A comparative analysis of hate crime legislation


Researchers: James Chalmers and Fiona Leverick

In January 2017, the Scottish Government announced a review of hate crime legislation, chaired by Lord Bracadale. Lord Bracadale requested that, to assist the review in its task, Professors Chalmers and Leverick produce a comparative report detailing principles underpinning hate crime legislation and approaches taken to hate crime in a range of jurisdictions. The final report was published by the Review later that year alongside a consultation document.

The report explores a variety of issues, including the meaning of the term “hate crime”, the justifications for hate crime legislation, possible legislative models for identifying hate crime (the animus and discriminatory selection models) and responding to it (the penalty enhancement, sentence aggravation and substantive offence models), and the range of characteristics which may be protected by hate crime legislation. It also canvasses issues relating to hate speech and online hate crime, and the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. It is underpinned by extensive comparative work including consideration of legal regimes or proposed legislation in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa and the United States of America.

Key publication:

J Chalmers and F Leverick, A Comparative Analysis of Hate Crime Legislation: A Report to the Hate Crime Legislation Review (2017) 147pp + ii.