A Human Rights Bill for Scotland: consultation

The Scottish Government is gathering views to help inform how we will take forward the Human Rights Bill. The Bill will incorporate a range of economic, social and cultural rights into Scots law for the first time, as far as possible within the limits of devolved competence.

Part 2: What We Want To Achieve

This part of the consultation sets out our high level objectives for the Bill.

We want to:

  • Build on existing human rights and equality protections, enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010, within the limits of devolved competence.
  • Provide a clear, robust and accessible legal framework that ensures:
    • All rights-holders in Scotland can understand and claim international human rights domestically; and that
    • All duty-bearers will better implement rights in practice, respond appropriately to rights issues as they arise, and be held to account when things go wrong.
  • Incorporate into Scots law, within the limits of devolved competence:
    • the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
    • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
    • the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); and
    • the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
  • Recognise and include the right to a healthy environment.
  • Ensure the rights are incorporated in a way which ensures they can be enjoyed and accessed by everyone without discrimination via an equality provision, within the limits of devolved competence.
  • Provide a clear set of duties for public bodies (including, so far as possible, private actors) carrying out devolved public functions in Scotland in relation to the rights of the Bill. This is with the aim of ensuring so far as possible that all law, policy and decision-making by Scotland's public authorities and services contributes to the advancement of the full range of international human rights standards contained in the Bill.
  • Create and promote a multi-institutional approach so that institutions in Scotland – Government, Parliament, public bodies, courts and independent scrutiny bodies – can work together to ensure rights are upheld and create a human rights culture.
  • Ensure there are routes to remedy available for when there has been an individual or systemic infringement of people's human rights and that the remedies are accessible, affordable, timely and effective.
  • Through the Bill and wider work, continue to build a human rights culture where duty-bearers place rights at the heart of their decision making, people understand what their rights are and how to access them, and together we build a society where everyone is able to live with fundamental human dignity.


Email: HumanRightsOffice@gov.scot

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