27. Extract from a Memorandum
from the Faculty of Advocates
The Faculty of Advocates welcomes the initiative
of the Parliamentary Joint Committee in launching a debate on
the important question whether there should be a Human Rights
Commission for the United Kingdom and, if so, what might be the
constitution, role and functions of such a Commission. The Faculty
has addressed closely related questions in response to the Scottish
Executive Consultation Paper "Protecting our rights: a Human
Rights Commission for Scotland?" The Faculty thinks it proper
to submit in evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee the
Faculty's response to the Scottish Executive Consultation Paper.
The Response is attached.
* * * * *
C. Do you consider that there is a strong
case for a specifically Scottish body?
If there is to be a Human Rights Commission,
the question whether it should be a UK or a Scottish body is substantially
political. Cases can be made on legal grounds for and against
a specifically Scottish body. There might be both a UK and a Scottish
body. Reference is made to the Appendix.
* * * * *
H. What in your view should be the relationship
between a new body and existing UK statutory bodies?
The Faculty envisages that existing statutory
bodies would continue to fulfil their respective remits. On this
basis any new body should co-operate with existing bodies and
offices within Great Britain including specialised UK anti-discrimination
commissions, the Scottish Law Commission, the Scottish Criminal
Cases Review Commission and the Information Commissioners for
the UK and Scotland. Were there a Scottish Human Rights Commission
and a UK Human Rights Commission, those bodies would also require
* * * * *
L. How many members should a new body
Any new Scottish body should be relatively compact,
having perhaps five to seven members. There might be part and
full-time commissioners. Were there to be a Scottish and a UK
body, there ought to be an institutional connection between the
two bodies, for example by providing that the chair of the Scottish
body should have membership ex officio of the UK body.