Faculty publishes response to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

05 Aug

THE Faculty of Advocates has published its comments in relation to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill.

In its 35-page response, the Faculty states that it is not opposed to and indeed supports the principles behind the Bill, nor does it oppose the idea that hate crime legislation ought to be contained within a single statute. The Faculty agrees with many of the proposals made by Lord Bracadale in his Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland. The Faculty does, however, have concerns regarding some potential unintended consequences of the legislation and particular aspects of it.

These concerns relate to the potential impact of certain sections of the Bill on freedom of expression and the potential which the Bill, if enacted, would have in terms of a chilling effect on legitimate, if controversial, debate and the performing arts. The Faculty’s response also questions whether the approach taken in a number of respects in relation only to particular characteristics is appropriate. In light of the difficulties which exist with the current text, the Faculty considers that there is no alternative but to reconsider the draft Bill.

The full response can be accessed here.