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August 2021 Update

After a long campaign involving former MSP Neil Findlay, the NUM in Scotland and Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, announced on 07 June 2018 the establishment of an Independent Review. John Scott QC was appointed to lead an investigation of the impact of policing on communities in Scotland during the miners’ strike from March 1984 to March 1985.

The Independent Review team published its Final Report in October 2020. It recommended that, subject to establishing suitable criteria, the Scottish Government should introduce legislation to pardon miners convicted for matters relating to the 1984/85 Strike.

On 28 October 2020 the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, announced that the Scottish Government accepted in principle the recommendation of the Independent Review report.

In March 2021, the Scottish Government published its public consultation paper to consult on the qualifying criteria to be used for pardons for miners convicted of offences during the 1984/85 strike.

That consultation period has now come to a close and on 17 August 2021 the Scottish Government published an analysis of the responses.

The consultation received almost 400 responses, from organisations and individuals. Those who responded overwhelmingly supported a pardon for miners convicted of strike-related offences. That is more welcome news for those miners and the families of miners who were given a criminal record for taking part in what was a lawful industrial dispute in Scotland in their long campaign for justice.

We urge the current Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Keith Brown MSP, to move quickly and bring forward the necessary legislation to ensure those arrested and convicted under the criminal law for the defence of jobs and communities during the bitter 1984/85 strike are granted pardons.

Bruce Shields, Partner

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