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Government Attempt To Suspend Jury Trials

The Scottish government when introducing the ‘Coronavirus bill’ has attempted to suspend jury for up to an 18-month period. The move would have seen the most serious cases at the High and Sheriff court that would require a jury proceed with just a single judge or sheriff. The move came with much criticism from Scottish solicitors and advocates and was not supported by the Law Society of Scotland.

The step was not actioned upon when this came to be debated due to the criticism it faced and is now still under consideration and will be debated further on 21 April 2020. The Coronavirus Bill also was due to relax rules of evidence such as hearsay which critics voiced was dangerous. The jury system which has been in place in the Scottish justice system for over 600 years was only reduced in numbers during war time in the second world war. Professionals are now considering and debating alternative measures.

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