Raymond McMenamin from the Law Society of Scotland called for the teaching of Scots law in schools, as he gave evidence to the
on 22 May 2012.
The committee was taking evidence on the speech, language and communication (SLC) needs of young people in the criminal justice system.
Mr McMenamin was responding to a question from committee convener and SNP MSP Christine Grahame, who asked what one thing needed to be done to improve the lot of young people with communication needs in the justice system. He replied: "Introduce into the schools' curriculae Scots Law.
"It's no use having people come into courts and they don't know where they are, what courts do or what lawyers do or the way they speak." Mr McMenamin later said: "The vulnerable witness measures which are in place are not always used, and they're not always used because of the level of work which is going through, the lack of resources in personnel particularly in the part of the crown, to make these work.
He went on to say: "In certain areas they cannot staff courts and they cannot staff the requirements which were brought in for vulnerable and child witnesses."
Dr Nancy Louks from Families Outside said the most important thing was "raising awareness amongst criminal justice staff and also earlier with staff in schools to recognise speech and language difficulties and recognise them for what they are rather than as bad behaviour".
Kim Hartley, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said: "Set up a means of simply and consistently identifying speech, language and communication competencies and needs of children and young people going through the justice system at the earliest opportunity".
Ms Hartley said the journey of a young person with these needs who did get into offending should have their treatment throughout the justice system reflect their "comprehension and expressive language skills, at the moment it does not".
At its meeting on 21 February the committee considered a request by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to undertake an inquiry into why provision to meet SLC needs among offenders was almost negligible in all areas of Scotland's criminal justice system.
The Committee were unable to commit the time required to conduct an inquiry but agreed to explore the matter further at a round-table evidence session.
The committee also took evidence on this from Kate Higgins from Children 1st, Lynn Jolly from Cornerstone, Martin Henry from the National Joint Investigative Interviewing Tutors Forum, and Karyn McCluskey from the Violence Reduction Unit.
The evidence session was intended to provide an introduction to the topic of children and young offenders with SLC needs within the criminal justice system to inform future work as appropriate.