James Chalmers appears on BBC Politics Scotland

The Cadder case decides that any suspect interviewed by the police in Scotland must be entitled to access to a lawyer. The police can detain suspects for up to six hours at present: yesterday's legislation will raise the maximum length of detention up to 24 hours, with anything beyond 12 requiring authorisation from a senior police officer.

James Chalmers appeared on the BBC's Politics Scotland programme yesterday to discuss emergency legislation being rushed through the Scottish Parliament in response to Tuesday's Supreme Court decision in Cadder v HM Advocate.

The Cadder case decides that any suspect interviewed by the police in Scotland must be entitled to access to a lawyer. The police can detain suspects for up to six hours at present: yesterday's legislation will raise the maximum length of detention up to 24 hours, with anything beyond 12 requiring authorisation from a senior police officer.

Speaking as the legislation was being debated in Parliament, Mr Chalmers described it as an "abuse of the emergency legislation power", pointing out that while some extension to the detention time limit was clearly necessary to accommodate cases where a solicitor could not be brought to the police station promptly, the new legislation goes beyond that, giving the police the power to lengthen the detention period for reasons entirely unrelated to whether a solicitor is available.

While there may be good arguments for such a change, they would have been equally good long before Cadder, and should be dealt with by normal legislation with all the evidence being put before Parliament in the usual way.

The legislation was passed later that day with the support of SNP, Labour and Conservative MSPs, but opposed by the Liberal Democrats and Greens. The Politics Scotland programme can be viewed at the link below until the 3rd November 2010: Mr Chalmers is interviewed at 19.20 and again at 58.45.

Listen to the programme

Academic Profile: James Chalmers