THE CONSTITUTION OF SCOTLAND
(S) – (Explanation for amendment tranches (S), and (P) in Article XIII)
love of our fair nation and proud countrymen and women, do hereby express and enact our collective will through this document, the Scottish Constitution, which is the supreme and fundamental law of Scotland ; which states that the founding principle of the Scottish nation is human rights for all, including equality, freedom, justice and the search for happiness; whose legitimacy is based solely upon popular sovereignty; and which hereby provides, in these detailed articles, a basis for the continual application and respect of these constitutional rights across all of Scottish governance and society. All Acts of Parliament, treaties, regulations and other laws, whether enacted past, present or future, to the extent that they are incompatible with this Constitution, will be void and without effect.
Section 2: The official languages of Scotland shall be English, Scots, and Gaelic. Parliament shall be responsible for ensuring that provision is made for the use of Scots and Gaelic, in addition to English, in parliamentary proceedings, local government, administration, public broadcasting and education.
Section 3: The national flag is the cross of St Andrew, blazoned azure, a saltire argent. The national anthem shall be determined by Act of Parliament.
Article I – Individual Liberties, Rights, and Obligations
The following liberties, rights, and obligations shall be conferred on all citizens, legal residents, and all persons, regardless of race, colour, religion, personal beliefs, abilities, status, or sexuality. There shall be no limitation upon their exercise except to prevent or penalise acts calculated to infringe on the rights and liberties of others, or forcibly to subvert the constitutional order which guarantees these rights and liberties. The rights and privileges guaranteed to persons under this Constitution or any law extend only to human beings; the extent to which such rights and privileges may be extended to corporate bodies and other ‘legal persons’ shall be determined by law.
Section 1: Equity of Rights
i. All citizens and residents of Scotland, regardless of their status, will be equally treated and protected under the law. Provision shall be made by law to assure gender parity in representation and pay at all levels of the public and private sector.
ii. The Scottish state is secular, and shall not establish, favour, nor disfavour any religion, and shall work towards the appeasement of religious and sectarian conflict in all forms. All religious and religiously owned institutions shall be subject to civil law, regulation, and taxation.
iii. No aristocratic or noble titles shall be granted or recognized by the Scottish state for any purposes. No law which perpetuates social castes, including primogeniture law, shall be recognized, promulgated, or applied.
Section 2: Fundamental Individual Liberties: The Scottish government shall pass no laws infringing upon, and shall develop laws to guarantee the following:
i. The freedom of speech, writing, publication, and of the expression of opinion with narrowly proscribed exceptions for demonstrably injurious discourse.
ii. The freedom of thought, of conscience, and of religious practice; including to not believe or participate in any religion.
iii. Autonomy of all persons over their bodies; including reproductive rights, the medical termination of pregnancy, and voluntary euthanasia as prescribed by law.
iv. All men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family in accordance with their beliefs and sexual orientation.
v. The right to peacefully assemble and form associations for any lawful purpose.
vi. The right to privacy in his or her personal affairs, family life, home, and correspondence. Consistent with technological advancement, provision shall be made by law to safeguard personal data and information, and preserve privacy and security in communications and transactions conducted through electronic media.
vii. The right to hold private property, and to the peaceful enjoyment of his or her property. Nothing in this clause shall invalidate any tax, duty or custom levied in accordance with the law, or an environmental regulation imposed on the development or use of land or natural resources.
viii. The right to a healthful environment, including clean air and water and a climate hospitable to life and supportive of agriculture. Provision shall be made by law for the protection of the environment and for restrictions on the development of land and natural resources in furtherance of this clause.
ix. Every person shall have access to governmental information, and the state shall exercise transparency in all functions.
x. Every person shall have the right to physical safety. All firearms for those who are not on-duty police and military personnel are banned, with very limited exceptions granted for single-shot hunting rifles and shotguns to be regularly licensed and stored according to law.
Section 3: Social and Economic Rights: The Scottish Government shall be constitutionally bound to progressively assure for all, regardless of income, that:
i. Every person has the right to housing adequate to lead a dignified life.
ii. No law shall abridge the right of every person to freely form a union in their place of work, collectively bargain with their employer, to strike without state opposition, and the law shall penalize any infringement of this right. Every person has the right to conditions of work which are fair, healthy, and which respect the dignity of the person. A living wage shall be established by law, to assure that no person working full time will live in poverty.
iii. Every person will have a pension adequate for their dignity and well-being.
iv. Every person will have sufficient state-funded physical and mental health care to lead a dignified life.
v. Every person shall have access to a state-funded education which allows them to reach their potential.
vi. The repayment of any loan or credit in excess of 25% annual percentage rate interest shall not be compelled. Provisions shall be made by law for the interests of consumers to be represented in the financial regulation process.
