UK Government challenges children's rights bill

Date: 13th April 2021
Category: Incorporation

Drawing shows adults making decisions about children.

The UK Government has decided to refer the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court on the basis that some aspects may exceed the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament passed the Bill on 16th March 2021. The Bill will make children’s rights under the UNCRC part of the law in Scotland. The First Minister said she wanted to deliver a “revolution in children’s rights” through a Bill that went as far as possible in protecting children’s rights, whilst staying within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The UK Government is concerned that parts of the Bill may go beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament. This is a technical matter relating to constitutional law - it does not relate to the policy intention behind the Bill. In an earlier letter, the UK Government was clear that protecting vulnerable children and protecting children’s rights is a priority it shares with the Scottish Government.

We await the decision of the Supreme Court and will update our members with developments. Meanwhile, Together will continue to support full implementation of children’s human rights in line with the UK’s existing obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.