Lawyers praised for winning landmark human rights victory



Lawyers have been praised for helping to get a landmark human rights case into court by working on it without charge.

Although legal aid was in due course granted for the judicial review action in the Court of Session, much preparatory work was carried out for free by senior and junior counsel and solicitors.

A woman, a complainer in a criminal case, had been denied legal aid to be represented when her alleged abuser sought to recover her medical records.

Her challenge to the refusal of legal aid was heard by Lord Glennie, and she was represented by Dorothy Bain QC (pictured above), and Claire Mitchell (pictured right), advocate, who were instructed by Inksters Solicitors.

Following Lord Glennie’s ruling, Scottish ministers will have to reconsider the legal aid issue. The decision has been hailed as a “landmark decision in the protection of complainers’ human rights in the court process.”

Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, which had intervened in the case, said: “I think it is a huge credit to the lawyers involved that they were willing to do so much work pro bono in this case.

“My understanding is they did this because they believed there was a significant human rights issue at stake and that what was happening was not right, in terms of a woman being served with legal papers saying her alleged abuser wanted her private records and she had no facility to get legal aid to oppose it.”

Ms Mitchell’s blog on the case can be read here.