A new briefing, published by the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance and the Consortium, lays out the case for incorporation of the right to independent advocacy into Scots law. Incorporation is the process by which a right becomes enforceable in domestic courts, and it typically places responsibility on governments or public bodies to be accountable to an international standard, or to provide services which allow people to realise a right.
This briefing explains the importance of independent advocacy, and the crucial role it plays in helping people to realise their other rights. Independent advocates support and enable people- particularly those who are disabled, live in poverty or are otherwise vulnerable- to participate in the decisions which affect their lives. They also support people to access remedy for human rights violations, by helping them to navigate the often-complex court system. This is why the Scottish Government should consider incorporating the right to independent advocacy into law, at the same time as they are considering the incorporation of international human rights treaties.
As the briefing states: “without independent advocacy support, many, many people would simply be unable to participate in decisions that impact their lives. By providing information and understanding, emotional and practical support, directly speaking up and being by the side of rights-holders at the decision-making table, independent advocates directly enable this right to participate to be fulfilled.”