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European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill



This Member’s Bill was introduced by Andy Wightman MSP. It proposes to incorporate the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law.
The Charter is an international treaty of the Council of Europe signed by the UK in 1997. The Council of Europe is an international organisation founded in 1949 to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. The Charter sets out some principles to protect the basic powers of local authorities.
Extra legislation is needed to give the international treaty the same status in Scots law as domestic laws. That is the purpose of this Bill.

Under this Bill, the following must be compatible with the Charter:

  • actions that Scottish Ministers take within their devolved powers
  • laws that are in the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament

It will mean action can be taken in the courts to challenge these actions and laws if someone believes they may not be compatible.


You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Andy Wightman MSP that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The member in charge of the Bill, Andy Wightman MSP, has introduced the Bill to strengthen the status and standing of local government.
Andy Wightman supports the principles of the Charter. He wants to make sure they are routinely applied by the Scottish Government.
He also wants to make sure that people who think those principles are not being followed can do something about that. This includes raising their concerns in a Scottish court.



You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Andy Wightman, MSP that explains the Bill.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Bill stage timeline

The European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill is currently at Introduced


The Member in charge of the Bill, Andy Wightman MSP sends the Bill and the related documents to the Parliament. 

Bill as Introduced European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill

Additional Member in charge

An additional member in charge is another member designated by the member in charge. Designation of another member as member in charge can be made at any time, but is normally made at the time of introduction. It gives the member who introduced the Bill an assurance that any necessary procedural steps can still be taken if they are unavailable for a period or on a particular occasion.
Alison Johnstone, MSP is the additional member in charge for the European Charter Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. 

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