Our written submission to the Scottish Parliament on the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill.

See our contribution see here. 

See a list of contributions

Brief summary of our views:
Whilst welcoming the abolishment of blasphemy, we are concerned about (i) the freedom of expression implications of the Bill (ii) the integration of speech and actual physical  violence under one law (iii) the lacking necessity of intent in relation to the former (iv) the particularly low thresholds attached to offences aggravated by ‘prejudice’ (v) the conflict between some of the provisions and International Human Rights Law (vi) the variation of thresholds amongst protected characteristics (vii) the suitability of criminal law as a means to tackle prejudice and hate (viii) and the negative impact of such a Bill on ‘minorities’ (ix) the impact of the Bill on an already polarized climate.  Our views will commence with a brief theoretical and socio-legal overview of hate crime legislation which we consider should be taken into account by the Scottish Parliament. This will be followed by particular points vis-à-vis the Bill and its provisions.

Executive Director at
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Jacob Mchangama is the Founder and Executive Director of The Future of Free Speech. He is also a research professor at Vanderbilt University and a Senior Fellow at The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

Senior Research Fellow
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Natalie Alkiviadou is a Senior Research Fellow at The Future of Free Speech. Her research interests lie in the freedom of expression, the far-right, hate speech, hate crime, and non-discrimination.