Just a wee post to draw your attention to this edition of BBC Radio 4's, Law in Action. In this week's edition, first broadcast on the 28th of June, a half hour is spent discussing Scotland's distinctive legal system. Presented by the English legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg (and, as I lately discovered, spouse to Melanie Phillips), the programme ranges widely across various topics of recent legal interest for Scots, including the UK Supreme Court ruling in Her Majesty's Advocate v. Cadder, the outstanding insurers' appeal against Holyrood's Act pleural plaques before the same Court - and our procedural idiosyncrasies, including the not proven verdict, majority jury verdicts, and the requirement for corroboration. Rozenberg talks to a number of weel-kent Scots legal figures, including the University of Edinburgh's Professor Hector MacQueen, the fantooshly-face-furnitured Donald Findlay QC and Lord Carloway, who is presently reviewing Scots Law in the light of Cadder. The Scottish Government have given Carloway the following Terms of Reference:
(a) To review the law and practice of questioning suspects in a criminal investigation in Scotland in light of recent decisions by the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, and with reference to law and practice in other jurisdictions;
(b) To consider the implications of the recent decisions, in particular the legal advice prior to and during police questioning, and other developments in the operation of detention of suspects since it was introduced in Scotland in 1980 on the effective investigation and prosecution of crime.
(c) To consider the criminal law of evidence, insofar as there are implications arising from (b) above, in particular the requirement for corroboration and the suspect's right to silence;
(d) To consider the extent to which issues raised during the passage of the Criminal Procedures (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals)(Scotland Act) 2010 may need further consideration, and the extent to which the provisions of the Act may need amendment or replacement; and
(e) To make recommendations for further changes to the law and to identify where further guidance is needed, recognising the rights of the suspect, the rights of victims and witnesses and the wider interests of justice while maintaining an efficient and effective system for the investigation and prosecution of crime.
Carloway's review continues. Rozenberg also discusses an issue exercising Holyrood this morning - and which appeared on this blog earlier this week - the role of the UK Supreme Court in Scottish criminal appeals. The programme doesn't go into any depth on any of these topics - its pace is breakneck and its analysis air-light - but it is always pleasing, even in a brisk half-hour BBC programme, to see Scotland's distinctive legal system recognised and discussed.