Nearly six figures spent by the Scottish government on the defense of the children’s rights bill



It comes after the justices of the Supreme Court found that the Scottish Government’s bill to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scottish law went beyond the powers available to the Scottish Parliament.

The MSPs passed the bill unanimously in March, but the UK government sent it back to the Supreme Court over concerns over whether it was competent legislation for Holyrood.

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The Scottish government has spent nearly £ 100,000 to defend its flagship children’s rights bill in the Supreme Court, The Scotsman can reveal.

In the ruling, Lord Reed described the bill as having been deliberately drafted in a way that was beyond Holyrood’s jurisdiction and would undermine Scottish law.

Following the judgment, Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney said the government was in a “ridiculous constitutional position” and argued that the decision “illustrates the inconsistency of the powers of the Scottish Parliament under the devolved regulation. current”.

Opposition parties accused the government of seeking a constitutional grievance by failing to amend the legislation before it was passed after concerns were raised by the UK government.

However, it can now be revealed that almost £ 100,000 has been spent by the Scottish Government on external legal advice and services in connection with the case.

Figures obtained by Scottish via Freedom of Information legislation shows that a total of £ 97,850 was spent on external legal costs, including advice and representation.

Defending policy in court is standard practice for governments, but opposition politicians have said the bill was the result of a “cynical approach” to legislation.

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ constitution spokesperson, said the SNP “deliberately provoked a grievance” as part of a “pre-election coup”.

He said: “The SNP government’s cynical approach to this bill has resulted in almost £ 100,000 of public money being spent to perform in their nationalist gallery.

“This shamefully delayed a bill on children’s rights, all in the name of promoting the nationalist cause.

“SNP ministers should apologize for their actions and work constructively with the UK government to ensure this bill can now be passed immediately.”

Sarah Boyack, spokesperson for the Scottish Labor Party, said the SNP’s handling of the case was “shameful from start to finish”.

She said: “Taxpayers are paying a six-figure bill for a doomed court case so the SNP can play cynical games with children’s rights in an election.

“It is a shame that after all the time, energy and money wasted in this court case, children have been left behind.”

In response, a Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘We make absolutely no apologies for taking all possible steps to promote children’s rights in Scotland and for seeking to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law – which the British government hardly did. 30 years after having ratified the UNCRC.

“The referral to the Supreme Court was made by lawyers for the British government and under Scottish law it is the Lord Advocate who responds to challenges to the legislative competence of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament.

“While the judgment means that the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill cannot receive Royal Assent in its current form, the majority of work relating to the implementation of the UNCRC can and will be done. continue. “

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