Section 4: The Rights of the Accused: The Scottish Judiciary shall be bound to respect the following rights in all civil and criminal cases.
i. Persons will be deprived of liberty only in accordance with due process.
ii. Every person who is arrested, or detained shall be informed as soon as is possible of the evidence and charges against them.
iii. Every person who is arrested or detained shall be brought before a competent court and tried as soon as possible.
iv. Every person has the right to fair and impartial judicial proceedings.
v. Trials shall be conducted in public and judgment shall be pronounced publicly. Audio recordings will be made of all proceedings, with the exception of jury deliberation.
vi. Every person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
vii. To be rapidly informed of the charges, in a language which he or she understands.
viii. To have adequate time, facilities, and resources to prepare a defence, and to privately confer with counsel.
ix. To be defended in person or through a legal practitioner of his or her own choosing.
x. To financial assistance necessary to secure adequate legal assistance. An adequately staffed and funded public defenders office shall be established, that each lawyer has a reasonable caseload to provide quality counsel.
xi. To have compulsory processes to summon and examine witnesses in his or her favour.
xii. To have all proceedings in court connected with the charge against him or her translated by a competent interpreter into the language which he or she best understands, if that language is not the language of the Court.
xiii. Everyone convicted of a criminal offence shall have the right to appeal their conviction to a higher tribunal.
xiv. The right to trial by jury shall not be suspended, restricted, or abridged.
xv. No one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation or repay a financial debt.
xvi. No person shall be subjected to torture, or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, nor condemned to death or executed.
xvii. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude, nor shall any person be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Section 5: Civic Obligations
i. All citizens and legal residents of Scotland, regardless of domiciliation status, shall be automatically registered to vote at 16 years of age, which cannot be revoked under any circumstances. All registered shall be required by law to vote in all referendums and elections. Ballots shall always include ‘none of the above’ as a voting option. Penalty for failure to vote will be a modest fine, dischargeable after participation in the next two elections.
ii. All citizens and legal residents of Scotland not in detention shall be required to serve on juries, with reasons for discharge to be prescribed by law. Employers shall make provisions to accommodate employees in fulfilling this civic duty.
Article II – Democratic Procedure and Citizen Initiatives
Section 1: Election campaigns for parliament and the presidency shall be conducted within a period of 6 weeks, with paid political TV and radio advertisements banned, and complete transparency on campaign expenses and any contributions allowed by law. Violations judged sufficiently grave by law shall lead to disqualification for election, or removal from office of MSP’s or other elected or non-elected officials, including after taking office.
Section 2: Provisions shall be made to ensure complete transparency on a neutral national election and referendum website. Candidates’ voting records, all contributions, all laws and amendments proposed and passed, and other information relevant to evaluating their parliamentary efficacy shall be posted.
Section 3: In addition to binding legislative referendums held under Section (16)(iv) of Article IV and constitutional amendments held under Section (2) of Article VIII, provision may be made by law for the holding of consultative referendums, at the initiative of Parliament or local Councils, on proposed legislation or matters of general policy within their respective areas of competency. For all referendums, provisions shall be made to ensure complete transparency of the question. The national election and referendum website shall include arguments for and against the referendum, research articles covering the specific issues, with the power of the auditor general to verify the factual accuracy of the contributions, and discard those in which significant factual errors are found without correction. Under no circumstances will the position on the question be taken into account in determining its methodological validity.
Section 4: Persons holding public office should perform their duties solely for the public interest. They shall not seek financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or friends, nor place themselves under any financial or other obligation to individuals or organisations that might unduly influence them in the performance of their official duties. They must declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest. MSP’s and public officials must disclose all meetings and discussions, formal and informal, in any location, under any circumstances, which involve advocacy for policy, government contracts, or any other government activity, whether or not they are under the aegis of the Scottish government. Failure to do so within a timely manner, or discovery of clandestine meetings after the fact, can lead to the removal of office of the MSP or civil servant concerned or any other sanctions warranted under law. To give effect to these and other relevant principles of good conduct, the Public Service Commission shall adopt a Code of Conduct for public servants, including Ministers and those holding elective office. Parliament shall have the authority to enforce observance of the Code of Conduct by means of legislation.
Section 5: While recognizing the valuable contribution that research groups, public interest groups, advocacy groups, NGO’s, charities, and other organizations make to the democratic process in providing information for citizens to make informed decisions, those who participate in parliamentary debate and legislation must disclose their sources. These sources must make transparent their data sources, amount of funding, their actual objectives, and the research used to reach their conclusions must bear clear methodological integrity. Parliament shall have the power to develop fair and equitable criteria for classing these various groups according to their research practices and accuracy, but under no circumstances their political leanings.
Article III – The Presidency
Section 1: The President of Scotland shall be elected by universal popular vote, and shall exercise the following functions:
i. Representing the liberty, independence and integrity of the Scottish nation, presiding over public ceremonies, and addressing the people on civic occasions and at times of crisis or emergency.
ii. Dissolving Parliament on the advice of the Presiding Officer.
iii. Withholding assent to legislation in the case of legitimate demonstrable questions over its constitutionality.
iv. Appointing members of the judiciary.
v. Granting pardons on the advice of the Minister of Justice
vi. Appointing members of independent commissions as prescribed by law
vii. Awarding civic honours in recognition of public service.
