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Two-verdict Justice System

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 13th November 2019.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I will leave the debates on legal philosophy and jurisprudence to the colleagues on my right, the

Solicitor General for Scotland, and my extreme left, the Lord Advocate—I mean “extreme left” in terms of his location; I am not making a comment on anyone’s politics. [



It is really important that we view the discussion around the research and potential changes to the jury system through the prism of what is in the best interests of justice. On a qualitative basis—and on a quantitative basis, too, I think—it is certainly clear from the research that there was an element of confusion among some jurors about the three-verdict system. We saw examples of jurors saying that they thought that somebody could be retried after a not-proven verdict, and so on.

I understand that there is passionate debate among those who wish to see the three-verdict system reformed into a two-verdict system, as well as debate about what those two verdicts should be. I will not prejudge the outcome of that debate. The first of the engagement conversations, which will include a range of stakeholders, will take place later this month, and I will then update Parliament on what I think is the way forward.