MSPs seek views on incorporating European Charter into Scots law


A Bill aiming to strengthen local government in Scotland is to be scrutinised by a Holyrood Committee.


The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee is seeking views on a Member’s Bill which aims to incorporate the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law.

The Charter, which was created in 1985 by the Council of Europe and ratified by the UK in 1997, sets out 10 principles to protect the basic powers of local authorities, concerning the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities.

The Bill would allow people and organisations to challenge the Scottish Government in court if its laws or decisions are not compatible with the Charter.

Speaking as the call for views was launched, Committee Convener James Dornan MSP, said:

“Local authorities deliver a wide range of services that are a vital part of our daily lives; from social care and public libraries to planning and street cleaning. 

“The aim of this Bill is to strengthen local democracy by increasing the autonomy of local authorities and enshrining support for local government into law. 

“The Committee are interested in hearing from people across Scotland as to whether they feel this Bill will support local government, strengthen the bond between councils and communities and make a practical difference to people’s lives.

“We also want to make sure it would have no unintended consequences. We are keen to hear whether the public supports these measures.

“We also want to gather thoughts on the financial impact of this legislation, and whether this will have a positive impact on equality and human rights.”



The deadline for responses to the call for views is Thursday 17 September 2020.

The European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill is a Member’s Bill introduced by Andy Wightman MSP on 5 May 2020. A Member’s Bill is introduced by an individual MSP, not the Scottish Government. You can read the Bill and all accompanying documents on this link.

The Bill would incorporate the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation that promotes democracy and protects human rights and the rule of law across the European continent. The UK is a member of the Council of Europe.



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