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PE01525: Access to justice


Petitioner: catherine fraser


Date Lodged: 30 May 2014

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to change the law to provide that legal aid is available to defend actions of defamation and challenge judgements in defamation cases.

Petition History:


5 August 2014: The Committee took evidence from Catherine Fraser. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, the Scottish Legal Aid Board, the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Link to Official Report 5 August 2014 (399KB pdf)

11 November 2014: The Committee agreed to defer consideration of the petition to its next meeting.

25 November 2014: The Committee agreed to write to the Justice Committee. Link to Official Report 25 November 2014

27 January 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 27 January 2015

31 March 2015: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that the Justice Committee has no plans to do work in this area and neither the Scottish Legal Aid Board nor the Scottish Government are persuaded that change is required at this time. Link to Official Report 31 March 2015

Written Submissions:


Definition of justice:    the principle of fairness that like cases should be treated alike.

The justice system should value justice for all citizens of this country, regardless whether they come from the poorest background or from the wealthiest in society.

We have a two tier system of justice in this country.

One injustice, regardless of its nature is totally unacceptable.

The people commenting negatively on the case report sadly do not realise the subsequent findings and statements that cause serious doubt over original verdict. The point of the petition is that ordinary people should not be denied justice by way of appeal or when new evidence arises casting doubt on original case hearing. Reading the original case report does not show future developments.


14:19 on 25 May 2014

It is a fact of life that the justice system is not perfect. Like everything else involving human participation, it is at best flawed and at worst dangerous. I find it hard to understand how people can be so naive in believing everything they read without question. Perhaps a person would have to experience the justice system to appreciate just how flawed it can be. I wonder how many people would consider the petitioners efforts to change the law, a waste of tax payers money, if they themselves were walking in her shoes. The reason laws change is very often due to failings which are highlited through individual cases. If nobody was willing to stand by the courage of their convictions, nothing would ever change. I stand beside you all the way.

Norman Maciver

22:41 on 23 May 2014

It is definately worth reading the petitioners case report on scotscourts before deciding to sign or not.

Joyce Leys

11:26 on 21 May 2014

Perhaps I have misunderstood what this petition is about when signing! I believed it was trying to secure justice and fairness for all persons regardless of financial ability to secure legal aid! As regards the petition raisers case, I truly believe one individual albeit it through personal experience & suffering is trying to bring about a change in the law to benefit her fellow man. Throughout history it is well known that change often occurs due to the perseverance & persistence of one individual who refuses to accept that which is unacceptable. Absolutely legal aid should be to defend & protect the innocent through the justice system! As we all know even in this Age of Enlightenment ---2014--- because of the human condition human error can occur! This petition I believe is not about one individual but about the bigger picture.

Hannah Dearing

22:17 on 13 May 2014

having read up on the petition raisers case - why should we, the tax payer, fund legal aid to defend a person, when in this case proves they were in the wrong. statistically there are very few defimation cases that go to court. as a tax payer there are many more serious and deserving cases that should benefit from funding - I do question the petition raisers motives. legal aid surely should be to defend or protect the innocent through the justice system.

James MacLeod

9:56 on 12 May 2014

It is well documented that injustices do occur and those people have long hard struggles, sometimes many years, before the truth finally comes out.This petition is not about an individual case but is aimed at changing the law so that nobody is denied access to justice. I believe this is a basic human right, and in a fair society anything other than this can only be described as a form of descrimination. Please support this petition....look at the big picture.

Norman Maciver

0:29 on 11 May 2014

Colleague and friend of mine. I do hope you get some form of justice Kate, you deserve it. You are such a caring, honest person, and surely those qualities will win through in the end. Never give up. x

Heather Mackay

21:34 on 10 May 2014

From reading the court decision it looks like justice was served appropriately by a well respected judge. I'd be angry if I thought good honest peoples taxes were being used on cases such as this one.


17:08 on 10 May 2014

Justice should be freely available equally to all persons regardless of colour, class, creed or nationality irrespective of wealth.

Hannah Dearing

16:29 on 10 May 2014

A member of my family had a similar experience at the hands of the justice system. After a long haul he finally proved that he had not lied,although it was not easy. Good luck to anyone in a similar situation. I am sickened by some of the comments but it proves how quickly people are judged without the full facts being known.

Carolyn Dwyer

21:30 on 09 May 2014

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