All Change or Business as Usual? Reforming the Law of Rape in Scotland

Rethinking Rape Law: International and Comparative Perspectives Edited by Clare McGlynn and Vanessa Munro (Routledge 2010)

Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2018/21

20 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Sharon Cowan

Sharon Cowan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: May 28, 2018

Abstract

Against a backdrop of heightened political and legal attention to the problem of rape, particularly the low rate of conviction for the offence, this chapter will examine the law on rape in Scotland. It will focus principally upon the recently enacted Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (the 2009 Act), which completely overhauls the substantive law of rape and other sexual offences in Scotland. The primary issue for discussion will be the reforms to the law of rape, though issues of consent pertain equally to various other sexual offences. Beginning with a brief summary of the common law of rape in Scotland prior to the new Act, the chapter then goes on to consider specific aspects of the new measures and the ways in which much needed changes to the laws in this area have been negotiated. It argues that the reform process was constrained by its remit and that, ultimately, the substantive reforms themselves will have a limited effect.

Keywords: criminal law, rape, sexual offences, Scotland, gender-neutrality

Suggested Citation

Cowan, Sharon, All Change or Business as Usual? Reforming the Law of Rape in Scotland (May 28, 2018). Rethinking Rape Law: International and Comparative Perspectives Edited by Clare McGlynn and Vanessa Munro (Routledge 2010); Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2018/21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186529 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3186529

Sharon Cowan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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