Equalities Committee seeks views on Historic Pardons Bill


Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee is looking to hear views from the general public as the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill starts its journey through the Scottish Parliament.

Before the Bill can become a law, it will undergo thorough scrutiny by Members on the Committee. The Bill proposes granting a pardon to all men convicted of consensual same-sex activity under old discriminatory laws and, if applied for, a legal disregard. A disregard would mean that their criminal record would not be considered if a background check were carried out.

Speaking as the call for evidence was launched, Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP said:

“This Bill sets out to correct a historic injustice by ensuing that convictions don’t continue to harm the lives of men convicted of acts which are no longer a crime.

“It is very important that we learn the lessons of how these discriminatory laws impacted on the lives of people so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

“As a Committee, we will be spending a few months looking at the details of the Bill so we can consider any areas which may need to be improved or changed. We want to hear from anyone who has a view on the Bill.

“We are especially anxious to hear from men who will receive a pardon and who may wish to apply for a disregard of their criminal records. If you, or someone close to you, will be impacted by the Bill we urge you to take part in our work. We will treat your personal stories with sensitivity.”

The Committee is keen to hear about views on the process for obtaining a ‘disregard’, and whether or not the Bill goes far enough to address the impact that past discriminatory laws have had on the men convicted under them.


A copy of the Bill can be found on the Parliament’s website.

The pardon will also apply posthumously.

The Call for Evidence can be obtained from the Committee's webpages.

Making a submission

The closing date for making a submission in Friday 19 January 2018.

You can make a submission by email to [email protected]

You can also write to:

Clerk to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee
Room T2.60
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Contact information

Media information

Committee information

Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • [email protected]
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

Keep up to date with us on:

keep up to date with what's happening in Parliament on Facebook Follow the Scottish Parliament on Twitter @ScotParl keep up to date with what's 
happening in Parliament on YouTube

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.