Regina v HM Advocate and The Advocate General for Scotland: PC 28 Nov 2002

(The High Court of Justiciary) The prosecution had accepted that the matter had been the subject of unreasonable delay, but wished to continue. The defendant sought a plea in bar, on the basis that continuing would infringe his rights.
Held: Once it was accepted that the delay took the prosecution outside the defendant’s right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, the prosecution must fail. Section 57 simply came into effect. The reasonable time provisions of the convention must be applied throughout the proceedings until they were determined. The Scottish system had accepted rigorous time limits, and they must be applied. This case would reinforce the need for compliance.


Steyn, Hope of Craighead, Clyde, Rodger of Earlsferry, Walker of Gestingthorpe LL


Times 06-Dec-2002, [2002] UKPC D3, [2003] 2 WLR 317, 2003 SCCR 19, [2004] 1 AC 462, 2002 GWD 39-1280, 2003 SC (PC) 21, [2003] UKHRR 1, 2003 SLT 4


PC, Bailii


Scotland Act 1998 57(2), European Convention on Human Rights 6.1, Human Rights Act 1998


CitedStogmuller v Austria ECHR 10-Nov-1969
Hudoc Violation of Art. 5-3; Just satisfaction reserved
The court contrasted the stipulation in article 6(1)-the general requirement for a hearing of any proceedings, civil or criminal, ‘within a reasonable . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) CACD 12-Jul-2001
When assessing whether the defendant’s right to a trial within a reasonable time had been infringed, the court should look as from the date at which he was charged, or served with a summons, and not from the date of the first interview. Although a . .

Cited by:

CitedAttorney-General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) HL 11-Dec-2003
The house was asked whether it might be correct to stay criminal proceedings as an abuse where for delay. The defendants were prisoners in a prison riot in 1998. The case only came on for trial in 2001, when they submitted that the delay was an . .
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
CitedSpiers v Ruddy PC 12-Dec-2007
Limits to Powers in Devolution Cases
Mr Spiers had complained as to the competency of two temporary sheriffs called to hear case against him, saying that the temporary nature of their appointments did not allow them to constitute an independent tribunal. He now complained that the . .
CitedRutter, Regina (on the Application of) v The General Teaching Council for England Admn 1-Feb-2008
The applicant challenged a decision of disciplinary committee to go ahead with an allegation of misconduct after considerable delay by council and failure to abide by its own rules. After not receiving a notice of proceedings the applicant had . .
CitedBH and Another v The Lord Advocate and Another SC 20-Jun-2012
The appellants wished to resist their extradition to the US to face criminal charges for drugs. As a married couple that said that the extraditions would interfere with their children’s rights to family life.
Held: The appeals against . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Scotland, Human Rights

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.178348