The Scottish Law Commission has announced that its Tenth Programme of Law Reform will include an examination of the law of homicide.
As part of this, the Commission says it intends to examine the issues raised by the Criminal Appeal Court in two key cases and will consider how the law might best be developed and reformulated to address the difficulties identified by the court.
The first of these cases was Petto v HMA 2011 SCCR 519, where the Court stated that a comprehensive re-examination of the mental element in homicide was overdue. It observed that the definitional structure in Scots law was antiquated and said that: ‘we remain burdened by legal principles that were shaped largely in the days of the death penalty, that are inconsistent and confused and are not yet wholly free of doctrines of constructive malice’.
Some years earlier in the case of Drury v HMA 2001 SCCR 583, the same court had commented that the law of provocation should be reformed and restated in statutory form. The Commission notes that this is an area of the law that often arises in homicide cases.
The project to examine the law of homicide is apparently Item No 4 of the Commission's Tenth Programme of Law Reform, and the Commission says it expects the project will be a medium-term one and will take around five years to complete.
If you have been charged with homicide, or any other criminal offence, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.
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