The present day Law and Justice of Scotland.
Discuss the present day Law and Justice of Scotland. This includes the problems it may face and how citizens are affected.
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||4||Style||APA|
Present Day Law and Justice of Scotland
Scotland has a comprehensive legal system that comprises both hybrid and mixed legal systems, incorporating the elements of civil law and common laws. The civil law system present in Scotland has emanated historically from the Roman laws. The evolution of the Scottish law and justice system to present-day law and justice systems has been a result of unsophisticated customary rules, the church laws, feudal laws, roman and English laws. The present-day adoption of different legal systems is influenced by various religious doctrines, underlying social trends, the efficiency of the economy, and Scotland’s political effectiveness. There have been many reforms made by the Scottish Government to achieve the present-day law and justice systems. Some of the reforms made include the introduction of a Scottish law commission, devolution of the executive powers to the Scottish Government, among others. The present-day law and justice of Scotland are geared towards providing a safer environment for its citizens to live in, provision of person-centered modern and more affordable public services, and provision of proportionate, fair, and effective systems of interventions. However, the present-day law and justice in Scotland is faced by several challenges ranging from an increased inequality and its potential effects on crime, violence and justice issues, a surge in the population of prisoners in Scotland, and increased relatively poor physical and psychological wellbeing of those associated with the criminal justice system. Therefore, this paper tends to analyze Scotland’s present-day law and justice by articulating the problems it faces and how citizens are affected by such law and justice systems.
The Scottish legal system has introduced a bill called the management of offenders bill to assist in monitoring offenders electrically, reducing disclosure times for criminal convictions of the past, and a more modern fit-for-purpose parole board process. Graham (2018) states that the introduction of new technologies such as ones providing location monitoring services through tagging and tracking will complement the tagging and tracking technologies so as the country to achieve efficiency in tracking its subjects more so law offenders.
Moreover, the present-day law and justice in Scotland are seen to be full of progressive justice reforms. It is geared towards promoting public safety and providing protection to casualties of crimes, the reduction of disclosure periods of conviction (Graham, 2018). Disclosure periods of conviction are one of the primary barriers to employment and reintegration. The present-day Scottish Government contends that the reduction of disclosure periods should be regarded as an issue relating to social justice and criminal justice issue. Reduction of disclosure times and authorizing custodial sentencing provides a realistic way of recognizing rehabilitation and reducing any reintegration barrier.
The present-day law and justice in Scotland have significant changes with respect to criminal justice systems, hence improving joint working and increasing its complexity. The criminal justice system’s complexity has been a result of the new legal processes being based upon the proposition of fairness, adherence to human rights, and being an independent decision-making body (Audit Scotland, 2011). There are many distinct voluntary organizations and bodies that are both public and private. They assist in administering criminal justice by performing different roles and arrangements on accountability to ensure that the powers of the State are discrete from the processes of maintaining and ratifying the law.
Furthermore, Scotland’s criminal justice system majorly focuses on making sure that every case is handled in accordance with the processes stipulated by the law and at the same time upholding the fundamental principles of fairness and integrity. The Scottish Government has also developed a support system for victims. The Government gives about 4 million euros yearly to Victim Support Scotland to support victims of crime (Audit Scotland, 2011).
There also exists a body called Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, whose primary function is to compensate victims who have been injured due to violent crimes. It also has a strict compensatory system as the rules that determines eligibility for compensation are stern. For instance, there might exist a reduction of compensation suppose a delay in reporting a crime and victims might not be entitled to compensation suppose they have previous convictions. Some developments have been made to help in improving the support victims, and witnesses get. For instance, the hosting of victim’s summit by the Scottish Government to determine how victims could be better supported.
