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Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 31 January 1979

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asked the Lord Advocate if he will make a statement on the law of picketing in Scotland.

The law of Scotland on picketing is not identical with the law of England although the principal statutory provisions relating to trade unions and their legal rights apply to both countries. Trade unions in Scotland, for example, enjoy the same rights and immunities under sections 13 and 15 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 as they do in England. In the sphere of civil law there are differences of procedure but the substantive law is broadly similar. Recent decisions of courts in England interpreting the phrase

"in furtherance of a trade dispute"
are not technically binding on courts in Scotland but they would be accorded great respect.There are material differences in regard to criminal law and its enforcement and in the role of the police. The Lord Advocate, with the assistance of Crown counsel and procurators fiscal, is responsible for criminal prosecutions. He is also responsible, through procurators fiscal and the police, for the investigation of crime with a view to prosecution. The police, however, are independently responsible for the maintenance of law and order on the spot in a picketing situation. Peaceful and orderly picketing in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, whether primary or secondary, is not a criminal offence in Scotland. But if what is done in the course of picketing involves
Askham GrangeStyalHolloway
Convicted unsentenced53
In addition to those held on remand in Holloway on that date 12 females were held on remand in Low Newton, 30 in a criminal element, such as assault, threats of assault, intimidation, extortion, or breach of the peace, then it constitutes a criminal offence and may be treated as such.In contrast with England, the offences associated with picketing are usually common law offences. Persons who create a disturbance or an obstruction at the picket line, for instance, would normally be charged at common law with breach of the peace.