Legislation has come into force to close a legal loophole where prisoners serving life could be eligible for parole earlier than those with fixed sentences.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the Criminal Cases (Punishment and Review) (Scotland) Act addressed a technical anomaly in the law.

The loophole emerged following an Appeal Court judgment which meant prisoners given a discretionary life sentence or Order for Lifelong Restriction could apply for parole by appealing against the punishment part of their sentence, which is the minimum time they must spend in jail.