Entrenching children’s participation through UNCRC incorporation in Scotland

Kasey McCall-Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In March 2021, the Scottish Parliament unanimously adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill (Incorporation Bill). This article explores how this law could fulfil children's participation rights in Scotland based on the exercise of UNCRC Article 12 coupled with Article 5, a child's right to be heard in line with their evolving capacity. It begins by introducing the basic concept of children's participation rights before constructing participation as a right of emancipation that is two-dimensional, reflecting both the individual and collective dimensions of a child's right to be heard. To develop both dimensions of the right to participation, the article focuses on a child's ability to engage their individual right to participation in private legal proceedings as facilitated by various laws, including the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The article then turns to looks at how the views of children and young people have been included in collective decision-making processes following adoption of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, namely views gathered through children's rights impact assessments. The overarching purpose is to demonstrate how the direct incorporation of the UNCRC can emancipate children from ongoing marginalisation and support them to become active, engaged citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1204
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Issue number8
Early online date6 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • children
  • young people
  • participation
  • emancipation rights
  • decision-making
  • Scotland
  • incorporation


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