About the Bill
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.
The Bill would incorporate the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law.
The Council of Europe
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 and this has not been affected by leaving the European Union.
The European Charter of Local Self-Government
The Charter was created in 1985 by the Council of Europe. The Charter sets out 10 principles to protect the basic powers of local authorities. These are about the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. The Charter was ratified by the UK in 1997.
The Bill aims to strengthen local government by incorporating the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law.
Andy Wightman MSP says in the Policy Memorandum accompanying the Bill that, the Charter is part of the UK’s international legal commitments but it cannot be directly relied upon to settle cases in the Scottish courts. He wants this to change. He believes that the effect of the Bill would be to let people and organisations challenge the Scottish Government in court if its laws or decisions are not compatible with the Charter.
The Bill also has a section that puts a general duty to promote local government on the Scottish Government.
The Local Government and Communities Committee wants your views on a new Bill about local government.
The deadline for responses is Thursday 17 September 2020.