The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee will hold an informal session outside of Holyrood, taking its inquiry into the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to Hamilton.
The Inquiry, which is looking at the effectiveness, role and purpose of the COPFS, will hear from a Lanarkshire newspaper court reporter and local defence solicitors.
The inquiry has previously heard from a number of stakeholders in the justice system who suggested that many of the issues in the COPFS stem from problems with communication, under-resourcing, court delays and a lack of autonomy amongst staff.
Justice Committee Convener, and Member for Central Scotland, Margaret Mitchell MSP, said:
“Getting out of Holyrood to hear from people who use the Courts every single day will give the Justice Committee’s inquiry a fresh insight.
“When we report and make recommendations in our drive to improve the Scottish justice system, we want to be sure we have heard the views of as many stakeholders as possible. Lanarkshire is a great place to visit to get a closer look at what the picture is like on the ground.”
The Committee will also make a separate visit to the offices of the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) in Hamilton.
They will meet with the Commissioner, Kate Frame, and other members of her senior team to gain a greater understanding of the work the PIRC does in undertaking independent investigations into serious incidents involving the police, and examining the way police handle complaints made about them by the public.
So far, the Inquiry into COPFS has taken evidence from the following organisations:
- Sandy Brindley, National Co-ordinator, Rape Crisis Scotland;
- Tom Halpin, Chief Executive, Safeguarding Communities - Reducing Offending (Sacro);
- Marsha Scott, Chief Executive, Scottish Women's Aid;
- Susan Gallagher, Chief Executive, Victim Support Scotland;
- Liam McAllister, President, Aberdeen Bar Association;
- Stephen Mannifield, President, Edinburgh Bar Association;
- Lindsey McPhie, President, Glasgow Bar Association;
- Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform, Law Society of Scotland.
- Audrey Howard, Social Work Scotland.
- Liz Dahl, Chief Executive, Circle;
- Steve Farrell, Lead Organiser for Scotland, Community;
- Professor Nancy Loucks, Chief Executive, Families Outside;
- Three anonymous victims of crime
A final report will be published in early 2017 after all evidence is heard and considered.
Photographs of the event will be available free of charge. Please request them from Greg Black.