Human Rights Incorporation in Scotland

The Human Rights Bill Consultation

The Scottish Government has published the consultation for the Human Rights Bill. This is one of the biggest steps forward in human rights in Scotland, because the Bill will embed major international human rights treaties and the right to a healthy environment into Scots law.   It is crucial that everyone has a chance to have their voices heard in the consultation. Your response will help to shape Scotland’s human rights future, and we have the resources you need to understand and take part.

Click here to find our events and resources

What is the Human Rights Bill?

In March 2021, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, to put the children’s rights convention directly into Scots law. However, the Bill was challenged by the UK Government at the Supreme Court, and the Bill is currently being re-written in line with the ruling.

The Scottish Government has now committed to introducing a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland. This Bill will incorporate 4 more major United Nations human rights treaties. These treaties are:

The Bill will also include the right to a healthy environment, as well as rights for older people and LGBTi people.

What’s happening now?

  • The Government has committed to passing the Bill by May 2026.
  • Following the resignation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in February 2023, the Consortium joined 15 Scottish human rights and equalities organisations to write to the new 3 candidates for First Minister, calling on them to honour the Scottish Government’s commitments to introduce a new human rights bill in this Parliamentary session.
    Click here to read the letter to Kate Forbes
    Click here to read the letter to Ash Regan
    Click here to read the letter to Humza Yousaf
  • A group of civil society organisations has written a letter to the First Minister expressing our concern about the delays to the consultation, which was initially promised in spring 2022. Click here to read our letter
  • The Scottish Government responded to our letter, addressing some of our concerns. Click here to read the Scottish Government’s response
  • We plan to write back to ask for further clarification on resources, timetables and the importance of implementation of the Bill.
  • A Human Rights Bill Governance and Engagement Advisory Board has been set up by the Government. This meets approx. every 2 months to be a sounding board and provide advice to the team who are writing the Bill. The Consortium is a member of this Board. Details of all the members and minutes of meetings are available here.
  • There is also an Executive Board to advise on the Human Rights Bill. Read who is on this and minutes of meetings here.
  • The Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison MSP gave an update on next steps to develop the Bill at a Consortium event in October 2021. You can read her speech here.

The Human Rights Bill Lived Experience Board

Incorporation of International Human Rights Briefing Series

Written By Prof Nicole Busby and Dr Kasey McCall-Smith, these briefings give a helpful outline of content of treaties and rights:

About incorporation

Incorporating Human Rights in Scotland: EasyRead Resources

The National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership

Reports, Briefings and Blogs


Quick International Case Studies

Academic Papers



All Our Rights in Law

%d bloggers like this: