Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Domestic Law in Scotland Working Group: summary report

This is the summary report of discussions of the Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Domestic Law in Scotland Working Group.

Annex O - Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Domestic Law in Scotland Working Group, 7th Meeting

Minutes of Meeting Held at COSLA Offices, Edinburgh, at 1 pm on Monday, 21 October 2019

Present: Mairi Macpherson, Deputy Director, Creating Positive Futures, Scottish Government (SG)(Chair)
Superintendent Ann Bell, Police Scotland
Michael Chalmers, Director, Children and Families, SG
Michael Clancy OBE, The Law Society of Scotland (Teleconference)
Juliet Harris, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
Dr. Kenneth Meechan, SOLAR
Prof. Aoife Nolan, University of Nottingham (Video conference)
Laura Pasternak, Scottish Youth Parliament
Douglas Ross QC, Ampersand Advocates
Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland

In Attendance: Liz Blair, SG Legal Directorate[78]
Nicola Guild, SG Legal Directorate[78]
Gita Sharkey, Children’s Rights
Alexandra Devoy, Children’s Rights (Secretariat)
Sarah Douglas, Children’s Rights (Secretariat)

Apologies: Dr. Katie Boyle, University of Stirling
Lynda Brabender QC, Westwater Advocates
Nicola Dickie, COSLA
Hannah Ross, COSLA
Chief Superintendent David Duncan, Police Scotland (represented by Superintendent Ann Bell)
Dragan Nastic, UNICEF
Lucinda Rivers, UNICEF
Norma Shippin, NHS
Suki Wan, Scottish Youth Parliament


1. The Chair thanked Members for attending the meeting of the Working Group. The Chair also thanked COSLA for hosting the meeting at its central offices.

2. The Chair noted that this was the penultimate meeting of the Group and that a further meeting had been organised, at the request of the Group, for 11 November at 11 am in Victoria Quay. [Update: This meeting was postponed until the New Year.]

Minutes of Previous Meeting and Action Points

3. Minutes of the previous meeting:

Action: Members proposed that the minutes of the 6th Working Group be re-circulated to the Group; the Chair agreed and requested that comments should be returned by 25 October, close of business.

Update: The Minutes were re-circulated to the Group on 22 October.

4. The Chair provided an update on the following actions from previous meetings:

Action: The SG agreed to share the final consultation analysis with the Group as soon as possible; this is expected to be by the end of October.

Update: The Chair confirmed that the Scottish Government was not in a position to share the consultation analysis drawn up by ARAD at this time due to:

  • The need for further quality assurance to ensure that all responses have been captured accurately;
  • The addition of a dedicated section which summarises the views of children and young people who were consulted (as requested by the Group); and
  • The production of an easy-read version of the report which will enable children and young people to access the report.

Action: The Chair thanked Members for their comments on the legal mechanisms discussion paper. Members asked for the minute of the optional meeting, which took place on 9 September, to be re-circulated to the Group; the Chair agreed and requested that final comments should be submitted by the 25 October, close of business.

Update: The Minute was re-circulated to the Group on 22 October.

Discussion paper on the legal issues around incorporation of UNCRC

5. The Chair invited one of the co-authors to speak to the paper, which sought to address some of the legal issues around incorporation of the UNCRC with a view to identifying potential concerns/barriers and proposing ways forward.

6. The Chair thanked both of the authors for drafting the paper; and thanked the Member for the presentation. The Chair opened up the item for discussion.

Action: Members agreed to share any further comments.

Working Group Report – First Draft.

7. The Chair introduced this item and invited Members to comment on the draft report. The following points were made in discussion: the updated report should:

  • Continue to be structured around the three consultation paper themes as described in paragraph 7 of the Terms of Reference.
  • Reflect that different views were held amongst the Members, and therefore refer to ‘majority views’ rather than ‘areas of consensus’.
  • Rather than include a summary of previous discussions, the report should include the minutes, concise notes and discussion papers drafted by Members as Annexes.
  • A list of Acts of the Scottish Parliament which already implement the UNCRC should also be included as an Annex.
  • Where the report refers to a course of action as being “difficult” or “complex”, an explanation of why should be included.
  • One Member voiced concerns about the risks of incorporating the UNCRC into Scots Law and asked that those views be included in the report.

Action: Member to draft wording

  • Section 14 points (c) and (d) (points of consideration) describe a duty to comply and duty to have due regard, one Member asked for more detail to be included and agreed to provide draft wording.

Action: Member to draft wording

  • Section 15 needs to be reworded to more accurately describe the implementation of self-executing rights.

Action: Member to draft wording

  • Section 16 point (e) (point of consensus), (f) and (g) (points of consideration) need to include some of the material currently in bullet point format above to provide the context to the discussion on the production of supporting guidance.
  • Section 17 point (h) (point of consensus) needs to include reference to empowerment.
  • Section 24 point (p) (point of consensus), (q) and (r) (points for consideration), need to reflect the broad support for retaining the practice of undertaking CRWIAs, expanding their use across the public sector, and the possibility of making them a statutory requirement.

Action: The Scottish Government will re-work the report in line with the comments made by the membership and circulate for comment to the Group ahead of the next meeting.

November 2019



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