The bill to pardon former miners convicted of certain offences related to the 1984-85 national strike has been published.

The Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill follows an independent review, led by John Scott QC, into the impact of policing on Scottish communities. It recommended legislation to confer a pardon, subject to establishing suitable criteria.

Following consultation, the bill confirms the pardon for people convicted of certain offences – breach of the peace, breach of bail conditions, and offences of obstructing the police etc under s 41(1)(a) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 – and who were participating in strike action.

Containing only six sections, the bill does not cast doubt on decisions made by courts at the time and does not quash convictions. The intention is to provide a collective symbolic pardon which recognises the disproportionate consequences suffered by many miners because of their participation in the strike. There will be no application scheme for the pardon: former miners will self-assess against the qualifying criteria.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown commented: “The miners’ strike was one of the most bitter and divisive industrial disputes in living memory.

“This new draft legislation will go some way to aid reconciliation – and to help heal wounds within Scotland’s mining communities.

“A collective pardon will restore dignity to those convicted, provide comfort to their families and, I hope, will bring closure to the sense of injustice members of mining communities may feel.”

Click here to access the bill and related papers.