Last week Lord Kerr gave this year’s Justice Scotland International Human Rights Day Lecture, on the topic of miscarriages of justice and when appellate courts should step in to quash a conviction.

The speech set out the premise that although the criminal systems of the various jurisdictions of the UK adopt different labels in reference to appellate courts reversing a finding of guilt (for instance Scotland refers to ‘miscarriages of justice’ whereas in England and Wales the question is whether the conviction was safe), these labels are not decisive. They are not tests in themselves, but are better understood as standards. Lord Kerr then goes on to describe the application of tests which ‘seek at once to uphold the high standards of legal accuracy expected in… criminal trials whilst at the same time recognising that mistakes of varying degrees of significance are difficult or impossible to eliminate completely’.

The full text of the speech is available here.