The European Charter of Local Self-Government is an international treaty of the Council of Europe which enshrines basic rules guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. It was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1998 and it came into force on 1 August 1998.
The Charter has not been incorporated into domestic law in the UK and thus the provisions of the Charter are not part of Scots law and are not justiciable in the Scottish Courts. Incorporation will mean that the status and standing of local government will be strengthened by entrenching international legal rights into Scots law. In addition, the public will be able to seek a judicial remedy if they believe that any actions by the Scottish Government or any legislation of the Scottish Parliament violate the terms of the Charter.
I lodged a Draft Proposal with the Scottish Parliament in June 2018 to introduce a Member’s Bill which would incorporate the European Charter on Local Self-Government into Scots law.
The consultation closed on 21 September 2018.
The Summary of responses is available here.
The Final Proposal was lodged on 4 December 2018 and was supported by 26 MSPs from the Conservatives, labour Scottish Greens and Liberal Democrats.
The European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 5 May 2020. The Bill and relevant documents can be viewed here.
In due course, the Bill will be referred to a Committee for scrutiny at Stage One of the legislative process.