This case was a devolution appeal from Scotland to the Supreme Court and concerned fair trial rights in Scotland. At issue was whether a suspect detained by the police has the right to speak with and be represented by a lawyer in the police station – a right long held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not recognised in Scotland.
JUSTICE argued that the omission under Scottish law to allow access to a solicitor during the initial period of detention and interview, pending arrest and charge, was in violation of Article 6 ECHR. The case was brought following Salduz v Turkey, a decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in November 2008, where a systemic failure to allow access as a result of legislation was found by the court to irretrievably prejudice the right to a fair trial when the evidence from interview was used to support a conviction.
In June 2010, four months before the Supreme Court decision was due, the Lord Advocate issued guidance to police forces asking them to allow access to solicitors during detention, and the Scottish Legal Aid Board extended advice and assistance rates to solicitors.
JUSTICE was represented in the Supreme Court by Aidan O’Neill QC of Matrix Chambers/ Ampersand Stables (Scotland) and Jodie Blackstock, with Tony Kelly of Taylor & Kelly Solicitors, Scotland and Herbert Smith LLP.
On 26 October 2010, a unanimous seven judge UK Supreme Court confirmed that the law in Scotland breaches the right to a fair trial by not allowing advice and representation to detained persons in the police station.
As a result of the decision in Cadder, emergency legislation (Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 2010) was rushed through the Scottish Parliament in three days.
JUSTICE’s response to the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act
The Supreme Court Judgment in Cadder (26 October 2010)
JUSTICE intervention in Cadder
JUSTICE press release welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision (26 October 2010)
JUSTICE press release at the start of the case (21 May 2010)