Building a New Scotland: Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland

This paper sets out the Scottish Government’s proposals for a written constitution that puts democracy, rights and equality at the heart of everything we do as an independent country.


This publication, the fourth in the 'Building a New Scotland' series, sets out the Scottish Government's proposals for a new written constitution for an independent Scotland:

  • It explains why a written constitution would be needed, contrasting the Scottish tradition of popular sovereignty with the tradition of Westminster parliamentary sovereignty that currently applies across the UK.
  • It also sets out the steps that could be taken to prepare a new constitution. These include the drafting of an interim constitution, which would take effect on the day of independence; the establishment of a Constitutional Convention, which would draft a permanent constitution through an inclusive and participatory process involving the people of Scotland as well as the Scottish Parliament, and a referendum to approve the permanent constitution.
  • This publication describes the Scottish Government's proposals for what the interim constitution should include and sets out proposals from the Scottish Government about issues it would like to see considered for inclusion within a permanent constitution, recognising that any decisions would be for the Constitutional Convention to consider.
  • It concludes that the UK's constitutional arrangements do not reflect or protect Scotland's democracy and the rights of people who live in Scotland. Only with independence can the people of Scotland decide who governs their nation and how.

This Government believes that human rights and equality should be fundamental to the constitution of an independent Scotland. Discussion of human rights protections and equality provisions therefore runs throughout this paper. Human rights and equality play a central part in everyone's everyday lives and need to underpin the foundations of an independent Scotland. Constitutions across the world safeguard key human rights and equality provisions, ensuring that governments with simple majorities in parliaments cannot easily overturn such protections.[2]



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