The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed the Cabinet Secretary for Justice’s announcement today, Tuesday, 24 November, regarding further amendments which he plans to bring forward at Stage 2 of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill.

Amanda Millar, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said “We welcome the Cabinet Secretary for Justice’s willingness to listen and respond to the genuine concerns that we, and many others, have raised about the Bill.

“We are pleased that Cabinet Secretary has signaled his intention to withdraw section 4 of the Bill, which related to criminal liability in respect of directors and presenters of plays. We believed it presented a significant threat to freedom of expression in the arts and welcome its removal.

“We still have a number of concerns about aspects of the Bill, including the use of archaic language and subjective terms such as ‘insulting’, but recognise that the changes announced today, along with the proposed changes to section 11 on protection of freedom of expression in relation to religion, are considerable moves in the right direction.

“We are also pleased to see that Baroness Kennedy has been appointed to head a working group exploring options around a potential standalone offence of misogynistic harassment.”

Law Society welcomes plans to amend hate crime bill

We have welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement that it is to amend key aspects of the hate crime bill to address concerns we have raised.