International law

With regard to the ferrets-in-a-bag (as perceived by the laity) infighting that is presently enhancing the reputation of Scotland’s legal fraternity, Lord Carloway, who recommended the abolition of corroboration as a rule of evidence, opined that the source of the hostility to his proposal can be traced to “reactionary or excessively defensive forces amongst the legal profession” who “can and often do, behave in a manner obstructive to law reform, especially when there is transparent perceived financial self-interest”.

Ironically, the Scottish judiciary is arguably part of those “reactionary and excessively defensive forces” regarding the administration of justice. The Peter Cadder case supports that contention. A petty criminal, Cadder claimed that, subsequent to his arrest, his human rights had been breached by the failure to provide timeous access to a lawyer.

Contrary to international law and the obligations thereby imposed on Scots law, a full team of Scotland’s judges rejected Cadder’s appeal.

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Thankfully, the Supreme Court deployed the art of tenable reasoning, upheld Cadder’s appeal and thereby rescued us from the dire consequences of the wisdom of the Scottish judiciary: detention by the state without timeous access to a lawyer.

Encouraging Scotland’s judiciary to appreciate how international law can enhance the quality of Scotland’s legal system is arguably as, if not more, important than the implications that inhere in the abolition of corroboration.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street