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Justice Supreme Court row intensifies


Ross Reid Justice Correspondent


Te Scottish Human Rights Commission will enter the debate on the UK Supreme Court’s role on Scots law by preparing a briefing paper for MSPs, Holyrood understands. Relations between the London- based court and the Scottish Government have reached a new low following a number of high-profile rulings. First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill have accused the court of “intervening aggressively” following two recent rulings that the Scottish system has breached the European Convention on


Human Rights (ECHR) in criminal cases. It is expected that the commission will now produce a paper that will look at the relationship between the Supreme Court and Scotland and will offer thoughts for going forward. It follows the news that Salmond has appointed a group of experts to ensure Scotland’s independent legal system is “fully protected”. Te First Minister has been highly critical of the Supreme Court ruling last month that Nat Fraser’s conviction for murdering his wife was unsafe. Tat conviction has now been quashed and the Crown is seeking a retrial. Te Supreme Court also sparked controversy last year for a ruling, known as the Cadder


Relationships Scotland is a national charity that supports a network of affiliated Local Services to provide relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact centres and other related forms of family support across Scotland.


Relationship conflict and family breakdown has increased with the pressure of modern life. Our work focuses on prevention and early intervention and is essential for maintaining the health, well-being and quality of life of adults and children. Individuals, couples, parents and families need high quality services to help them develop their own solutions to the problems they may face in their relationships and in the bringing up of their children.


All political parties recognise the importance of strong stable families to the health and well being of all citizens and particularly in the early years of a child’s life. We believe that politicians need to focus on how these services can be promoted and resourced so that every family that requires help will find the support they need wherever they live in Scotland.


Government action is urgently required to:


• Produce a comprehensive policy statement on relationships and the family which promotes relationship counselling and family mediation as key routes to resolving family conflict and breakdown


• Ensure that relationship counselling, family mediation and child contact centres services receive adequate stable long term statutory funding


• Acknowledge the reliance that the judicial and legal system have on family mediation and child contact centres and fund this accordingly


For more information visit www.relationships-scotland.org.uk Relationships Scotland, 18 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EP t: 0845 119 2020, e: enquiries@relationships-scotland.org.uk 13 June 2011 Holyrood 9


judgement, on the rights of suspects to legal representation in Scotland. Four figures, including former Solicitor General, Lord McCluskey, will make up the expert group to review the jurisdiction of the High Court and Supreme Court in the application of human rights law, particularly in light of changes brought about by devolution. Initial findings by the group will be brought forward for debate at the Scottish Parliament in time for the summer recess. A number of suggestions have already been speculated on. It is thought that the role of the Lord Advocate may be reviewed and there have also been suggestions that a memorandum of understanding could be used between Scotland and the EU.


Families Need:


• Access to relationship support services available to everyone experiencing relationship conflict or relationship breakdown


• Recognition by government of the need to support adult relationships to improve life chances for families and children


• Support for vulnerable and marginalised groups in greatest danger of relationship and family breakdown, including prisoners and teenagers at risk of homelessness


Scotland Needs:


• Counselling and Mediation to be seen as the primary routes for resolving relationship difficulties and family conflict


• Stable, long-term funding for relationship support services across all of Scotland


IN BRIEF


Erdogan has accused the Economist of working on behalf of Israeli interests after the news magazine said the continued success of Erdogan’s AK Party might fuel his “autocratic instincts”.


WALES Williams criticised A former Liberal Democrat AM has criticised the current Lib Dem Welsh Assembly leader Kirsty Williams after party AMs Aled Roberts and John Dixon were forced to give up their seats for being members of public bodies to which AMs cannot belong. Eleanor Burnham accused Williams of presiding over a “complete shambles”


Hospital overcrowding “routine” A BBC Wales investigation has revealed that some Welsh hospitals have become routinely overcrowded, leading to concerns over patient safety and operations being cancelled.


Wyn Jones misses state opening Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones has come under fire after opting to


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