The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 16 March 2021. It marks the first time the Scottish Parliament has created enforceable domestic law rights by reference to an international treaty.

It will introduce significant changes, including:

  • giving public authorities a legal duty to act in line with the UNCRC and with potential impacts for charities and others delivering services to children
  • empowering the Children and Young People's Commissioner in Scotland to take legal action if children's rights are breached; and
  • empowering courts to strike down past legislation that is incompatible with the UNCRC

In this session we heard from those at the very heart of the UNCRC Bill – children and young people. A panel of school pupils from across Scotland joined Christine O'Neill QC to discuss a range of topics from the pandemic, the new US president, to the incorporation of the UNCRC into law.

We were delighted to welcome pupils from Holyrood Secondary, Balfron High School, Aberdeen Grammar School and George Watson's College.

In this session we also welcomed Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland to our expert panel. Bruce is responsible for promoting and safeguarding the rights of children and young people across Scotland. Working closely with children and young people, Commissioner Adamson has helped secure legislative change in relation to the age of criminal responsibility, comprehensive protection for children from physical punishment, and the incorporation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child into Scots law.


Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner