CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu
Photo 1436450412740 6b988f486c6b
Religious Liberty

Scottish Law Society hits out at new Hate Crime Laws

28 July 2020

New hate crime laws in Scotland have come under heavy criticism from The Scottish Law Society after the group warned the legislation was flawed.

In its submission to Holyrood’s Justice Committee on the proposed law, the society said the flaws meant the bill could fail to achieve its intended purpose.

It criticised the legislation’s vagueness and policy intentions and the Law Society also expressed fears the bill threatens freedom of expression.

Amanda Millar, president of the Law Society of Scotland said:

“We have significant reservations regarding a number of the bill’s provisions and the lack of clarity, which could in effect lead to restrictions in freedom of expression, one of the foundations of a democratic society. We have real concerns that certain behaviour, views expressed or even an actor’s performance, which might well be deemed insulting or offensive, could result in a criminal conviction under the terms of the bill as currently drafted.”
Amanda Millar President, Law Society of Scotland

She went on to call for MSPs to robustly debate the bill when it comes before the Parliament later this year:

“Having full and proper debate in the Scottish Parliament will be essential in ensuring that new hate crime law can work as intended. It needs to ensure an appropriate balance is maintained to protect those in society who are most vulnerable to prejudice while preserving the right to comment or debate on matters.”
Amanda Millar

Bill could under­mine free speech

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf on 23 April.

Since then, it’s come under repeated and sustained criticism from lawyers, academics, campaigners and MSPs from across the Parliament.


Religious Liberty

The right to freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right. We are campaigning to safeguard these freedoms in our society.

Find out more about the cause

Sign up for Impact Direct, and email publications

By signing up stay in touch you agree to receive emails from CARE. You can change your mailing preferences at any time either by getting in touch with CARE, or through the links on any of our emails.

Recent news


Scottish Government amend controversial Hate Crime Bill, following free speech row

The Scottish Government are planning to make amendments to its controversial Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, which caused a heated debate around freedom of speech.

Keep reading
Gambling companies 0 2

Strong support for NI gambling industry regulator in NI

A consultation on the gambling industry in Northern Ireland has shown 'strong support' for the creation of an independent gambling regulator, according to a Committee meeting yesterday in the Assembly.

Keep reading
Adobe Stock 1790102124

Online safety to become part of school curriculum

New RSE guidance has introduced online safety onto the school curriculum, including for children in primary school.

Keep reading