Ending Conversion Practices Expert Advisory Group minutes: 5 July 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 5 July 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Blair Anderson, Lived Experience
  • Dr Paul Behrens, University of Edinburgh
  • Pritpal Bhullar, Sarbat LGBT+ Sikhs
  • Nick Bland, Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government (chair)
  • Very Reverend Dr Susan Brown, Church of Scotland
  • Dr Rebecca Crowther, Equality Network
  • Richy Edwards, Lived Experience
  • Colin Macfarlane, Stonewall Scotland
  • Dr Igi Moon, The Coalition for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Against Conversion Therapy
  • Dr Amber Keenan, NHS Grampian
  • Florence Oulds, Scottish Trans
  • Luis Felipe Yanes, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Hannah Winter, Lived Experience

Scottish Government

  • Tara Lyle, Scottish Government
  • Rudi Paton, Scottish Government Legal Department


  • Catrina Steenberg, Scottish Government
  • Lewis Todd, Scottish Government


  • Reverend Elder Maxwell Reay, Metropolitan church, Augustine’s Edinburgh
  • Reverend Jide Macauley, House of Rainbow
  • Dr Mhairi Crawford, LGBT Youth Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and general updates

Reminder that the shared members document was available for all members to update.

Counsellor available following the meeting to support members.

Key discussion points

Dr Paul Behrens gave a presentation to the group which summarised the Principles of Criminal Law and the Structure of a Crime, and included:

A summary of the principles of criminal law

A note that laws need to be clearly defined and sufficiently precise

Purposes of criminal law and investigation of alternatives

The structure of a crime and an outline of scenarios for members to consider during Q&A

The Group considered draft recommendations regarding the criminalisation aspects of Conversion Practices and discussed:

The risks surrounding legalities, specifically the interpretation of objective and subjective evidence.

Importance of intent when considering potential criminality, and how intent could be quantified and interpreted.

Consideration of individuals and organisations who have a duty of care, and how they may be considered in any Conversion Practices law.

The consequence and the seriousness of the crime and the possible sentence.

Issue of someone being taken to another jurisdiction with the intent of undergoing Conversion Practices.

A recognition of some variation in understandings of what ‘practice’ means in the context of Conversion Practices, and the need to explore the definition of Conversion Practices in more detail.

The idea of consent to Conversion Practices and related protections for survivors.

The responsibilities of the State.

Next meeting focus

Some of the members to take the lead on preparing for and facilitating the next meeting.

The secretariat believe there is scope to extend meeting 7, and will poll the members on timings.

To consider areas that still need to be discussed at meeting 7.

Members noted the possibility of linking with legislators in Victoria, Australia, for insight into their Conversion Practice legislation.


  • secretariat to send the poll on 7th meeting
  • members to consider further topics to discuss at meeting 7
  • members to send secretariat any views regarding the working document
  • members to update working document with recommendations from meeting 5
  • the draft recommendations will be amended in light of the discussions during meeting 5 and will be added to the working document for members to review
  • secretariat to explore options of linking with Victoria in Australia
Back to top