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Constitution - Constitution for Scotland - The Interactive Consultation

the Interactive Consultation

Constitution for Scotland

Dedicated to conducting and administering a public consultation on the content and subsequent promotion into legislation of a Constitution endorsed by credible numbers of Scottish citizens.

The Constitution

Printing this from your browser will be about 19 pages.
A PDF of the Draft Constitution is available on this link: Draft Constitution.

This is the Draft Constitution – 12 Articles and 179 sections.

From here you can navigate directly to your area of interest and any one of the Vote & Amend pages (not active yet) – each one dedicated to an individual section – simply by clicking on the Section number.

Clicking the Article number in the summary below takes you to the main Article.

Article 1. Defines the territory and borders of Scotland; the nature of Citizenship.

Article 2. The rights, qualifications and liberties of Citizenship

Article 3. The Head of State (a mainly ceremonial post) e.g. The Monarch & a Governor General (like Australia) and remaining a member of the Commonwealth; or an elected President (like Ireland, Sweden, etc) and a post independence referendum on membership of the Commonwealth.

Article 4. The working & conduct of Parliament, elections, power to raise taxes, public petitions & referenda. Powers to recall a member of Parliament.

Article 5. The structure and conduct of the elected government, The extent & limits of powers of Ministers.. Registration & controls of Lobbyists.

Article 6. The National Currency, Central Bank, Monetary Authority, Banking Regulation. Government finance and the basis and sources of taxation. The issue of government bonds.

Article 7. The Judiciary and Prosecution Service. Their relationship with government and Citizens.

Article 8. The conditions for Amendments to the Constitution

Article 9. The Accountability of government. Auditor General and access to Ombudsmen.

Article 10. Regional & Local Government Financing and subsidiarity, local taxation, elections, boundaries, remuneration, recall provisions.

Article 11. The nature and appointment of independent commissions.

Article 12. General Provisions. Law enforcement, structure & accountability of the police force, the Coastguard, a conventionally armed Defence Force, Security Forces, Prohibition of Death Penalty, Emergency Powers, International Treaties, Natural Resources, Land Registration, Animal Protection, the Diplomatic Service.

Schedule 1: Oath of Office or Duty

Alternatively, type your area of interest into the SEARCH Box and scroll to the Section Number displayed. (not operational on demo site).

If this is what you want, click the number and go directly to the dedicated Vote, Amend & Blog page. If an adjacent sections are not relevant try SEARCHING again with different words. If you still find nothing go to the most relevant section and blog your proposal for a new Section.

Article 1: General Provisions

1.1. Scotland is a free, independent and sovereign commonwealth. Its form of government is a
parliamentary democracy based on the sovereignty of the people, social justice and respect for human
rights.
1.2. This Constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of Scotland: all new law shall be governed
by these articles and existing laws shall continue in force upon its formal adoption but shall within a
period of three years there from be reviewed under the aegis of the Supreme Courts of Justice in
Scotland and where necessary modified to comply.
1.3. The land, territorial waters and airspace of Scotland are an inseparable and indivisible whole,
belonging to the people of Scotland collectively as a nation, as communities and as individuals.
1.4. The territory of Scotland comprises all land to the north of the land border, running as in 1707
between the Solway Firth and the mouth of the River Tweed, and the surrounding sea and air space
areas to a limit of 200 nautical miles or the relevant median lines, from Shetland in the North to
Rockall in the West, or to such further limits as may in future be set or allowed by international law.
1.5. Citizenship: All persons born in Scotland with a parent of Scots nationality have the right to be
citizens of Scotland.
1.5.1. All persons with at least one parent of Scots nationality, although they themselves have been
born in Scotland, have the automatic right to apply for citizenship as per clause 1.5.4.
1.5.2. All persons, resident, and on the electoral register, when Scotland resumes sovereign status, have
the right to be citizens of Scotland.
1.5.3. Parliament will enact laws to regulate the acquisition of Scottish citizenship by adoption,
marriage, descent, or naturalisation, and to specify the manner in which citizenship may be lost or
renounced.
1.5.4. Parliament will specify the circumstances and conditions under which dual citizenship with other
states may be held.
1.5.5. Laws concerning the acquisition or renunciation of citizenship must not unfairly discriminate on
the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, disability, personal status or sexual orientation.
1.6. All citizens of Scotland, resident, and on the electoral register, are entitled to vote in all
referendums and elections on reaching the Statutory Age of Maturity, except for persons under
guardianship due to severe mental incapacity as defined by a specific medical or judicial certification.
1.7. Governmental authority will be exercised on the basis of this Constitution, on election and
electoral mandates, and such laws as are in accordance with the Constitution.
1.8. Only laws published in the manner prescribed in Article 4 may be enforced.

