion of modernity: European law, human rights law and the precedents deriving from them.

But for the application of corrective reasoning by the UKSC, suspects in Scotland would still be arrested, detained, questioned and denied timeous access to a lawyer.

In the event of independence and the end of the right of appeal to the UKSC, it is not entirely fanciful, given the quality of the reasoning that shaped the denial of Cadder’s appeal, to envisage a comedy of judicial errors and miscarriages of justice that are no longer exposed to the corrective reasoning of the UKSC.

That prospect alone is enough to question the wisdom of leaving the United Kingdom.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street


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