The head of the Scottish Judiciary, Lord Hamilton,  has written his submission to the Scotland Bill consultation. The President made two main submissions with regard to the role of the Supreme Court in Scottish cases:

“(1)   to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Scottish criminal appeals and references to the remedying of infringements by the courts below as well as by the prosecutor; but

(2)   to restrict those cases in which leave may be granted to appeal to the Supreme Court from the High Court of Justiciary to cases in which the High Court has certified that a point of law of general public importance is involved in the decision.

As to (2), the Court of Criminal Appeal in England and Wales and the equivalent court in Northern Ireland have long had a certification procedure which has proved to be valuable.  The Lord President wishes to secure a similar provision for the High Court in Scotland.”

The debate over the role of the Supreme Court’s role in Scottish cases is a result of the Cadder judgment in October 2010, on the rights of suspects to legal representation in Scotland.

The role of the Supreme Court in Scottish cases has become something of a political football, and in June Alex Salmond launched an attack on the Supreme Court. It is likely that Lord Hamilton’s recommendations will add further fuel to an already heated debate.