Qianxian (Gogo) Wen
Brexit: The Future of Human Rights in Scotland
The UK’s exit from the European Union has magnified the lack of effective human rights protection in the UK. It was coupled with the removal of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU by Westminster’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The Scottish government attempted to preserve the strength of human rights through an introduction of a Scottish Brexit Bill; however, this was struck down by the Supreme Court in order to uphold provisions of the UK Withdrawal Act. Many are wary that leaving the EU will see a continued decline in human rights protection, with prospective removal of the Human Rights Act 1998, which, in turn, enshrines the European Charter of Human Rights in domestic law. Nevertheless, the Scottish government has committed itself to continue collaboration with human rights organisations to devise a strong, viable system which ensures rights currently protected in Scotland. Further, the courts may be able to strengthen human rights claims in Scotland through a liberal interpretation of the law. This research aims to assess human rights protection in Scotland under domestic law and European Union law currently in force in the UK. More significantly, it seeks to explore the possible implications on human rights as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, and initiatives that the Scottish government and courts can take to maintain and develop human rights protection domestically.