Annex B: A Scottish Constitutional Convention
This annex provides additional information on Scottish Government proposals for establishing a Constitutional Convention to develop a permanent constitution for an independent Scotland. The Scottish Government believes that the Constitutional Convention, as well as a wide awareness-raising, engagement and consultation programme on the permanent constitution, should be open, inclusive and non-discriminatory, providing opportunities for people and communities across Scotland to take part.
The design and governance of the Constitutional Convention would be clearly set out and its remit agreed by the Scottish Parliament.
Learning from international examples
There is an increasing global recognition that the direct involvement of citizens is a vital ingredient in constitutional development or amendment processes. Recent examples include the Netherlands in 2006, Ecuador in 2008, Iceland in 2010 to 2012 and in Chile in 2021. Ireland's reforms to their existing constitution in 2013 to 2014, also led to the convening of citizens' assemblies on same sex marriage and abortion legislation.
The methods used vary across these countries. They have included less formal crowd-sourcing of views from the general public in the initial stages and the more formal use of deliberative assemblies involving a randomly selected (or elected) group of the population to hear evidence and make recommendations, all of which can then be ratified either by parliament or through a referendum of the whole population. In Ireland, participants were selected randomly while ensuring that the age, gender, socio-economic categories and geography of those selected was largely reflective of the wider society. A steering committee of politicians and citizens approved the speakers and programmes for the Irish constitutional convention, ensuring the different perspectives and interests informed the discussion.
Scotland's Constitutional Convention could draw on and learn from these international examples to inform its approach.
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