The First Minister of Scotland has today revealed the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2016/2017. She emphasised that the Scottish Government will be acting upon the June 2016 mandate from the Scottish Parliament to “retain our (Scotland’s) place in Europe” before presenting the programme under three headings: support for the economy; driving improvements in the public sector; and creating a fairer society.
Within the 'creating a fairer society' section, the First Minister committed the Scottish Government to introduce four 'Justice Bills' before June 2017. Those, in the order as dealt with by the First Minister, are:
1. A Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill to, as the First Minister put it, “clarify existing common law provisions”;
2. An Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation (Scotland) Bill to, again as the First Minister put it, “make civil justice fairer, more affordable and more accessible”;
3. A Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill, which we have commented on separately on our Abuse Blog; and
4. A Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill to, in the words of the First Minister, make “coercive and controlling behaviour” amounting to “psychological abuse” a criminal offence.
The First Minister concluded the section of her speech on justice reforms by emphasising the Scottish Government’s commitment to “tackle abuse in all its forms”.