Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

JurisdictionScotland
Citation2014 asp 1


Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

2014 asp 1

The Bill for this Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed by the Parliament on 12th December 2013 and received Royal Assent on 17th January 2014

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision for certain rights and support for victims and witnesses, including provision for implementing Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council; and to make provision for the establishment of a committee of the Mental Welfare Commission with functions relating to persons who were placed in institutional care as children.

General principles

General principles

S-1 General principles

1 General principles

(1) Each person mentioned in subsection (2) must have regard to the principles mentioned in subsection (3) in carrying out functions conferred on the person by or under any enactment in so far as those functions relate to a person who is or appears to be a victim or witness in relation to a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings.

(2) The persons are-

(a) the Lord Advocate,

(b) the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland,

(d) the Scottish Court Service,

(e) the Parole Board for Scotland.

(3) The principles are-

(a) that a victim or witness should be able to obtain information about what is happening in the investigation or proceedings,

(b) that the safety of a victim or witness should be ensured during and after the investigation and proceedings,

(c) that a victim or witness should have access to appropriate support during and after the investigation and proceedings,

(d) that, in so far as it would be appropriate to do so, a victim or witness should be able to participate effectively in the investigation and proceedings.

(4) The Scottish Ministers may by order modify subsection (2).

(5) An order under subsection (4) is subject to the affirmative procedure.

Standards of service

Standards of service

S-2 Standards of service

2 Standards of service

(1) Each person mentioned in subsection (2) must set and publish standards in relation to-

(a) the carrying out of the functions of the person mentioned in subsection (3) in relation to a person who is or appears to be a victim or witness in relation to a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings,

(b) the person's procedure for making and resolving complaints about the way in which the person carries out those functions.

(2) The persons are-

(a) the Lord Advocate,

(b) the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland,

(d) the Scottish Court Service,

(e) the Parole Board for Scotland.

(3) The functions are-

(a) in the case of the Lord Advocate, functions relating to the investigation and prosecution of crime,

(b) in the case of the Scottish Ministers, functions relating to prisons and young offenders institutions and persons detained in them,

(c) in the case of any other person mentioned in subsection (2), any functions.

(4) Before a person mentioned in subsection (2) ("the publisher") publishes standards under subsection (1), the publisher must consult-

(a) every other person mentioned in subsection (2), and

(b) such other persons as appear to the publisher to have a significant interest in the standards.

(5) The Scottish Ministers may by order-

(a) modify subsection (2),

(b) so far as is necessary or expedient in consequence of any modification made under paragraph (a), modify subsection (1), (3) or (6).

(6) In this section-

"prison" and "young offenders institution" have the meanings given by section 307(1) of the 1995 Act,

"victim" includes a prescribed relative of a victim.

(7) In subsection (6), "prescribed" means prescribed by the Scottish Ministers by order.

(8) An order under subsection (5) is subject to the affirmative procedure.

(9) An order under subsection (6) is subject to the negative procedure.

S-3 Reports

3 Reports

(1) This section applies where a person publishes standards under section 2(1).

(2) The person must prepare and publish a report in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (3)-

(a) before the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which standards are first published under section 2(1), and

(b ) as soon as practicable following-

(i) the expiry of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which a report is published under paragraph (a), and

(ii ) each subsequent period of a year.

(3) The matters are-

(a) an assessment of how, and the extent to which, the standards have been met during the period of the report,

(b) an explanation of how the person intends to meet the standards during the year after the period of the report,

(c) a description of any modification of the standards made during the period of the report, and

(d) a description of any modification of the standards that the person proposes to make during the year after the period of the report.

(4) The Scottish Ministers may by regulations prescribe information (in addition to that required under subsection (3)) that reports prepared under subsection (2) must contain.

(5) Regulations under subsection (4) are subject to the negative procedure.

Rules: review of decision not to prosecute

Rules: review of decision not to prosecute

S-4 Rules: review of decision not to prosecute

4 Rules: review of decision not to prosecute

(1) The Lord Advocate must make and publish rules about the process for reviewing, on the request of a person who is or appears to be a victim in relation to an offence, a decision of the prosecutor not to prosecute a person for the offence.

(2) Rules under subsection (1) may in particular make provision for or in connection with-

(a) the circumstances in which reviews may be carried out,

(b) the manner in which a request for review must be made,

(c) the information that must be included in a request for review,

(d) the matters to be taken into account by the Lord Advocate when carrying out reviews,

(e) the process to be followed by the Lord Advocate when carrying out reviews.

(3) In this section, "prosecutor" means Lord Advocate, Crown Counsel or procurator fiscal.

Restorative justice

Restorative justice

S-5 Restorative justice

5 Restorative justice

(1) The Scottish Ministers may issue guidance about-

(a) the referral of a person who is or appears to be a victim in relation to an offence and a person who has or is alleged to have committed the offence to restorative justice services, and

(b) the provision of restorative justice services to those persons.

(2) Any person, or description of person, prescribed by the Scottish Ministers by order must have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers under subsection (1).

(3) In this section, "restorative justice services" means any process in which the persons such as are mentioned in subsection (1)(a) participate with a view to resolving any matter arising from the offence or alleged offence with the assistance of a person who is unconnected with either person or the offence or alleged offence.

(4) An order under subsection (2) is subject to the negative procedure.

Disclosure of information

Disclosure of information

S-6 Disclosure of information about criminal proceedings

6 Disclosure of information about criminal proceedings

(1) A person mentioned in subsection (2) (a "requester") may at any time request a qualifying person to disclose to the requester qualifying information in relation to an offence or alleged offence and any criminal investigation or criminal proceedings relating to it.

(2) The persons are-

(a) a person who appears to be a victim of the offence or alleged offence,

(b) in the case where the death of a person mentioned in paragraph (a) was (or appears to have been) caused by the offence or alleged offence, a prescribed relative of the person,

(c) a person who is to give, or is likely to give, evidence in criminal proceedings which have been, or are likely to be, instituted against a person in respect of the offence or alleged offence,

(d) a person who has given a statement in relation to the offence or alleged offence to a constable or the prosecutor.

(3) Where a request is made under subsection (1), the qualifying person must disclose to the requester any qualifying information which the person holds.

(4) In the case where the qualifying information falls within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (7), a qualifying person must not comply with a request under subsection (1) in so far as disclosure of the qualifying information would require disclosure of information supplied by a Minister of the Crown or a department of the Government of the United Kingdom that is held in confidence by the person.

(5) A qualifying person need not comply with a request under subsection (1) in so far as the qualifying person considers that it would be inappropriate to disclose any qualifying information.

(6) In this section-

"prescribed" means prescribed by the Scottish Ministers by order,

"qualifying information" means information that- (a) falls within subsection (7), (b) relates to the offence or alleged offence, and (c) is specified in the request under subsection (1),

"qualifying person" means- (a) the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland, (b) a prosecutor (as defined in section 307(1) of the 1995 Act), (c) the Scottish Court Service.

(7) Information falls within this subsection if it is-

(a) a decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation and any reasons for it,

(b) a decision to end a criminal investigation and any reasons for...

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