Article 2: The Fundamental Rights, Liberties and Duties of the People

2.1 The European Convention on Human Rights that entered into force, on the 3rd September 1953 will be adopted in full as part of the Fundamental Law of Scotland. The European Convention on Human Rights enables the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the General assembly of the United Nations on the 10th December 1948.

2.2 All citizens will be expected to uphold these rights. There will be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of these rights, except in the interests of national security or public safety, unless permitted in law.

2.3 The rights and freedoms set forth in this Constitution will be enjoyed without discrimination on grounds of age, sex, race, colour, disability, impairment, language, culture, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

2.4 Freedom of expression through the media and electronic communication and public demonstrations is guaranteed, subject to the law.

2.5 The right to life is protected. The death penalty is prohibited. All persons have the right to die with dignity and to request assistance to end their lives.

2.6 All citizens have the right to liberty, other than by lawful arrest and detention.

2.7 All citizens have the right to freedom of religion, provided it is practiced within Scots law.

2.8 All citizens have the right to freedom of expression, within the law.

2.9 All citizens have the right to freedom of information in relation to all public organisations and public bodies, as provided for under data protection legislation.

2.10 All citizens have the right to peaceful assembly. This right may be restricted in accordance with procedures determined by law for the purpose of national security, and the safety of individuals.

2.11 All citizens have the right to free, quality healthcare at the point of need, subject to available resources.

2.12 All citizens have the right to privacy respected in regard to electronic and written communication regarding private and family life, other than is necessary and reasonable in a democratic society to prevent abuse of this right.

2.13 All citizens have the right to use reasonable force to defend self and family under threat of violence. Reasonable force defined as up to and inflicting actual bodily harm on the antagonist, short of actual death.

2.14 All citizens have the right to be secure against search, seizure or forced entry, other than in accordance with a warrant issued by a magistrate on evidence presented or in accordance with police powers to respond to protect someone in immediate danger.

2.15 All citizens have the right to be free from, and protected from, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No person will be held in slavery and all forms of forced labour are prohibited, but work incidental to the serving of a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of law will not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article.

2.16 All citizens have the right to be treated with dignity, and to participate in society as full and equal members, and to have barriers to such participation removed.

2.17 All citizens have the right to enter and to remain in Scotland, and to leave the country unless subject to a court order.

2.18 All citizens have the right to an adequate and free basic education. Children have the right to receive basic education. The education provided will enable development of the individual’s abilities and needs, and promote respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The authorities of the state will ensure access to upper secondary education and equal opportunities for higher education for all citizens on the basis of qualifications.

2.19 All citizens are equal before the law, and have the right to equal benefit of the law.

2.20 All children will be guaranteed by law the protection and care that their well-being requires; the best interests of the child will always take precedence when decisions are made regarding a child’s affairs.

2.21 Everyone arrested or detained has the right to be informed of the reasons, and to be informed of their right to retain and instruct counsel. They have the right to have the validity of their detention determined by habeas corpus, being a writ requiring persons to be brought into court for a judge to decide whether their detention is lawful.

2.22 Any person charged with an offence has the right to be informed of the particulars of the alleged offence; to be tried within a stated elapse of time and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

2.23 Scots, English, Doric and Scots Gaelic are the languages of Scotland. Notwithstanding, all documentation of a legal nature, and concerning the actions or deeds of the Scottish Parliament and Justice System, will be recorded in the English language, which will have precedence over any other written translations.

Article 3. The Head of State

3.1 The Head of State will, following selection by the People of Scotland, be appointed by Parliament in accordance with the legislation governing appointment and recall.

3.2 A referendum will be held to determine whether or not Scotland will apply to join the Commonwealth of Nations.(3.11 still applies for both the present and for any future developments

3.3 The Head of State will be remunerated as determined by law. The Head of State accounts will be open to scrutiny by Parliament, and reviewed as per law.

3.4 The Head of State will be deemed to be a servant of the state, and will therefore be considered to be impartial to all matters politic.

3.5 The Head of State will possess only such powers as are expressly vested in him or her by this Constitution, and will exercise those powers with the advice and consent of the responsible constitutional authorities.

3.6 The Head of State will dissolve Parliament on the advice of the Presiding Officer in accordance with the provisions of Sections 4.10, 4.11 and 4.12 of Article 4.

3.7 The Head of State will confirm assent to legislation, in accordance with the provisions of Section 4.29 of Article 4.

3.8 The Head of State will award civic honours in recognition of public services, as proposed by an Independent Commission in accordance with the law.

3.9 The Head of State will accredit and receive ambassadors, and perform other associated duties, as directed by the Scottish Government.

