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Q&A Corroboration

What is corroboration?

An ancient and unique cornerstone of Scots law, the requirement for corroboration means at least two separate and independent pieces of evidence are required to verify facts presented in a criminal trial.

Why is the Scottish Government seeking to end the need for corroboration?

The rule has been blamed for low conviction rates especially in some types of crime, including rape, where independent evidence is difficult to gather. Ministers believe victims are being denied justice under the existing system as too many cases fail to reach court.

Why has the legislation been delayed?

The proposal to abolish the need for corroboration was supported by victims' organisations and, in principle, by Labour MSPs. However it was fiercely opposed by the legal profession which warned it would make miscarriages of justice more likely. The Scottish Government's determination to push the legislation through parliament before Lord Bonomy's review was completed proved a final straw. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill chose to take more time in the hope of achieving wider support.

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