Section 2: Election of the Scottish President
i. All citizens and legal residents living in Scotland over 25 years of age shall be eligible to run for President.
ii. The Presidential term shall last 5 years, limited to two terms.
iii. The President shall be elected in a two-round process. In the first, all party nominees qualified by the electoral commission shall be voted upon in a single ballot. If one candidate receives in excess of 50% of the vote they shall win the election.
iv. If no one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a second round vote between the two candidates who received the most votes shall be held two weeks after the first round. The candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote shall be elected president.
v. The presidential and parliamentary campaigns shall be held under the same laws, and limits.
vi. The President shall be sworn in one month after election.
Section 3: Succession and impeachment
i. In the case of death or incapacitating injury or disease of the President, the Presiding Officer will assume the functions of the Presidency pending a new election within 60 days.
ii. The President can be impeached with formal charges lodged by the Supreme Court, and a 2/3 vote in the Parliament. Allegations deemed sufficiently grave for impeachment shall include, but not be limited to, violations of universally applied law and gross personal misconduct. Impeachment will not offer immunity from prosecution for any crimes committed.
Article IV– Parliament
Section 1: Supreme legislative power shall be embodied in a unicameral Scottish Parliament.
Section 2: Parliament shall be elected by secret ballot using the Single Transferable Vote System (STV)
i. Ballots of each multi-member constituency shall include all candidates eligible according to Electoral Commission rules.
ii. The threshold for election in each multi-member constituency shall be determined according to the Droop Quota: Votes needed to win = (Valid Votes Cast / Seats to Fill + 1) + 1
iii. Voters shall number the candidates according to preference; 1,2, etc.. No party shall have more candidates than seats for that constituency.
iv. After the first count, the votes for the candidate(s) in excess of the threshold shall be transferred from that candidate to other candidates according to the ballot preferences expressed on the winning ballot. If the seats have not been filled after, the votes of the last place candidate shall be transferred according to the preferences on this ballot, and the candidate shall be eliminated. If still not all seats have been filled, then the excess votes of the second seat filled shall be distributed according to the preferences on this ballot. This alternating procedure shall be repeated until all seats are filled.
v. The Electoral Commission shall be charged with determining the boundaries of the multi-member constituencies, subject to scrutiny by the Supreme Court. Boundaries shall be determined on the principle of equal population, having due regard for common interests, historical and geographical identities, demographic trends, staying as close possible to existing boundaries.
vi. All party primaries will be conducted according to fixed rules with complete transparency of results, validated by the electoral commission.
Section 3: Every person eligible to vote in elections for the Scottish Parliament, who is at least 21 years of age, who shall have been resident of the constituency for at least the preceding 5 years, shall be eligible for election to Parliament. No person holding any paid post in the public or private sector may be elected to Parliament unless they resign upon election. No person is eligible to hold more than one office at the same time.
Section 4: The total number of members of Parliament shall be determined by law, but it shall not be fewer than 120 members, nor exceed 200 members.
Section 5: Parliament shall, except as stated in Sections (6), (7) and (8) of this Article, continue in office for a fixed term of four years; and the President, acting on the advice of the Presiding Officer, shall 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.
Section 6: If Parliament has failed to elect a Prime Minister within the period of 30 days as specified in Section (6) of Article V, then the Presiding Officer, after consulting the various parliamentary parties, may advise the President to dissolve Parliament; writs shall thereupon be issued for a general election to be held within a period of 40 days.
Section 7: 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 shall advise the President to dissolve Parliament; writs shall thereupon be issued for a general election to be held within a period of 40 days.
Section 8: Parliament shall have the power, in time of war or 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.
Section 9: Vacancies in Parliament arising from the death, resignation or removal of a member shall be filled within three months. Unless a general election in due in that time, constituency vacancies shall be filled by a by-election, regional vacancies by re-selection from the appropriate list.
Section 10: The Supreme Court will choose a Presiding Officer and two Deputy Presiding Officers to convene its sessions and enforce rules of procedure and decorum. These officers shall be empanelled as the first item of business after each general election. The Presiding Officer, and the Deputy Presiding Officers, must perform their duties in a strictly non-partisan manner.
Section 11: Parliament shall 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 a regular session of at least 90 days. The Presiding Officer shall summon extraordinary sessions, whenever he/she deems it necessary, or if so demanded by the Council of Ministers, or by one-third of the members of Parliament.
Section 12: There shall be a Parliamentary Bureau, consisting of the Presiding Officer (as convenor) and one Member of Parliament nominated by each party or group having at least three members of Parliament. The members of the Bureau shall endeavour to reach agreement by consensus, but in the event of a matter being resolved by vote they shall cast bloc votes equal to the number of members they represent, and an absolute majority of the bloc votes cast shall be decisive. The Parliamentary Bureau shall prepare Parliament’s agenda and order of business. In the arrangement of parliamentary time, due precedence shall be given to the legislative proposals and other businesses initiated by the Council of Ministers, but at least one-fourth of the parliamentary time shall be reserved for the opposition and private members’ business.
Section 13: There shall be a Parliamentary Corporate Body, consisting of the Presiding Officer as convenor, the Deputy Presiding Officers, and four members of Parliament elected by proportional representation at the commencement of each session. The Corporate Body shall manage Parliament’s staff, buildings, facilities, security and budget, and shall propose changes to the standing orders.