3.10 During the absence of the Head of State from Scotland, or inability to perform his or her duties, the constitutional powers and functions of the Head of State stated in Section (3) of this article may be delegated to a designated Commissioner. The Executive will appoint the Commissioner, on the nomination of the Parliamentary Bureau. No serving Member of Parliament, or Minister, may serve as the Commissioner.

Article 4: Parliament

4.1 Subject to the rights of the People, the supreme legislative power is entrusted to a unicameral Parliament.

4.2. Parliament consists of representatives, elected by the People, together with an executive Council of Ministers, elected from the representatives in Parliament, hereafter termed the Scottish Government.

4.3 Parliament will sit for a statutory period of four years and will be supported by a Civil Service.

4.4 Parliament comprises one hundred and eighty-four representatives elected from thirty-eight parliamentary constituencies affected under an Act. (5 representatives elected from each of 35 parliamentary constituencies plus 3 representatives elected from each of the 3 island parliamentary constituencies).

4.5 Representatives in the Scottish Parliament, hereafter referred to as Members of Parliament, are elected by a secret ballot using the Single Transferable Vote system of proportional representation.

4.6 The general elections take place on the first Sunday in May with the rules for campaign expenditure for parliamentary candidates being set by an Act (of Parliament).

4.7 All registered Scottish citizens, aged sixteen years or over are entitled to vote in the Parliamentary elections.

4.8 Parliamentary Constituency boundaries are set by an Act, on the recommendation of the Boundary Commission, having due regard for regional, cultural and historical ties, economic expediency and the requirements of regional planning.

4.9 Every person eligible to vote in elections for the Scottish Parliament is eligible to stand for election to Parliament. No person who holds executive, administrative, military, diplomatic or judicial public office (other than Ministerial office) may be elected to Parliament unless they resign from the incompatible office.

4.10 Vacancies in Parliament arising from the death, resignation or removal of a member will be filled within three months. Unless a general election is due in that time, vacancies will be filled by a by- election.

4.11 Parliament will elect from amongst its members a Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officers to convene its sessions and enforce its rules of procedure. These officers are elected as the first item of business after each general election, by a secret ballot and by a majority vote. The Presiding Officer and the Deputy Presiding Officers when in the chair must perform their duties in a strictly non- partisan manner.

4.12 Parliament will, except as stated in Sections 4.11 and 4.12 of this Article, continue in office for a fixed statutory term of four years; and the Head of State, acting on the advice of the Presiding Officer, will dissolve each Parliament on the fourth anniversary of the preceding dissolution, and issue writs for a general election to be held within the next thirty days.

4.13 If Parliament has failed to appoint a new First Minister within the period of 30 days as specified in Section 5.3 of Article 5, then the Presiding Officer, after consulting the various parliamentary groups, may advise the Head of State to dissolve Parliament; writs will thereupon be issued for a general election to be held within a period of 30 days.

4.14 If Parliament, by a two-thirds majority vote of its members, passes a resolution calling for its own dissolution, in order to resolve an impasse or to seek a fresh mandate from the people, the Presiding Officer will advise the Head of State to dissolve parliament; writs will therefore be issued for a general election to be held within a 30 day period.

4.15 Parliament will have the power, in time of war or national public emergency, to extend its term of office for a period not exceeding 12 months, by means of a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of its members.

4.16 Parliament will determine its own sessions and adjournments; provided, that it must assemble within seven days after each general election, and it must assemble each year for regular sessions as provided by law. The Presiding Officer will summon extraordinary sessions, whenever she/he deems it necessary, or if so required by the Scottish Government, or by one-third of the members of Parliament.

4.17 The Presiding Officer shall convene a Parliamentary Bureau consisting of eight Members of Parliament representing a cross-section of members. The Parliamentary Bureau will prepare Parliament’s agenda and order of business. In the arrangement of parliamentary time, due precedence will be given to the legislative business initiated by the Council of Ministers, but at least one-fourth of the parliamentary time will be reserved for the Opposition and individual member’s business.

4.18 There will be a Parliamentary Corporate Body, consisting of the Presiding Officer (as convenor), the Deputy Presiding Officers, and four other members of Parliament elected by proportional representation at the commencement of each session. The Corporate Body will manage Parliament’s staff, buildings, facilities, security and budget, and will propose the rules of procedure, which may be adopted for amendment by a two-thirds majority vote of Parliament.

4.19 All Members of Parliament will be allowed Freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, subject only to Parliament’s own rules of procedure (Standing Orders).

4.20 All Members of Parliament will be allowed Freedom to vote in accordance with their personal conviction and electoral pledges, free from intimidation from others

4.21 All Members of Parliament will be allowed a moderate salary, and other incidental allowances, as prescribed by law.

4.22 Parliament is the sole authority empowered to enact legislation on behalf of the people. All such legislation will have a term life of 50 years for civil and criminal laws, 25 years for general laws, and four years for those laws which place certain restrictions on civil liberties, thereafter terminating unless continued by the Parliament.

