(62)  Human rights and the Lord Advocate

A number of criminal cases before the Scottish courts are raising the first issues about the European Convention on Human Rights and its application under the Scotland Act 1998 to the Lord Advocate as a member of the Scottish Executive. Under s 57 of the Act, members of the Scottish Executive may not do any act incompatible with Convention rights. The Lord Advocate is exempted as the head of public prosecution in Scotland insofar as he could not have acted differently as the result of one or more provisions of primary legislation. The particular challenge arises under Article 6 of the Convention (right to a fair trial and to legal representation). Section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act allows the police to hold a suspect for up to six hours without access to a lawyer, and is challenged as incompatible with Article 6. A ruling is awaited.