SNP fights Supreme Court move

THE Scottish Government has opposed plans to create a new route of appeal to the UK Supreme Court for criminal cases.

It follows Advocate General Lord Wallace submitting "draft clauses" to the Scotland Bill, which would allow cases to be appealed if they breached European Convention on Human Rights laws.

The plans had not been discussed publicly, because draft clauses are private documents.

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Even if the route is not created, people could appeal to the European court.

The Scotland Bill is currently being scrutinised by a Scottish Parliament committee, chaired by Wendy Alexander, which is due to report over the coming days.

In a letter to Ms Alexander, Fiona Hyslop, minister for culture and external affairs, wrote that such a route of appeal "would at best continue the inadequacies of the present system and would possibly add to existing difficulties."

She added: "What needs to be addressed is the underlying issue - the principle that Scotland has, for hundreds of years, been a separate criminal jurisdiction and the High Court of Justiciary should be the final arbiter of criminal cases in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government strongly recommends that any amendment creating a right of appeal from the High Court to the Supreme Court be rejected."

A spokesman for the Advocate General said: "There is nothing secret about this issue, which was originally identified by the Scottish Judiciary."