(693) SCOTLAND ACT AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACT: TOGETHER OR APART?
SCOTLAND ACT AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACT: TOGETHER OR APART?
The House of Lords returned to the complex issue of the relationship between the Scotland Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 in Somerville v Scottish Ministers  UKHL 44, issued on 24 October 2007 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldjudgmt/jd071024/somerv.pdf). The specific issue was whether prisoners bringing claims against Scottish Ministers in respect of various violations of their Convention rights were subject to the one-year time bar imposed by section 7(5) of the Human Rights Act. No equivalent time bar is found in the Scotland Act in respect of claims that Ministers or the Executive have acted beyond competence in violating Convention rights. By a majority of 3-2 the House held that the HRA time bar had no application in cases brought under the Scotland Act, the effect being that many more prisoners than previously thought will be able to bring claims in respect of such matters as slopping out” (see No 433) and segregation (the issue in the Somerville case itself). The majority is formed by Lords Hope and Rodger with a brief contribution from Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe; the vigorously dissenting minority is made up of Lords Scott and Mance