THE Scottish Government has launched its latest white paper in the Building a New Scotland series, setting out its intended approach for the justice system in the event of independence.

Despite the pro-independence majority government collapsing on Thursday morning, the decision to publish the planned document went ahead.

Independence would enable Scotland to take its own decisions to address issues such as drugs and gambling, and increase co-operation with international justice partners, the paper entitled Justice In An Independent Scotland states.

It is the 13th paper in the series and outlines how Scotland could, through membership of the EU, Council of Europe, United Nations and Interpol, play a “full part” in addressing global issues including cross-border crime, serious organised crime and cyber-crime.

The paper features proposals to restore police and prosecutors’ access to measures like the cross-border European Arrest Warrant, which were lost following Brexit.

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It additionally sets out plans to fully incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law to further enhance children’s rights and set out a framework for human rights law to protect and promote fundamental freedoms, including those in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Scottish Government also wants to take its public health approach to violence reduction into the currently reserved areas of drug policy reform and gambling.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said while recorded crime has fallen to near 50-year lows, there is much more Scotland could do with independence.

She said: “Scotland’s police and prosecutors would regain access to tools to pursue criminals across borders which were lost following Brexit, such as the Schengen Information System and the European Arrest Warrant.

“These are essential to combatting sophisticated criminal networks and helping victims get justice even where a perpetrator resides outwith Scotland.

“With the power to take our own decisions, we could also enhance and further embed our public health approach to justice issues, extending this to addiction such as drugs and gambling.

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“This would enable future governments to consider measures that would better address the specific needs and circumstances of people in our communities, such as safer drug consumption facilities, raising the legal age of gambling, and strengthened firearm licensing.

“Combined with the broader economic, employment and social security powers that would come with independence – as set out throughout the Building a New Scotland series of papers – we could take a more effective approach to improving justice outcomes, reducing burdens on the justice system and further reducing the number of victims of crime.”

The Scottish justice system already has its own courts, tribunals, judiciary, prosecution service, police service, prisons, fire and rescue service and other justice agencies, as well as its own legal profession.

Scotland’s distinctiveness as a legal jurisdiction long pre-dates devolution and was preserved in the Acts of Union 1707, but the paper sets out the full set of benefits independence could bring.

To read the full document, click here.