Since the SNP came to power in 2007, they have sought to pursue two objectives with respect to matters of justice: to demonstrate managerial competence; and to ‘re-tartanise’ Scottish justice policy. While the headline figures present a generally positive figure of the SNP's nine years in government, belying these figures is an increasing tendency towards illiberal and authoritarian justice policies, as well as mismanagement on the part of ministers. This article considers the SNP's approach to and management of justice policy, and whether or not they have been successful in the pursuit of their twin objectives. It considers the degradation of ministers’ once-strong relationship with the legal professions, the management of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the establishment of Police Scotland, and the Scottish Ministers’ increasing deference to the police on ‘operational matters’. It further considers the continuation of the ‘ned-bashing’ agenda of the Scottish Government and concludes that, while ministers might rhetorically seek to appear liberal and welfarist, in contrast to England and Wales, the reality has been the pursuit of punitive policies that are arguably even less liberal, and less welfarist, than that of their predecessors, or their counterparts in England and Wales.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Scottish Affairs. The Version of Record is available online at: http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/scot.2016.0111