Post-corroboration safeguards


Researchers: James Chalmers, Fiona Leverick and Alasdair Shaw, with Fraser Davidson (University of Stirling), Peter Duff (University of Aberdeen), Pamela Ferguson (University of Dundee) and Findlay Stark (University of Cambridge)

In 2012 the Scottish Government announced its intention to abolish the longstanding requirement for corroboration in criminal cases, a measure that is now contained in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill. It did so on the recommendation of Lord Carloway, who undertook a review of criminal procedure in the wake of Cadder v HM Advocate, which established a right to legal assistance during detention. In February 2014, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice announced that Lord Bonomy would head an independent review - known as the Post-Corroboration Safeguards Review - to consider what additional safeguards and changes to law and practice might be necessary in the light of the abolition of the corroboration requirement.

Lord Bonomy requested that an academic expert group produce a report on additional safeguards against wrongful conviction or other changes in law and practice which might be considered for introduction into the Scottish criminal justice system. The work of this group, involving researchers from a number of different universities, has been coordinated from the University of Glasgow School of Law. The report of the Academic Expert Group was published in the autumn of 2014; Lord Bonomy's report was published in April 2015. The Scottish Government has, as a result of that report, abandoned its plans to abolish the corroboration requirement, pending further research into the Scottish jury.

Key publications

F Leverick, "Jury instructions on eyewitness identification evidence: a re-evaluation" (2016) Creighton Law Review 555-588.

J Chalmers, F Leverick and A Shaw (eds), Post-Corroboration Safeguards Review: Report of the Academic Expert Group (2014), 277pp + xxi.

J Chalmers, “Abolishing corroboration: three bad arguments” 2014 Scots Law Times (News) 7-11.

J Chalmers and F Leverick, “Majority jury verdicts” (2013) 17 Edinburgh Law Review 90-96.

J Chalmers and F Leverick, “Substantial and radical change: a new dawn for Scottish criminal procedure” (2012) 75 Modern Law Review 842-869.

F Leverick, “The right to legal assistance during detention” (2011) 15 Edinburgh Law Review 352-380.