The Consortium has responded to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee’s call for views on the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. This Bill will allow Scottish law to remain aligned with EU law after Brexit.
We welcome the Bill and the opportunity to submit our view, and have requested some amendments be made for the purpose of protecting and promoting human rights.
- We welcome the underlying purpose of the Continuity Bill and in particular the provisions relating to environmental principles and governance.
- A key concern around the UK leaving the EU has been the potential for lagging behind on rights developments. Whilst the Charter cannot be directly incorporated into Scots law, the Committee should consider how this Bill can still protect human rights in other ways.
- Devolution divergence is positive if it leads to progressive realisation of human rights.
- The Bill should include a requirement on the Scottish Government to: use keeping pace powers to protect, respect and fulfil human rights; to monitor rights developments in the EU; and to report annually to the Parliament on steps taken to keep pace with the EU including steps related to non-legislative, policy or CJEU case law.
- Section 6 should be amended to include that there must be a statement to the effect that Scottish Ministers have had due regard to their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and under international obligations.