(371) SCOTTISH LAW COMMISSION REFORMING THE LAW
SCOTTISH LAW COMMISSION REFORMING THE LAW
The Scottish Law Commission issued its report Insanity and Diminished Responsibility (Scot Law Com No 195) early in July 2004. The report recommends that the criminal common law defence of insanity be replaced by a statutory defence that an accused lacked criminal responsibility by reason of mental disorder the presence of which at the relevant time meant that the accused was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct in question. The existence of the mental disorder would normally be a matter for expert psychiatric evidence. The condition of psychopathic personality disorder should however be excluded from the defence. The plea of diminished responsibility should be enacted in statute substantially as stated in Galbraith v HM Advocate (see No 124), applying in cases of homicide only, to reduce the conviction to one of culpable homicide rather than murder; it should include mental abnormality based on a personality disorder. The common law plea of insanity in bar of trial should be replaced with a statutory plea of unfitness for trial.
The Commission is also consulting on the content of its Seventh Programme of Law Reform, the provisional list of topics being land registration, trusts, judicial factors, provocation, self-defence, coercion and necessity in criminal law; assignation of, and security over, incorporeal moveables. Other possible topics suggested are succession, unincorporated associations, and illegal contracts (including sponsiones ludicrae).