Unfitness for Trial in Scots Law

in Ronnie Mackay and Warren Brookbanks (eds), Fitness to Plead. International and Comparative Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2018), 81-103.

Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2019/23

33 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2019

See all articles by Gerry Maher

Gerry Maher

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

The plea of unfitness for trial in Scots law advances the goal of ensuring that criminal trials should not proceed against anyone whose mental or physical condition makes it unsuitable for them to be subject to such a process. This chapter traces the development of the common law version of the plea, namely insanity in bar of trial. It then examines more recent reforms which considered the plea in the context of human rights and comparative law. These reforms have resulted in statutory formulation of the 3 key issues, namely the test or definition of the plea, the procedures to be used in determining the existence of the plea in a particular case, and the disposal options appropriate for people who have been found to be unfit for trial.

Keywords: law, unfitness for trial, Scots law, fitness to plead, examination of facts, burden and standard of proof, law reform, insanity defence, mental health disposals

Suggested Citation

Maher, Gerry, Unfitness for Trial in Scots Law (2018). in Ronnie Mackay and Warren Brookbanks (eds), Fitness to Plead. International and Comparative Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2018), 81-103. ; Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2019/23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3422857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3422857

Gerry Maher (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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