4.23 Subject also to any detailed provisions prescribed by Parliament’s own rules of procedure, Parliament will enact laws as prescribed in sections 4.24 to 4.29.

4.24 Legislative bills may be proposed by the Scottish Government, by any individual member of Parliament, or by means of a public petition signed by at least five per cent of the registered voters; provided, that money bills, which will be limited to matters of public revenues and finance, may only be proposed by a responsible Minister.

4.25 The submitted legislative bills will be subjected to deliberation and process by an appropriate cross-party parliamentary committee before they are debated in Parliament. An assessment of the impact of legislation will accompany legislative bills.

4.26 A submitted bill will be debated in Parliament, and if approved by a majority of those voting, it will be presented to the appropriate committee of Parliament. The committee will conduct hearings, to which representations may be made by or on behalf of all persons or groups interested in the subject matter of the bill. The committee will have the right to subpoena persons, who will be required to provide evidence, under oath.

4.27 The appropriate committee will report on a proposed bill to Parliament, and will recommend such amendments, as they deem necessary or expedient. The committee will ensure the bill is fit for purpose and the financial costs of implementation are fully evaluated. Parliament will vote on the amended bill.

4.28 Parliament will vote upon the proposed bill in the form agreed following assessment by the appropriate committee. The bill will be deemed to have passed if approved by a simple majority of Members of Parliament.

4.29 The Head of State, on the advice of the Presiding Officer, will grant assent to, and thus enact as law, all bills passed by Parliament.

4.30 The Act of Parliament for the levying of public revenues and the fiscal budget (money bill) will remain in force for a full term of Parliament after the date on which the Act came into force.

4.31 Parliament will appoint committees to inspect and oversee the Government and to scrutinise specific legislation. They will consist of at least seven (7) members, chosen by parliamentary vote, by proportional representation of political groups.

4.32 Parliamentary Committees, Parliamentary Commissions and Boards of Enquiry will have right of access to official documents, files and other evidence, and the power to summon and subpoena witnesses, including Ministers and other officials, to provide evidence given under oath.

4.33 Members of Parliament holding a ministerial office will, by virtue of that office, be disqualified from membership of all select committees and from Parliament’s Corporate Body. They may serve on Parliamentary Commissions and Boards of Enquiry only where there is no conflict of interest.

4.34 The proceedings of Parliament, its committees and commissions, will be open to the public and media, except in matters of national security, where the Presiding Officer may, upon appropriate advice, determine that it is advisable to carry out the debate in camera.

4.35The non-government aligned Members of Parliament may elect a member who will be designated by the Presiding Officer as the Leader of the Opposition.

4.36 Members of Parliament will swear an oath of allegiance to serve and promote the wellbeing of the people of Scotland, to uphold the laws and Constitution of Scotland; and to act on behalf of the people of the constituency represented.

4.37 Parliament will have the authority to initiate a vote of no confidence in an individual Minister, the Scottish Government as a whole, or an individual Member of Parliament. The Parliamentary Bureau will have the authority to discipline the offender/s.

4.38 The electorate are empowered to raise a Petition to Recall a Member of Parliament, hereafter referred to as an MP.

4.39 Stage one of the Petition to Recall an MP will be initiated when 1 (one) per cent of the registered electorate of the constituency, consider that a constituency MP has failed to perform his or her duties on grounds of negligence, corruption, criminal conviction, dishonesty, or other gross misconduct or, in the view of the constituents has simply ceased to represent their interests.

4.40 Stage two of the Petition to Recall an MP procedure requires to be signed by 10 (ten) per cent or more of the registered electorate of the constituency within a time period of eight weeks. The Electoral Commission will regulate the Recall Petition process.

4.41 A petition signed by 220,000 or more registered voters within six months, calling for a popular vote on an issue of concern, will be referred to Parliament. A Public Petitions Committee will decide on petitions submitted by individuals, community groups and organisations. If the issue or concern cannot be resolved by Parliament then it will be put to a referendum. A referendum held under this provision will be legally binding.

Article 5: The Scottish Government

5.1 The Executive power will be invested in the Scottish Government, which will consist of a Cabinet, comprising a First Minister, a Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretaries. The Cabinet will be supported by such Ministers as may be required to conduct the government of the state. The Scottish Government will collectively be responsible to Parliament.

5.2 The First Minister will be elected by Parliament from amongst its numbers, by open ballot and a simple majority vote.

5.3 The First Minister will be elected and appointed within thirty (30) days after each General Election, and within thirty (30) days after the death, resignation, or removal, of the former First Minister. If a First Minister has not been elected during this time, Parliament may be dissolved in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 Section 13.