Moreover, the Government has also carried out a consultative review to determine how witnesses’ experience can be improved. The Scottish Government is also determined to come up with victims’ rights to enhance the rights of victims to damages and compensation. Victim’s rights will also provide them with a say in policy sentencing decisions on paroles. This strategy will enable the Scottish Government to administer justice effectively. The Scottish legislation and government policy developments have undergone some radical changes resulting in the creation of more criminal justice bodies and partnerships. According to Audit Scotland (2011), an increased number of community justice authorities has helped reduce reoffending chances. The introduction of the Risk Management Authority has helped in monitoring severe violent and sexual offenders; hence, the changes in legislation have been designed to improve how the criminal justice system operates.
The Scottish Government has introduced a compatible information technology system to allow for unlimited sharing of information, increasing efficiencies. Major criminal justice bodies have integrated a comprehensive information technology system that is designed to match the current operational requirements. Automatic information sharing among different criminal justice bodies has led to an integrated approach to criminal justice information. Revolutionizing the IT system has enabled the Government to embrace new technological changes and innovations to provide relevantly and an exceptional standard of service that are relevant to the citizens of Scotland concerning the needs of the 21st century.
With the stringent measure put in place by the Scottish Government, Scotland has become a safer place with a reduced rate of crime and victimization. There has been a reduced number of recorded crimes relating to handling offensive weapons. According to Scottish statistics, the number of convicted people from taking offensive weapons has dropped by 81% (Scottish Government, 2017). The average number of people under emergency admission to medical facilities due to assault with sharp objects has also significantly reduced.
Furthermore, the present-day Government has introduced an Act called the community empowerment Act, which provides land reform legislation. The Act covers the major areas related to the empowerment of the community and the participation of the public in policymaking and planning. The Act provided an extension of the community’s rights to buying any size of land in urban areas. Furthermore, the Act has enabled Scottish ministers to have the powers of compelling landowners to sell communities with registered interest.
However, the present-day law and justice in Scotland are faced with a lot of current emerging challenges. Some of the challenges faced by the Scottish law and justice system include an increasing number of inequality and its potential effect on crime and violence, a continued increase in prisoners’ population, decisive shift in resources to focus on prevention and early intervention, among others.
One of the challenges for the portfolio of justice in the present day Scottish law and justice is gender inequality. According to statistics, about 80% of the casualties of domestic violence abuse are women. This percentage dramatically highlights the nature of gender nature of such crimes, hence drawing attention to a measure that will ensure the female gender has the right to participate equally in society without fear of being intimidated, abused, or face violence. One of Scotland’s strategies to counteract gender inequality is by regarding violence against women and girls as a violation of their human rights.
Devolution in Scotland has enabled the State to benefit from making decisions for itself within a broader range of issues pertaining to justice. Despite the budget cuts by Westminster, there has existed a continued investment in frontline policing by the Scottish Government. Devolution has placed power much closer to the citizens to allow for better and recognized decision-making. Furthermore, devolution has enabled the Scottish parliament to be more accountable for the revenue it collects.
Children at an early age have had an adverse experience, resulting in their impact on the justice systems in Scotland. Some of the negative experiences children undergo include traumatic experiences and household dysfunction, which are likely to have detrimental effects on a child’s psychological wellbeing. Household dysfunction includes having an incarcerated relative, parents who are treated violently, and substance misuse in the household. Incarcerated relatives and guardians who are treated violently significantly impact the lives of such children. Children with imprisoned parents are more likely to develop antisocial behaviors, social stigma. Such vices tarnish the perceptions of police and the entire legal system. Furthermore, it increases the dependency on the impaired ability for coping with future trauma, disrupting development and the whole intergenerational ornamentation of criminal behavior. The Scottish Government has also rejected some of Westminster’s changes, for instance, allowing people without relevant policing experience to have a direct entry to senior policymaking positions.
There exists premature contact with the criminal justice system hence resulting in criminogenic effects on young people. Scotland’s use of prison as a way of reducing reoffending is ineffective. There is a need to have more radical methods and changes in the way funding is allocated to the justice system and the judiciary’s entire operation to address the root cause of the offender’s behavior to avoid recidivism. Furthermore, Scottish courts are still characterized by approaches that are adversarial. Instead, the criminal justice system should integrate treatment services as a measure of reducing recidivism (Deuchar, 2018).
