Letter of Rights for Scotland Working Group

Overview

The Letter of Rights, first introduced in 2013, is given to all suspects and accused persons held in police custody in Scotland. Its purpose is to clearly explain their rights as provided for in domestic legislation. 

Following the introduction of an updated Letter of Rights in January 2018, the Scottish Government consulted on potential changes to the Letter of Rights in 2019 to capture lessons learned and ensure the Letter of Rights remains fit for purpose. 

The subsequent consultation analysis report included a commitment to establishing a Letter of Rights for Scotland Working Group made up of key stakeholders to take forward reforms of the Letter of Rights.

This working group comprises three sub-groups, the Governance Group, the Operational Delivery Group and the Accessibility Delivery Group.

The Governance Group is made up of Scottish Government officials, has final decision-making responsibility and will oversee the two other groups.

The Operational Delivery Group is chaired by the Scottish Government, will consider concerns raised as part of the consultation and will ensure that operational and legal issues are identified and addressed. 

The Accessibility Delivery Group is also chaired by the Scottish Government, will consider concerns raised as part of the consultation and will ensure that accessibility issues are identified and addressed.  

The Letter of Rights for Scotland Working Group meetings and recommendations

The Delivery Groups met on several occasions from 29 April 2021 onwards and the final meeting, which included members of both sub-groups, took place on 2 February 2022.  During this meeting the below recommendations were agreed: 

That a new easy read Letter and a children and young people’s Letter will be produced which will replace the current standard and easy read Letters.  This supports commitments that all documents should be provided as easy read as standard and that children and young people should be provided appropriate support throughout the justice system in Scotland. These Letters will be co-designed with relevant stakeholders.

That information on the right to complain as per the recommendations of The Rt. Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC report ‘Independent Review of Complaints Handling, Investigations and Misconduct Issues in Relation to Policing’.

Next steps

The Minister has now approved the recommendations of the Letter of Rights for Scotland Working Group and work has begun with stakeholders on drafting the easy read and children and young people’s Letter of Rights.

 

Members

The Operational Delivery Group includes representatives from:

  • Police Scotland
  • The Faculty of Advocates
  • The Law Society of Scotland
  • The Public Defence Solicitor’s Office
  • The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Relevant Scottish Government divisions

The Accessibility Delivery Group includes representatives from:

  • The Supporting Offenders with Learning Difficulties (SOLD) Network
  • The Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice
  • DeafScotland
  • People First Scotland
  • Epilepsy Scotland
  • Enable
  • Autism Network Scotland
  • The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
  • The Scottish Child Law Centre
  • The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability
  • The Scottish Appropriate Adult Network
  • Relevant Scottish Government divisions

Documents

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