Rights of the Accused Pre-Trial Scotland

The legal system in Scotland grants certain rights to persons accused in criminal proceedings.

Right to retain a personal copy of the complaint document

At all times the accused has the right to retain a copy of the complaint document. The complaint document is marked CITATION and is sent out by the procurator fiscal, the Scottish body responsible for prosecutions.

Right to request precognition interviews of prosecution witnesses

The purpose of a precognition interview is to establish what a witness will say in response to prosecution and defence questions at trial. The accused may request for Police Scotland officers to be precognised.[1]

Right to request precognition of defence witnesses

People who would be helpful for the defence of trial may be requested to provide a precognition interview via the defence solicitor.[2]

Right to call defence witnesses to trial

The accused has the right to request for the defence solicitor to call defence witnesses to trial.

Right to have access to crown witness statements

Some solicitors will email the crown witness statements in full. Other solicitors might provide summary versions of these statements.

Right to serve a "Statement of uncontroversial evidence"

The accused may serve a statement of uncontroversial evidence on the procurator fiscal and the court. A defence solicitor can undertake this on the accused behalf. If the procurator fiscal does not respond the evidence in the statement is taken as proven for the purposes of the trial.[3]

Right to change defence solicitors

If a defence solicitor does not provide legal advice or refuses to undertake requested precognitions, the accused has a right to change solicitors.

If a solicitor refuses to undertake precognition interviews for the defence of the case the accused has a right to complain to the Scottish Legal Complains Commission.[4]

See also


  1. Police Scotland:Police Officer Precognitions at official website. Accessed 16 August 2015
  2. Victims of Crime:Precognitions at official website. Accessed 16 August 2015
  3. Scot Courts:Statement Uncontroversial Evidence at official website. Accessed 16 August 2015
  4. SLCC:Scottish Legal Complaints Commission at official website. Accessed 16 August 2015
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