On 1st September 2020 the Scottish Government introduced the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament.

We welcomed the Bill, which once in force should enable a proactive culture of day-to-day accountability for children’s rights.

We submitted our views to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee in October 2020, available here.

Our response to the original consultation on incorporation of the UNCRC in August 2019 is available here.

Clan Childlaw Legal Policy Manager Janet Cormack explained the changes the Bill will make in a blog for The Baring Foundation here.

The Bill was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in March 2021, but it was then referred by the UK Government to the Supreme Court on the basis that the UK Government thought certain parts of the Bill breached devolution rules. Janet Cormack wrote about this Supreme Court case here.

In October 2021 the Supreme Court issued its judgment which found 4 provisions of the Bill went beyond the Scottish Parliament’s powers. The Bill then had to be amended by the Scottish Parliament before it could receive Royal Assent and enter into force.

In May 2022 the Scottish Government announced its intention to amend the Bill to restrict its application to devolved bodies and functions. The revised Bill will also specify that the available judicial remedies will not apply to Acts of the UK Parliament. This is the case even where the content of the UK Act relates to devolved matters. These amendments should bring the Bill within the competency of the Scottish Parliament and enable it to pass into law.

There will now be a consultation period of three weeks to allow stakeholders to comment on these proposals. Following this consultation a timetable will be released for the parliamentary reconsideration phase. No commitment was made as to when a revised Bill will be approved, but the hope is that this will be prioritised and the UNCRC Bill will be law in the near future.