The thin blue line: What inadequate protection for freedom of expression means in practice

This blog summarises why the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill needs to provide clearer protection for freedom of expression than is currently proposed by the Scottish Government. Some commentators have suggested that the Bill will criminalise making basic…

Response to emergency consultation on protection of freedom of expression in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

Our response to the Justice Committee's emergency consultation on freedom of expression in Bill is provided below. A PDF version of the briefing can be downloaded here. The Issue Our concern is whether the law will provide a clear point…

Freedom of expression protection in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill: the doors are still closed

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill extends the existing offence of "stirring up hatred" in relation to race, to a wider range of characteristics. As described here, the Justice Committee agreed with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on…

Legislating for hatred against women: the view from the coalface

The omission of ‘sex’ as a protected characteristic is a key area of contention in the proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, which is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament. Giving evidence to the Justice Committee…

Supplementary evidence on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

We have submitted supplementary evidence to the Justice Committee in the light of (a) an open letter currently circulating which has been signed by a number of parliamentarians and others (b) the Cabinet Secretary’s comments at the Justice Committee hearing…

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill: a reassurance that does not reassure

Discussing the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill at the Justice Committee on 24 November, the Cabinet Secretary Humza Yousaf argued that he did not think a person would be committing a criminal offence in stating that sex is…

The Scottish Parliament’s bill process and the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

This is a post setting out how the Scottish Parliament handles government bills, and what that means for the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill. A Bill is the draft form of an act of parliament. An Act of…

Our response to the Scottish GRA reform consultation

We have submitted our response to the Scottish Government's consultation on on GRA reform. Our full consultation response is here, and the key points are summarised below. IntroductionSome people who wish to change their legal sex report that the current application…

Scottish GRA reform proposals: UK-wide effects

This blog looks at the potential UK wide effects of gender recognition reform in Scotland. Although the Scottish Government's consultation paper does not include a specific discussion of the cross-border implications, the provisions in the draft Bill suggest that a…