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