Code must not restrict counsel, Faculty tells SLAB

28 Mar

A note of caution has been sounded by the Faculty about part of a code of practice drafted by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

A section of the revised code on Criminal Legal Assistance deals with complex and costly case planning in instances where counsel has been instructed and the case is proceeding to trial.

In response to a consultation on the draft code, the Faculty submitted that a plan for preparation and perusal of productions must be compiled after consultation with counsel.

“The decision whether to examine and study any documentation in a case must ultimately be at the discretion of the instructed counsel,” said the Faculty.

“It would be a derogation of counsel’s responsibility to allow a solicitor to assert what is relevant and necessary for counsel to examine in preparation for court proceedings. We do not consider that the Code is intended to restrict counsel in this way but an interpretation of paragraph 7.9 might lend itself to unjustified restriction.”