Section 14: All members of Parliament shall:
i. Enjoy the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, subject to Parliament’s own rules of procedure (Standing Orders).
ii. Enjoy the freedom to vote in accordance with their consciences, free from imperative mandates, corporate and financial lobbying, binding pledges or intimidation.
iii. Be entitled to a moderate salary, and other incidental allowances, to be automatically published, as determined by the Auditor General. Irrefutable proof that MSP’s have illegally profited from office can lead to removal and prosecution.
iv. Be subject to all of the same laws, regulations, and obligations as the rest of the population.
v. Parliamentary standing rules shall be modified over time to assure adhesion to these principles.
Section 15: Subject also to any detailed provisions prescribed by Parliament’s rules of procedure, Parliament shall enact laws in the following manner:
i. Legislative bills or amendments to the corpus of laws may be proposed by the Council of Ministers, by any individual member of Parliament, or by means of a public petition signed by at least five per cent of the registered voters through the lection and referendum website; provided, that money bills, which shall be limited to matters of taxation and public finance, may only be proposed by a responsible Minister.
ii. The bill shall be debated in Parliament, and if approved by a majority of those voting, it shall be presented to the appropriate select committee of Parliament. The committee shall 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.
iii. The committee shall report on the bill to Parliament, and shall recommend such amendments as they shall deem necessary or expedient; Parliament shall vote on recommended amendments.
iv. All amendments will be openly proposed and voted upon, with justification and origin being clearly stated.
v. All sources of studies, statistics, and information used in Parliament for debate and the formulation of laws must be traceable, with all research, studies, and statistics open for review to assess their methodological validity.
vi. Bills must be written in a clear and comprehensible fashion, in a language style any educated citizen can easily understand.
vii. There will be a 24-hour waiting period between the finalization of the bill and the final vote. The full text of the bill must be published, to allow all legislators to understand exactly what they are voting for, unless a 2/3 majority procedural vote is held to go forward with an immediate vote.
viii. Parliament shall vote upon the bill in the form agreed in the previous stage. The bill shall be deemed to have been passed only if approved by a majority of those present and voting.
ix. In the event of a tie vote in the parliament, the President shall case the deciding vote.
Section 16: Any bill, other than a money bill or bill which is certified as urgent by the unanimous decision of the Parliamentary Bureau, may be suspended by means of a petition to the Presiding Officer:
i. Such petition shall be signed by two-fifths of the members of Parliament, and presented within ten days of the final vote on the bill. No member of Parliament may, during the same session of Parliament, support more than three suspension petitions.
ii. The period of suspension shall be 12 months from the date of the petition, or until after the next general election, whichever is the sooner.
iii. After the period of suspension has elapsed, Parliament may reconsider the bill; and if the bill is again passed, by an absolute majority, it shall be presented to the President for assent according to Section (17).
iv. Provided, however, that the Council of Ministers may, at any time before the expiry of the period of suspension, hold a referendum on the bill. If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum are in favour of the bill, the bill shall be submitted for assent under Section (17) without further delay.
v. If a suspended bill has not been re-passed by Parliament within 18 months of the date of its suspension, or has been submitted to the people and rejected by them, the bill shall lapse, and may not be re-introduced during the same session.
Section 17: The President, on the advice of the Presiding Officer, shall grant assent to, and thus enact as law, all bills passed by Parliament according to the aforesaid provisions; provided, that if the Presiding Officer has any reasonable doubt as to the validity of a bill under the terms of this Constitution, he or she shall not present such bill for assent, but shall instead refer it to the Supreme Court for an advisory ruling. The Supreme Court shall examine the bill and issue its advisory ruling within a period of 30 days. If the Supreme Court rules that the bill contains unconstitutional provisions, or has not been passed by the proper procedure, assent shall be withheld, and the bill shall be returned to Parliament for further consideration; otherwise, the Presiding Officer shall advise the President to grant assent.
Section 18: For specified purposes, Parliament may delegate the authority to make regulations, having the force of law, to the Council of Ministers and other public authorities. Regulations shall be laid before Parliament for at least 30 days before they come into effect, and during this time any proposed regulation may be vetoed by a simple majority resolution, on the recommendation of an appropriate select committee. Parliament may not delegate legislative authority concerning the levying of taxation, the creation of new criminal offences, the personal rights of citizens, the principles of civil or criminal law, or the administration of justice; and no regulation shall ever amend, repeal, or suspend, an Act of Parliament.
Section 19: Parliament shall have the authority to appoint select committees to inspect and oversee the government and to scrutinise legislation. They shall consist of at least 12 members, chosen by a parliamentary vote, by proportional representation.
Section 20: Parliament shall have the authority to form administrative agencies to regulate the various sectors of the Scottish society and economy. Appointees to head these agencies shall demonstrably have appropriate and relevant experience to lead the agency for the betterment and improvement of its efficacy.
Section 21: Parliament may also appoint Commissions and Boards of Enquiry, which may include expert advisors from outside of Parliament, in order to investigate and report on particular decisions or particular aspects of policy, legislation, or administration. Their composition, duration and remit shall be specified by a parliamentary resolution.
Section 22: Parliamentary committees, Commissions and Board of Enquiry shall enjoy the authority to subpoena official documents, files and other evidence, and the power to summon Ministers and other officials.
