I make no claims to any expertise here but when the Scottish Tories campaign against something uniquely Scottish, I reach for my keyboard.
In 2001, the ‘colourful’ Donald Findlay QC, Rangers man and, I’d thought, a defender of the Union wrote ‘The Bastard Verdict’ defending the ‘Not proven’ verdict.
It seems to be out of print, with only this short description to be found:
The bastard verdict or, to give it its proper title, the not proven verdict is one of the most controversial in British justice. In England, the accused is either guilty or not guilty but, in Scotland, the jury can also opt to return a verdict of not proven – and, in a third of of all jury trials in Scotland, this is exactly what happens. In Bastard Verdict, Donald Findlay QC cross-examines the evidence for and against not proven. Using recent cases to review the Scottish justice system, he interrogates its strengths and weaknesses. Many think that a not proven verdict generally means that the person on trial is guilty but there is simply not enough evidence to convict him or her. But is this an accurate assessment of this controversial piece of Scots Law? And, when this is verdict is delivered, what does it mean for the perpetrators and the victims of crime? Is not proven simply one verdict too many and should the Scottish system be brought into line with England? Donald Findlay QC is in the perfect position to answer these questions. At the forefront of Scottish defence law for decades, he has defended many high profile cases and his record of obtaining either a not guilty or a not proven verdict for those he represents is second bar none. In Bastard Verdict, Findlay defends the not proven verdict and argues for a radical shake-up of our legal system. Rather than have Scots law conform to that of England, he suggests a move away from the legal system that Cromwell imposed on Scotland and a return to the original principles of old Scots Law.
That last sentence has me interested.
There is an extended treatise from 2005, by Joseph M Barbato of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, no less and freely available which concludes:
Lord Cooper goes further to consider “Scots Law from a wider standpoint
than merely local or domestic,” seeing his country’s legal tradition as “a thing to be prized both in Scotland and beyond its Borders. His vision is much more grandiose: “Scots law as it stands gives us a picture of what will some day be the law of the civilised nations, -namely a combination between the Anglo-Saxon system and the Continental system. As for the present, “[i]n respect of the intermediate position which it now occupies between the two great schools of legal thought, Scots Law is at the moment unique.
For all 40 pages go to:
Several, perhaps most, readers will know more about this than I do. On your marks, GO!
Footnote: Purdue University founded by John Purdue (1802-1876), the son of Charles and Mary Purdue. Purdue was the only son in a family of nine children born to this Scottish immigrant and his wife.