Exclusive: Cadder extension goes to High Court: UK compliance referral to Supreme Court likely
The Akram case, settled in the High Court at the end of last week, is being appealed to the High Court of Justiciary in a move that is likely to initiate a UK wide legal assessment of its ruling due to its cross border implications.
The case ruled that the Cadder provisions entitling suspects to legal advice also apply to “reporting agencies” such as housing authorities and -crucially- UK wide bodies such as Customs and Excise and HMRC.
Whilst the defender, Mrs Akram, lost her case at the Sheriff Court, the decision stated that the principle of obtaining legal advice when interviewed by these reporting agencies “must be applied equally to all enquiries which are likely to lead to criminal proceedings.”
The ruling creates the potential for a cross border discrepancy in cases where the UK agency operates in Scotland. The indications are that the case will be referred from the High Court to the Supreme Court by the Advocate General, as the decision could affect the practical operation of reporting agencies handling thousands of cases at any given time.
A senior solicitor told The Firm that a Supreme Court referral was all but inevitable given the applicability of Mrs Akram’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR. The Firm was told that the volume of Scots cases likely to be affected, whilst numbering the many thousands, was “miniscule” in comparison to the effects the case decision is anticipated to have to the operation of reporting agencies throughout the UK.