There is a high concentration of crime, victimization, and civil problems within the community. The existence of material deprivation has exacerbated the underlying conditions for crime. This has resulted from an increase in stress levels, hence making it more challenging to access support and services. There has been a well-established experience of crime and victimization among the poorest citizens in Scotland. A study carried out by (Walker, 2010) shows that around 4.4% of adults experience 58%of all crime hence high levels of recurring victimization. People who are living in most deprived areas are at a higher risk of becoming victims of crime, civil law-related problems, imprisonment, and criminalization.
Despite the efficiency in prosecuting criminal cases through the sheriff court system with a greater focus on cases that involve domestic abuse and historical sexual offense, there still exists a huge caseload as the time required to conclude a case in the Scottish justice system is still longer. According to Scottish Government (2017), the judicial system has acknowledged the delay in legal proceedings in family cases that involves children hence having a negative impact on children’s career. Besides that, the interaction between civil justice and criminal justice systems has never been effective.
Present-day law and justice in Scotland still lack key powers required to make society safer, stronger as decisions regarding drugs, firearms, gambling, and road safety are still controlled by Westminster. For Scotland to tackle underlying causes of inequality, they need to make decisions regarding welfare benefits incentives to unemployment and the overall public expenditure. This will guarantee a distinctive approach to justice.
The Scottish Government has an approach to tackling crime using the funds seized from criminal activities. The Government uses such funds to invest in the community and providing positive opportunities for young people. However, Westminster caps the total amount Scotland can retain and reinvest from crime proceeds. Westminster’s refusal to remove the capping of funds to allow more resources to be invested in the community has impaired the availability of positive opportunities for young people and facilitation of community programs (Scottish Government, 2013).
In conclusion, Scotland’s present-day law and justice have had a lot of benefits to the public in the manner in which justice is served. How the citizens have benefited from community programs, the present law and justice have strived to achieve topmost Scottish priorities, which are providing a safer community where every citizen can exercise their rights and responsibilities without fear, modernizing civil and criminal law and the entire justice system to meet the needs of 21st century. The present-day law and justice have enabled the State to improve health and wellbeing in justice settings by focusing the mental health and substance use. Scotland has also recorded the lowest crimes related to handling offensive weapons as the number of people convicted of handling offensive weapons has fallen. A comprehensive legal system comprises a hybrid and mixed legal system with the elements of civil laws and common laws. Scotland’s laws and justice system are regarded as full of progressive justice reforms as it aims to promote citizens’ safety and provide protection to casualties of crime.
However, such present-day law and justice have been faced with many challenges such as increased inequality and the potential effects to crime, violence, and civil justice. There has been a concentration of crime, victimization, and civil problems in many deprived communities. There is an increase in the relatively poor physical and mental health and wellbeing of those in contact with the criminal justice system. Furthermore, there is an increase in the decisive shift in resources to focus on preventing illegal activities. Growth in the number of prisoners has been alarming hence posing a significant challenge to the Scottish Government. Therefore, the present-day law and justice are beneficial to the public as they aim to create a better environment for citizens.
Deuchar, R. (2018). Criminal Justice in Need of Radical Reform. Scottish legal news. Retrieved from https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/blog-criminal-justice-need-radical-reform.
Graham, H. (2018). The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill, what it covers and why. Scottish centre for crime & justice research. Retrieved from https://sccjrblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/explainer-the-management-of-offenders-scotland-bill-what-it-covers-and-why/.
Scottish Government. (2013). Scotland’s Future. Scottish government. Retrieved from https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-future/pages/11/.
Scottish Government. (2017). Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities. Scottish Government. Retrieved from https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/strategy-plan/2017/07/justice-scotland-vision-priorities/documents/00522274-pdf/00522274-pdf/govscot%3Adocument/00522274.pdf?forceDownload=true.
Walker, N. (2010). Final Appellate Jurisdiction in the Scottish Legal System. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Retrieved from https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/13482020/FINAL_APPELLATE_JURISDICTION_IN.pdf.