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COPFS Comes Under the Spotlight

The Justice Committee at Holyrood has spent the last five months conducting a review into the effectiveness and efficiency of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). This review has now concluded with a question session with the head of the service, The Lord Advocate, the Rt Hon James Wolffe QC.

During its inquiry the Committee has heard from a wide range of organisations including COPFS employees and unions, victims’ groups, representatives of people in the criminal justice system, lawyers, environmentalists and police.

The Committee is thought to have pressed the Lord Advocate on concerns raised throughout its inquiry. These include the Crown Office’s prosecution policies and working practices, the support offered to victims and witnesses, the resources available to the COPFS, the efficiency of criminal trials, and possible reforms to improve the service.

“The Justice Committee’s inquiry has unearthed some serious concerns about the COPFS,”commented Justice Committee Convener, Margaret Mitchell MSP. “From the amount of time wasted through trials not proceeding on schedule, to the workload of prosecutors and the support offered to the victims and witnesses who appear at court.”

“The Justice Committee will publish its conclusions in due course, but it is hope that the Lord Advocate will have listened to, and taken on board, the legitimate concerns raised so far in evidence,” she added.

The final report of the review into COPFs is not expected to be published by the Committee until late winter 2017.

Contains information licenced under the Scottish Parliament Copyright Licence.

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