Closed doors and closing down debate: policy capture in the Hate Crime Bill

The Stage 3 debate on the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill will take place in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 10 March. The Bill has had an exceptionally difficult passage to date, prompting criticism from a range of organisations,…

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…

Hate Crime and Public Order Bill: Stage 2 Briefing. The need for tailored freedom of expression protection for transgender identity

Hate Crime and Public Order Bill: Stage 2 Briefing. The need for tailored freedom of expression protection for transgender identity. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill proposes to introduce stirring up hatred offences for all the protected characteristics…

Protecting Freedom of Expression: When less is less

The Justice Committee will start to consider potential amendments to Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill on Tuesday 2 February. How many more sittings there are will depend on how much time the Committee decides it needs to consider…

The inclusion of ‘cross-dressers’ under the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill (January 2021)

During the Stage 1 oral evidence sessions on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, the definition of ‘transgender identity’ was discussed. This briefing traces how ‘cross-dressers’ came to be included within the definition of transgender identity in the…

MBM submission to Law Commission on hate crime laws in England and Wales

[This submission can also be downloaded as a briefing note.] We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Commission’s consultation on hate crime legislation in England and Wales. Our response draws on our scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s draft Hate…

Protecting Speech that Offends: Theory and Practice (December 2020)

IntroductionOn 15 December 2020, at the Stage 1 debate of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill MSPs debated the theory of how to avoid criminalising merely offensive speech. The following day, a judgement was published in England, on…

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