Faculty of Advocates questions Apologies bill

The Faculty of Advocates remains sceptical of the Apologies (Scotland) Bill, stating that it supports the bill’s aims but is unconvinced by the case for legislation.

The bill, introduced by Margaret Mitchell MSP, is to encourage the use of apologies by providing that an apology does not amount to an admission of liability and is inadmissible as evidence in certain legal proceedings.

The apology would be inadmissible in most civil litigation as evidence of liability and could not be used in any other way to the prejudice of the apologising person.

The Faculty has made a written submission to the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee about the bill.

In its submission, the Faculty states: “The principal object of the Bill is that, by the protection of apologies (as defined), a culture of apology would be promoted, and resort to litigation would reduce.

“The Faculty is not clear how this might come about, or what the effects might be. The merit of such protection is intrinsically bound to its effects, which, in our view, remain to be demonstrated.”

It said there “is no convincing empirical evidence” that the law would have “the dramatic effects” intended in terms of wider cultural and social change.

The bill has so far secured the backing of all Conservative, Scottish Green and Independent MSPs.

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