5.4 The incumbent First Minister and Cabinet will continue in office in a caretaker capacity, following a General Election, until a successor is appointed. Following the death, resignation or removal of a First Minister, and until the appointment of a successor, the Scottish Government will act in a caretaker capacity.

5.5 All Cabinet Secretaries and other Ministers will be nominated by the First Minister, from amongst the members of Parliament, and voted in by a simple majority of Parliament.

5.6 The Scottish Government, subject to the Constitution and the law, will determine all matters of foreign and domestic policy. It will direct the administration, conduct foreign relations and manage monetary and fiscal policies. It may prepare draft legislation, and other business, to lay before Parliament. A majority of Cabinet Secretaries must be present at the meetings when such decisions are made.

5.7 The administrative officials, subordinate to the Scottish Government, will be recognised as a permanent, professional and non-partisan Civil Service, and will be regulated by the Public Service Commission.

5.8 Authority over the Armed Forces, subject to the Constitution and law, will be vested in the Scottish Government. No declaration of war may be made, or overseas deployment of troops undertaken, except with the prior consent of a two-thirds majority of Parliament. If Scotland is under actual, or imminent, enemy attack, the Scottish Government will undertake all necessary defensive action.

5.9 No treaty or international agreement of any kind will come into effect unless it is ratified by Parliament, either by a majority resolution or, to the extent that it concerns domestic laws, by enabling legislation.

5.10 Treaties delegating sovereignty powers (legislative, administrative, judicial, military, fiscal or territorial) to a confederation, union, alliance or international body will take effect only if ratified by a two-thirds majority of Parliament followed by a public plebiscite achieving a majority vote.

5.11 The Cabinet will appoint an executive quorum to provide an informed response to any significant or emergency situation when Parliament is not in session.

5.12 Non-government organisations will operate under the direct authority of the office of the responsible Cabinet Secretary.

5.13 The Scottish Government may engage expert advisors from outwith Parliament and also appoint Parliamentary Commissions and Boards of Enquiry which may include expert advisors in order to investigate and report on particular decisions or aspects of policy, legislation, or administration. Their composition, duration and terms of reference will be specified by a parliamentary resolution having particular regard to the principles in (new) Article 5.16 and the exclusion of any person having potentially conflicting interests.

5.14 All Cabinet members are required to provide Parliament with a yearly report outlining an account of matters falling under their authority.

5.15 While in office, Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers are not permitted to undertake any other employment, whether paid or unpaid, and must not engage in employment in any way related to their ministerial duties for a period of five years after leaving office.

5.16 On appointment to a cabinet or a ministerial post, any existing commercial obligations or contract of service must be declared and settled or unconditionally terminated. All shares or investments in commercial organisations owned by the appointee must be declared and will be held in escrow for the duration of the appointment, and for a further period of six months after leaving office.

5.17 A Lobbying Commission as defined in Article 11 will secure transparency between elected representatives & public servants and all privately owned commercial, financial and advisory bodies. Entities conducting business in Scotland which enjoy rights, freedoms and protections under this Constitution are equally bound to observe their financial and moral obligations whether specified or implied. Parliament shall be alert to these principles when drafting the legislation requiring formal registration of all such special interest groups.

Article 6: Public Finances - National Currency

6.1 The National Currency of Scotland is the Scots Pound, being Constitutional Money guaranteed by the State in accordance with the Constitution.

6.2 There shall be a Constitutional Monetary Authority (CMA) holding ultimate responsibility for the administration of the National Currency. It will be independent of the legislative and executive branches of the Government. Its members will be nominated by a Public Appointments Commission, and appointed by Parliament by a simple majority vote in a secret ballot. The CMA shall be funded by making its own requisition upon the normal revenues of the State.

6.3 The Central Bank of Scotland is the executive arm of the Constitutional Monetary Authority and will (a) originate the currency and (b) regulate its distribution through the Full Reserve banking system.

6.4 The Scots Pound is issued free of debt by the Central Bank of Scotland and in Scotland is the sole legal tender and circulating medium of exchange comprising cash or credit instruments. The origination or placing into circulation of any other money or money substitute shall be an act of counterfeit.

Government Finances & Taxation

6.5 The government is required to raise a significant proportion of its public revenues, in the form of ground rent or an equivalent form of land taxation, from Scotland’s greatest single natural resource, namely the land, the seabed and the seas under Scottish jurisdiction.

6.6 The government may not issue any other bonds or debt instruments other than as required by the Central Bank in settlement of foreign balance of trade deficit and as limited within its regulation by the Constitutional Monetary Authority.

6.7 National, Regional and Community government will obtain funding, required to finance new infrastructure projects, directly from the Central Bank of Scotland.

