Scottish government law reform consultations
The Scottish government has recently consulted on reforms recommended by the Scottish Law Commission.
The consultation on the proposed reform of the law of double jeopardy (based on the Scottish law Commission Report on Double Jeopardy (Scot Law Com no 218) discussed here) ended on 14th June. Launching the consultation Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, said,
"The double jeopardy law was brought in over 800 years ago, but we now live in a very different world and I firmly believe the law needs to be modernised to ensure that it is fit for the 21st century. My own view is that in this day and age, it should not be possible to walk free from court and subsequently boast with impunity about your guilt. If new evidence emerges which shows the original ruling was fundamentally flawed, it should be possible to have a second trial. And trials which are tainted by threats or corruption should be re-run. Prosecutors should not have their hands tied if there is new evidence or if someone admits to carrying out an offence years down the line. I believe any future changes should also be retrospective so that they extend to old cases. There is a clear direction of travel here, a growing consensus that reform is needed and we are minded to legislate at the earliest opportunity. However, with such a complex and important issue, it is absolutely imperative that we take the time to get it right to ensure that any law does not fall short of what is desired. This consultation is therefore an important stage of this journey and will allow us to get the views of those on the front line, as well as those with a general interest."
The government also launched a consultation based on the recommendations in the Scottish Law Commission Report on Conversion of Long leases (Scot Law Com no 204, 2006). That report was part of the substantive property law reform package worked on by the SLC (including abolition of the feudal system, the reform of real burdens, and the the reform of the law of the tenement) and proposed converting leases granted for more than 175 years (the maximum duration of a lease under the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000) with an unexpired duration of at least 100 years to outright ownership (subject to compensation payments). The consultation paper is here and legislation is likely to be introduced in the autumn.