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Hate Crime Legislation Review

Lord Bracadale I was appointed by the Scottish Ministers at the end of January 2017 to undertake a review of hate crime legislation in Scotland. I published my report on 31 May 2018 along with a summary leaflet and the analysis report of my consultation exercise which ran in summer 2017. I saw my review not just as a legal exercise, but also as an opportunity to recognise and understand the impact that hate crime has on individuals and communities.

I make more than 20 recommendations in all some of which are summarised in the statement I provided. It is for Scottish Ministers to determine how they wish to respond.

I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to the review process and I hope that my report will continue to spark political and public debate about how to deal with hate crime.

Lord Bracadale

Hate Crime Legislation Review

This independent review was announced on 26 January 2017 by Annabelle Ewing, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.  The review was chaired by Lord Bracadale, a senior member of the judiciary. 

The remit for this review was:

To consider whether existing hate crime law represent the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.

In particular, Lord Bracadale considered and provided recommendations on:

  • Whether the current mix of statutory aggravations, common law powers and specific hate crime offences is the most appropriate criminal law approach to take
  • Whether the scope of existing laws should be adjusted, including whether the religious statutory aggravation should be adjusted to reflect further aspects of religiously motivated offending
  • Whether new categories of hate crime should be created for characteristics such as age and gender (which are not currently covered)
  • Whether existing legislation can be simplified, rationalised and harmonised in any way, such as through the introduction of a single consolidated hate crime act
  • How any identified gaps, anomalies and inconsistencies can be addressed in a new legislative framework, ensuring this interacts effectively with other legislation guaranteeing human rights and equality