OLIVER Adair, the Law Society of Scotland’s Legal Aid Convener, said: “The Society has been informed this afternoon (Friday) that as a consequence of the Cadder v HMA case appeal, the Crown Office has taken action to minimise the risk to prosecutions and issued guidance to the police.
“The decision on the appeal will not be made until October; however, in the interim, the Crown Office is putting guidelines in place concerning solicitors attendance where a suspect is to be interviewed in a police station.
“The Society has strongly urged the Crown Office to publish the guidelines to members of the profession as soon as possible.
“The Society has also raised concerns with the Crown Office about the impact on legal aid practitioners and legal aid costs.
“We understand that the Scottish Legal Aid Board is issuing guidelines on its website today indicating that payments under advice and assistance rates will be made available for solemn and summary cases.
“The Society is aware that this is an unexpected development for the profession and has considerable implications for those in legal aid practice.
“The Society will continue to monitor the situation and will seek to have urgent meetings with all stakeholders to handle any issues as they arise. The Society will continue to keep members informed about developments so that in turn they can ensure that their clients are properly represented and advised.”
11 June 2010
Notes to editors:
- The Society has been informed that the new guidelines are in place for all cases on indictment from 9 June and all other cases from 8 July.
- The Society understands that the Scottish Legal Aid Board will be making payments for attendance of solicitors at police stations for interviews with suspects to advice them before and be present at interview and that the rates paid will be under Advice and Assistance. The Society has no more information at present.
- The guidelines do not change the current law.
- The Society understands that the decision on Cadder versus HMA will be made in October.
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