6.8 The Scottish Government will adopt a budget, limited to a maximum deficit of three per cent of the gross domestic product, for the full term of its administration.

6.9 Regional Assemblies will adopt annual budgets limited to a three per cent deficit, during their term of administration.

6.10 Regional Assemblies will agree budgets adequate for the proper functioning of each of the Community Councils within their area of responsibility.

6.11 The Scottish Government will allocate up to two per cent of all revenues to a National Sustainability Fund utilised as a national reserve fund.

6.12 A National Revenue Service will collect all revenues.

Article 7: Judiciary and Prosecution Service The Judiciary

7.1 In the exercise and function of its jurisdiction, the Judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of government.

7.2 The judicial powers of Scotland are invested in the Court of Session and the High Court of Judiciary and in such subordinate courts as provided in law.

7.3 The Lord President of the Court of Session, judges, sheriffs and justices of the peace are appointed in accordance with the law.

7.4 The Judiciary will operate in accordance with the Statement of Principles of Judicial Ethics for the Scottish Judiciary.

7.5 The organisation, powers, structure, jurisdiction, privileges, and procedures of the various Courts are governed by law.

7.6 The organisation and procedures of the Law Commission are governed by law.

Scottish Prosecution Service

7.7 The Crown Office and Procurator Service is the independent prosecution service of Scotland and a Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government.

7.8 The Lord Advocate is responsible for the Crown Office and the Solicitor General is responsible for the Procurator Service. Both appointments are made on the recommendation of the First Minister.

7.9 The Cabinet Secretary for Justice will exercise the right of pardon, and of remitting punishments, following due consideration by an independent Pardons board.

Article 8: Constitutional Amendments

8.1 Amendments to the Constitution will require a two-thirds majority vote in parliament followed by a public plebiscite achieving a majority vote.

Article 9: Government Audit and Complaint Services

9.1 The Auditor-General service is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies and for setting national codes of audit practice and guidance for local government bodies.

9.2 The Public Services Ombudsman is the organisation whose duty is to investigate complaints of maladministration, injustice, neglect of duty, incompetence, delay, or mistake, alleged to have been committed by, or to have been caused by the negligence or mistake of, Ministers, civil servants, local government bodies, public utilities, or other public authorities.

9.3 The Auditor-General and the Ombudsman have full powers of investigation, including access to all records and correspondence, and the right to summon and subpoena witnesses, and hear evidence on oath. They submit annual reports of their activities to Parliament and Regional Assemblies, but are independent of the Government in the exercise of their functions, with a duty to act impartially.

Article 9: Government Audit and Complaint Services

9.1 The Auditor-General service is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies and for setting national codes of audit practice and guidance for local government bodies.

9.2 The Public Services Ombudsman is the organisation whose duty is to investigate complaints of maladministration, injustice, neglect of duty, incompetence, delay, or mistake, alleged to have been committed by, or to have been caused by the negligence or mistake of, Ministers, civil servants, local government bodies, public utilities, or other public authorities.

9.3 The Auditor-General and the Ombudsman have full powers of investigation, including access to all records and correspondence, and the right to summon and subpoena witnesses, and hear evidence on oath. They submit annual reports of their activities to Parliament and Regional Assemblies, but are independent of the Government in the exercise of their functions, with a duty to act impartially.

Article 10: Regional and Local Government

10.1 In accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and to empower decision-making at the appropriate local level, autonomous authority for governance and administration is devolved to eighteen (18) Regions, which are then sub-divided into multiple Communities with devolved powers.

10.2. The apportioning of devolved administrative authority, resources and funding between Regional Assemblies and Community Councils, are jointly agreed. A National Convention will be held every four years to review the devolved authority and resources.

10.3 The public services provided will meet national standards of quality and performance and will be audited annually.

10.4 Candidates for Regional Assemblies and Community Councils are elected by secret ballot using the single transferable vote system of proportional representation, for a four-year term of office.

10.5 The numbers of representatives for Regional Assemblies and Community Councils will be based on a system of proportionality of the electorate as set by law.

10.6 Elections will take place on the first Sunday in May and all of the registered electorate, resident within the region, are eligible to vote in the regional elections, and those resident in communities are eligible to vote in community elections.

10.7 All registered Scottish citizens, aged sixteen (16) years or over, are entitled to vote in Regional and Community elections.

10.8 Campaign funding expenditure for each prospective candidate will be set by law.

10.9 Members of Regional Assemblies and Community Councils are remunerated as determined by law. The details of remuneration received by elected representatives to be available on public websites.

10.10 Regional Assemblies and Community Councils will have independent budgets, for which the law will determine the principles of formation and procedures; the Regional Assemblies and Community Councils are required to maintain balanced budgets within specified limits.