Section 23: Members of Parliament holding a ministerial office shall, by virtue of that office, be disqualified from membership of all select committees and from Parliament’s Corporate Body. They may serve on Commissions and Boards of Enquiry only where there is no conflict of interest.
Section 24: Parliament, its committees and commissions, shall be open to the public and press, and systematically video recorded unless a closed session is authorised, by a two-thirds majority vote, on the grounds of military secrecy or diplomatic security. The Parliament web site shall live-stream all proceedings and archive all footage for citizen’s access.
Section 25: The elected leader of the largest parliamentary party or group which is not participating in or supporting the Government, shall be designated by the Presiding Officer as the Leader of the Opposition.
Section 26: There shall be a Consultative Assembly to advise and assist Parliament and the Council of Ministers on matters of legislation and policy. It shall examine and give its advice on all bills and policy papers submitted to it by Parliament or the Council of Ministers. It may also submit petitions and recommendations to Parliament and the Council of Ministers on its own initiative. The Consultative Assembly shall consist of sixty members appointed in the manner prescribed by law on a vocational and functional basis:
i. Twenty shall represent trade unions and craft and artisan guilds.
ii. Ten shall represent chambers of commerce and small businesses.
iii. Ten shall represent academia and the learned professions.
iv. Ten shall represent farmers, crofters and rural interests.
v. Ten shall represent religious and charitable organisations.
Article V –The Council of Ministers
Section 1: The executive power shall be vested in the Council of Ministers, which shall consist of a Prime Minister, a Deputy Prime Minister, and such other
Ministers (including Junior Ministers and Ministers-without-portfolio) as may be required to conduct the Government of the State.
Section 2: The Prime Minister shall be elected by Parliament from amongst its members, by open ballot and a simple majority vote. The duly elected Prime Minister-designate shall then be appointed by the President.
Section 3: A Prime Minister shall be elected and appointed within 30 days after each parliamentary general election, and within 30 days after the death, resignation, or removal, of the former Prime Minister; and if a Prime Minister has not been elected during this time, Parliament may be dissolved, in accordance with the provisions of Section (6) of Article IV.
Section 4: The incumbent Prime Minister shall continue in office, following a general election, until their successor be elected and appointed in the manner prescribed in this Article; and during the interval between the death, resignation or removal of a Prime Minister, and the appointment of a successor, the Council of Ministers shall act in a caretaker capacity.
Section 5: The Prime Minister shall be responsible to Parliament and shall be removed from office by the President if a vote of no-confidence is passed by Parliament by an absolute majority vote.
Section 6: The Prime Minister may submit his/her resignation to the President on the grounds of illness, incapacity, or other due cause, but the resignation shall become effective only when endorsed by Parliament.
Section 7: All other Ministers (including the Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers-without-portfolio and Junior Ministers) shall be appointed by the Prime Minister. They serve during the Prime Minister’s pleasure, but may be removed by a vote of no-confidence passed by an absolute majority.
Section 8: The total number of persons holding ministerial office (including the Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers-without-portfolio and Junior Ministers) shall not at any time exceed one-fifth of the membership of Parliament. The Ministers shall be appointed from amongst the members of Parliament; provided, however, that up to one-third of the Ministers may be appointed from outside Parliament, on account of their specialist knowledge, experience, and qualifications. The Ministers appointed from outside Parliament shall have the right, ex-officio, to sit and speak (but not vote) in Parliament.
Section 9: The Council of Ministers, subject to the Constitution and the laws, shall determine all matters of foreign and domestic policy: it shall direct the administration, conduct foreign relations, manage public finances, and ensure that the laws are duly implemented and enforced. It may prepare draft legislation, and other business, to lay before Parliament.
Section 10: The administrative officials, subordinate to the Council of Ministers, shall be organized as a permanent, professional and non-partisan civil service, which shall be based upon merit and shall be regulated by the Public Service Commission in accordance with the law.
Section 11: The Prime Minister may appoint a number of Special Advisors, not exceeding 12, to advise and assist the Prime Minister in the preparation and delivery of policies. Special Advisors shall serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. They shall not be members of the permanent civil service, nor have any connection to undeclared outside interests, nor members of Parliament, but are subject to the Code of Conduct for public servants.
Section 12: High command of the Armed Forces, subject to the Constitution and laws, shall be vested in the Council of Ministers.
Section 13: No treaty or international agreement of any kind shall 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). Treaties delegating legislative, administrative, judicial, military or fiscal powers to a confederation, union, alliance or international organisation shall take effect only if ratified by a two-thirds majority of Parliament.
Article VI – Judiciary
Section 1: The judicial authority shall be vested in the Supreme Court, the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary, Sheriff Courts, and such other Courts and Tribunals as may be established by Acts of Parliament.
Section 2: The Supreme Court shall consist of seven members. It shall have final appellate jurisdiction over all questions:
i: concerning the validity of Acts of Parliament, treaties, and other laws, under the terms of this Constitution, and
ii: concerning the interpretation of this Constitution. Nothing in Section (17) of Article IV shall restrict the ordinary process of constitutional judicial review under this Section.
Section 3: Judges of the Supreme Court, members of the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary, Sheriffs, and all other members of the judiciary, with the exception of Justices of the Peace, shall be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Judicial Appointments Council.
