Scottish criminal evidence law adrift?

Peter R. Duff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In a controversial book, Evidence Law Adrift, Damaska, probably the
most influential, contemporary theorist of comparative criminal procedure,
claimed that the law of criminal evidence in Anglo-American
common law systems had lost its moorings in its traditional adversarial ideology.1 To what extent is this true of Scottish criminal evidence law? This collection demonstrates that over the past twenty years or so, Scots law in this area has undergone unprecedented change and is, in the eyes of many practitioners and commentators, in a state of flux. The issue to be tackled in this chapter is whether any pattern to this change can be discerned and any future direction of development identified. On first sight, it might be argued that the process of change has simply been a chaotic result of new pressures, such as the rise of the victim movement, the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into Scots law, the attempt to rationalise and modernise the law, and the need to husband scarce resources and increase
efficiency, all combined with various knee-jerk political responses to high-profile cases and more general political pressures. This might lead to the conclusion that the law has indeed cast free of its adversarial anchorage and that there is little point in trying to predict the future. In my opinion, however,
the latter view is rather too pessimistic2 and it might be possible to foresee,
somewhat indistinctly, the future evolution, rather than total revolution, of
Scottish criminal evidence law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScottish Criminal Evidence Law
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Developments and Future Trends
EditorsPeter R Duff, Pamela R Ferguson
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781474414791, 9781474414777
ISBN (Print)9781474414760
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Criminal evidence


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