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United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill


The Bill incorporates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into the law in Scotland.

The UNCRC is an international human rights treaty that covers all aspects of children’s lives. It includes civil, political, economic and cultural rights.

The main purpose of the Bill is to “incorporate” the UNCRC, which means it will make it part of Scottish law. 

The Bill also does things to make sure that the incorporation works. The Bill says that:

  • public authorities must not act in a way that’s incompatible with the UNCRC requirements 
  • courts will have powers to decide if legislation is compatible with the UNCRC requirements 
  • the Scottish Government can change laws to make sure they are compatible with the UNCRC requirements
  • the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland would have power to take legal action if children’s rights under the UNCRC are breached
  • the Scottish Government must publish a Children’s Rights Scheme to show how they are meeting UNCRC requirements and explain their future plans for children’s rights
  • the Scottish Government must review how the Scheme is working every year
  • other public authorities mentioned in the Bill must report every three years on what they have done to meet the UNCRC requirements

You can find out more in the Explanatory Notes that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The Bill aims to ensure that:

  • children’s rights are respected and protected in the law in Scotland
  • public authorities are legally required to respect and protect children’s rights in all the work that they do

The Bill aims to do this by incorporating the UNCRC into the law in Scotland. This would mean children’s rights are legally protected. Children, young people and their representatives could use the courts in Scotland to enforce their rights. The Bill seeks to make sure children’s rights are part of everyday life in Scotland.

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum that explains the Bill.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1


The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Related information from the Scottish Government on the Bill

Financial Resolution 

The Presiding Officer has decided under Rule 9.12 of Standing Orders that a financial resolution is required for this Bill.

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Committees involved in this Bill

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force
  • give details of how a law will be applied
  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).

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