10.11 Regional Assemblies and Community Councils shall be non-party in politics and non-sectarian in religion.

10.12 The electorate are empowered to raise a Petition to Recall an Elected Member of a Regional Assembly or Community Council.

10.13 Stage one of the Petition to Recall an elected member will be initiated when 1 (one) per cent of the registered electorate of the constituency, consider that an elected member has failed to perform his or her duties on grounds of negligence, corruption, criminal conviction, dishonesty, or other gross misconduct or, in the view of the constituents has simply ceased to represent their interests.

10.14 Stage two of the Petition to Recall an Elected Member procedure requires to be signed by 10 (ten) per cent or more of the registered electorate of the constituency within a time period of eight weeks. The Electoral Commission will regulate the Recall Petition process.

10.15 The Electoral Commission will regulate the Recall Petition process.

Regional Assemblies

10.16 The eighteen regions comprise ten (10) mainland regions plus the five (5) cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, plus the three (3) island communities of the Orkney Isles, Shetland Isles and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

10.17 Regional Assembly boundaries are set by law, on the recommendation of an Independent Boundary Commission, having due regard for cultural and historical, economic expediency, and contained within the Parliamentary Electoral Constituency boundaries.

10.18 Representatives in Regional Assemblies, hereafter referred to, as Commissioners are required to abide by a Code of Conduct and operate in accordance with a written Constitution, which will set out the powers, duties and responsibilities of Commissioners.

10.19 Persons standing as candidates for election as Commissioners will when elected be resident in the Region represented throughout their term of office.

10.20 Each Regional Assembly elects from amongst its numbers a Convener and a Depute Convener to preside over meetings and to represent it in its external affairs. Each elected body will also select a Chief Executive to oversee the regions employees.

10.21 The employees of the Regional Assemblies will be organised as a permanent, professional and non-partisan service, which is accountable to the Regional Assembly and regulated by the Public Service Commission

10.22 Regional Assemblies are responsible, within their area of jurisdiction, for the collection of all public revenues, legal fines, rents and duties imposed by Parliamentary Money Bills.

10.23 Regional assemblies are empowered to set and collect local revenues, legal fines and rents from their areas of jurisdiction, including the seabed within the adjoining Exclusive Economic Zone.

10.24 Regional Assemblies are statutory consultees in the preparation of parliamentary legislation.

10.25 There will be provision for Regional citizen initiated referendums, whereby a petition signed by one fifth or more registered voters calling for a popular vote on an issue of concern to the people within the Region is first referred to the Regional Assembly and then put to a popular vote if the issue of concern has not been responded to by the Regional Assembly.

Community Councils

10.26 Regions are sub-divided into Communities, each governed by a Council. The Community Council jurisdiction boundaries are set by law on the recommendations of an Independent Boundary Commission, having due regard for cultural, local associations and established local communities.

10.27 Community Councils operate in accordance with devolved authority, agreed in consultation with the Regional assembly, which sets out the powers, duties and responsibilities of Community Councillors and the public service resources accountable to them.

10.28 Elected Representatives on Community Councils, hereafter referred to, as Councillors are required to abide by a Code of Conduct and operate in accordance with a written Constitution.

10.29 Each Community Council elects from amongst its numbers a Chair and a Depute Chair to preside over meetings and to represent it in its external affairs.

10.30 Each Community Council elects from amongst its numbers a secretary to record council decisions and minutes of meetings.

10.31 All persons standing as candidates for election as Community Councillors will when elected be resident or working in the area represented throughout their term of office.

10.32 Community Council agreement will be required to effect change to legislation relevant to the functioning of community council administration and area of authority development.

Article 11: Independent Commissions

11.1 There will be non-partisan, task specific, Independent Commissions, free from outside or political control, which works towards a specific goal for the state. Their major responsibilities are to protect the sovereignty of the people; to ensure that all state bodies observe democratic values and principles; and to promote constitutional values and principles; Commissions are supported by staff appointed by and accountable to them.

11.2 Independent Commissions will consist of seven to nine members; of which three members will be appointed by Parliament and Regional Assemblies will appoint the other members; they may not simultaneously hold any other public office; their terms of employment, salaries and allowances will be fixed by law and in parity to those of Members of Parliament.

11.3 Included within the range of Independent Commissions will be a Training Standards Commission that will determine and set the standards of mandatory management training for elected representatives for Parliament, Regional Assemblies and Community Councils, to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their duties effectively.

Article 12: General Statutes. Law Enforcement.

12.1 Law enforcement is the responsibility of five Decentralised Police Authorities accountable to geographically adjacent groups of Regional Assemblies; each group of Regional Assemblies appoints a Chief Constable. The Justice Secretary chairs the National Police Commission to manage the National Police Services Agency that optimises cooperation among Regional Police Authorities and provides them with those specialist services and facilities, which the National Police Commission deems to be more efficiently provided at a National Level.

