Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cadder Statement

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill criticised the role of the UK Supreme Court in criminal cases on 23 February 2011.

He said it was "undermining" the authority of the High Court in Scotland

Mr MacAskill was speaking in a parliamentary debate on the impact of the Cadder case which led to hundreds of criminal proceedings being abandoned after a supreme court ruling.

Teenager Peter Cadder successfully argued evidence gained by police whilst a suspect didn't have access to a lawyer breached human rights.

The ruling, on October 26 last year, overturned a decision by seven senior Scottish judges.

Mr MacAskill's comments follow concerns raised by Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini that the development may lead to a "complete loss of identity for Scots law".

It emerged this month that more than 800 prosecutions have been dropped or put on hold in the three months following the landmark decision, known as the Cadder judgment.

Following the release of those figures, Mr MacAskill was asked to make today's statement to the Scottish Parliament.

The justice minister said "Scotland does not have direct access to the European Court of Human Rights to defend its laws in the way other criminal jurisdictions have.

He said "this is an anomaly which should be rectified but which requires Westminster to legislate."

He explained "the UK Supreme Court has taken on a much greater role in criminal matters than was anticipated at the time of devolution"

The minister concluded it was the Scottish government's view that " the centuries-old supremacy of the High Court as the final court of appeal in criminal matters must be restored."

The Supreme Court judgment prompted concerns at the time that the door could be opened to thousands of appeals on similar grounds.

MSPs were forced to rush through emergency legislation giving criminal suspects immediate access to a lawyer.

A review of the legislation, led by Lord Carloway, is under way.

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