Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill


Stage 1 scrutiny by the Justice Committee


The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 20 June 2013.

Read the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill and accompanying documents.

According to the Policy Memorandum which accompanies the Bill, the purpose of the Bill is to take forward essential reforms of the criminal justice system “to enhance efficiency and bring the appropriate balance to the justice system so that rights are protected whilst ensuring effective access to justice for victims of crime”.

The Bill takes forward the recommendations made by Lord Carloway and Sheriff Principal Bowen in their separate independent reviews of the criminal justice system. The Bill also includes additional provisions to take forward a range of justice priorities of the Scottish Government.


Written evidence

The Committee issued a call for written evidence on Wednesday 26 June 2013.  

Read the call for evidence

Read the written submissions received

Oral evidence

The Committee took oral evidence during its meetings from September 2013 to January 2014.


The Committee published its Stage 1 Report to the Parliament on 6 February 2014.


Consideration of the Bill at Stage 1 concluded with the debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 27 February 2014.

Timetable for Stage 2 consideration

Following the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice at the meeting of the Parliament on 23 April 2014, Stage 2 consideration of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill will not commence until after the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review, chaired by Lord Bonomy, has reported. The Review reported on 21 April 2015.

On 25 August 2015, the Scottish Government provided updates on its position on points raised in the Committee's Stage 1 Report on the Bill.

On 2 September 2015, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice gave notice to the Committee of the publication of the Stop and Search Advisory Group Report.

Additional Information

Automatic early release of prisoners

Following the First Minister's Statement on the Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2013-14, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote to the Convener to provide further background to the Scottish Government’s intention to end the system of automatic early release for certain categories of prisoners.  The Cabinet Secretary for Justice's letter can be found below:

The original intention was for the proposals to be brought forward by way of amendment to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill. On 23 April 2014, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice announced to the Parliament that Stage 2 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill would not commence until after the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review, chaired by Lord Bonomy, had reported. The Review is expected to report in April 2015.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote to the Committee on 27 May 2014 advising that the provisions relating to automatic early release would brought forward as a separate piece of legislation. The Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 14 August 2014. Further information is available on the Automatic Early Release of Prisoners page and the Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill page.

Process for police detention and arrest

The Scottish Government provided the Committee with a diagram that compares the current system of police detention against the powers which are proposed in the Bill.  A copy of the diagram can be accessed below:

Reference group on further safeguards

The Scottish Government wrote to the Committee on 4 February providing information on its intention to set up a reference group to consider further changes to criminal law in light of proposed corroboration reform.

Together with its response to the Committee's Stage 1 report, the Scottish Government has provided further information on Lord Bonomy's Review.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote to the Committee following publication of the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review report on 21 April 2015.


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