Section 4: The Judicial Appointments Council shall consist of the following members:
i. The Minister of Justice, as convenor;
ii. The Lord Advocate, as deputy-convenor;
iii. Two Senators of the College of Justice elected by their peers;
iv. A representative of the Faculty of Advocates; and
v. Five lay representatives of the public, not being members of the judiciary or the legal profession, elected by Parliament, by proportional representation and secret ballot, for four-year terms.
Section 5: Members of the judiciary shall enjoy security of tenure during good behaviour. They may only be removed on the grounds of misconduct, neglect of duty, or incapacity, by means of a motion of censure passed by a two-thirds majority vote of Parliament, on the advice of the Judicial Appointments Council. The Judicial Appointments Council shall have the authority to suspend a judge, on full pay, for a period of up to three months, pending the outcome of Parliament’s decision in his/her case.
Section 6: Judicial office shall be incompatible with all other public offices and with membership of any political party. Additional incompatibilities may be prescribed by Act of Parliament.
Section 7: The salaries and privileges of members of the judiciary shall be determined by law, and shall not be diminished during their tenure.
Section 8: Members of the judiciary shall retire, on pensions, on reaching the retirement age prescribed by law. Early retirement may be granted by the Judicial Appointments Council on the grounds of illness or infirmity.
Section 9: Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the organisation, powers, structure, jurisdiction, privileges, and procedures of the various Courts shall continue as heretofore, until altered or amended by statute.
Section 10: The Lord Advocate shall be appointed by the Council of Ministers, after consultation with the Judicial Appointments Council, for renewable four- year terms. The organisation of the Crown Office, and procedures for the appointment of Procurators- Fiscal, shall be determined by law.
Section 11: The right of pardon, and of remitting punishments, shall be vested in the President, and exercisable upon the advice of the Minister of Justice, given after he or she has considered the recommendations of an independent Pardons Board to be established according to law.
Article VII – Local Government
Section 1: For the purposes of local government and administration, Scotland shall be divided by law into Districts and Cities (based, until otherwise provided by law, on the existing unitary boundaries).
Section 2: Each District and City shall be governed according to law by a Council, consisting a convenient number of councillors, who shall be directly elected by the local enfranchised citizens, by secret ballot and proportional representation, in the manner prescribed by law.
Section 3: Each District and City Council shall elect from amongst its members a Lord Provost, Provost or Convenor to preside over the Council and to represent the Council in its external affairs. Each Council shall also elect a Leader to act as its executive. Provided, however, that provision may be made by law for the direct election of an ‘Executive Provost’ to combine these functions.
Section 4: District and City Councils shall have such legislative, administrative and fiscal powers as may be devolved to them by law, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, in relation to:
i. economic development;
ii. housing, land use and planning;
v. the upkeep of streets, roads and public spaces;
vi. public health;
vii. the control and recycling of waste;
viii. education and training;
ix. environmental protection;
x. libraries, museums, the arts and culture;
xi. poor relief and social services;
xii. policing and public safety;
xiii. parks, garden and allotments;
xiv. recreational facilities; and
xv. any other matter of local concern.
Section 5: Districts and Cities may be further sub-divided into Communities and Burghs, each with its own Community or Burgh Council. The boundaries, powers and organisation of the Community and Burgh Councils shall be determined, in accordance with the law, by District and City Councils.
Article VIII – Ombudsman and Auditor General
Section 1: There shall be an Ombudsman, whose duty it shall be to examine and investigate all 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 Councils, public utilities, or other public authorities.
Section 2: There shall be an Auditor-General, whose duty it shall be to conduct a thorough audit of the public accounts, to ensure that all public monies are properly accounted for, and are expended only in accordance with the law, and to make recommendations to Parliament for improving the economy of public spending, and for eliminating waste and corruption. The auditor general shall have the authority to determine the level of pay and pensions for current and former Parliamentarians, Presidents, and civil servants.
Section 3: The Ombudsman and Auditor-General shall have such powers, related to the said functions, as may be vested in them by law. In particular, they shall possess full powers of investigation, including access to all records and correspondence, and the right to summon witnesses and hear evidence on oath. They may bring to court any matter requiring legal judgment, and may advise authorities to take disciplinary action or remedial action. They shall submit an annual report of their activities to Parliament, but shall be independent of the Government and all other authorities in the exercise of their functions.
Section 4: The Ombudsman and Auditor-General shall be nominated by the Presiding Officer on the advice of the Parliamentary Bureau, and shall be appointed by a two-thirds majority vote of Parliament, on a non-partisan basis. They may not simultaneously hold any other public office or private employment.
Section 5: The Ombudsman and Auditor-General shall serve for renewable terms of six years, and may only be removed for misconduct or other cause by a two-thirds majority of Parliament. They shall have the same restrictions, privileges, salaries, and pensions, as Supreme Court judges.
Article IX – Independent Commissions
Section 1: There shall be an independent, non-partisan, Open Government Commission, which shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the freedom of information provisions of ix Section (2) of Article I.
