Reforming the Scots law of rape: redefining the offence

Pamela Ferguson, Fiona E. Raitt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The crime of rape was redefined by the Scottish High Court of Justiciary in 2002, but has been subject to renewed criticism since then. In January this year the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) published its preliminary proposals for reforming the law of sexual offences, including rape. In this article we assess various models for law reform, including: (1) the relevant provisions of the draft Criminal Code for Scotland; (2) the SLC’s proposals; and (3) definitions employed in other jurisdictions, and in particular the recent changes made to English law by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. While enactment of the Law Commission’s proposals would be an improvement on the current law, we suggest that a more radical approach may be required.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-208
    Number of pages24
    JournalEdinburgh Law Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2006


    • Criminal law
    • Scotland
    • Actus reus
    • Consent
    • Criminal liability
    • Mens rea
    • Rape


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