Scottish Secretary Michael Moore today sent the First Minister more than 150 pages of contributions and conclusions from the UK Government’s independent Expert Group which examined the role of the UK Supreme Court in relation to issues of ECHR and EU law arising from criminal prosecutions.
The Expert Group unanimously agreed that there should be a continuing role for the UK Supreme Court in relation to these issues.
Mr Moore said he hoped this detailed material will assist the deliberations of the new expert group which the First Minister announced earlier this week to examine the same issue. The Scottish Secretary has also sought clarification on the new group’s membership, remit, timetable and how it fits into the ongoing Scotland Bill process.
In his letter the Secretary of State says it is clear there is a strong argument for maintaining the role of the Supreme Court to ensure those living in Scotland have the same protections as those in other parts of the United Kingdom. He repeats the UK Government’s commitment to look at improving the current arrangements in order to clarify processes and avoid delay.
Speaking today, Michael Moore said:
“I have written to the First Minister because the detailed, independent work that has been carried out already on this issue will hopefully be of great assistance to the Scottish Government.
“It has been produced by a very respected group of legal minds and it is particularly persuasive that the group reached a unanimous view on the role of the Supreme Court.
“There is a strong argument for retaining the role of the Court in relation to issues of ECHR and EU law arising from criminal prosecutions. People living in Scotland should not have less protection than those in other parts of the UK. I would not be in favour of anything that undermined or distanced those protections for Scotland. I hope that the First Minister and I will be in agreement on this.
“These are issues that need to be examined with care. I have asked the First Minister to help us better understand the composition, remit and plans for his expert group and how this will play into the other work that is ongoing with the Scotland Bill.”