Publication - Independent report

Independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland: summary

Published: 31 May 2018
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Equality and rights, Law and order

Summary document to accompany Lord Bracadale's final report.

Independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland: summary
Addressing Prejudice: A Range Of Responses

Addressing Prejudice: A Range Of Responses

In a civilised society or country people should be able to live together, respecting one another and treating each other fairly, regardless of differences.

It is important to remember that people are free to express their views: for example saying that “people should keep their religious beliefs to themselves”

However, in some cases the law needs to step in to:

  • Discourage behaviour which might be offensive or causes harm
  • Tackle discrimination and prejudice

Regulatory Frameworks

These can be used to make sure people who carry out certain activities follow set standards.

For example:

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about some posters advertising the Channel 4 series ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’ on the basis that they were offensive and reaffirmed negative stereotypes and prejudice against the Traveller and Gypsy communities.

Civil Law

The civil law plays a key role in addressing prejudice where this results in discrimination in key relationships between individuals. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in the workplace, education and the way that services and public functions are supplied.

For example:

  • The Act makes it unlawful for employers not to take someone on because they are a Muslim.
  • The Act can be used to challenge the lack of disabled facilities on public transport.

Criminal Law

Some conduct is so morally wrong and harmful that society chooses to deal with it through the criminal law.

This is a serious step and shows society’s condemnation.

Such action may lead to:

  • Penalty
  • Loss of liberty
  • Hate crime being recorded on a criminal record