This briefing looks at Stages 1 and 2 consideration of the Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill, which was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 2 May 2012. The Bill seeks to create a Scottish Civil Justice Council to replace the existing bodies responsible for drafting court procedure rules in relation to civil justice matters. It also seeks to introduce a requirement for accused people to make a contribution towards their criminal defence costs where they are assessed as being able to afford to do so.
Key issues during scrutiny of the Bill have been:
• the most appropriate membership and recruitment procedures for the Scottish Civil Justice Council
• the threshold (in relation to disposable income and capital) at which contributions should be sought from accused people towards their defence costs
• the fairness of defence solicitors being required to collect contributions directly from their clients, and the likely impact on other parts of the justice system in terms of delays and adjournments
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Published: 28 January 2013