Scotland: twice as much criminal law as England?

Chalmers, J. and Leverick, F. (2013) Scotland: twice as much criminal law as England? Edinburgh Law Review, 17(3), pp. 376-381. (doi: 10.3366/elr.2013.0172)

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Concern has been expressed in recent times over the proliferation of criminal offences.1 Claims that the UK Government had created over 3,000 offences in a ten year period2 led to the introduction in England and Wales of a system whereby any civil servant wishing to create a criminal offence needs to obtain “gateway clearance” from the Secretary of State for Justice before doing so.3 No such mechanism exists in Scotland, where the issue has received rather less attention.4 Yet the Scottish Parliament has created criminal offences at a far greater rate than its English counterpart. In this note we demonstrate that, over the course of a twelve month period between 2010 to 2011, twice as many criminal offences applying to Scotland were created compared to those applying to England. We analyse this difference and demonstrate that over that period Holyrood showed a far greater propensity to create criminal offences than Westminster, with 165 offences being created by Holyrood for Scotland alone over that period as against a mere 10 created by Westminster for England or England and Wales alone.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leverick, Professor Fiona and Chalmers, Professor James
Authors: Chalmers, J., and Leverick, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Edinburgh Law Review
Journal Abbr.:EdinLR
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN (Online):1755-1692
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Edinburgh Law Review Trust and the Contributors
First Published:First published in Edinburgh Law Review 17(3):376-381
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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