Miners' Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill: business and regulatory impact assessment

Business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) for the Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill.

Purpose and intended effect


The Scottish Government's vision for a just, safe and resilient Scotland identifies the need to live in safe, inclusive, empowered and resilient communities as a priority outcome.

In 2018, the Scottish Government commissioned an independent review into the impact of policing on affected communities during the miners' strike 1984/85. The Strike was one of the most bitter and divisive industrial disputes in living memory. The purpose of the review was to provide an opportunity to those who were affected by the Strike to share their experiences, as a means to aid understanding and reconciliation - and to help heal wounds.

With that purpose in mind - and drawing on the powerful testimonies provided by former miners, police officers and mining communities - the independent review group (IRG) produced a report which made a single recommendation, that subject to establishing suitable criteria, the Scottish Government should introduce legislation to pardon miners convicted for certain matters related to the Strike. {Policing of the miners' strike 1984-1985 - impact on communities: independent review - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)}

In October 2020, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice announced that the Scottish Government accepted in principle the recommendation made by the IRG. A public consultation on the qualifying criteria for the pardon was undertaken by the Scottish Government between March and June 2021, and the findings of the consultation (published in August 2021) have helped to shape the Bill.


The Scottish Government's policy intention is to provide an automatic pardon to miners where the qualifying criteria are met. The pardon is to recognise the hardship and disproportionate impact on miners from participating in the Strike; to remove the stigma associated with a criminal conviction; and to provide a means for reconciliation within mining communities.

Fit with Scottish, UK and EU policy

These proposals relate to events which happened in Scotland, however the Scottish Government has continued to press the UK Government to hold a full UK-wide public inquiry into the events of the 1984/ 85 Miners' Strike.

Rationale for Government intervention

The 1984/85 miners' strike was a bitter and divisive dispute. In commissioning an independent review into the policing of the Strike, the Scottish Government aimed to provide an opportunity to share experiences of the Strike, as a way of bringing reconciliation between police officers who were upholding the law in difficult circumstances which they had never encountered before - and miners who were protecting jobs, their way of life and their communities. The expectation in commissioning the review was that the process and outcome would help to bring a degree of closure to those affected by the Strike.

In adopting a truth and reconciliation approach, the report made a single recommendation, that "subject to establishing suitable criteria, the Scottish Government should introduce legislation to pardon men convicted for matters related to the Strike". The recommendation is framed with a view to promoting reconciliation and inclusion.

In accepting that recommendation, the Scottish Government considered carefully the criteria that might apply to such pardons - so that it has a rationale which is well-thought through and informed by the views of stakeholders. The 2021 public consultation on the qualifying criteria contributed to this process by gathering views from former miners, retired police officers and members of former mining communities. {Miners' strike 1984 to 1985 pardon: consultation - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)}

The Bill will enable the pardoning of miners, which in turn will help to heal wounds and bring comfort to miners, their families and mining communities. The Bill therefore contributes towards the realisation of the Scottish Government's vision for justice of "a just, safe and resilient Scotland". The Bill also links to the Scottish Government's justice outcome, "we live in safe, cohesive and resilient communities", and to the National Performance Framework Values to respect the rule of law and to act in an open and transparent way.

The most relevant national outcome is :

  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe;


Email: minersstrikepardon@gov.scot

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