12.2 The law provides for participation with international law enforcement agencies.

12.3 Armed Forces. To provide territorial defence and support in civil emergencies there is a conventionally armed Scottish Defence Force; the law provides for participation in humanitarian aid activities and in selected United Nations mandated peacekeeping operations. All units of the Scottish Defence Force wear the same range of rank insignia and uniforms, with each unit being identified by specific badges and symbols.

12.4 Coastguard. The coastguard is tasked with: protection and monitoring of maritime assets including fishing and other maritime resources within territorial waters out to 12-nautical-miles; effecting compliance with the rules regarding the 12-nautical-miles contiguous zone; protection and monitoring of the natural resources of the 200-nautical-miles exclusive economic zone; monitoring compliance with the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea; effecting compliance with Maritime Law; coordination of search and rescue at sea operations.

12.5 Security Agencies: There are such agencies as to provide: effective control of all borders; issuance of passports and visas; customs and excise; compliance with international standards of safety and human rights in the airspace over Scottish territories; and the safeguarding of national cyberspace.

12.6 National Security. Under the oversight of the Scottish Government a national agency coordinates interactive strategy among the departments of the police, intelligence services, the armed forces, coastguard, customs service and government agencies effecting national security.

12.7 Prohibition on Death Penalty. The Constitution prohibits Parliament from enacting any law allowing for the imposition of the death penalty even during a time of war or armed rebellion.

12.8 The Laws will be amended as required to ensure the harshest of penalties to be placed on those who commit crimes such as premeditated murder, serial killings and treason. Additionally, our police, rescue workers, medical staff and prison officers and others serving the public will be given protection against those who do them harm by the application of severe penalties.

12.9 During a national emergency the executive can declare a state of emergency; a declared state of emergency allows the executive to immediately make any desired regulations to secure public order, safety and health; the declaration will expire after 30 days or the legislature can revoke it earlier; the actions of the executive cannot be found to be unconstitutional provided they are pursuing the humane conclusion of the emergency; these emergency powers will however be restricted to the duration of the emergency and the immediate recovery period

12.10 The Government is authorised to enter into treaties, international agreements and membership of international organisations in the name of the Scottish people. Such commitments are always subject to ratification by Parliament. Where any transfer of sovereignty is involved a referendum must be held. All such international commitments must comply with this Constitution and be revocable at any time in accordance with the sovereign will of the Scottish people.

12.11 Scotland’s natural resources are valuable assets held and utilised under both national and private ownership. Resources under national ownership include the seas and seabed within Scottish jurisdiction, wave, tidal and wind energy, the harvestable fauna and flora of the seas including mineral rights both proven and unproven, all land development rights including sources of fresh water, geothermal energy and minerals.

12.12 Land is a finite and crucial resource to be used and owned in the public interest for the common good. The Scottish Government will adopt a Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which will be reviewed every five years.

12.13 The Scottish Government will secure the completion of the Land Register within two years of a vote in favour of independence and complete the process of appeal within 2 years thereafter.

12.14 Government authorities, together with those who utilise Scotland’s Natural Resources, are responsible for the protection of the natural resources. The Law permits government authorities to grant permits for the use or utilisation of natural resources or other public goods against full consideration and for a reasonable period of time. Such permits will be granted on a non-discriminatory basis and will never entail ownership or irrevocable control of the resources, but will always incur a bonded obligation of reinstatement.

12.15 The protection of animals against abuse and the protection of endangered species of wildlife will be provided for by law.

12.16 As codified in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, Scotland will comply with the rights, duties and obligations for the sending and receiving diplomatic and consular services and the law regarding diplomatic and consular staff.

12.17 Prohibition on Nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; The Scottish State prohibits the presence, transportation or development of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, parts or components thereof, throughout its land, territorial waters or airspace; such actions being deemed a criminal offense.

Schedule 1: Oath of Office or Duty

In many positions within our society a person requires to undertake an oath or affirmation before undertaking the duties of an office, such as a position in government and other organisations, to act impartially, or to affirm loyalty.

The wording of the oath or affirmation may vary dependent upon the duties to be carried out. The wording will however commit the individual to serve and abide by the Constitution and laws of Scotland.

An oath of office or duty is required by such as: Elected representatives

Head of state The Judiciary

Members of the armed Forces Police

Prison Governors New citizens

Sample Oath as Member of Parliament

I, (Name), having been elected as a Member of the Parliament of Scotland, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties conscientiously, honestly and with integrity, to the best of my ability, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the People of Scotland, and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the Laws of Scotland.

Constitution for Scotland

© Constitution for Scotland – Scottish Charity No SCO49192