Victims, Witnesses, and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill: island communities impact assessment

Records the decision not to carry out an island communities impact assessment for the Victims, Witnesses, and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill. It explains why the Bill will not have a significantly different effect on island communities and describes how this assessment has been made.

Consultation and engagement

Over the course of 2019/20, the Scottish Government arranged events relating to verdict and jury reforms involving stakeholders across Scotland from sectors including legal professionals (defence, prosecution and members of the judiciary), third sector organisations, academics, and officials from various public bodies. There was also a number of meetings with people with experience of the criminal justice system. The purpose was to hear participants' views on the implications of the 2019 jury research findings, if these reflected their own experiences of the criminal justice system and whether they were in favour of potential criminal justice reforms.

The consultation on not proven verdict and related reforms ran between 13 December 2021 to 11 March 2022 and received 200 responses.

The consultation on improving victims' experiences of the justice system was open from 12 May to 19 August 2022 and received 69 responses.

As part of this consultation on improving victims' experience, a workshop was held with stakeholders to consider the proposals to establish a Victims and Witnesses Commissioner. Attendees included representatives from local government, criminal justice agencies, the legal sector, academia, the third sector and individuals with lived experience of crime. An event for people with learning disabilities to consider the proposals in the consultation was held in conjunction with People First (Scotland) and the SOLD Network.

There also has been ongoing engagement throughout the policy development process with stakeholders from across the justice sector. Some of the stakeholders involved in this engagement are:

  • academics who have undertaken work relating to jury research, independent legal representation and anonymity for sexual offence complainers
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • FAMS
  • Judicial Institute of Scotland
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Miscarriages of Justice Organisation Scotland
  • Parole Board for Scotland
  • Police Scotland
  • Public Defence Solicitors Office
  • Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Women's Aid
  • TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance)
  • Victim Support Scotland



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