Letter: Scottish approach to human rights

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Sir: I am surprised that Lord Scarman can write that 'our existing law already does afford a very real protection for the citizen's human rights' ('Remedy for a national weakness', 30 September). He mentions Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, the habeas corpus legislation and a fair proportion of the so-called 'great reforms' of the 19th century. These have no application whatsoever in Scotland: are Scots human rights therefore unprotected?

Could it be that while over the centuries the English have been preoccupied with the provision of statutory remedies to perceived wrongs, the Scots courts have quietly and effectively established an emphasis on the basic rights of the ordinary citizen of the United Kingdom who happens to reside within the Scots jurisdiction?

Might it be that in this area, the Scottish experience could assist a distinguished Law Lord, as well as others, to get it right when our country incorporates, as it surely must, the rights established in the European Convention of Human Rights within the domestic law of the United Kingdom?

Yours faithfully,


Parliament House


30 September