(280)  SUPREME COURT: THE VIEWS OF THE MINISTRY

The response of the Justice Minister on behalf of the Scottish Executive to the Supreme Court consultation  (see Nos 236, 276 and 279) was made public on 14 November 2003.  She welcomed the proposals in the consultation paper, although warning that it was essential to include amongst the members of the court at least two members qualified in Scots law, and that this should be provided for by statute.  The right of appeal to the House of Lords on civil matters has served the Scottish justice system well. A tradition of high quality and durable decisions has built up in a way which has ensured valued and valuable consistency throughout the UK. The Executive see no reason to upset the current balance.  Equally, the Executive do not believe that there is any need to modify current rights of appeal in relation to criminal matters to give the new UK Supreme Court jurisdiction in those respects simply for the sake of consistency.  There are considerable differences between the systems of criminal law in Scotland and England and the current system has served the Scottish justice system well.  The full text of the response is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/JD/JD-BSU/00018515/SEresponse.pdf.

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