Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)
Scotland Bill
6:30 pm

Photo of Lord Wallace of Tankerness

Lord Wallace of Tankerness (Liberal Democrat)

I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Boyd, for that because there are arguments there and I will give further reflection to them.

A good number of issues have been aired on certification. I am grateful to the noble and learned Lords, Lord Cullen, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom and Lord Boyd of Duncansby, who indicated on certification that although there have been issues against it, in fact the case that the Government have sought to make against certification can be justified on a number of grounds. It is right, as a number of your Lordships have indicated, that we are not comparing like with like. As I indicated in my opening remarks, in England and Wales the whole criminal justice system of substantive criminal law and criminal procedure is the potential subject matter of appeals to the Supreme Court, whereas here we are dealing with what are essentially constitutional issues that arise in the context of a criminal case-namely, convention compliance or European Union laws.

Also, as I indicated before, the original justification for certification was very much administrative. It was an Administration of Justice Act in which it was introduced, to ensure that there was not a great flood of cases. I believe that it was brought in not for any reason of jurisprudence-as the quotes from the then Lord Chancellor, Viscount Kilmuir, suggest-but as an administrative break. Again, not least because of the representations which we have received from the Lord Justice General, we will treat these matters very sensitively and seriously, giving proper weight to the arguments that have been advanced again. It would be fair to say that the arguments advanced in the course of your Lordships' debate this evening have not really prompted me to change my mind on this, but no doubt these matters will be returned to.

I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, for giving us a focus for some of the debates which we have had, and I very much hope that on Report-

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