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.


It is assessed that the Bill will not have a significantly different effect on island communities.

The Bill is intended to improve the experiences of people who come into contact with the justice system regardless of where they are living and will ensure consistency of approach across Scotland.

There is no intention for the Bill to have a different effect on the island communities and it has been assessed that the provisions in the Bill do not need to be developed in a way to improve or mitigate the outcomes expected from the Bill. The matters which have been identified in this assessment can be addressed or mitigated as part of implementation.

Consultation will be required with SCTS in relation to the implementation of the provisions of the Bill on special measures to ensure that island courts are equipped so that such measures are readily available.

There may be greater potential in island communities for there not to be a local solicitor on the register when a person is prohibited from representing themselves and from carrying out personal cross-examination. The aim is to ensure that there is a good geographical spread of solicitors on the register and consultation with the legal profession may be required in this respect.

The Family Law Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council has established a sub-group to consider what needs to be done to implement the provisions in the 2020 Act on special measures, so this may have relevance to the measures in the Bill given that the Bill extends some of the 2020 Act measures.

Consultation with the legal profession may also be required to ensure availability of solicitors in island communities to act as independent legal representatives for complainers sexual offence cases where applications to lead sexual history/'bad character' evidence are made.



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