Crime (Victims and Survivors Services)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 April 2022.

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Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

Pauline McNeill makes a very important point about people’s ability to understand legal processes. We have had discussions in the chamber about the not proven verdict in which it has been conceded that judges are not even allowed to explain to a jury the difference between not proven and not guilty.

If the people the system is meant to serve do not understand it—even if all the lawyers understand it—that is a major problem.

I have some sympathy with what Pauline McNeill says. There are some compelling arguments In relation to legal representation for complainers. There are also some concerns, including from the legal profession, but we are looking at that urgently and will publish our thoughts shortly. I am looking for additional suggestions. We are not ruling that out, but it is a complex area. I am happy to continue those discussions.