1. This paper is the summary report of discussions of the Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Domestic Law in Scotland Working Group (the Group).
2. In April 2019, the First Minister made a commitment for the Scottish Government to bring forward a Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law within the current parliamentary session. Following from this, a Working Group was convened with an advisory remit to inform the development of a model for incorporation relevant to the Scottish context and a Scottish Government Bill (the Scottish Bill), which would be introduced in this parliament. The Terms of Reference of the Group can be found at Annex A.
3. The Group met eight times from 25 June 2019 to 24 February 2020, with a broad membership drawn from representatives of third sector partners, public bodies, family groups, academics and legal practitioners, acting in a personal capacity. The minutes and summaries of the workshop discussions from the meetings of the Group are available on the Scottish Government website. The full membership of the Group is included at Annex B. Where members were unable to attend meetings, they were invited to submit written comments to the secretariat.
4. The Group considered the policy, practice and legislative implications of UNCRC incorporation, using the Scottish Government’s consultation document on ‘Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into our domestic law in Scotland’ as the framework for discussions.
5. The meetings focused on specific themes in line with the consultation document:
- Theme 1: Legal Mechanisms for Incorporating the UNCRC into Domestic Law;
- Theme 2: Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services; and
- Theme 3: Enabling Compatibility and Redress
6. The Group did not reach a consensus view on all matters relating to the above themes. This report sets out issues where there was a majority view amongst Group members. It also identifies matters on which the Group considered Ministers should give further consideration. The report will be shared with Scottish Ministers and will inform the development of a Scottish Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic legislation.