Joint statement welcoming intention to retain the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Scots law

A joint statement in response to the Scottish Government’s European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (the “Bill”) has been issued by The Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Together, Scotland’s Alliance for Children’s Rights:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s intention, set out in the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, to retain the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Scots law following the UK’s exit from the European Union.  The Scottish Government’s decision to retain the EU Charter is a welcome step, and further paves the way towards enshrining international human rights standards in Scots law.

“The effect of the retention of the EU Charter is limited, given it would only apply in as far as devolved retained EU law is concerned; and where a Scottish authority is deemed to be implementing that devolved retained EU law.  For current standards of rights protection to be maintained, the Westminster Parliament would have to mirror Scotland’s approach and retain the Charter.

“We further welcome the principle that Scottish Ministers should be empowered to keep pace with progressive developments at an EU level following the UK departure from the EU.

“The decisions both to retain the EU Charter in Scots law and to keep pace with progressive new EU developments reflect the substance of the Scotland Declaration on Human Rights,whereby organisations from across civil society expressed their united support for ensuring Scotland is a world leader in rights protection and implementation as we embark on leaving the European Union.”

For detailed information about the rights elements of the Continuity Bill, you can read the Civil Society Brexit Project briefing here: Civil Society Brexit Project: Continuity Bill, March 2018