Section 2: There shall be an independent, non-partisan, Electoral Commission, which shall be responsible, in accordance with the law, for:
i. ensuring the free and fair conduct of all elections and referendums
ii. proposing changes to the boundaries of constituencies and electoral regions, based on demographic changes, subject to judicial review;
iii. overseeing the automatic registration of voters;
iv. enforcing the laws on campaign spending and on donations to political parties and campaigns, with power to disqualify candidates and overturn results if malfeasance is proven.
v. Registering political parties and auditing their accounts according to law; and overseeing the transparency and results of their primaries.
vi. Making recommendations to Parliament concerning the impartial administration of elections and referendums.
Section 3: There shall be an independent, non-partisan, Public Service Commission, which shall be responsible, in accordance with the law, for:
i. Maintaining the impartiality of the civil service
ii. Supervising the recruitment, selection, training, promotion, pay, and discipline of public officials.
iii. Making recommendations to the Council of Ministers for senior civil service appointments and appointments to public bodies.
Section 4: There shall be an independent, non-partisan Broadcasting Commission, which shall be responsible, in accordance with the law, for the regulation of public broadcasting services.
Section 5: Each Commission established under this Article shall consist of seven members, of which:
i. Three executive members, including the Convenor, shall be appointed by the President, on the joint nomination of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, on merit, according to their qualifications and experience.
ii. Four non-executive members shall be elected by Parliament, by secret ballot and on a non-partisan basis, by single transferable vote, to represent the public interest.
iii. The members of the Commissions established under this Article shall serve for non-renewable terms of six years. They may not simultaneously hold any other public office. They may only be removed for misconduct or other due cause by a two-thirds majority vote of Parliament. Their salaries and allowances shall be fixed by law and in parity to those of members of Parliament.
Article X – Defence and Foreign Relations
Section 1: The Scottish State will commit itself to: promoting international peace and security; maintaining just and honourable relations between nations; fostering respect for international law and treaty obligations; encouraging the settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
Section 2: Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially through the means of aggressive military actions, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.
Section 3: Collective Security. The Scottish State may enter into formal collective security organisations but will only do so with the consent of the Council of Ministers and with a two-thirds majority endorsement of the Scottish Parliament.
Section 4: Military Activity. Any deployment of Scottish Defence Forces, even if that deployment is to number just one single official, can only proceed after:
i. a formal and public deployment decision by the Council of Ministers;
ii. a formal endorsement of that decision by the Scottish Parliament;
iii. a UN Security Council Resolution validating the deployment to which Scottish Defence Forces are to be committed.
iv. The requirements stipulated in Article 4 extend not just to Scottish Defence Force personnel but also to any Officers of the Scottish State (including police and prison officers) who might be sent to participate in training, assistance or development programmes in overseas conflict or post-conflict settings.
Section 5: In the event of a failure to secure deployment assent from both the Scottish Parliament and the UN, it will be deemed unconstitutional for the Scottish Government to aid in any way the proscribed military or security activity in question. This ‘aid’ includes:
i. providing financial contributions – direct or indirect – which might work to support the activity in question
ii. any donation or sale of material which might be seen to facilitate or aid the activity in question.
iii. allowing the use of Scottish land, coastal waters or airspace for any activities which may be connected with the activity in question.
Section 6: Nuclear Weapons: The Scottish State prohibits any of the following acts or activities relating to nuclear weaponry taking place on its soil, territorial waters or airspace(i):
i. The development, manufacture, possession or control of nuclear weapons;
ii. The stationing or transportation of nuclear weapons by any means;
iii. The testing or use of nuclear weapons;
iv. The dumping or disposal of nuclear weapons grade radioactive material or nuclear waste.
Section 6: Transportation through the territory of Scotland of nuclear weapons, parts or components thereof, as well as of nuclear waste or any other nuclear material designed or produced for weapons purposes shall be prohibited and will be deemed a criminal offense.
Section 7: In times of war or other severe public emergency the Council of Ministers may declare a State of Emergency. The State of Emergency shall lapse after seven days, unless during that time Parliament passes a resolution, by a two-thirds majority, authorising its extension for up to three months; such authorisation may be renewed at intervals of three months, so long as the emergency necessitating it continues. During a State of Emergency the Council of Ministers shall have the authority to enact decrees, having the force of law. All decrees shall be subject to review and veto, on the grounds that they are unconstitutional, or unnecessarily burdensome or oppressive, by a Review Committee consisting of the Presiding Officer, two Supreme Court judges, and 12 members of Parliament, not holding ministerial office, elected by their peers by proportional representation.
Article XI – Land, territorial waters, and the environment
Section 1: The territory of Scotland comprises all the mainland and islands of Scotland, plus its territorial waters as recognised by international law.
Section 2: The totality of the territory, buildings, and other goods within its land and territorial waters requiring legal title in Scotland shall be registered and taxed exclusively with the Scottish government. Complete transparency on ownership is required for the bearer to register and maintain title. Land and goods for which legal title cannot be legitimately established shall revert to public ownership.
Section 3: All use of eminent domain in the acquisition of land and property must be transparent and demonstrably in the public interest, conducted uniquely by the state through due process, with just and timely compensation for expropriated property.
