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Law Society of Scotland launches Corroboration Defence

The Law Society of Scotland has launched a defence of the Scots law requirement of corroboration, through which at least two individual pieces of evidence are required for a criminal conviction to be secured.

The corroboration requirement is one element of Scots law being reviewed as part of the Government-commissioned Carloway Review, led by Lord Carloway following the Cadder v HMA criminal appeal decision by the UK Supreme Court last year and the passing of the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 2010.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Law Society of Scotland have both come to the defence of corroboration.

President of the Law Society of Scotland, Cameron Ritchie said: “We feel the requirement for corroboration should remain. It is a vital safeguard of Scots law that ensures that people cannot be convicted on the word of just one person. It is, of course, a different case in England & Wales where the evidence from a single witness does not require to be corroborated, but a judge can, at his or her discretion, decide if a jury should be warned on relying on this evidence.”

Separately, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has recommended that the Carloway Review should carefully consider whether the Scottish Law Commission or a Royal Commission should review the issue of corroboration. This is particularly important, it is suggested, because abolishing corroboration for some or all offences would be a major change in Scots law.

Lord Carloway is to consider all consultation responses and will publish a report later this year. For more information, see our Lord Carloway Review blog post.

See also the Law Society of Scotland's response to the Carloway Review consultation and the Scottish Human Rights Commission's response and recommendations.

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Monday, 06 April 2020

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