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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Agenda: Decision on Taking Business in Private, Subordinate Legislation, Civil Justice


Subordinate Legislation

Independent Reviewer (Modification of Functions) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (Draft)

The Convener

Item 2 is consideration of an affirmative instrument:? the draft Independent Reviewer (Modification of Functions) (Scotland) Regulations 2021. I welcome to the meeting Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Children and Young People; Angela Leonard, policy officer at Disclosure Scotland; and Barry McCaffrey, solicitor in the Scottish Government’s legal directorate. I refer members to paper?1.?

I invite the?minister to?speak to the draft regulations.

The Minister for Children and Young People (Clare Haughey)

Thank you for inviting me to say a few words on the draft regulations. The amendments are technical and are necessary to ensure that the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 can be applied as intended. The 2019 act raised the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from eight to 12, and it established the role of the independent reviewer, who oversees the disclosure of convictions and other relevant information relating to when a person was under the age of 12. The purpose of the regulations is to amend the 2019 act.

The regulations are a consequence of the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2021. That order, which is currently being considered by the Westminster Parliament, makes provisions in relation to the independent reviewer that will apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In particular, the order places a requirement on specified persons in those jurisdictions, such as chief police officers, to refer and provide information relating to an individual’s pre-12 behaviour to the independent reviewer.

The regulations therefore modify, in light of that order, the relevant functions of the independent reviewer in the 2019 act, in order to require the independent reviewer to review that information, invite representations, notify the outcome of the review and, where appropriate, advise on the right to appeal that decision.

The changes support the Scottish Government’s decision to raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12 by ensuring that the independent reviewer can review relevant information that is received from specified persons in other parts of the United Kingdom, as well as in Scotland. Committee members will wish to note that the regulations do not take forward any new policy. They are required to fully implement the 2019 act.

I would be happy to take questions on the regulations.

The Convener

Thank you. As members have no questions or comments on the regulations, we move to item 3, which is consideration of the motion for approval. I invite the minister to move the motion.

Motion moved,

That the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee recommends that the Independent Reviewer (Modification of Functions) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 be approved.—[Clare Haughey]

Motion agreed to.

The Convener

The clerks will write a note and report on our decision. That completes consideration of the affirmative instrument. I thank the minister and her officials for attending the meeting.

10:04 Meeting suspended.  

10:06 On resuming—