Criminal Cases (Appeals)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th April 1965.

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Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North 12:00 am, 14th April 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to remedy the situation whereby Scottish law does not grant the right of appeal in criminal cases from the High Court of Justiciary to the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the present position.

Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North

Is the Minister aware that a distance of 63 miles separates my constituency from Scotland? Is he aware that if any of my constituents wish to motor to Scotland, as often they do, and if while travelling that distance they commit a criminal offence and on conviction wish to appeal, they can do so to the House of Lords, but once they are over the Border into Scotland they cannot? As there is an Act of Union in existence, does not the hon. Gentleman think this is unjust?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

This position has operated since the Act of Union and, so far as I know, nobody in Scotland is anxious to change it. I would point out that Scotsmen also suffer certain disabilities when they travel south of the Border.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

In order to avoid trouble, expense, and inconvenience to Scottish litigants and all who are engaged in litigation in Scotland, will the Minister take steps to see that appeals are finalised in Edinburgh instead of going south to courts outside Scotland?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

My hon. and learned Friend is on a rather different point—civil appeals rather than criminal appeals.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in England a right of appeal in criminal cases was given some 50 years ago? Would he not think now of giving the same right to Scottish criminals?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I have already indicated that we in Scotland do not wish to make the change.