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Scotland Act 1998


The Scotland Act has various devices which ensure that a member of the Scottish Executive would be acting ultra vires if he made any subordinate legislation or did any other act which is incompatible with any of the Convention rights - see, for example, section 57(2). The question whether an act by a member of the Scottish Executive is incompatible with Convention rights is a devolution issue and proceedings raising such questions attract the special procedures set out in Schedule 6.

This section provides that the only persons, apart from the Law Officers, who can bring proceedings on the ground that an act of a member of the Scottish Executive is incompatible with Convention rights or rely on Convention rights in proceedings are victims for the purposes of Article 34 of the Convention. This is similar to what is provided by section 7(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 34 requires applications to the European Court of Human Rights to be from “any person, non-governmental organisation or groups of individuals claiming to be a victim of a violation of a Convention right”.

This section also restricts the amount of damages which a court or tribunal may award in respect of such an act which is incompatible with Convention rights to the damages which could be awarded if section 8(3) and (4) of the Human Rights Act applied. Section 8(3) provides, in effect, that no award of damages should be made unless, taking account of all the circumstances of the case, the court is satisfied that “the award is necessary to afford just satisfaction to the person in whose favour it is made”. Section 8(4) provides that, in determining whether to award damages or the amount of the award, the court must take into account the principles applied by the European Court of Human Rights under Article 41 of the Convention.

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