Angela Crawley MP: UK Government plan to replace Human Rights Act disregards Scotland

Angela Crawley MP for Lanark and Hamilton East this week questioned how the UK Government will guarantee the autonomy of the Scottish legal system.

The Conservative Government has proposed  plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights – but has released no details on how this will encompass the different legal systems of Scotland, and the other devolved areas.

During Westminster’s Justice Questions, Ms Crawley asked UK Justice Ministers for an update on talks with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, promised in September last year.

However, Minister for Courts and Justice Sir Oliver Heald said these talks had not yet happened, and said the UK Government was more concerned about the arrangements for leaving the EU than Scotland’s legal institutions.

Ms Crawley said: “It is unacceptable for the UK Government to make plans that threaten the legal system in Scotland so fundamentally.

“The Human Rights Act guarantees the European Convention of Human Rights is in place in Scotland, meaning human rights issues can be raised in Scottish courts.

“The Scotland bill makes it clear that Westminster must seek the consent of the Scottish Parliament for reserved legislation that affects Scotland.

“It is especially disheartening that UK Government ministers think so little of the importance of Scots law that they have done so little preparation in considering how it will be compatible with a Bill of Rights that will undoubtedly be written with the English law system at its heart.”