We are grateful to Professor Robert Black for this summary of today's hearing in Edinburgh.
A procedural hearing before Lady Dorrian on the petition to the High Court of Justiciary by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (seeking guidance on whether relatives of Lockerbie victims would have a legitimate interest to pursue an appeal against the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi) took place this morning.
The court today ordered that a full hearing be held on a date to be fixed once the diaries of all the judges and counsel involved have been consulted. It is anticipated that the hearing will be before three very senior judges.
The hearing will cover both the merits, ie whether relatives of murder victims have a legitimate interest to conduct an appeal against the conviction of the alleged culprit and the prior question of whether this is a matter that has been competently raised by the SCCRC’s petition, the argument being that since the issue of who is entitled to conduct the appeal on behalf of a deceased convict arises only if the SCCRC actually refers the conviction back to the High Court, it is only at that point that a decision falls to be made.
In other words, the question of “legitimate interest” to conduct an appeal is not one that is, or should be, in law of any concern to the SCCRC in its task of deciding whether there might have been a miscarriage of justice.
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We remain confident that in the end justice will be done and seen to be done. In 2012, the Scottish Justice Secretary in his statement to the Scottish Parliament said: "It remains open for relatives of Mr al Megrahi, or others, to ask the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the case back to the court for a further posthumous appeal which Ministers would be entirely comfortable with."