Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill


Justice Committee scrutiny


The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 16 June 2011 and it was subsequently agreed that it would be considered as an emergency bill.

The Bill provides for two new criminal offences. The first offence would criminalise offensive or threatening behaviour likely to incite public disorder at certain football matches. The second offence of ‘Threatening communications’ provides for a criminal offence concerning the sending of communications which contain threats of serious violence or which contain threats intended to incite religious hatred.

Pre-Stage 1 scrutiny

While the Bill was not referred to the Justice Committee at Stage 1, the Committee nevertheless took evidence prior to the Stage 1 debate on Thursday 23 June to help inform the Parliament’s scrutiny of the Bill.

Oral evidence

The Committee's oral evidence sessions on the Bill took place at its meetings on Tuesday 21 June and Wednesday 22 June 2011.

Stage 1 debate

The Stage 1 debate took place in the Chamber on Thursday 23 June 2011 and the general principles of the Bill were agreed to.

After the Stage 1 debate, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would seek to extend the Bill's timetable to allow further scrutiny by the Justice Committee at Stage 2.

Stage 2 scrutiny

The Justice Committee considered its approach to further scrutiny of the Bill at its meeting on 28 June 2011.

Written evidence

While the Committee issued an initial call for evidence on 16 June 2011, this was updated on 23 June to reflect the anticipated change of timetable:

The deadline for written evidence was Friday 26 August 2011.

Oral evidence

The Justice Committee took further oral evidence on the Bill at its meetings on 6, 13 and 20 September 2011.


The Committee published its report to the Scottish Parliament at Stage 2 on 6 October 2011.


(Please note: the Lord Advocate advises that these are draft guidelines which will be altered to reflect any amendments made to the Bill during the passage through Parliament and will not be finalised until after Royal Assent. Prior to the commencement of the Act the guidelines will be distributed to Chief Constables. These are revised draft guidelines replacing draft guidelines published in September.)

Chamber debate

The Committee's report at Stage 2 was debated in the Chamber on Thursday 3 November 2011:

 Stage 2 amendments

The Committee considered Stage 2 amendments at its meeting on Tuesday 22 November 2011.

A copy of the Bill as amended at Stage 2 can be found on the following page:

Stage 3

Stage 3 proceedings took place on Wednesday 14 December 2011.

Stage 3 amendments

The Bill completed Stage 3 on Wednesday 14 December 2011.

A copy of the Bill as passed at Stage 3 can be found on the following page:

Additional correspondence


Contact: For specific information on the Bill, please contact the Clerks on 0131 348 5047 or email [email protected]

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