Statement: Clarifying the mandates of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland
The Scottish Human Rights Commission has issued the following statement in light of recent public communications by the Equality and Human Rights Commission about human rights issues in Scotland.
“The Scottish Human Rights Commission is Scotland’s National Human Rights Institution, established in law to promote and protect human rights for everyone in Scotland. The Commission’s statutory mandate includes engaging with legislation and policy that falls within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is Scotland’s equality regulator. The EHRC also retains a human rights mandate in Scotland, solely in relation to matters of law and policy that remain reserved to the UK Parliament.
“Under the terms of section 7 of the Equality Act 2006, the EHRC is not empowered to take human rights action in Scotland where it falls within the mandate of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Where it proposes to take such action, it is required to seek our consent.
“The Scottish Human Rights Commission wishes to make clear that the EHRC has not sought our consent in relation to its recent commentary and interventions on the human rights implications of reforming gender recognition processes. Therefore, any analysis, commentary or engagement about the human rights implications of this (or any other) devolved legislation and policy is for the Scottish Human Rights Commission to make.
“The Scottish Human Rights Commission understands and respects the EHRC’s position as the regulator of the Equality Act in Scotland, and its mandate to comment and engage on the equality impacts of devolved law and policy.
“We also believe that it is in everyone’s interests for our two Commissions to work together effectively and appropriately. We have therefore written to the EHRC seeking a meeting to review the terms of our working relationship, and to discuss the boundaries and interrelationships between our respective mandates. We look forward to this meeting taking place shortly.
“Both Commissions work closely with a wide range of shared stakeholders in Scotland. We hope this statement is helpful in providing greater clarity about the boundaries of each of our statutory mandates on relevant matters of law and policy.”