Section 4: An environment and land management agency shall be established. Its powers, shall include, but not be limited to, maintaining the title registry of land, assuring that EU and other subsidies are directed towards the correct recipients, and rigidly enforcing regulation based on peer reviewed science. Sufficient resources shall be furnished by the Scottish government to enforce these and other measures, and law shall provide for the shielding of regulators from the influence of the entities they regulate.
Section 5: All chemicals, devices, and techniques used in all industry, farming, and energy extraction shall be declared and regulated. Chemicals deemed too toxic to be used through peer-reviewed scientific methods shall be banned. All ingredients in all foods and drinks, including all those which are genetically modified through human agency, shall be clearly labelled on the package.
Section 6: All environmental regulations shall be applied to the totality of the land and territorial waters in Scotland, including transport.
Article XII – Financial Regulation and Public Services
Section 1. All banks operating in Scotland must separate their investment and commercial operations, or demonstrate that that there are sufficient reserves to guarantee their commercial operations. The banking sector in Scotland shall not be allowed to exceed a maximum financial leverage ratio, to be determined by law and implemented by an independent banking authority.
Section 2: Upon this constitution coming into effect, the Scottish government shall establish a sovereign wealth fund for all revenue from its natural resources within its territorial waters(ii). All revenue from natural resources shall be invested in the public sector.
Section 3: The Government will borrow only to invest and not to fund current spending, so that over the cycle the current budget will be in balance or in surplus. All public finances shall be open to public scrutiny.
Section 4: Upon this constitution taking effect, all privatised public services shall be evaluated to determine whether they are properly fulfilling their social mission, paying a fair taxation rate, and abiding by Scottish employment laws. If it judged that they are properly fulfilling their obligations according to Scottish law, the Scottish government shall sign a contract to maintain the service. If it is judged that a publicly owned and run entity would better serve the public interest, the contracts signed with the UK government will be void, and a public entity will be created in its stead. All privatisation schemes must be approved by referendum.
Section 5: The awarding of all government contracts on all levels shall be conducted through a transparent competitive bidding process, with legitimate reasons for determining the grantee made available for scrutiny to the public and the auditor general before funds can be appropriated. All contracts shall be open to public scrutiny after being awarded.
Article XIII – Amendments to the Constitution
Amendment tranches are defined as sections of the constitution beginning with the designation (S) or (P), and extending up to the next letter designation.
Section 1: Amendment tranches designated structural (S) can be amended through the changing or addition of wording, or addition of sections. A proposal for its amendment must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the whole membership of Parliament and ratified in a binding referendum by majority vote. The referendum shall take place on the date of the next general or presidential election. No amendment shall come into effect unless approved by a majority of all valid votes cast in the referendum.
Section 2: Amendment tranches designated procedural (P) can be amended through the changing of wording or addition of articles and sections. Procedural amendments may be proposed by the Supreme Court on the advice of the Presiding Officers, then ratified in a national referendum by majority vote. All procedural amendments must have the purpose of simplifying procedure to make it more effective and democratic, not benefit any faction, party, or individual.
Article XIV – Citizenship: All persons who were British subjects immediately prior to independence, and were born in Scotland, or were legally resident in Scotland at independence, shall become citizens of Scotland.
Section 1: Parliament shall enact laws to regulate the future acquisition of Scottish citizenship by birth, marriage, or naturalisation, and to specify the manner in which citizenship may be lost or renounced.
Section 2: Parliament shall specify the circumstances and conditions under which dual citizenship with other countries may be held.
Section 3: 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.
Section 4: Adopted children shall for purposes of citizenship be treated as though they had been actually born to their adoptive parents.
Section 5: Subject only to such further requirements as to residence as may be prescribed by law.
Article XV – Oath of office
The President, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Judges, and all other persons holding public office under this Constitution, shall take the following oath, with or without religious invocation.
I …………………………. solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the people of Scotland, and that I will faithfully and conscientiously perform my duties as [name or title of the office] in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of Scotland, without fear or favour. (So help me God).
i.The stationing of nuclear weapons in Scotland’s land and waters is prohibited. An exception shall be made for 2 years from the date when this constitution takes effect during which time nuclear weapons may be stored in Scotland prior to their removal. During this period all activity supporting the operational deployment of these weapons shall be prohibited.
ii.Over a 15-year period, a share of this fund will be used to reimburse the totality of the debt to the United Kingdom.
Corpus of Scottish Laws
Beginning from the transition period after an affirmative vote for independence until the process is complete, a parliamentary commission will be established of jurists and lawyers from all legal backgrounds to entirely re-codify all laws, statutes, and regulations into a simple, readable, and universally accessible corpus of laws. In each area of the law, the current UK and Scottish laws will apply until a re-codification is approved by parliament. Every year ending in 0, a commission shall be established to review the entire corpus of laws to propose bills to reform the system to improve its efficacy, to be approved by parliamentary majority.
Corpus of International Treaties
Upon independence, Scotland will continue to respect applicable UK bilateral and multilateral treaties. Beginning from the transition period after an affirmative vote for independence until the process is complete, a parliamentary commission shall be established to evaluate the relevance and applicability of UK treaties, and codify a corpus of treaties to be ratified by Parliament by majority vote. As may be required, this corpus of treaties can be updated and modified over time, with modifications to be ratified by 2/3 majority of parliament.