The Committee is currently considering the following public petitions
PE1280: Fatal accidents inquiry
PE1370: Justice for Megrahi
PE1427: Multi-party actions
PE1436: Retrospective abolition of corroboration
PE1449: Replacement for the Scottish Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council
PE1479: Complaints about solicitors
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PE1280 by Julie Love and Dr Kenneth Faulds on amending the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976 to require the holding of a fatal accident inquiry when a person from Scotland dies abroad.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 8 November 2011 and agreed to write to the Scottish Government requesting further details of when it intends to introduce legislation to amend the 1976 Act and to keep the petition open, pending the Scottish Government's response.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 10 January 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open pending the introduction of the relevant primary legislation and to consider, at a future meeting, a background paper on the Committee Bill Procedure.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 25 September 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open pending the introduction of legislation on fatal accident inquiries.
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PE1370 by Dr Jim Swire, Professor Robert Black QC, Mr Robert Forrester, Father Patrick Keegans and Mr Iain McKie on behalf of Justice for Megrahi on opening an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 8 November 2011and agreed, by division (For 6, Against 3, Abstentions 0), to keep the petition open pending the outcome of Lord Carloway's review of Scottish criminal procedure and evidence and the Committee's consideration of forthcoming Scottish Government legislation concerning the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 25 September 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open pending a response from the Scottish Government to correspondence from Justice for Megrahi.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 11 December 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open while the petitioners continue to pursue issues with the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary.
On 2 April 2013, Justice for Megrahi updated the Justice Committee on developments of their allegations of criminality in relation to the investigations of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Justice for Megrahi submitted a further report to the Justice Committee on 23 April 2013 after their meeting with Deputy Chief Constable Patrick Shearer. Links to the two documents are below.
The Committee considered the submissions above at its meeting on 4 June 2013. At that meeting the Committee agreed to write to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Scottish Government. Papers from that meeting along with the correspondence arising from it are below.
Justice for Megrahi provided a submission to the Committee on 23 August 2013 summarising a meeting with Police Scotland and raising concerns about the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
On 5 September 2013 the Convener wrote to Justice for Megrahi regarding any possibility of a referal of the conviction of Mr Abdel al-Megrahi to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for review. Justice for Megrahi replied on 7 September 2013 and both letters can be found below.
The Committee considered petition PE1370 at its meeting on 24 September 2013 and decided to keep the petition open. Prior to the meeting, Justice for Megrahi informed the Committee that it had reported its concerns about the conduct of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to the International Association of Prosecutors. Police Scotland also wrote to the Committee regarding its meeting with Justice for Megrahi on 16 and 19 August. The Committee papers, the submission from the petitioners and the letter from Police Scotland can be found below.
Following Police Scotland's letter of 24 September, the Convener wrote to Police Scotland on 31 October 2013 asking for an update on the the conflict between its investigation into the allegations of Justice for Megrahi and the on-going investigation into the Lockerbie disaster itself. Police Scotland replied on 4 November indicating that the conflict between the two investigations still exists and that it will be resolved soon. Both letters can be found below.
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PE1427 by Robert Kirkwood on behalf of Leith Links Residents' Association on implementing the Scottish Civil Courts Review recommendations on multi-party actions by making changes to existing protocols that will (1) encourage the Rules Council to use rule of court 2.2 for multi-party actions; (2) modify court fees to a single payment; (3) encourage the Rules Council to introduce a protocol on recovery of documents; (4) clarify the common law right of nuisance, and (5) introduce compulsory insurance.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 25 September 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open pending the introduction of primary legislation to implement Lord Gill's recommendations on multi-party actions.
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PE1436 by Colette Barrie on passing new Criminal Justice System legislation which allows for the retrospective abolition of the corroboration requirement thus ensuring full access to justice for victims of crime.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 25 September 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open pending the introduction of primary legislation to implement Lord Carloway's recommendations, including on corroboration.
The Committee considered petition PE1436 at its meeting on 24 September 2013. The Committee agreed to consider the petition alongside its Stage 1 consideration of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill.
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PE1449 by Dr John Wallace Hinton on behalf of Accountability Scotland on preserving an independent Scottish Administrative Justice Council when the UK AJTC system is abolished, ensuring the new body has a critical user-interface to enable base-roots input from the public and that it has complete independence from political or civil service influence.
The Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 25 September 2012 and agreed to keep the petition open and to write to the Scottish Government seeking further details of (i) the functions of the non-statutory advisory committee; (ii) the timetable for its creation; and (iii) the timetable for producing and considering long-term options.
At its meeting on 6 November 2012, the Committee considered the petition again and agreed to wait for the further update from the Minister.
The Committee took account of the petitioners' views during the Committee's considerations of the Public Bodies Act consent memorandum for the Public Bodies (Abolition of Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council) Order 2013. Correspondence in relation to these considerations can be found on the Committee Correspondence webpage.
The Committee considered the petition on at its meeting on 4 June 2013 and agreed to write to the Scottish Government asking to be kept informed of developments with regard to a replacement for the Scottish Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council in relation to devolved areas of justice.
The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs wrote on 27 November 2013 to update the Committee on the establishment of a new interim advisory committee on Administrative Justice and Tribunals.
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PE1479 is a petition by Andrew Muir calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to amend the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 by removing any references to complaints being made timeously.
At its meeting on 1 October 2013, the Public Petitions Committee agreed to refer PE1479 to the Justice Committee.